Thirsty Thursday

Mix red wine and hot chocolate for a warm, rich drink

Aline Peres Martins | Staff Writer

Make some hot chocolate, put some wine in it, top with marshmallows or whipped cream, and enjoy.

This winter, it seems like everyone discovered red wine hot chocolate. Between the months of October and December, Food and Wine, the New York Times, Cosmopolitan, Forbes, Glamour and Refinery29 all headed to their test kitchens to try the concoction. It seems a simple concept. In some circles, wine and chocolate pairing is considered an art — yet it wasn’t until this year that people started blend the two together.

The combination of wine and hot chocolate is nothing new. According to Smithsonian Magazine, an Aztec ruler from the 1500s named Moctezuma would sometimes drink over 50 cups per day of a “frothy chocolate beverage mixed with water or wine.”

But since winter is finally starting to relinquish its wrath on Syracuse, I decided to give a try to what Glamour called “the drink of the 2016 holiday.”

The recipe? Make some hot chocolate, put some wine in it, top with marshmallows or whipped cream, and enjoy.

I went with Swiss Miss; a bold, robust, dark red Zinfandel; and your basic mini marshmallows that I got on sale at Walmart. In order to make it, I followed the Swiss Miss packet instructions and substituted about a quarter of the water for half and half. Then I poured equal parts hot chocolate and red wine into a pot, and heated it on medium-low heat until it just started to bubble. Heating it much longer or on high heat will cook out most of the alcohol.

The verdict? It is worth the hype. The red wine adds a depth to the hot chocolate that other common hot chocolate additions like Baileys or Kahlua don’t.

It also cuts through the sweetness of the hot chocolate, and I would recommend adding a small pinch of cayenne pepper for an added kick. You can taste the alcohol, but it is not overpowering. In essence, red wine makes hot chocolate more interesting.

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