“Comfort foods and nostalgic foods put a smile on your face,” says Scott Campbell of New York City’s New Leaf Restaurant & Bar (Fort Tyron Park; 212.568.5323). I’m a veteran when it comes down to hot chocolate. You can do so many things with that.”
On his menu are nine spiked hot cocoa drinks that fuse chocolate with flavors like lavender, peanut butter and chipotle. Each mug is topped off with house-made whipped cream and marshmallows. Patrons can order a single drink off the menu—or design a tasting flight of cocoa ($12-$14, spiked or not).
Here are Campbell’s tips to perfecting a mug of hot chocolate:
Don’t skimp by using low-quality ingredients. Campbell suggests using superior chocolate and whipped cream (even better if you make the whipped cream yourself).
Use whole milk as well as high-grade vanilla, sugar and chocolate (either baking chocolate or cocoa powder).
Serve in a thick-walled mug, filling that mug with hot water while you are preparing the drink (be sure to empty the water before filling again). This way the drink will preserve its warm temperature for much longer.
*The following is a spiked hot cocoa recipe developed by the author exclusively for Wine Enthusiast Magazine.*
Morning usually calls for coffee but the allure of chocolate is sometimes too tempting. Give in to this Grand Marnier hot cocoa drink—ideally on weekend mornings.
6 ounces finely chopped bittersweet chocolate
2 cups milk
One shot espresso (or 8 ounces of coffee brewed in a French Press)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon Grand Marnier
Combine chocolate, milk, espresso and sugar in a sauce pot over medium-heat for a few minutes. Use a whisk to blend until the mixture is smooth and be careful not to burn. Add Grand Marnier and pour into a mug.
Top with whipped cream and serve.
Also see: Haute Chocolate for Valentine’s Day.