When I think of the word ‘cozy’, this is what pops into my head. Steaming hot chocolate in a big porcelain mug (with a decent weight and most likely with an interesting pattern). Marshmallows are a common addition, but I don’t like the ones I get where I am, so I’m okay to skip them. Otherwise, cinnamon is always a good addition. Mint in chocolate is nirvana (if there’s one thing I really really really miss about America, it’s candy canes). A touch of chilli is also a nice idea, but one needs to be careful when adding. It should be just enough to give a kick in the aftertaste without setting your mouth on fire.
The most common addition I use in hot chocolate is a shot of espresso. Like the oranges, there is a meaning and methodology to this.
It all started back in college. Like in the case of most college students, sleep was a luxury not oft gotten, and one had to regularly shorten sleep durations and pull all-nighters to get work done. During this time, I always wanted to watch out for getting addicted to caffeine. I love coffee, make no mistake, but my friends made it a point to cut me off when I had finished my third or fourth cup. Also, it made me jittery and distracted in the nights, unlike mornings, where it serves to make me just alert enough to function like a human being without going stir crazy.
(I don’t think I need coffee for that.)
Still, I didn’t want to become a person who could not function without a full cup of coffee in the morning. So I went for the middle ground. Like I mentioned before, I’m South Indian, and we brew coffee decoction (or espresso) in a two-part traditional drip filter, either made of stainless steel or brass (the flavor is richer in brass). So first, it’s one and a half spoons of sugar, two spoons of chocolate, and then fill the cup up to half with the decoction. Then, the milk is poured so that a froth is formed on the top. Finally, a touch of decoction on top for taste.
Ta-da! It’s like a reverse mocha made South Indian style, and it is fantastic. Still, if I ever want hot chocolate just to feel cozy and warm on the inside on a chilly or rainy day, I’ll go for the extra chocolate without the coffee. Depends on the mood, really.