By EMILIA MICHALKIEWICZ
This week’s recipe is a simple and fun one to celebrate the end of the semester with family and friends over the holidays. It is a spiked peppermint hot chocolate with an iced version, too. This cocktail was inspired by finals week and the relaxed feeling everyone has when the week is over. I wanted to make the final cocktail of the semester something exciting that everyone could enjoy over winter break. This cocktail also makes a fun present for friends if you get 50 mL bottles of the Smirnoff Peppermint Twist vodka and pair it with individual gift hot cocoa packs and a cute mug. It could also be a creative way to share in the holiday spirit with friends while still social distancing. Drop off the ingredients at your friends’ houses and make them over Zoom or drink them while watching a holiday movie over Netflix party.
Finals week is often stressful for college students, even more so with everything going on this year and with many students moving back home just before Thanksgiving. Preparing for the final two, completely virtual weeks of the semester is going to be stressful for everyone. I wanted this last cocktail to be something everyone could enjoy once they finally get a break after finals week and can relax.
For this cocktail you will need Smirnoff Peppermint Twist vodka, milk and either hot cocoa mix or chocolate syrup depending on which version you plan on making. I used dairy milk but you could use a non-dairy alternative if you prefer. It’s fun to experiment and see what makes the best cocktail! To top either cocktail you can use whipped cream and crushed candy cane.
If you plan on making the hot version of the drink you will need a mug. If you make the iced version you will need a nice glass. Something with a wide opening that is more shallow works best and will be easy to put the candy cane on the rim of. If you have a shaker you can use it to mix the iced version in, but do not shake or it will get frothy. The metal does a nice job of keeping everything cold while you are mixing it, but I would recommend stirring with a spoon or stirrer.
To make the iced version, make chocolate milk to your preference. Add one ounce of the peppermint vodka, or more or less to taste. One ounce for a 6-8 ounce glass of chocolate milk was the perfect amount of mintiness. To rim the glass with candy cane, first crush a couple candy canes. The easiest way to do this is place them in a plastic bag and hit them with something sturdy like a meat tenderizer or a similar kitchen utensil. Shake the crushed candy cane onto a plate and reserve some to sprinkle on the whipped cream. Pour a circle of chocolate syrup on another plate. Dip the glass in the syrup then set it in the crushed candy cane and gently rotate it. You can also tilt it a bit to cover the sides better. Pour the cocktail into the glass and top with whipped cream and more of the crushed candy cane for a glass of holiday joy.
To make the hot version, make some hot cocoa according to the package directions and add an ounce of the peppermint vodka. If you really love peppermint, you could use peppermint hot cocoa. If you want a richer flavor, you could use dark chocolate. Stir the vodka in and top with whipped cream and some crushed candy cane for a holiday beverage that will quickly warm you up and get you in the holiday spirit.
I hope everyone has enjoyed these cocktails throughout the semester! Good luck on exams and if you made any of the cocktails shoot me an email with your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org, I would love to hear them.