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If you love red wine and chocolate, you'll love this recipe.

Eat this now: Red wine hot chocolate

There's snow on the ground and a nip in the air. And that's means there's nothing better than snuggling up at home with a cup of delicious hot chocolate.

But how can you take your next mug of hot chocolate to the next level? Turns out, it's as simple as adding a bit of red wine.

Combining the complex flavors of chocolate with red wine is nothing new. Wine lovers have long known the magic of nibbling a piece of dark chocolate while sipping a glass of red wine. But thanks to the internet, this classic combination has seen a resurgence, as bloggers and food magazines have declared red wine hot chocolate one of the hottest new tipples for the winter months.

In celebration of this delicious trend, we created a top-shelf version of the drink using local ingredients. Most notably, we took our creation up a notch by using the dark chocolate sea salt bar from Indulgence Chocolatiers as our base. At 54 percent cocoa, it offers up deep, rich chocolate notes that play well with the flavors of dark berries and spice inherent to the wine. Finishing the drink with Bittercube cherry bark bitters underscores the sweetness, while balancing things out with a touch of bitterness.

This recipe creates a thick, creamy drinking chocolate that's far more rich than your average cup of hot cocoa. If you'd prefer it as a slightly thinner, less-rich beverage, you can reduce the amount of chocolate in the recipe. Want a little more wine flavor? You can add more wine to taste.

Red wine hot chocolate a la Milwaukee

Ingredients:
1 1/4 cups Sassy Cow half & half (substitute whole milk if you like)
7 ounces Indulgence Chocolatiers dark chocolate (two bars), finely chopped
3/4 cup dry red wine with nice deep fruit flavors
2 generous dashes Bittercube cherry bark vanilla bitters
Garnish: whipped cream, orange zest, cocoa powder or grated chocolate

Directions:
In a medium saucepan with a heavy bottom, bring the milk and cream to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Take care not to let the milk boil. When the milk is hot (you'll see steam rising and little bubbles beginning to form at the edges of the pan), take the pan off the heat and add the chopped chocolate.Whisk vigorously until all of the chocolate has melted.

Once the chocolate is melted, add the wine return to heat. Whisk for an additional 2-3 minutes or until hot and frothy. Remove from heat and add bitters.

Pour hot chocolate into mugs. Top with whipped cream, a bit of orange zest or a dusting of cocoa powder or grated chocolate, if desired. Makes 2-4 servings, depending on the size of your mugs.

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