There’s no doubt about it, hot cocoa is the ultimate holiday comfort drink. It’s warm, chocolatey, and basically like drinking a dose of holiday cheer straight from a mug! We know and love this staple winter drink, but sometimes even a cup of hot cocoa can use an extra kick to really satisfy our holiday spirit. These 10 ways to elevate your hot cocoa are game-changers and take hot chocolate to new levels! Make a cup for yourself to enjoy by the fire or serve some to friends and family to really impress this holiday season!
1. Add Some Ice Cream
I know, hot cocoa is supposed to be HOT. But hear me out! Adding a scoop of vanilla or chocolate ice cream (or any of your favorite flavors, really!) to your cup of cocoa changes the drink into something entirely different and delicious.
It’s a really fun twist on a classic cup of hot chocolate and the way the hot and cold mix together to create a whole new dessert is truly inspired by some holiday magic. If you like root beer floats, you’ve got to try this twist with hot cocoa!
2. Classic Cinnamon
Everyone knows adding cinnamon to a cup of hot cocoa is always a delicious and smart choice. The combination of chocolate and cinnamon is tasty, comforting, and a classic way to spice up your hot chocolate. Instead of just sprinkling in some cinnamon, try adding a whole cinnamon stick to the mug and top it with some whipped cream!
The whole cinnamon stick will infuse your cocoa with the cinnamon flavor more effectively than adding powdered cinnamon (not to mention it’s atheistically pleasing) and the whipped cream adds a delicious creaminess to your cup as it melts. If you want to spice it up even further, try adding a dash of cayenne to your hot cocoa!
3. Drizzle Some Caramel
Another great combination of flavors is chocolate and caramel. There’s something comforting about the smell and taste of warm caramel, and adding some caramel flavor into your already delicious cup of hot cocoa elevates it to a whole new level of deliciousness.
You could drizzle some caramel sauce onto the top as the perfect finishing touch, or mix it into your drink for more infused flavor! Take it a step further and add some sea salt on top for a delicious salted caramel hot cocoa!
4. Mix In Some Coffee/Espresso
If you’re looking for a delicious way to enjoy your coffee or espresso that’s buzzing with holiday cheer, try adding some to a cup of hot cocoa! It’s a really creative twist on enjoying both your hot chocolate and your coffee and it’s guaranteed to satisfy.
Mix up the proportions to your own personal liking (I personally like a little more coffee than hot cocoa) and enjoy it! If you like a good cup of coffee after dinner, this twist on hot cocoa makes for an especially delicious and festive after-dinner dessert.
5. Chocolate On Chocolate
If you’re a chocolate lover and can’t get enough, then take your hot cocoa to the next level by adding even more chocolate! A cup of double-chocolate hot cocoa is rich and decadent, the perfect holiday treat! It’s easy to get creative with this hot cocoa because there are so many different types of chocolate and ways you can add it to your cup.
My personal favorite is to make a dark chocolate hot cocoa, then sprinkle some chocolate powder on top and garnish with some more dark chocolate shaved on top! You could drizzle some chocolate syrup on top for even more chocolatey goodness. However you enjoy your chocolate, adding some more to your hot cocoa is never a bad idea.
6. Pile On The Marshmallows!
Marshmallows have always been a traditional and very classic topping to a nice cup of hot cocoa, and they remain a strong favorite today. There’s just something so enjoyable about the way a marshmallow melts into a cup of hot chocolate, you know? Marshmallows really have that wintery, holiday vibe to them which is perfect for making an impressive and delicious cup of hot cocoa!
With so many different shapes, sizes, and even flavors of marshmallows, you can really get creative and have fun with this topping. I always like to fill my cup until it’s overflowing with mini marshmallows, but that’s just me!
7. Add Some Orange
This one may seem like an odd way to elevate your hot chocolate at first, but it’s actually delicious! We all know that orange and chocolate make a really great pair, so it’s no wonder adding some to your hot cocoa would be delicious too. Not to mention, your hot cocoa will look amazing with the orange as a garnish!
I like to add some orange zest onto the top of my hot cocoa and use a curl of the peel as a fancy garnish, but you can add orange to your hot cocoa however you’d like. If you’re looking to make a great orange spice hot chocolate, pairing the orange with a little bit of ginger and cinnamon is a delicious way to take your hot cocoa game even further!
8. Don’t Forget Peppermint
Another very classic addition to hot cocoa is peppermint. It’s hard to go wrong adding some delicious peppermint to your cup of hot chocolate, and peppermint is a super festive flavor so it can really elevate a cup of plain hot cocoa during the holidays. My favorite way to add some peppermint to my hot cocoa is by hanging a candy cane off the rim of the mug. It’s delicious, adorable, and oozes holiday spirit!
If you want a stronger peppermint flavor, add a few drops of peppermint extract into your cup. If you’re looking for that delicious minty flavor but don’t want the strength that peppermint has, adding a few mint leaves is a great substitute and still gives your hot cocoa that nice minty flavor without being too overbearing.
9. Try Some Peanut Butter!
This one may seem even crazier than orange, but don’t knock it ’till you try it! Adding a scoop of your favorite peanut butter to your cup of hot cocoa is a seriously delicious way to elevate any boring cup of plain hot chocolate.
Chocolate and peanut butter are a classic pair that taste delicious together, and that holds true even when combined in a warm cup of hot cocoa! Adding a drizzle of peanut butter sauce on top takes this delicious and decadent drink even further, and it’s especially good enjoyed with some warm, fresh-baked peanut butter cookies!
10. Make A Cup From Scratch
If you enjoy hot cocoa but have never tried making your own cup from scratch in your kitchen, I highly suggest giving it a try! I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with enjoying a good cup of instant or powdered hot cocoa, (I’ve enjoyed my fair share), but there’s something magical and extra-delicious about making your own cup at home.
It’s super simple and there are a lot of different ingredients you could use to make your cocoa unique and delicious. It’s easy to elevate your hot cocoa to scrumptious new levels, but if you start with a base that you’ve made from scratch at home, you’ve already upped your hot cocoa game significantly, and your taste buds will thank you!