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December 11, 2017

Hot Chocolate: 5 of its Best Friends

Flickr/mike and meg

With the impending blizzard approaching and poised to slam New England, everyone is stocking up on the necessary goods to brave out the storm.

One thing that should be one everyone’s list is hot chocolate.

If you are not planning on warming up with some Swiss Miss, then you have already lost the battle against Jack Frost. The snow is predicted to be coming down for a while and since you don’t want your hot chocolate to be lonely here is a list of five things that can accompany it quite nicely.

Booze

As obvious as it is helpful, adding in a splash of your favorite type of booze is a great way to cut out the cold. The Irish men and women who have been fighting frigid winds from Galway to Dublin for centuries know that Bailey’s, a traditional Irish cream, does the trick wonderfully.

Comprised of 50 percent cream and some triple distilled Irish whiskey, Baileys is a perfect accent to any cup of hot chocolate. Peppermint Schnapps is another great addition, a nice and subtle way to give a good kick to your cocoa. If you enjoy a bit of spice, try adding some Fireball cinnamon whiskey. Afterwards you may just feel adventurous enough to try making a couple of snow angels.

Coffee

If you need a bit more pep in your step after drudging through classes the whole day, a bit of caffeine just might do the trick. A vanilla bean blend coffee or a nice French roast blends well with just about any kind of hot chocolate. Proportion wise, one-third coffee to two-thirds hot chocolate is the ideal but you can add more or less of either depending on your preferences. Aside from being tasty, this is also a great chance to see how your favorite coffee blends match up against the sweeter notes of hot cocoa. Decaf can always be substituted for regular coffee, if you are not planning on staying up into the wee hours of the night.

Good friends

No matter how good your hot chocolate tastes, it will taste even better with your best friends. Invite them over. Tell them if they wear ridiculous sweaters, preferably hand-knitted by an aging relative, you can merrily laugh at each other about over hot beverages. No one dislikes hot chocolate, especially if it’s free. But if you find your friends putting up a fuss, bribe them with the booze you were saving for your cocoa and they surely won’t protest.

Snacks

It would make sense to have equally warm snacks if you are sitting down with some hot drinks. An easy way to whip up something that is frighteningly addictive and will smell amazing is to gather up some pecans, walnuts, almonds or any of your favorite nuts and heat them up in a pan for about five minutes. Your friends will think that you have finally developed some culinary skills and your room will smell nicer than it probably does on average.

A good movie or book

Do not fret if, after a day of cramming information into your skull, you cannot possibly look at another book. Make yourself a nice cup of hot cocoa and settle down with one of your guilty pleasure movies or get a marathon of a cheesy television show going. But if you’re not too intellectually drained, curl up with a nice book while you sip your hot drink and try to forget the winter weather raging outside. You could always have a movie queued as a backup if you find yourself frustrated with the whole “existential crisis of existence” that always seems to pop up in your literature.

Surviving winter in New England can sometimes be a challenge, but  a good mug of hot chocolate and these tips on how to make it better will surely help you make it through alive. Who knows, if you add enough Bailey’s to your cocoa that ferocious snowstorm might start to look like a glorious winter wonderland after all. Good luck and stay warm.

Ryan Ford can be reached at rcfor0@student.umass.edu.

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