The problem with most boozy hot chocolate drinks is one of emphasis: They taste like booze, not hot chocolate. Pier W pastry chef Emma Scheer set out to change all that when she considered the possibilities presented by an old family favorite. "I started out with my grandma's hot chocolate recipe and took it from there," she says. In true culinary fashion, that meant finding ingredients that were purely top shelf for the smoothest, richest drink possible. Imported Swiss milk chocolate was chosen as the main flavor note, embellished by a touch of cocoa powder, a bit of salt — "and instead of milk, I used half-and-half!" Once the hot chocolate was perfected, the booze went in: a candy-store combo of crème de menthe and Godiva dark chocolate liqueur. Finished with a requisite swirl of whipped cream, Emma's Hot Chocolate ($6) joined the menu just in time for cold weather. Warm and comforting, "it tastes like home," Scheer promises. — Elaine T. Cicora12700 Lake Ave., 216-228-2250, selectrestaurants.com/pier/index.php.
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