Chasing Delicious | Bourbon Spiked Hot Chocolate
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Bourbon Hot Chocolate at Chasing Delicious

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.

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.


AUTHOR - Russell van Kraayenburg

Born and raised in Texas, Russell van Kraayenburg may sit you down for a stern lecture if you confuse barbecue with grilling. Creator of Chasing Delicious, and author of Haute Dogs, his work has been featured in Southern Living magazine and on such sites as Lifehacker, Fast Co. Design, Business Insider, The Kitchn, Live Originally, The Daily What, Quipsologies, Neatorama,Explore, and Fine Cooking.


  • Laura (Tutti Dolci)

    Love the meringue topping, this hot chocolate is just what I need for a freezing winter evening!

  • Brian @ A Thought For Food

    Do I even need to proclaim my love for this beverage? I’m pretty sure you know how I feel. Drinking hot chocolate makes me feel like a kid again as well. Drinking it with bourbon, though… well, that’s pure bliss.

  • Ardith

    Beautiful, ethereal, nostalgic posting. As always, you raise the bar. Thank you. Ardith

  • Amber

    Beautiful writing… Reminds me of Nature by Ralph Waldo Emerson and my love of hot chocolate with vanilla meringues was just the cherry in top! Lovely!

  • Shanna@ pineapple and coconut

    LOVE the story and the recipe. Since you spiked it with bourbon naming it “chocolate” is way more fitting since “cocoa” seems more juvenile and this is anything but. Off to buy a new bottle of bourbon since I need to make this asap. Gorgeous photos too – like always

  • Stephanie @ Girl Versus Dough

    I can never decide if I love your recipes or your writing more — and this post just makes it even harder to decide. Beautiful words, and a fantastic-looking recipe to boot! Yum.

  • Joanna @ Chic & Gorgeous Treats

    I find myself drawn to booze lately. Not in a bad way, but the thrill of adding booze to my treats. Although hot chocolate is something I LOVE till this very day since I was little; adding bourbon is definitely heavenly bliss! And those little meringue kisses to go with it is even better. Great clicks and I always find myself wondering into your stories. ♥, Jo

  • Sarah

    Oh man, do I miss the cold. I am pinteresting this one away for when the cold weather finally comes around.

  • Katie

    Love the idea of topping these with meringues! My mom put a bunch of nips (Bailey’s, Chambord) in my stocking this year, and I’ve been waiting for a really cold day to add them to some hot chocolate. Yum!

  • jason stone

    i dont know which is more delectable, the recipe or your writing. chocolate is soothing in itself, but alcohol-laced chocolate? heaven.

  • Aimee @ ShugarySweets

    Oh. My . Gosh.

  • Quek

    wow your hot chocolate <3 and I love your lakeside peaceful =)

  • naomi

    So loving this, Russell. The pictures are so gorgeous.

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  • Whitney @ The Newlywed Chefs

    Oh my goodness this blog is amazing. Why have I not been here before? Can’t wait to come back and read more!

  • RavieNomNoms

    Genius! Totally amazing and delicious!

  • Fork and Whisk

    Awesome pictures. Your pictures really have a great effect. This hot chocolate sounds delicious, especially since I don’t have a heater in my house. Thanks for the post.

  • Ashley Bee (Quarter Life Crisis Cuisine)

    Gorgeous, and I love the added bourbon. Makes it extra toasty for chilly nights ;)

  • Nancy/SpicieFoodie

    Russell I just love your work. Another beautiful and delicious post. Thanks for sharing.

  • Jennie @themessybakerblog

    You had me at bourbon. These sound decadent.

  • Bonita

    Just letting you know that I linked to this post on my page about Gourmet Hot Chocolate Recipes:

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