This holiday season, it's the simplest pleasures that have the power to really move us. For Chef Cosme Aguilar, the executive chef and co-owner of One MICHELIN-Starred Casa Enrique in New York City, a two-ingredient cup of frothy hot chocolate spiked with cinnamon is the ultimate trip down memory lane. The Chiapas-born, classically-trained chef is known for his ability to deliver profound flavors at his regional Mexican restaurant, but this classic recipe for hot chocolate relies on just one store-bought ingredient and a whole lot of nostalgia.
"This hot chocolate reminds me of my childhood in Mexico. We usually drink it in December, when it's cold in Mexico and when we get together with our families. Our abuelitas, grandmothers, usually make it. I want people to try this hot chocolate the way we make it with water." —Chef Cosme Aguilar, Executive Chef/Co-Owner of Casa Enrique
Mexican Hot Chocolate
4 oz Mexican chocolate (see note)
2 cups water
1 oz your favorite tequila or rum (optional)
1. Grate the chocolate into fine shavings using a microplane grater or the smallest holes on a box grater
2. Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan
3. Add the grated chocolate, reduce heat to medium and whisk until the chocolate is melted and frothy; about 1 to 2 minutes
4. Pour into mugs, add a shot of your preferred liquor if you like or enjoy as is
Note: Mexican hot chocolate is simply a block of sweetened cocoa spiced with cinnamon. Chef Aguilar's preferred brand is Ibarra, a household name in Mexico, and it is available at major US retail outlets like Target and Walmart or online.