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Erica's Ultimate Spiked Hot Chocolate Bar

Home Bar, CocktailsBrandon DayComment
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Hey y'all! Erica from Eating with Erica here at Belle Isle to give you the inside scoop on how I turn out the Ultimate Spiked Hot Chocolate Bar.

Winter is finally here, which means it’s time to turn on Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas Is You“ while getting some kisses under the mistletoe. It's also time to start getting creative with your holiday parties!

When I am hosting my holiday gatherings, I am always stumped on a couple of how-to things: how to impress my guests & how to create an epic recipe in under an hour without breaking the bank, all while looking flawless. Talk about a dilemma. But don’t fret! Save your holiday season with a spiked hot chocolate bar using Belle Isle Honey Habanero.

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What I love about a hot chocolate bar is that it can be so simplistic, yet impressive. You can put together a creative holiday drink bar in less than 45 minutes in an awesomely frugal way. On average, a holiday bar will run you in the range of $45 to $60 and will increase depending on the ingredients that you select.

Of course, to create your hot chocolate bar, you first need to start with hot cocoa. The hot cocoa should be really creamy - the more chocolatey, the better. If you are on-the-go, instant cocoa will work just fine, but remember to use milk instead of water! If you have extra time, you can create hot cocoa in the slow cooker.

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Once you’ve decided on your cocoa, you’ll need to choose the type of mug you'd like to drink your hot chocolate out of. I highly recommend using Mason jar mugs. They are the easiest to decorate and the mugs are perfect for photos. You definitely want to be sure that the end product is photo worthy. C’mon! Do it for the ‘Gram!

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I spiked my hot cocoa with Belle Isle Honey Habanero. It blends so well and gives a slight hint of spice. If you aren't into spiciness or that "kick," no worries! You can use Belle Isle Black Label. 

Your bar won’t be much of a sight without tasty, unique ingredients. The more ingredients you have, the fuller your bar will look which will give it that WOW factor - the more ingredients, the better! I added some of my favorite ingredients such as peppermint, whipped cream, strawberries, sprinkles, and crushed Oreos. I am known to be a little extra, so you know I had to create some over-the-top items such as chocolate-covered bacon. It is also important you remember to invite a variety of guests who will love creating their hot beverages.

To make your bar more festive, add some charming Christmas décor, like Poinsettia plants, festive napkins, and classic Santa trinkets. The goal is to leave your guests thinking that Martha Stewart did all of your holiday decorating.

There is so much variation and possibility when creating your very own hot chocolate bar, so it’s unlikely that anything will go wrong. If you are still apprehensive, no worries! There’s still time to do a trial run of your hot chocolate bar so you can rest assured everything will run smoothly on the actual day of your holiday gathering. I know your "bar" will be a hit!

Make sure that you enjoy, have fun, and drink responsibly. Happy Holidays! 

Belle Isle Spiked Hot Chocolate Bar

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Hot Chocolate

  • ⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ⅓ cup boiling water
  • ½-⅔ cups granulated sugar (to taste)
  • Pinch of salt
  • ½-¾ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 quart milk (at least 1%)

In a large saucepan, whisk together the cocoa powder, sugar, salt, and boiling water until the sugar is mostly dissolved and no lumps remain.

Add the milk and vanilla extract and turn the burner to LOW HEAT. Do not bring to a boil. Heat until drinkably hot. Remove from heat and keep warm in a slow cooker, if desired.

If using Belle Isle Honey Habanero, add room-temperature Belle Isle to the cocoa after removing from heat, and whisk thoroughly.

For the Rims of Glasses

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  • Caramel Syrup
  • Chocolate Syrup
  • Roasted, Pulverized Bacon (think homemade bacon bits)
  • Raw or Brown Sugar
  • Cinnamon Sugar
  • Espresso Powder
  • Crushed Peppermint Candies
  • Toasted, Crushed Nuts
  • Walnuts
  • Pecans
  • Hazelnuts

Toppings and Add-Ins

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  • Whipped Cream
  • Creme Fraiche
  • Ground Cinnamon
  • Caramel Syrup
  • Chocolate Syrup
  • Marshmallows
  • Chocolate-Covered Bacon 
  • Grated Nutmeg
  • Sliced strawberries dipped in chocolate
  • Peppermint sticks
  • Mint Leaves
  • Cayenne Pepper
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Recipe + words: Erica Key, Editor-in-Chief at Eating with Erica
Photography: Kayla MaDonna

Home Bar: KK Harris | Richmond, VA

Home BarBrandon DayComment

Welcome to Belle Isle's first Home Bar Highlight. This week, we visited the home of KK Harris, owner of House of Floralie, a Richmond, VA boutique specializing in thoughtfully made chocolates, soaps, fragrances, accessories & stationery from around the world. KK's attention to detail is equally evident on the shelves of her store as in her home.

Join us as KK discusses her approach to entertaining, shares her favorite spot at home to enjoy a cocktail, and offers few easy and delicious Belle Isle cocktails.

What are your home bar essentials?

We enjoy traveling and whenever we go out of town, I always make a point to stop at a liquor store. We were in London for New Years and I bought a rare gin at Fortnum & Mason that is only available in small quantities in the UK. For me, the small batch bottles make the bar more interesting.

What parts of your bar most reflect your style and personality?

My Mom really inspired a love of vintage from a young age, so many of the items I use to style our bar have been collected through the years. I love antique cut crystal coupes for punch and old apothecary milk glass vessels for fresh herbs. At the same time, I mix in newer pieces I find that can really take a beating. I don’t worry about anything looking worn. It makes things feel more approachable.

What’s your favorite thing on your bar?

Our cocktail napkins. I had a crest that was especially created for us by Happy Menocal digitally printed on fabric in North Carolina. Together, my Mom and I sewed them for a party we had. They’re one of a kind, we have enough for a big crowd, and they wash easily in the laundry. I never have to buy paper napkins again.

What’s your favorite cocktail to make for yourself right now?

Lately I’ve been experimenting with flower blossom syrups that are imported for our store from Provence, as well as handmade tinctures with different botanical and spice ingredients. One tincture I made from cardamom and pink pepper berries is incredible with Belle Isle Honey Habanero.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ oz. Belle Isle Honey Habanero
  • 1 tsp. L’Epicurie Rose Syrup
  • 8 drops cardamom-pink pepper tincture
  • juice of ½ a lemon
  • 1 ½ oz. Fentimans Rose Lemonade
  • 6-8 mint leaves

Preparation:

In the base of a chilled cocktail shaker, muddle freshly picked mint leaves with Belle Isle Honey Habanero. Add ice, then add L’Epicurie Rose Syrup, cardamom-pink pepper tincture, and juice of half a lemon. Shake 25-30 times, then strain into chilled cocktail glass and top with Fentimans Rose Lemonade.

*How to make the cardamom-pink pepper tincture: Combine 2 oz. Belle Isle 80 proof with 1 teaspoon cardamom and 1 teaspoon pink pepper berries in a food safe dropper bottle. 

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Where is your favorite spot to sip a cocktail at home?

We are very fortunate to have a lovely enclosed back yard that is a haven for wildlife. I’ll sit on our back porch and hope for a magical glance of a bunny or rare bird.

What cocktails do make when you Entertain at home?

Always a punch. It’s so easy and people can help themselves. I like to make it once everyone has already arrived, so it’s nice and cold. I invested in a vintage Limoges punch bowl for our wedding, and it has been the highlight of every party since. I co-hosted a baby shower this past weekend and made a peach limeade punch. The crowd loved it.

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Are there any cocktail recipes that hold a special place in your heart and on your bar?

Two that I can think of really stick out, both punches. 
 
First, a bourbon punch that I made for a pre-graduation party while at College of Charleston, called “Open House Punch.” It came from the St. Michael’s Faithfully Charleston cookbook, which one of my girlfriends had given me. That was a fun night.
 
Second, a recipe that was developed by my Mom called “Hummingbird Punch,” and was served at our wedding. (When we make this in the winter, we call it ‘Partridge in a Pear Tree.’) Combine one part pear vodka, one part white cranberry juice, and one part ginger ale. The white cranberry juice makes all the difference. Garnish with pomegranate seeds or edible rose petals.

What cocktail Are you maKing today?

This recipe makes the perfect punch for a bridal shower.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 bottle Belle Isle Ruby Red Grapefruit
  • 2 bottles brut champagne or sparkling wine
  • 5 oz. St. Germain elderflower liqueur
  • 5 oz. ruby red grapefruit juice
  • 2 ½ oz. lemon juice
  • 2 ½ oz. lime juice

Preparation:

Combine all ingredients into a punch bowl, stir, then garnish with an ice ring and fresh herbs of your choosing to add a twist to your punch. Serve over ice.

Cocktail recipes by KK Harris  |  Photography by Joey Wharton


Want to be featured in our Journal?

Send us a few photos of your home bar setup at info@belleislecraftspirits.com