Wine Cocktails From Around the World: Mexico's Chocolate Caliente

Wine Cocktails From Around the World: Mexico's Chocolate Caliente

Wine Cocktails From Around the World: Mexico’s Chocolate Caliente (With A Twist)

 

After wine, our biggest weakness here at Weekly Tasting is chocolate - hands down. From simple bars to ice cream to those famous candy-coated drops (you know the ones), we love chocolate in all its glorious forms. And when it's cold outside, a steamy, warming mug of hot chocolate just can’t be beat. We’re taking Mexico’s classic Chocolate Caliente and adding an unexpected twist that will knock your socks off. Hint: It’s wine. Put your socks back on and grab a mug. It’s cold outside.

 

A Little History

The use of chocolate dates back to the pre-Columbian civilizations of Meso-America, where the Olmec, Mayan, and Aztec people enjoyed ground cacao beans, spices, and vanilla mixed with water as a frothy and energizing brew, setting the stage for today’s hot chocolate. Sipping on Mexican hot chocolate gives us a glimpse into the past by providing a creamy and sweet modern version of this historic drink. Here’s our take on Chocolate Caliente.


 

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 cups milk (we like the richness of whole milk, but any kind will do)
  • 2 cinnamon sticks or ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 6 ounces dark, semisweet, or bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped

  • 4 tablespoons dark brown sugar

  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

  • ½ teaspoon vanilla or half a vanilla pod

  • Pinch of salt

  • 1½ cups of a fruity, full-bodied red wine (Zinfandel, Merlot, or Malbec)

OR

  • 4 tablets/disks of Mexican chocolate (about 6 ounces total) - Mexican chocolate tablets come sweetened and flavored with spices and can be melted directly in warm milk or water

  • 4 cups of milk

  • 1½ cups of a fruity, full-bodied red wine (Zinfandel, Merlot, or Malbec)

 

You'll also need:

  • A medium saucepan

  • Whisk

  • Mugs for serving

  • Mesh strainer

  • Optional: whipped cream for topping

 

RECIPE

  1. In a medium saucepan, heat milk and cinnamon on medium-low until simmering. If you’re using a vanilla pod, add it to your warm milk. Turn off the heat and let the cinnamon and vanilla steep for 10 minutes.

  2. Turn the heat back on to low and add chopped chocolate and cocoa powder, whisking until combined.

  3. Add sugar and salt. Continue simmering and whisking until smooth, about 5-10 minutes.

  4. Add vanilla (if using extract) and wine and shut off the heat.

  5. Strain mixture through a mesh strainer and serve warm with whipped cream.

 

For an extra frothy cup, pour a portion of the mixture into a blender and carefully blend (cover your blender with a towel and hold the lid to protect yourself from the mixture splashing) or buzz the entire mixture with an immersion blender.

 

Feel free to adjust this recipe to your liking by adding more or less of either the wine, sugar, or spices. If you’re feeling bold, add a pinch of cayenne pepper or chile de arbol for a little heat, but note that high alcohol wines (like Zinfandel) can taste harsh with excessive spicy heat. If you want an even richer cup, use half and half or an extra ounce of chocolate. And if you have a sweet tooth, try using milk chocolate. We won’t judge.