Ok, it’s really cold outside. It’s a measly 26 degrees right now. And the rest of the week doesn’t look much better. It’ll be warmer, but we’ve got three days of rain and thunderstorms ahead. That means a lot of time for sitting by the fire (or snuggled in a blanket), reading, and sipping your nightcap.

Last night I made hot cocoa and spiked it with a little Armagnac. I bought the French brandy for a Beef Stew I was making for dinner and then decided that, since it was so cold outside, I should sit with a cup of hot cocoa with brandy while the stew simmered on the stove.

Back in the Middle Ages, Armagnac was used medicinally to cure all types of things like redness of skin and gout. But my favorite list of ills it once “cured” is this:

“It enlivens the spirit [and when] partaken in moderation,¬†recalls the past to memory, renders men joyous, preserves youth and retards senility. And when retained in the mouth, it loosens the tongue and emboldens the wit, if someone timid from time time himself permits.”

So there you have it. The incredible powers of a couple ounces of Armagnac in one’s hot cocoa. Just make your favorite hot cocoa or sipping chocolate and pour in an ounce of Armagnac. Then sip, sit back, and watch how joyous and youthful you become.


Peppermint Stirrers cocoa

recipe sipping chocolate

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Camille Stallings

Styling & Photography by: Camille Stallings