Slow cookers are often considered solely as tools for cooking meals, something in which to heat chili or slow roast meats. But your Crock-Pot also happens to be the perfect vessel for large-format hot cocktails. Not only can it keep your cold-weather drink at the perfect sipping temperature, but it can maintain that temp for up to six hours. It doesn’t discriminate, either: you can give glöggs, Hot Toddies, mulled wines and boozy cocoa the slow cooker treatment, and soon enough your home or bar will be filled with a warm, aromatic holiday aroma. That’s especially true for the Bring Me Back Something French, an easy to make, easy to drink chocolatey concoction spiked with absinthe.
There’s something about the marriage of anise and chocolate, which this rich, low-alcohol hot cocoa recipe exemplifies. Created by Stephen Denaro when he was at Craft & Commerce in San Diego, the Bring Me Back Something French is simple enough to build, with the bulk of the work being the preparation of the hot chocolate itself. Once you’ve made that and whipped up the vanilla whip cream, you’ll only need to add the absinthe (Denaro uses Pernod, but others will do as well). This makes it an excellent drink for your next holiday party, leaving you free to mingle while the drink simmers.
Of course, if you’re not a fan of absinthe, you can swap it for another ingredient, though that fundamentally changes the recipe. Similarly, the vanilla whip cream is versatile—consider topping your next Emerald Isle of the Caribbean or Irish Coffee with it for an additional touch of vanilla.
Finally, the drink calls for an unconventional garnish: two Pocky sticks, the flavor of which is your choice. This popular Japanese candy is fairly ubiquitous, but if you can’t find it at your local grocery store, check your nearest Asian speciality market.
- 1 ounce absinthe, like Pernod
- 6 ounces hot chocolate*
- Garnish: vanilla whipped cream**
- Garnish: decorative sugar
- Garnish: 2 Pocky sticks
Add the absinthe and 6 ounces of hot chocolate into a decorative mug and stir to combine.
Garnish with vanilla whipped cream, decorative sugar and 2 Pocky sticks.
*Homemade hot chocolate: Place a Crock-Pot bag in the pot (to aid in cleanup and prevent sticking) and add 3 quarts whole milk, 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk, 1/2 cup cocoa powder, 1 quart heavy cream, 4 cups semisweet chocolate chips and 2 teaspoons salt. Once mixture is hot, turn Crock-Pot to “warm,” stirring periodically to prevent separation.
**Vanilla whipped cream: Add 2 cups heavy cream and 3 ounces vanilla syrup into a mixing bowl and beat with a hand mixer until soft peaks form.