California Merlot Mavens, It's Time for Red Wine Hot Cocoa

Find yourself craving hot chocolate, but with a bit of zing? The California Wine Institute has a fun fall recipe for you.

California Wine Institute

THE WEATHER IS BRISKING-UP, or cooling down, if you prefer, and as the nights grow crisper our thoughts turn to warming beverages. We all have our favorites, from tony teas to classic toddies, but going with a mash-up of two distinct libations isn't always at the forefront of our creative minds. But the California Wine Institute is prompting us to find our inner mixologist during the chilly times to come by creating a combo that, at first glance, seems wonderfully quirky, and at second glance feels just right: red wine hot chocolate.

CALIFORNIA WINE INSTITUTE... is kindly sharing the recipe for the cold-weather concoction, which includes chocolate chips, brown sugar, cocoa powder, salt, milk, and cinnamon, plus the all-important addition of a "fruit-forward California red wine." That could definitely be merlot, if the soft sip is what you generally prefer, or something zingier like a zinfandel. As for where you'll make this merry beverage? The stovetop is fine, and there's a spin on the slow cooker, too.

WHERE, though, to find this made-for-adults dessert drink, before winter truly arrives? It's in a digital recipe booklet called "California Wine Cocktails," a free goodie from the institute. How to get your copy? By signing up for the California Wine Institute newsletter, which you'll receive each month. If you're missing in-person visits at your favorite Golden State vineyard, and can't wait to get back, both the newsletter and the free recipe booklet provide oenophiles an instant connection to the memories, tasting rooms, and winemakers they adore.

SO BREW UP... a steaming cup of red wine hot chocolate and raise a toast to good times of the past and future visits to vineyards around California.

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