Red mug of hot chocolate with marshmallow and homemade gingerbread small house for decoration on white background in Christmas interior.

Looking for a way to beat those January blues? When the weather outside is dreary, for me, there’s no better way to warm up the day than with a mug of my favorite hot drink.

Lately, my favorite hot drink has been a Starbuck’s Caramel Apple Spice. But, when I’m not out near a Starbucks, I do love a simple-yet-rich cup of hot cocoa, too, complete with a dollop of whipped cream.

When looking to add a little variety to your typical mug of hot cocoa or apple cider, look no further than Pinterest! There are countless recipe ideas for that perfect cup of hot, steaming deliciousness. There are even ideas for the trendy new hot chocolate bombs and hot cocoa stir sticks.

Here are a few ideas. For even more, check out our Drink Up! board on Pinterest.

Hot drink recipes

Sure, when you’re craving a quick and toasty cup of cocoa, you can easily grab a container of your favorite brand and enhance it with any variety of toppings, flavored syrups and add-ins. Or you can make up your own custom flavor-packed blend perfect for sharing with the entire family. There’s White Chocolate Hot Cocoa, Nutella Hot Cocoa, Almond Orange Cocoa or even Pumpkin Spice hot Chocolate.

Try this Eggnog Hot Cocoa. In a medium saucepan stir together 3 cups of eggnog, 1 cup milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 8 ounces chopped white chocolate. Heat over medium heat until the chocolate melts. Do not let it come to a boil. Once fully melted and combined remove from heat and serve immediately. You can top with fresh-ground nutmeg, whipped cream or frothed milk.

Hot chocolate bombs

Have you seen the adorable, Mandolorian/The Child-themed hot cocoa bombs that were all the rage for stocking stuffers over the holidays? While I tried to find some online, they sold out so quickly. While I might not be able to recreate the shape of that baby Yoda, I can create my own delicious varieties of hot chocolate bombs. Filling the bombs with marshmallows, sprinkles and more, these would be fun for you to make and give to friends and family.

Try these Homemade Hot Cocoa Bombs. In a small saucepan, over medium heat, whisk together 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk with 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream, stirring frequently. Remove from heat just before boiling. Immediately pour over 3 1/2 cups semi-sweet or white chocolate chips and stir vigorously until smooth. Scoop mixture into lined mini cupcake tin. Decorate as desired with sprinkles, marshmallows, crushed candy canes, etc.

Cocoa stir sticks

Want a fun way to add a little extra punch to your favorite cup of hot cocoa? Stir that chocolate with a clever, flavor-packed stir stick. Practical and tasty, a hot cocoa stir stick is a great idea and a great snow-day activity for your kids, too. You can take a simple popsicle stick and dip it in any variety of delish combinations, all topped with sprinkles or marshmallows. Or, if you like a little salty with your sweet, dip a thick pretzel stick in caramel and top with mini chocolate chips. Or, use up all those extra candy canes.

Try this recipe for customizable Hot Cocoa Stir Sticks. In separate tall containers, melt 1 package white almond bark and 1 package chocolate almond bark in the microwave, stirring every minute or so. On a piece of parchment, spread a layer of crushed peppermints, dehydrated mini marshmallows, sprinkles or mini chocolate chips. Dip cake pop sticks into the melted chocolate and then place on top of one or all of the toppings. Let cool and serve with your favorite mug of hot cocoa.

— Jennifer Durrant