Winter Warmer: Spiked Hot Chocolate

It's been a long day of hitting the shops in the name of peace and goodwill, not to mention cold enough to turn your winter berry lip stain an Arctic shade of blue. With sore feet and an empty wallet, there are few simple pleasures in life better than curling up in front of a warm fire with a steaming mug of hot chocolate. Unless of course, it happens to be the ridiculously tasty, gooey goodness that is our Spiked Christmas Hot Chocolate. Go on, you've earned it!

The beauty of this recipe is that most of these ingredients are likely to be sitting in the back of your cupboards, so there's no unnecessary traipsing back out to the shops.

You'll need:

Milk (measure with your mug)

½ bar of dark chocolate per mug (use milk or even white chocolate if preferred sweeter)

Golden Syrup or honey to taste

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract (or vanilla bean paste if feeling fancy)

1 shot of Baileys (Tia Maria or dark rum work well also)

Whipped cream &  Mini Marshmallows (optional toppings)

Begin by chopping or grating the chocolate and add to a small saucepan together with the cold milk, heating gently to melt the chocolate. Add the golden syrup and vanilla and stir. Within a few minutes, all the chocolate will have melted and that the drink should be smooth.

Plain hot chocolate is delicious but as it is the festive season it's perfectly acceptable, advisable even, to spike this cup of creamy goodness with a shot of Bailey's, Tia Maria or dark rum.

In the name of festive fun we've been known to dunk an After Eight to melt into the hot chocolate or a candy cane dipped into the mug is a lovely Christmassy touch for guests, not to forget and the traditional whipped cream (and possibly even a blob of Brandy cream into ....don't judge).

Drink up & enjoy!