One staple of winter that I will never give up is hot cocoa. I'm 32 and I always have a box of it handy. One of those big multi-packs. We just had our first snowfall this last night, and while it was extremely short lived, it still counts, and your darn right I made some hot cocoa. Because First Snowfall + Cold Temperatures + Brodie Has Free Time = Hot Cocoa. I did the math... it checks out.

Inga Nielsen

Now, we have to start off with the basics. A cup of hot cocoa is simple. I grew up on Swiss Miss, and Swiss Miss it will always be for me. Swiss Miss is pretty much the longest relationship I've ever had, and I'm not about to cheat on her now. I like a good, rich, creamy hot cocoa so I make mine with milk. The instructions say you can make it with water, but the instructions are wrong, and if you make it with water, so are you. Just 100% wrong and you should go to your room and think about what you've done. You can come back when you're ready to apologize for such a grave injustice. So that's the basic start of a good cup of hot cocoa.

Now, my love of rum is a well explored topic. So it should come as no surprise that it's my favorite addition to a hot cup of cocoa. Obviously you pour to suit your own tastes, but the perfect spiked hot cocoa has just enough bite so you know it's there, yet is still calm and soothing and relaxing like a good cup of hot cocoa ought to be. And you definitely souldn't be getting drunk off these, because that's a lot of calories and sugar to consume. I've found the perfect ratio is a shot in a standard mug. A six pour if you have your own pour spout (I'm a trained bartender, so yes, I do). And make sure you put the rum in BEFORE you add the milk to make sure you get a good blend of milk, cocoa and rum. If you want to get fancy, add a dash of nutmeg and hint of vanilla. It's definitely worth it.

A few of my other favorite recipes include this Guinness infused hot cocoa, this orange hot cocoa reminiscent of Ferraro's Chocolate Orange, and even one with bacon! But ultimately, I stick with my trusty rum and cocoa. Right up until the end of the weekend when I find myself asking, "But why is the rum gone?"