Hot chocolate never fails to be one of the best hot drinks to enjoy in the winter—or year-round, let's be honest. While wonderful on its own, hot chocolate can be made even better by adding a little something extra, especially if you're drinking it on the regular and want to get creative. Really, is there any reason not to try out different ways to make it tastier?

Whether you're drinking your cocoa curled up on the couch reading a book or binging Netflix, or you're taking it on-the-go, here are 12 ways to up your hot chocolate game this winter. 

1. Mint

mint, herb, vegetable, relish, nature
Ellen Gibbs

While you're making your hot chocolate, stir a few mint leaves into the mixture. Remove them before drinking and voilà, you have a refreshing twist on the comforting drink. If you don't have access to any fresh mint, add a couple drops of peppermint extract to your hot chocolate to accomplish a similarly tasty effect.

2. Salted Caramel

coffee, cream, sweet, milk, chocolate, cappuccino, tea, espresso
Alex Tom

A classic way to upgrade your classic hot chocolate is to mix in a tablespoon of caramel sauce and a pinch of salt. Or, make your own salted caramel sauce in just 15 minutes! This blend of sweet and salty adds some extra richness to your cocoa. Top with whipped cream and a caramel drizzle.

3. Orange

juice, citrus, tangerine, orange
Amelia Hitchens

While it may sound unusual, orange and chocolate are a ridiculously tasty combination—if you haven't tried orange chocolate ice cream you need to. When citrus and sweet chocolate come together in hot cocoa you're sure to be pleased. All you need to do is steep several strips of orange rind in your hot drink and let it sit for a few minutes. If you're making your cocoa from scratch, here's a recipe to make a whole batch of orange flavored hot chocolate.

4. White Chocolate

reusable straw, straw, Dairy Free, Vegan, oat milk, milk, mason jar
Laura Subiaur

Instead of the classic milk or dark chocolate-based drink, consider making a white hot chocolate with vanilla and white chocolate chips or bars. This still creamy and rich take on hot chocolate also provides the perfect base for other flavors such as fruit or peppermint. Plus, it looks insanely good.

5. Ice Cream

chocolate, cream, sweet, milk, dairy product, caramel, ice, chocolate ice cream, goody
Kourtney Meldrum

If your hot chocolate is too hot to drink and in need of a little more oomph, kill two birds with one stone by adding a scoop or two of ice cream. This will help cool it down while making your drink extra rich and creamy. Plus, you can test out different flavors to find your favorite. 

6. Nutella

chocolate, cream, milk, sweet, ice, hot chocolate, coffee
Clare Beatty

Instead of adding extra flavors to your hot chocolate, why not try using a different main ingredient entirely? Nutella (properly pronounced new-tella, apparently) is an incredibly rich spread made out of chocolate and hazelnuts. You can either try making hot chocolate simply out of milk and Nutella (highly recommended) or by mixing in a tablespoon or six of it into your drink (also highly recommended). If you already eat Nutella and have an almost empty jar, good news: you can make a Nutella hot chocolate inside the jar. Talk about innovation.

7. Cinnamon

cinnamon, chocolate, cookie
Natalie Rodriguez

Perhaps the most popular and simple addition to any cup of hot chocolate is cinnamon. Adding a pinch or two into your drink is sure to give it some spice, literally, and you some extra warmth and joy. Garnish your cinnamon hot chocolate with a cinnamon stick for more flair and flavor.

8. Lavender

herb, grass, lavender
Nicolle Ho

This flower is good for more than sitting in a vase or adding scent to your favorite lotion. Lavender is a common addition to many drinks and desserts, popular for its sweet and floral flavor and calming qualities. To incorporate it into your hot chocolate for ultimate relaxation, you can add dried lavender to steep in your cocoa and strain it out, or you can make a lavender simple syrup, allowing you to use it in other drinks or recipes — lavender lemonade or chai, anyone?

9. Marshmallow Fluff

marshmallow, candy, sweet
Avery Nicholson

If marshmallows are a must-have in your hot chocolate, marshmallow fluff might be your new go-to. Simply use a tablespoon or two of the white and creamy fluff as a mix-in or topping to your cocoa for an entirely different and wonderful texture. If marshmallow fluff isn't your think, consider upgrading your hot chocolate with homemade marshmallows or fancy holiday marshmallows.

10. Gingerbread

cookie, sweet, gingerbread, cake, chocolate, pastry, candy
Cui-Lyn Huang

With the holidays in swing, you might be looking for a fitting way to bring your hot chocolate to the next level. Well, look no further, because the gingerbread man is here. To make a batch of gingerbread hot chocolate, you'll want to use spices including ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon. If you're just adding them into a cup of cocoa, try a 1/2 teaspoon of each with maybe a little extra ginger, adding more as necessary for taste. Plus, make your own gingerbread cookies for some delightful dunking.

11. Raspberry

raspberry, berry, sweet
Hannah Linn

Raspberries are yet another fruit that go great with chocolate and are easy to incorporate into your cup of cocoa. Try mixing in a tablespoon or two of raspberry jam or preserves into your drink for an easy and fruity twist on the winter favorite. Pop in a couple whole raspberries to the concoction as well to munch on while you sip.

12. Peanut Butter

cream, sweet, milk, jam, caramel, chocolate, honey, peanut butter
Maggie Gorman

If you're a fan of Reese's or any other peanut butter and chocolate duos, this one is for you. Mix a tablespoon or two of smooth and creamy peanut butter into a cup of hot chocolate to create a mouth-watering, sweet and salty treat. If you're feeling like you need even more peanut butter with your chocolate, top with whipped cream and crumble a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup on top. Try making these peanut butter chocolate chip biscotti to dip into your upgraded hot chocolate.

Bonus: Spiked

beer, coffee, wine, tea
Alex Frank

For an extra dose of relaxation and comfort, spike your hot chocolate with some Baileys Irish Cream. They recommend 2oz, others say 1 part Baileys for every 3 parts hot chocolate, but add whatever feels right with you. It's also possible to make a mulled wine hot chocolate if you're feeling fancy or like putting in a little more work.

There's nothing wrong with the classic hot chocolate topped with whipped cream or marshmallows, but there are so many simple ways to upgrade your hot chocolate, how could you resist? Cheers to all your hot chocolate adventures!