One of the beauties of hot chocolate is it dresses up or down as nice as you please.
It's the comfort of plain old swiss miss cocoa powder and mini-marshmallows for sitting around in flannel jammies while snowed in. (But it's still better with milk than water.)
It's made class of real chocolate or cocoa with a shot of fine liquor topped in hand-whipped cream to finish off a dinner party.
It's anything in between.
Lately, flavored hot chocolate mixes have been big on hitting the market.
Older versions include double chocolate, mint chocolate, chocolate with hazelnut, and "latte" chocolate and vanilla. Newer flavors include Irish cream flavor, raspberry cocoa, cherry cocoa.
Lovely things to add to cocoa from your spice cabinet:
mint of any kind
cinnamon or cinnamon stick
Lovely things to add to cocoa from your liquor cabinet:
baileys Irish cream
Godiva of any flavor or creme de cocoa
rumplemintz or other peppermint flavor
Cocoa for a cold:
I've used this recipe many a time when a sore throat was just setting in. It eases the pain a lot and sometimes even staves the cold off entirely. Peppermint oil, it appears, is good for the throat and lungs. Two or three mugs at the onset has kept me from getting sicker several times.
Boil water. (This is the ONLY time I use water for instant cocoa--the oils are not properly soluble in milk.) Put mint of any kind (fresh or dried) in a teabag and steep until the water is a dark green color and there is a thin film of natural oil atop the water. Squeeze the teabag until no more water runs out.
Add two packets of instant cocoa and stir. Dissolve whipped cream or marshmallows in as desired.
For a numbing-of-the-pain effect and to smooth out the earthy flavor a bit, you can add a capful (about 1/3 shot) mint schnapps and creme de cocoa. (Don't use your good stuff, liquor or cocoa. It doesn't make that much of a difference.) This brew, however, is quite effective and tasty without the alcohol as well so don't go out of your way to get it if it's not at hand.