Irish Recipe: Hot Cocoa

breakfast table set with hot cocoa and pancakes

Just thinking of a steaming cup of this Irish hot cocoa brings back a flood of memories. Sometimes it seems like a lifetime ago and other times it seems like it could have happened just yesterday…

When I visited my Nana she would have me sit with her at the ‘big’ table, just me and Nana, for our “tea party”, only our “tea” was always hot cocoa and it was always accompanied with a small plate of chocolate chip cookies, the ones with the salt and butter on top, and hot out of the oven.

My favorite part of the tea was picking the tea cups we would use, Nana had a large collection of tea cups, and I was asked to pick one for myself and a special one for Nana too.

2 different teacups with hot cocoa
My and Nana’s “tea”


We would sit and talk, I do not remember any of the topics, only that I felt so special and loved. It was our special time together, just the two of us, sipping our hot cocoa and enjoying the moment. Now with Nana gone, these are the memories I hold dear.

If I concentrate really hard I can smell the hot cocoa and cookies right now…

Nana Doherty’s Irish Hot Cocoa 

Irish Hot Cocoa

Everyone should have an Irish Grandmother to make them Hot Cocoa!
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time7 mins
Resting Time3 mins
Total Time15 mins
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Irish
Keyword: hot cocoa
Servings: 4
Author: Nana Doherty


  • saucepan
  • spoon
  • measuring cups and measuring spoons


  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 5 cups milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Make it "Irish" for the Adults

  • Jameson Whiskey and/or Bailey's Irish Creme OPTIONAL - add to taste


  • Whipped Cream OPTIONAL - decorate with a spoonful on top
  • Chocolate Sprinkles OPTIONAL
  • Peppermint Stick OPTIONAL


  • Mix first four ingredients in a large saucepan.
  • Bring to a boil over medium heat stirring constantly for 2 minutes.
  • Reduce heat slightly and gradually stir in the milk.
  • Stir and continue cooking over lowered heat until cocoa is blended and milk is desired temperature for drinking. (Be careful not to scald (boil) the milk! will not taste good.)
  • Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
  • (If making the Irish "Adult" version, add the Jameson and/or Bailey's now.)
  • Decorate, if desired.
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