Chestnut Hot Chocolate

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Cocktail History

The Chocolate-Covered Cherry is a brandy Christmas cocktail recipe that was created by Nick Mautone of the Rainbow Room in New York City and included in his book in The Artisanal Kitchen: Holiday Cocktails. Originally based on a shot the author once tried, his recipe actually called for just equal parts Heering Cherry Liqueur and dark crème de cacao, but we decided to add an ounce of Cognac for more body and booziness and dialed down the cherry liqueur for more balance.

Cocktail Ingredients

To make this cocktail, you’ll need the following ingredients:

Milk: This is the base of the drink. We prefer milk instead of water in hot chocolate because the taste is richer and more flavorful. To cut down on the calories, you can also use skim milk, which we often do.

Cognac: This is the spirit. We used Courvoisier VSOP Cognac because it has a rich mouthfeel, adds notes of peach, almond, and cinnamon, and brings a delightful brandy spice at the end. 

Hazelnut Liqueur: This adds pleasant nutty aroma and flavor. We used Frangelico, but you could substitute an amaretto liqueur for a similar taste.

Chestnut Spread: This gives the drink its chestnut flavor. We couldn’t find this in-store in our area, so we ordered Bonne Maman’s French Chestnut Jam (Chataigne) online. Any chestnut jam or spread will work though. Or if you’re feeling adventurous, you could make your own. It would be amazing in other holiday desserts, so it won’t go to waste!

Saline Solution: This adds a bit of saltiness to balance out the sweet ingredients.

Cocoa Powder: This adds the majority of the chocolate flavor. We prefer Ghirardelli’s Cocoa Powder because it’s richer and more chocolatey than most of the other hot cocoa mixes we’ve tried.

Ground Cinnamon: This adds cinnamon flavor. We used Simply Organic Ground Cinnamon, but any brand of ground cinnamon will work.

Whipped Cream: This is swirled on top for foamy texture and additional sweetness. We used Reddi-Wip from the can for easier application, but you can also make whipped cream at home using an iSi Cream Whipper.

Chestnut: This is the garnish. It adds a hint of chestnut aroma.

Tasting Notes

The Chestnut Hot Chocolate features fragrances of sweet whipped cream and chestnut and has a thick mouthfeel with the taste of rich chocolate and a prominent nut flavor; meanwhile, the Cognac and Frangelico come in towards the end and leave a slight burn in the throat to go with the lingering chocolate notes.

Our Opinion of This Cocktail Recipe: After tasting this and the Kohler Mint Cocoa we shared a few days ago, it’s really a toss-up on which hot cocoa recipe Santa would enjoy more; both are incredibly delicious yet totally different from one another. And while nuttiness is not something we’d typically associate with hot cocoa, we thought it was a welcome addition. You’ll just have to try both to find out which is your new favorite for this time of year.

Alex’s Take: “This is a delicious hot cocoa drink that combines chestnut flavors with a bit of Cognac to create a very unique flavor. Even though it’s not an ingredient that is used in drinks very often, the chestnut is very noticeable and quite delicious here, and the Cognac is present but blends well. The original recipe only called for ¼ oz each of Frangelico and brandy, but I made the call to up the former to ½ oz and the latter to a full ounce, and it created a much better flavor, in my opinion. While a little more indulgent than I typically like my cocktails to be, this one certainly was undeniably tasty, and the prominent chestnut flavors were a wonderful touch.”

Kendall’s Take: “Holy Christmas balls! This boozy hot chocolate is an incredibly decadent delight. I had never tried chestnut purée before having it in this cocktail, and it’s nuttiness and texture adds a layer of delicious to this winter drink I didn’t know I needed. If you’re already a fan of chestnut, this is a recipe you need to try.”

Recipe

This cocktail recipe was adapted from The Artisanal Kitchen: Holiday Cocktails by Nick Mautone.

AuthorThe Artisanal Kitchen: Holiday CocktailsPrep Time10 minsRating

Ingredients
 6 oz Milk
 1 oz Cognac
 ¼ oz Frangelico Hazelnut Liqueur
 2 tbsp Chestnut Spread
 2 drops Saline Solution
 1 Packet Cocoa Powder
 1 pinch Cinnamon
 Whipped Cream
 1 Chestnut

Method
1

Whisk cocoa powder into milk in a saucepan over medium heat.

2

Mix brandy, hazelnut liqueur, chestnut spread, saline solution, and cinnamon in a mug.

3

When warm, pour hot cocoa into mug.

4

Stir for 5-10 seconds.

5

Garnish with whipped cream and chestnut.

Ingredients

Ingredients
 6 oz Milk
 1 oz Cognac
 ¼ oz Frangelico Hazelnut Liqueur
 2 tbsp Chestnut Spread
 2 drops Saline Solution
 1 Packet Cocoa Powder
 1 pinch Cinnamon
 Whipped Cream
 1 Chestnut

Directions

Method
1

Whisk cocoa powder into milk in a saucepan over medium heat.

2

Mix brandy, hazelnut liqueur, chestnut spread, saline solution, and cinnamon in a mug.

3

When warm, pour hot cocoa into mug.

4

Stir for 5-10 seconds.

5

Garnish with whipped cream and chestnut.

Chestnut Hot Chocolate

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More Christmas Cocktails

If you like this Christmas cocktail recipe, here are a few others we’ve tried that you may enjoy:

 Candy Cane Martini: A vodka cocktail made with white crème de cacao, white crème de menthe, simple syrup, and crushed candy cane

 Cranberry Cobbler: A sherry cocktail made with cranberry syrup, orange slices, an orange wedge, mint, and cranberries

 Winter Berry Gin Fizz: A gin cocktail made with lime juice, cranberry syrup, raspberry liqueur, soda water, cranberries, and rosemary

 Kohler Mint Cocoa: A chocolate mint brandy cocktail made with milk, white peppermint schnapps, dark crème de cacao, cocoa powder, whipped cream, and grated chocolate

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