Boozy Mexican Hot Chocolate
by Tram Nguyen
I spent New Year’s Day curled up on the couch cultivating a nice hangover and enjoying my favorite winter pastime, which is binge-watching television, specifically IFC’s new French zombie series Les Revenants (which is better than it sounds). Every 55 minutes or so, however, I was forced to emerge from my couch cocoon to find the next episode on a shady illegal streaming site with a humanoid pot leaf as its corporate logo. To pass the time while waiting for each episode to load, I could not help but mentally replay the events of the previous night at a friend’s New Year’s Eve party. I’m generally a pretty happy drunk and I had a great evening, but at some point over the course of the night my true (jerk) colors came out. Did I really accuse that lovely woman, a friendly acquaintance that I’ve had maybe half a dozen conversations with, of having white privilege simply because she had the audacity to enjoy Lost in Translation? My closer friends didn’t get off easily either. I also recall accusing one buddy of being “the biggest misogynist I know” and “racist”, both of which are patently untrue.
This time of year is when people usually make resolutions to exercise more, eat less, drink less, etc. Basically, take last year’s shame and channel that energy into forming new, Gwyneth-approved habits. In my case though, I actually think it would behoove me to drink more. Because it takes very little, about 1” of a Manhattan on the rocks, before I transform into Barney Gumble. This year I would like to be less of a lightweight, so that by the time I’m about to start spewing accusations of intolerance, my friends have at least caught up to my level of drunkenness, and we all have equal opportunities for dabbling in foot in mouth disease. It is not for a lack of trying that I have so far been unable to remedy this tolerance dilemma (see: Boozy Oatmeal Shake), but my family is full of women who either break out in hives at the merest whiff of alcohol, or at the very least are incredibly sensitive to it. Basically, I’m fighting my DNA. It will be difficult to build my alcohol tolerance, and sacrifices will need to be made. But I am committed.
This new resolution coincides very well with my second favorite winter pastime, which is slipping alcohol into cozy winter drinks. So here’s my first foray into imbibing like a normal adult, a Mexican-inspired hot chocolate. It’s dark, rich, just sweet enough, with a little spicy kick from a liberal sprinkling of cayenne pepper. And there’s a shot of dark rum. Baby steps people.
BOOZY MEXICAN HOT CHOCOLATE
2 cups of whole milk
1 tbs of cocoa powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
3 oz. bittersweet chocolate (60% cacao), chopped fine
2 tbs dark rum
2 tbs sugar
Whisk milk, cocoa powder, cocoa powder, cayenne pepper, and cinnamon in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and then remove from heat immediately. Add chocolate, rum, and sugar and stir until uniform. I like my hot chocolate on the less sweet side, but feel free to add more sugar to taste.