What you’re drinking: Fancy, festive hot chocolate made with the spirits of Christmas.
Why you’re drinking it: We’re not talking about the ghost of Christmas past, but the real spirit of the season: alcohol. The big secret we all keep about our celebration of Jesus’ birth, aside from the fact that Santa’s elves are really just poor child and women laborers in Asia, is that we rely on booze to get through it. We keep this secret safe by spiking our drinks, and no beverage provides a better vehicle for holiday self-medication than hot cocoa.
What’s the spirit: The 84-proof present beneath this cocoa’s chocolate-and-whipped-cream gift wrap is Montana Distillery’s signature Woody St. vodka, which is made from sugar beets and managed to be the only American-made, micro-distilled spirit at the 2016 Los Angeles International Spirits Competition.
What it tastes like: The vodka is sweet, smooth and warm, making it a perfect pairing for hot chocolate. The drink is topped with peppermint, whipped cream and a candy cane that hangs over the rim of the glass. Bartenders make the chocolate syrup in-house from Hershey’s chocolate. The homemade flavor shines through, especially to a Pennsylvania kid who grew up on chocolate milk mixed with Hershey’s syrup. I’m practically transported back home when the bartender pipes up after my first sip: “Is it chocolately enough for you?” she asks. It’s the same question my grandmother always asked.
The details: Find the Kris Kringle Coco at Montana Distillery, 631 Woody St. $7.