Five o’clock hot cocoa recipe


For those who mourn an era of the civilized five o’clock tipple, happy days are here again. At the end of a workday, hot cocoa is improved with a tot of something a bit stronger for extra fortification. The combination of cocoa, sea salt, and bourbon elevates the humble cup with a perfect balance of sweet and earthy flavors. Be sure to save some “virgin” hot cocoas for the under-21 crowd.

  • Yield: 4 Servings


  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons sugar, or to taste
  • 1 pinch Maldon sea salt
  • 4 cups milk
  • 3 ounces bourbon
  • 2 dashes cherry bitters
  • Whipped cream (optional)
How to Make It
  1. Combine cocoa powder, sugar, and salt in a saucepan. In a separate saucepan, heat milk over medium heat until it becomes hot, not quite to a boil.
  2. Add just a few tablespoons of the hot milk into the cocoa mix, and stir into a smooth paste with a wooden spoon. Gradually add the remainder of the milk and continue stirring until fully incorporated.
  3. Simmer over low heat for 5 minutes, add the bourbon and cherry bitters, then froth with an immersion blender until creamy and foamy. Divide into four pre-warmed cups, and top each with whipped cream if desired.

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