Beverages

Easy Instant Hot Cocoa Mix

If you're anything like the Starving Artist, you've had it with the endless Go! Go! Go! of the holidays, and you've also had enough wine, egg nog, and other adult beverages to greatly exceed your recommended daily allowance for a lifetime. Now you're dying to sober up, and make some sense of the once-a-year awkward family conversations you've just waded through. Lucky for you, I have the solution. Hole up, hide away from family, curl up with a good book or some binge-worthy TV, and get your head right with this amazing hot cocoa mix.

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Ingredients

  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 & 1/2 cups nonfat dry milk powder
  • 1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 pinch ground cayenne pepper

Directions

  1. Combine the confectioners' sugar, cocoa powder, milk powder, salt, cornstarch, and cayenne pepper in a large bowl. Whisk to mix well, then store for future use.
  2. To serve, add 3-4 tablespoons of hot cocoa mix to 8 ounces of hot water or milk. Stir to combine.

Big Red Float

Nostalgia is a funny thing. It sneaks up when you least expect it, and it cold-cocked me last weekend after a sleepless, unproductive night at the studio. While recovering over a massive plate of migas at my favorite taqueria, I spied a waitress drinking something straight out of my childhood. Big Red. In a real glass bottle. With a bendy straw. Twelve sexy ounces of liquid bubble gum. In that instant, my mission was clear. I bought six bottles (that's a $15.00 six pack, folks), bolted to the nearest H-E-B for a gallon of ice cream, then made a beeline back to the studio, where I dove into my first Big Red float in at least 30 years. It was awesome, and so damn sweet that I gave away the other five bottles, and I'll live on this memory for another 30 years.

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Ingredients

  • Big Red soda
  • Vanilla ice cream
  • A tall glass
  • A straw, preferably bendy
  • A spoon

Directions

  1. Seriously? You need directions? OK. Scoop ice cream into the glass, then pour the Big Red on top. Dive in, and don't tell anyone you couldn't figure this out on your own.
  2. Grandma always said, "Now, go brush your teeth. Big Red can stain."

Reindeer Roadkill: The Ultimate Christmas Cocktail

OK, I'll admit it. I'm a bit of a Scrooge. We're still two weeks out from the big day, and I've already overdosed on Christmas carols. In fact, I've unconsciously mumbled "rum pa, pum, pum" enough that my shrink is starting to call me the Little Drummer Dork. All things considered, the only refuge I have is a tasty holiday cocktail. So please, allow me to introduce the "Reindeer Roadkill". Have a sip or two of this, and you'll never think of Rudolph the same way again. Additionally, your mother, mother-in-law, or long lost uncle Carl will seem way more interesting – and tolerable – than if you were nursing a glass of that lame, ginger ale and sherbet-based punch Aunt Judy makes every year. Bottoms up, and Merry Christmas my friend.

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Notes

The recipe as outlined below is for one much needed holiday beverage, but I promise, it's better when you quadruple the ingredients and make a pitcher. Believe me, you'll want more than one of these spicy little cocktails if you plan on surviving the family Christmas.

Ingredients 

  • 4 ounces tomato juice
  • 2 ounces gin
  • 1/2 ounce lemon juice, preferably from a fresh lemon
  • 1/2 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
  • 1 tablespoon Balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 dashes celery salt
  • 3 dashes ground black pepper
  • 4-6 dashes of Sriracha sauce, depending on taste

Directions

Add all the ingredients into a highball glass, fill with ice and stir. Garnish with two pimento stuffed green olives and a cherry tomato on a toothpick – Rudolph's eyes and nose. Drink, think of Rudolph, and drown your holiday frustrations.