This is the best white hot chocolate I have ever had. I love all of the white hot chocolate variations in Winter Cocktails, but this one takes the cake. Creamy, rich white hot chocolate infused with spicy chai tea and additional spices. It’s pretty much like heaven in your mouth, and perfect for this time of year. Feel free to spike the hot chocolate with liqueur, but it is quite delicious all by itself.
from: Winter Cocktails
2 teaspoons green cardamom pods crushed (crush them with a chef’s knife or flat side of a meat mallet)
2 cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
4 cups whole milk
3 tablespoons loose chai tea blend (I love Teavana’s Oprah Chai Herbal Blend)
1 (4-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
6 ounces white chocolate, finely chopped
finely grated zest from 1 or 2 lemons (to taste)
6 ounces Bärenjäger* or amaretto to spike, optional
Place cardamom (crushed seeds and pods), cinnamon, peppercorns, and cloves in a medium saucepan. Stir over medium heat until spices are fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add milk, tea, and ginger and bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and let steep for 15 minutes.
Strain mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl and discard solids. Return milk to saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and then reduce heat to medium-low. Stir in white chocolate and salt and cook, stirring, until chocolate is completely melted. Remove from heat and stir in lemon zest. Serve in warmed cups and spike each with 1 1/2 ounces liqueur, if desired.
*Bärenjäger is a German honey liqueur with a vodka base. It’s strong, sweet honey flavor is intense; a small amount goes a long way to flavor anything from champagne cocktails to white hot chocolates, like this one.