8 Creative Hot Chocolate Recipes and Ideas You Will Love

As we dive deeper into the cold season, it’s time to swap ice cream and frappes for warm soups and delicious hot chocolate. But if you’ve been a hot chocolate junkie for a while, you’re starting to grow bored of the same “pour cocoa, pour hot milk, and stir” routine. Don’t worry, this is the Internet, which means that here lie countless of creative, unique, and downright sinful recipe ideas that can help you give a twist to your cup of precious molten delight.

Hot Chocolate

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Without further ado, let’s discover the most awe-inducing hot chocolate recipes – ideal for those days off when all you need to do is watch reruns and snuggle under the blanket.

#1 Black Cherry Bourbon Hot Chocolate

Let’s start off with a simple yet effective twist: if you don’t know how else to enrich a recipe, make it boozy! Chocolate and bourbon go together almost as well as chocolate and rum. Throw a black cherry into the mix and you’ll get the same kind of flavor that makes boozy black cherry chocolates so incredibly sophisticated and popular.

YOU WILL NEED:

  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 5 tbsp Ghirardelli double chocolate hot chocolate mix (or mix of your choice)
  • 2 oz. Red Stag Black Cherry Bourbon by Jim Beam
  • whipped cream
  • chocolate shavings

Read the recipe here for instructions!

#2 Peppermint Hot Chocolate

Sometimes all it takes to really give a unique twist to a drink is one particular ingredient. In this case, our star is peppermint, an unmistakable festive scent and flavor. Just like the pumpkin spice can do wonders for the ever-so-popular PSL, peppermint is going to give your hot chocolate a new edge – a Christmas-y edge.

YOU WILL NEED:

  • 2 cups of milk
  • 2 cups of heavy cream
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups of semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon of peppermint extract
  • whipped cream
  • crushed candy cane

Read the recipe here for instructions!

#3 Lemongrass-Lavender White Hot Chocolate

If sprinkling some peppermint over your hot chocolate’s whipped cream just isn’t quirky enough for you, dare to experiment and completely rewrite your own definition of hot chocolate. This recipe is a  reinterpretation of hot chocolate from base to flavors, swapping the traditional dark cocoa for its lesser used white counterpart. The real spiciness and exotic edge of this beverage, however, is given by the peculiar yet astounding lemongrass-lavender combo.

YOU WILL NEED:

  • 12 ounces whole milk
  • 1 small stalk lemongrass, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried lavender
  • 1 makrut lime leaf, torn in half
  • 1/2 teaspoon zest from one small lime
  • 3 ounces white chocolate, finely chopped

Read the recipe here for instructions!

#4 Cardamom & Orange Spiced White Hot Chocolate

We’ll continue with the white chocolate propaganda because, dang it, it deserves some love too. In fact, many fail to realize the possibilities that come with white chocolate and its mild flavor, which is a perfect foundation to build all kinds of crazy flavor combinations. For example, take this combination. Cardamom and orange meet in your cup to create this recipe, which can be enjoyed on Christmas Eve and an average February night alike.

YOU WILL NEED:

  • 4 oz. (by weight) good quality white chocolate, roughly chopped (or about 3/4 cup)
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3-4 green cardamom pods, crushed
  • 1 two-inch strip of orange zest*
  • 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • pinch of cinnamon or freshly grated nutmeg, for garnish
  • fresh whipped cream, for serving (optional)

Read the recipe here for instructions!

#5 Spicy Hot Chocolate Mocha

Some say that there’s nothing that doesn’t go well with chocolate. We argue that coffee goes best of all. The popularity of the divine beverage typically known as mocha should serve as proof of that. If you love your coffee and cocoa alike, don’t make the mistake of missing out on this zesty recipe. It’s as classic as it easy to prepare (don’t let the ingredient list intimidate you)  and make your own.

YOU WILL NEED:

  • 1-1/2 cups milk
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons good quality cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee granules
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • whipped cream
  • marshmallows
  • mini chocolate chips
  • chocolate syrup
  • caramel syrup

Read the recipe here for instructions!

#6 Strawberry Sweethearts Cocoa

Pink, cute, and delicious – this is a hot chocolate that basically begs to be part of a Valentine’s Day table. Even without this kind of special occasion, would anyone’s life be poorer while sipping on a strawberry hot chocolate? No? Of course not. Enrich your life and learn how to prepare this beverage, reserved only for those seeking supreme relaxation.

YOU WILL NEED:

  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 pint strawberry ice cream
  • 4 cups water
  • whipped cream, for serving
  • 1 tablespoon chocolate sprinkles

Read the recipe here for instructions!

#7 White Fudge Oreo Hot Cocoa

You know you’re fighting a losing battle when you see fudge AND Oreo in the same sentence. For something that sounds so incredibly fancy, it’s actually incredibly easy to prepare it. Don’t believe us? Just take a look at the ingredient list below.

YOU WILL NEED:

  • ½ cup chocolate chips
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1½cup milk
  • 2 white fudge oreos, crushed

Read the recipe here for instructions!

#8 Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate

You will never have to leave the comfort of your home to seek out cafes that can prepare this taste bud-soothing beverage once you learn how to prepare it at home. Caramel is great. Caramel with chocolate is even better. Salted caramel and hot chocolate should just be downright illegal.

YOU WILL NEED:

  • 1½ cups granulated sugar
  • ¼ tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 4½ cups room temperature milk
  • 8 oz milk chocolate, finely chopped
  • 2 oz dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • big pinch salt
  • whipped cream and caramel sauce, to garnish (optional)

Read the recipe here for instructions!

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And here we are, at the end of this journey (which really tested our resilience). Which one of these hot chocolate wonders made you crave it more? It doesn’t even matter. It’s hot chocolate, meaning that you can prepare it with minimal resources and effort. Get those cups ready!

5 Ice Cream Topping Ideas For Wintertime

What are the first flavors that come to mind when you think of winter? For us, it’s these ice cream topping ideas. At the end of the list, you’re surely going to feel the need to try them out.

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Winter and ice-cream don’t typically go hand in hand, some may say. Isn’t ice-cream cold? Do we really need something to feel even COLDER? Well, some people have it in them. And if you’re one of them, you’ve come to the right place. Welcome the holiday season with the following ice cream topping ideas, perfect for really feeling the vibes of wintertime. Alternatively, you may try these during a scorching summer so you can try to pretend the heat isn’t there!

#1 Caramel Apple Sundae

You will need:

  • 1 stick plus 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • 4 Granny Smith apples, finely diced
  • 1 cup lightly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 pints vanilla ice cream, for serving

We start off with a combination of two traditional and highly popular flavors: caramel and apple. The right kind of apples will balance out the sweetness of the caramel and you will have a dessert worth swooning over. Here’s how.

#2 Brown Butter And Cinnamon Apple Sundae

You will need:

  • 2 Granny Smith apples (peeled and cored)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 dashes salt
  • 1/2 cup water

What’s a more iconic winter flavor than apple? Apple with cinnamon, of course! This is one of our favorite ice cream topping ideas since it brings together some of the most nostalgic wintertime tastes. It’s a hot topping, served with vanilla ice-cream, which will also warm up your cold days. Here’s how.

#3 Homemade Marshmallow Sauce

You will need:

  • 1 cup water, divided
  • 1 teaspoon unflavored powdered gelatin
  • 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • a pinch of kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract can be substituted)

Marshmallow is a wintertime flavor by default, you may say. Few things compare to a lazy day in during snowy times while you’re sipping at a cup of hot chocolate with marshmallows. For this very reason, this incredible marshmallow sundae works best on top of a couple of scoops of chocolate ice-cream. Here’s how.

#4 Cardamom Ice Cream with Honey-Apricot-Orange Sundae

You will need (for ice cream):

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2/3 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 vanilla bean, split
  • 8 whole green cardamom pods, lightly crushed
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom

You will need (for topping):

  • 1/3-1/2 cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest
  • ½ cup fresh squeezed orange juice or fresh squeezed orange juice + water to equal ½ cup
  • 1 pound apricots, halved and pitted
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom (optional)

Aside from ice cream topping ideas, we’re also dropping in some instructions for the preparation of a proper ice-cream. This is because this orangey delish of a topping works best with cardamom ice-cream, which you can make at home! Reminiscence of the time you’d peel an orange next to the Christmas tree with this recipe. Here’s how.

#5 Christmas Ice Cream Sundae

You will need:

  • 75 g dried blueberries
  • 75 g dried cranberries
  • 100 ml limoncello , plus extra to serve
  • 411 g mincemeat
  • 284 ml double cream
  • 3 tablespoons chopped candied peel
  • 1 pinch ground ginger
  • 2 limes , zest of
  • 2 clementines , zest and juice of
  • 1 litre good-quality vanilla ice cream
  • 8 meringue nests
  • 1 sprig of fresh mint, leaves picked

Last but not least, this recipe is very explicitly titled as a “Christmas sundae” so it doesn’t get any more winter oriented than this. The recipe uses wintertime fruits such as cranberries and adds some neat holiday touches with flavors like meringue and ginger. Here’s how.

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Saved any of these ice cream topping ideas down? We guarantee they will be a hit among Christmas dinner guests since they represent a change from your average pie.

The 8 Best Tasting Alcoholic Drinks For First-Timers

Someone taking a sip from an alcoholic drink for the first time may be turned off by the strength or bitterness of said drink. Usually, it’s not a pretty experience. This is why we should get rid of it by only recommending the best tasting alcoholic drinks.

Best Tasting Alcoholic Drinks

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Whiskey, wine, beer, or vodka aren’t exactly the most recommended alcoholic beverages to experiment with for the first time around. Anyone who’s ever tried alcohol knows that the burning sensation down the throat can definitely turn someone away. Let’s not even mention the relatively dry and morose taste. So, what’s there to be done? Blow a mind away by offering them some drinks with a stellar taste. No one will ever be able to say that alcohol tastes dull. Here are what we believe to be the best tasting alcoholic drinks.

#1 Baileys

Yes, we did say that whiskey is one of the drinks we strongly recommend against for first-time drinkers. But this is Baileys, an Irish cream kind of whiskey with a velvety and sweet taste like no other. The beverage can even act out as a desert, which is why some might not even believe it’s actually alcohol.

#2 Appletini

Generally speaking, cocktails are definitely recommended. You don’t just get the rawness of alcohol in its pure form. You get a delicious blend with fruity, perfumed, and sweet flavors. This Martini hybrid is no different. It’s easier on first-time drinkers than a regular Martini thanks to the infusion with apple liquor.

#3 Radler Beer

Beer can be pretty bitter and unpleasant tasting. So, if you want to take your first sip and fear getting turned away before you get the chance to get used to it, try Radler. It kicked off a trend of lemonade-mixed beer and, let us tell you, it definitely cuts off the typical taste of beer.

#4 Sangria

Sangria is a beloved Spanish-originated beverage and one of the best tasting alcoholic drinks in the world (in our humble opinion). The best part, however, doesn’t come from the taste of the liquor itself but from the incredible combination it makes with fruits. People serve sangria with apples, grapes, oranges, peaches, and others.

#5 Apple Cider

There may not be a better way of stepping into the world of alcoholic beverages. Apple cider is mild, perfumed, and flavorful. You won’t even know it’s alcohol that you’re drinking. What’s more, this drink also has variety. You can find still and sparkling versions and if you end up disliking the boozy part of it, you can opt for a non-alcoholic version.

#6 Amaretto Sours

These Amaretto Sours are particularly popular with ladies, but that doesn’t mean you can’t hit up the bartender and order some if you’re a gentleman. They’re extremely flavorful, but also happen to pack a considerable alcohol level. Just don’t let the taste carry you away because you’ll end up downing one Amaretto after another and this is all bound to end with a throbbing headache.

#7 Shnapps

Okay, so Shnapps may not exactly be extremely welcoming to the throats of first-time drinkers. This beverage contains approximately 42% alcohol levels so its strength might be a bit of a turn off. However, it wholly makes up for it with its incredible fruity flavor. Shnapps may be strong, but it’s one of the best tasting alcoholic drinks in the world. You can find them in flavors such as cherry, apple, orange, and peach.

#8 Pimm’s

Pimm’s is very similar to sangria, in the sense that it’s a beverage best served with a side of flavorful fruits. The main difference is that it’s a gin-based brown nectar. Also just like sangria, it tastes wonderfully on its own, so no matter how you serve it, you’ll love it.

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What we’ve learned today is that skeptics may be swayed into really enjoying their first boozy sip as long as they try one of the best tasting alcoholic drinks in the world. And we’ll let in on a secret: people who are long time drinkers will enjoy them too.

10 Most Popular Haagen Dazs Flavors Right Now

Haagen Dazs is one of the leading powerhouses of the ice-cream industry at the moment. The faith people have placed in the brand comes from the decades of experience amassed behind them. Not only that, but in a time that’s oversaturated with artificialness and red flags raised everywhere regarding what we choose to consume, Haagen Dazs continues to steer away from chemical additions. Although it was a company that started off with only vanilla, chocolate, and coffee as its flavors, there are countless of Haagen Dazs flavors to choose from. Don’t know where to begin? Start with the best of the best.

#1 Caramel Cone

Haagen Dazs Flavors

We all know how tastes can be subjective, so it’s really extraordinary to see how caramel cone is the one thing that so many people can agree on. It may not be one of the Haagen Dazs flavors that were there at the start of the company, but it doesn’t need to be. Caramel cone is one of those flavorful journeys that can truly make your taste buds explode.

#2 Green Tea

Even if green tea wasn’t among the very best flavors, the very fact that it exists makes it AT LEAST one of the most surprising Haagen Dazs flavors out there. After all, who would’ve thought you can make green tea ice-cream? Not only that, but that it’s also delightful and delicious? Haagen Dazs’ green tea ice-cream is the perfect balance between fresh and sweet and one of the healthiest variants on their menu.

#3 Dulce de Leche

Wait, wait, wait – hold on. What even is dulce de leche? Surprisingly, perhaps, it’s nothing strangely exotic as it’s, in a broad sense, a mix of caramel and vanilla flavors. And we know just how popular this other caramel-based flavor is, right? The Haagen Dazs dulce de leche ice-cream is a must-try for any lovers of the frozen treat.

#4 Mango

Sure, mango-flavored things are generally always a hit with the public simply because of how perfumed and generally mouth-watering it is. But mango is also one of the most eccentric Haagen Dazs flavors up for grabs. The ice-cream is seasonal and even then, it’s considerably more expensive than the other ice-cream flavors provided.

#5 Coffee

Simplicity is where the best things are, right? After so many surprising flavors, it feels kind of good to be able to instantly attach the taste to the name of the flavor. But just because you think you know what coffee-topped frozen cream tastes like, that doesn’t mean you should give this flavor a pass. The Haagen Dazs coffee ice-cream is a wholly different experience.

#6 Vanilla

Vanilla

Vanilla is another of the holy triad of flavors that Haagen Dazs opened its business with, as well as one of the most common and widely-produced flavors around the world. It’s this very fact that makes it all the more challenging to really get the taste down right and make it stand out. Well, needless to say, Haagen Dazs nailed it, but don’t take our world for granted.

#7 Strawberry

Strawberry is one of the most popular fruit-based flavors everywhere, but that doesn’t stop Haagen Dazs from making it a seasonal sale as well. Given just how incredible the strawberry ice-cream is, there’s really no wonder that the shelves are emptied nearly instantly the moment it’s put in sale.

#8 Cookies and Cream

Don’t think that the ever so popular Oreo didn’t manage to make its way among Haagen Dazs flavors as well. The cookies and cream ice-cream is a soothing and creamy flavor which comes with a blend of delicious vanilla and Oreo cookie chunks. The reason why it’s slightly pricier than other flavors is probably because otherwise the stock would be exhausted in one hour.

#9 Chocolate

Chocolate is the king of flavors, no doubt. The market is so oversaturated by “chocolate-flavored things” that even those of us that aren’t necessarily experts have learned to differentiate between low and high-quality chocolate. The Haagen Dazs chocolate ice-cream is among the upper class of chocolaty frozen treats – understandable, given the decades of practice behind it.

#10 Pineapple Coconut

Pineapple and coconut is a combination that can either be a hit or a miss. You like it or you don’t – there’s no between. But if you’re one of those that does like it, Haagen Dazs is where the best ice-cream of the sorts is at. And in case you’ve never had one of these delights, it’s a good place to start.

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8 Best Bourbon Brands For All Tastes

Lovers of spirits, unite. Over the time, bourbon has become as much of an American symbol as baseball, football, or any other things typically associated with the USA on an internal level mostly. We don’t talk about the eagles and guns, obviously. But several good decades have passed since America took the recipe for the famous whiskey and tweaked it in order to produce what would become bourbon. With the right balance between all of the ingredients, you’re able to get the best bourbon you’ve ever tasted. Fortunately, we have some examples.

Best Bourbon

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For all those seeking to enjoy the finer side of liquor, our 8 Best Bourbon Brands For All Tastes provide enough variety to burn down your throat.

#1 Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve

After letting the liquor grow and better for 20 years, the quality of the drink is pretty much a given. For devotees, Pappy Van Winkle is pretty much the pot of gold at the end of the scorching bourbon rainbow. Prices for a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle can elevate to as much as $1,500, but this is one of those instances when most people turn a blind eye to the price tag.

#2 Jefferson’s Presidential Select

Named after one of America’s great founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson, this amber-colored liquor is produced from roughly 15 casks of whiskey being set to the side for about two decades. It’s an explosion of dizzying aromas, including cinnamon, pecan pie, vanilla, and citrus essences.

#3 Michter’s Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon

The thing that stands out most about Michter’s is that they seem to be very generous when placing a price for this 20-year-old gem. The value is situated around $600 despite the fact that many liquor stores and experts estimate that e bottle of this Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon is worth at least $1,000. Just a sip out of it is enough to make you understand why.

#4 Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit

There have been many nicknames given to this particular brand, all of which illustrate its wild spirit and its ability to scribble up recipes for some of the most incredible-tasting bourbon types in the world. Kentucky Spirit is, perhaps, their best work, managing to blend together citrus flavors with nutmeg and brown sugar.

#5 Woodford Reserve 1838 Style White Corn

Even without being a bourbon expert, it’s easy to deduce from the name alone that this is a brand with tradition that aims to preserve the recipes and methods initiated by their founding bourbon pioneers. Some methods are still used today, such as triple distillation and aging in copper barrels.

#6 E.H. Taylor, Jr. Barrel Proof

There is one way to properly describe this liquor: pre-Prohibition. There was a time when whiskey was poured into bottles straight from the barrel without any filters, cuts, or alterations added into the mix. E.H. Taylor is staying true to this method even today, which we assume is a great-working method. They do have some of the best bourbon, don’t they?

#7 Four Roses Small Batch

Four Roses is one of those names with a big resonance in the industry, mostly for its historical value. The company stopped producing bourbon for a while, but the demand was so high, that production was started again under the supervision of a Japanese beer-making company.

#8 Booker’s Bluegrass

We don’t know if Bioshock: Infinite’s Booker had something to do with this, but Jim Beam Distillery Master Distiller Booker Noe certainly had. His recipe promoted rawness and strength, something you can easily discover just by a simple sip. The bourbon is left to age for seven years, bottled without any filters, and, as a result, we get a drink that’s two-thirds pure alcohol. Not for the faint hearted.