They are not two drinks that you’d immediately think of combining – red wine and hot chocolate. But if you take a second and realize, “I love red wine. I love chocolate. I enjoy drinking red wine while eating good chocolate in front of a crackling fire in cool weather. What’s not to love about the combination of the two in one drink?”
Even so, we were initially skeptical. So we made up a batch and did a sampling around the 50 Campfires headquarters one cool, rainy afternoon. We have some usual suspects who we were certain would love this beverage … they did. But we also made it a point to offer samples to a few people who are normally not wine lovers … every one of them loved red wine hot chocolate, too. In very short order it was dubbed, “The Perfect Camping Cocoa.”
As you’ll see in the recipe, there are just a few simple ingredients including milk, half and half, brown sugar, and dark chocolate chips. That combination makes a wildly delicious hot chocolate on their own. The key to making it is go low and slow — and whisk constantly throughout the heating and melting process. Keep whisking gently until the mixture is just below the boiling point. That’s when you add the wine a little bit at a time … and keep whisking. You don’t want it to curdle and go to waste. Keep stirring until the wine is all added, well-combined and up to temperature. Never let it quite come to a boil.
We used Black Box Carbernet Sauvignon. It’s one of our favorite “all-purpose” reds. Black Box is great because: 1) it’s delicious, flavorful Cab, 2) it’s very inexpensive (one box equals four bottles and costs well below $5/bottle), 3) the box system keeps the wine “fresh” for six weeks, and 4) Black Box wines have a significantly reduced carbon footprint compared to four glass bottles.
Here’s how to make 50 Campfires Red Wine Hot Chocolate – The Perfect Camping Cocoa:
- 1 cup milk (we used whole milk)
- 1 cup half & half
- ½ cup dark chocolate chips (or chop up your favorite dark chocolate bar)
- ¼ cup light brown sugar
- 1 cup Black Box Cabernet Sauvignon red wine
- In saucepan over medium heat, combine milk, half and half, brown sugar, and dark chocolate chips/chunks.
- Whisk continuously until chocolate is completely melted and you have a thick and creamy hot chocolate.
- Continue heating and whisking until just below boiling point. (Taste test often with a separate spoon to confirm temperature.)
- Add red wine in small amounts at a time, continuing to whisk continuously.
- Once all wine is added, bring up to just below boiling again. Then pour into a favorite mug and enjoy!