Traditional Mexican hot chocolate has a richness unlike any hot chocolate you’ve ever tasted. In Mexico, and in many stateside specialty food shops, you can buy round bricks of chocolate already scented with different spices, but I like to season the chocolate myself and adjust it to my spice preferences. Cinnamon, nutmeg and a touch of cayenne add lovely warmth and vanilla and almond extracts enhance the flavor of the chocolate.
Traditional Mexican chocolate is mixed with a whisk called a molinillo, giving it a fantastically frothy consistency. To recreate this in your own kitchen, try frothing the hot chocolate with an immersion blender before serving. This is entirely optional, but worth the extra effort if you already own one. For an additional Texas kick, you can also spike your hot chocolate with a bit of Tequila or smoky Mezcal. Both Silver and Reposado Tequila work nicely here. Not a Tequila fan? Try Brandy or Rum.
In a medium saucepan, whisk the milk with the brown sugar and bring to a gentle simmer over moderate heat. Remove from the heat and whisk in the chocolate, vanilla and almond extracts, cinnamon, nutmeg, cayenne pepper and salt. Let sit for 5 minutes, then return to the heat and cook over low heat, whisking, until smooth, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.
For a frothy texture, use an immersion blender to froth the hot chocolate before serving. Pour into mugs and spike with mezcal or tequila, if desired. Top with marshmallows and a sprinkle of cayenne pepper; serve right away.
MAKE AHEAD The hot chocolate can be made up to 2 days in advance. Reheat gently over low heat and froth with an immersion blender before serving, if desired.