Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate, made with real pumpkin puree, and your choice of dark or white chocolate, is an indulgent sip for fall. Spike it with bourbon for a decadent adult treat.
Confession: I’m not always the biggest pumpkin spice fan.
Don’t get me wrong: I do enjoy the warm aroma of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves paired with pumpkin. It’s cozy. It makes me want to put on a chunky knit sweater and take in the foliage.
It’s just that there’s so much of it, and I can’t help but find myself in burnout mode early in the season. I also feel like it’s so often a headliner in products where it’s far more of a novelty than anything that actually benefits from pumpkin spice.
That said, one of the ways that I do absolutely love to enjoy this hallmark flavor of fall is in a steamy mug of Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate. Especially when it’s spiked with a little bit of bourbon and topped with a dollop of brown sugar whipped cream.
Now we’re talking.
Making Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate
The first time I heard about Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate was on my friend Sarah’s blog, Champagne Tastes. Her photos looked so decadent and her description so cozy that I knew this would be a pumpkin spice concept I could embrace.
Of course, once I realized Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate existed, I started seeing it everywhere. In coffee shops, in canisters as mixes in my favorite gourmet stores, on towering displays at the grocery store.
I must’ve been living under a rock in autumns past!
Making Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate at home couldn’t be easier. It takes less than 10 minutes from start to finish with a single pot on the stove and a whisk. Made with real pumpkin puree and quality chocolate, it’s an extra-rich, indulgent sip to warm you up on a chilly night.
(And, I do mean rich, on many nights, I’m satisfied after half a mug!)
Choosing a Chocolate for Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate
As I started playing with this hot chocolate in my own kitchen, I tried out different types of chocolate, from extra dark to semisweet, milk, and white.
I loved semisweet chocolate paired with light brown sugar for a hint of toffee flavor. Milk chocolate wasn’t quite chocolatey enough for me, and as much as I love bittersweet, I found that it overpowered the delicate flavor of the pumpkin in the background.
For a lighter drink, white chocolate really allowed the pumpkin and spices to shine through. It was warm and sweet, and so comfortingly drinkable.
They’re two very different-tasting beverages from the same theme.
Whether I’m using white or semisweet varieties, I like to use a quality chocolate since there are so few ingredients in homemade hot chocolate and it’s a predominant flavor. My preference is to use blocks of chocolate that I’ve chopped myself, but for convenience, I have made this a few times with chocolate chips.
Bourbon Spiked Pumpkin Hot Chocolate
And then, came the splash of bourbon. If you’re looking for a decidedly grown-up treat for fall, Bourbon Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate is about as good as it gets. The bourbon pairs perfectly with either of the chocolate choices, pumpkin, and the warm spices.
Spiked Pumpkin Hot Chocolate is ideal for sipping in front of the fire or serving at your adult Halloween Party. It’s a match made in heaven!
More Pumpkin Recipes for Fall
Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate
- 1-1/4 cups milk (whole or 2% for best results)
- 1-2 tablespoons pumpkin puree (depending on how rich you like it)
- 1-2 tablespoons light brown sugar (depending on how sweet you like it)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
- pinch ground cloves
- pinch kosher or sea salt
- 3 ounces semisweet chocolate finely chopped (or about 1/2 cup chips)
- omit brown sugar
- 2 ounces white chocolate finely chopped (or about 1/3 cup chips), instead of semisweet chocolate
- In a small pot, whisk together all ingredients except for the chocolate you're using. Heat over medium low flame until bubbles start to form around the side of the pan.
- Reduce heat to low, add chocolate, and stir or whisk until melted, glossy, and thickened slightly, 1-2 minutes.
- Pour into a mug and top with lightly-sweetened whipped cream and a dusting of ground cinnamon. Serve immediately. (Instructions for Brown Sugar Whipped Cream and bourbon spike in the recipe notes.)