From family gatherings to holiday parties, is there a better time of year for crafting creative eats and drinks than during the holiday season? A few weeks ago I shared the Liquor Lady’s Stress-Free Holiday Cocktails as a jump start to your holiday imbibing and entertaining. Today, I’m sharing Decadent Eats & Drinks that I’ve created using a little known liqueur called Branca Menta.
Branca Menta was created in the 1960s, inspired by a famous opera singer Maria Callas. The singer was known to drink a brand called Fernet Branca (Branca Menta’s older cousin) along with a touch of mint syrup before each performance. Hence the birth of Branca Menta — an amaro with a sweet mint flavor, peppermint to be exact.
Since peppermint is one of those uniquely holiday flavors, I started experimenting and created a decadent dessert combination; Grown-Folks Holiday Hot Choco served with a side of Branca Bark. Just a reminder, keep both of these concoctions away from the kiddos as they contain alcohol.
Grown-Folks Holiday Hot Choco
- 2 tablespoons Hershey’s Hot Cocoa
- 1 cup Milk
- .5 oz. Tequila
- 2 oz. Branca Menta Infused Simple Syrup
- Cayenne Pepper (three pinches)
- Salt (pinch)
- Peppermint Stick
Recipe: Combine hot cocoa, tequila, simple syrup, cayenne pepper, and salt in a large mug. Stir. Microwave milk to desired drinking temperature. Add hot milk to the other ingredients in the large mug. Stir until hot cocoa dissolves. Garnish with a single peppermint stick.
Branca Menta Infused Simple Syrup
- 1/2 cup Sugar
- 1/4 cup Water
- 1/4 cup Branca Menta
Recipe: Combine sugar, water, and Branca Menta in a sauce pan over medium heat. Stir frequently. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Continue to stir occasionally while simple syrup cools. Refrigerate.
- 1 cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
- 1 cup Vanilla Chocolate Chips
- Peppermint Sticks (crushed)
- 3 oz. Branca Menta Infused Simple Syrup
Recipe: Combine chocolate chips, two crushed peppermint sticks, and simple syrup in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave until melted but not burned (approximately 75 seconds). Spread mixture into a wax paper lined sheet pan. Top with additional crushed peppermint and vanilla chocolate chips. Refrigerate for at least one hour. Break into pieces and serve.
So, those are my holiday twists on the typical hot chocolate and peppermint barks out there — hope you enjoy!
Do you have a favorite hot chocolate recipe you’re willing to share? If so, I can’t wait to hear about what holiday eats and drinks you’re whipping up in your kitchen.
Here’s to a wonderful, decadent, holiday season. Cheers!