Bourbon Spiked Hot Chocolate
Somehow I find myself idly standing lakeside on an unusually foggy morning, the type of morning where the fog cloaks everything in an erie white blanket, hiding you from your surroundings and the surroundings from you. My eyes fixate on the still water and the reflection of a barely visible tree line somewhere in the distance. I watch and wait, hiding in this fog cocoon. Nothing changes. For the minutes I stand there staring, everything appears exactly the same as when I arrived, not from mere minutes ago but from the first time I found myself looking over this small body of water twenty years ago.
The horizon begins to blend with its reflection as the heavy white cloud sinks farther to the ground. A sense of exploration pushes me to adventure deeper into the fog and this nostalgic morning. The dock we once boarded our rickety canoes still rests as battered as it was two decades ago. Paths worn into the ground from the patter of a herd of children still criss cross the grassy lakeside, in the same places my small feet once stomped. And even the small island in the center of the quiet lake teases my sense of exploration and adventure.
I tread the path around the lake, pushing my way through the white, damp glare filling the air. Old archery arrows lay strewn about the forest floor. Makeshift flags and trail markers hang from bare branched trees. I soon find the small valley my brother and I built our hide-and-seek fort year after year and even what could be remnants of our once proud structure.
But as I begin to circle the lake I start to notice differences. Old bridges are replaced with new ones. Paths have been widened and fortified. I can hear the roar of a highway that has been built too close. I even peak through a clearing at a neighborhood built even closer. The old archery clearing has been flattened and expanded into soccer pitches and a parking lot. Maybe that dock wasn’t the same one after all. And surely, it some much younger child’s old fort I stumbled upon and not mine.
That lake was no longer mine. It belonged to the kids who attend camp there now. I find myself back where I started, watching over the still lake from the same spot I first found myself tricked into believing I was five years old again. And again I just stare and wait. Things always change. And while it may usually be for the better, today I choose to remember things as they once were.
With my feet planted firmly on dirt that may or may not have been there twenty years ago I stare out into the thinning fog, watching the lake come back to life, remembering how it was when that lake was mine.
Hot chocolate, like much of our memories, seems to be its most magical years into the past, far beyond our reach. That doesn’t mean we still can’t enjoy it today. In fact, it gives us an excuse to toy with that passed down recipe and make it our own once again. Today I use meringues in my hot chocolate instead of marshmallows. I use a much darker chocolate than the child version of I would ever enjoy. And I spike it with bourbon. I guess change really can be a good thing.
- 2 cups milk
- 4 ounces chocolate, finely chopped
- 1 ounce sugar
- 2 ounces bourbon
- Meringues for topping (recipe here,exclude peppermint)
- If the mugs are oven-safe, place them in the oven on the warm setting to warm them.
- Pour the milk and sugar into the heavy-bottomed pot and heat over medium heat until it reaches the scalding point.
- Remove the milk from the heat. Add the chocolate and stir until completely melted.
- It may be necessary to put the milk and chocolate back over low heat incase the chocolate wont melt completely.
- Add the bourbon and mix in.
- Pour the mixture into the warmed mugs. Top with a torched meringue. Serve immediately
Torched Meringues: While meringues are normally a pale white, you can add a torched effect by using a kitchen torch or your oven broiler after they are done baking. Take care not to burn them though.
Check out my Spiked Spicy Hot Chocolate in the Winter Foodie Crush Magazine here for another twist on hot cocoa.