I'm a coffee drinker through and through, but even I have to admit that there is something comforting about a warm cup of hot chocolate. Call me an idealist, but I believe a good hot chocolate can lift your spirits, warm you up, and maybe even bring back sweet memories of your childhood. This time of year is the perfect time to experiment with your hot chocolate recipes a little bit. Ditch the Swiss Miss and opt for something a little bit more gourmet.

Perhaps you want to add a little freshness with some peppermint. Maybe you want to incorporate a favorite food, like Nutella. Or you may even want to try spicing up your hot chocolate with, well, spice. There are plenty of amped up hot chocolate recipes to serve at your holiday party or whip up for a cozy night on the couch. And despite the fancy titles, most hot chocolate recipes are relatively simple to make.

Though I don't claim to be a hot chocolate connoisseur — I couldn't even tell you the difference between hot chocolate and hot cocoa —I can tell you that each of the 11 hot chocolate recipes below are to die for and definitely should be on your "must drink" list this winter. They might even make me want to put down my coffee and try a hot chocolate (cocoa?) instead.

1. Spicy Maple Cinnamon Hot Chocolate

This spicy maple cinnamon hot chocolate by Brooklyn Supper packs an unexpected punch with flavors like cayenne and chili pepper alongside maple and cinnamon.

2. Vegan Nutella Hot Chocolate

This homemade vegan hot chocolate by Pickles and Honey offers a healthier alternative to the traditionally sugar laden drink. And did I mention it includes Nutella?

3. Peppermint White Hot Chocolate

If you're a white chocolate kinda person, then The Comfort of Cooking's peppermint white hot chocolate recipe is for you.

4. Classic Creamy Hot Chocolate

If you're looking for a recipe that's not over the top but that's still delicious in all the right ways, look no further. The ladies behind The Merry Thought blog keep it simple with this thick and creamy hot chocolate.

5. Gingerbread Hot Chocolate Sundae

Mixing all the spices from the popular Christmas cookie, chocolate and ice cream creates a delicious gingerbread hot chocolate sundae from The House that Lars Built.

6. Frozen Hot Chocolate

If you're the type who enjoys a cold drink anytime of the year, then A Cozy Kitchen's frozen hot chocolate is the ideal recipe to have on hand.

7. Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate

If you haven't quite had your fill of all things pumpkin spice yet but want and alternative to the PSL, then Cookies and Cups' pumpkin spice hot chocolate (PSHC? Too far?) will be sure to hit the spot.

8. Hot Chocolate Smoothie

Try The Healthy Foodie's hot chocolate smoothie before you judge.

9. Dairy-Free Hot Chocolate

This dairy-free hot chocolate recipe from Hello Natural is a great alternative for those with food allergies or anyone who simply wants to cut back on their diary intake.

10. Almond Joy Hot Chocolate

Reminiscent of the candy bar, this Almond Joy hot chocolate from Inside Bru Crew Life will give you your almond, coconut, and dark chocolate fix.

11. Slow Cooker Hot Chocolate

There's nothing better than having a whole batch of hot chocolate ready and waiting for you when you get home from a long day. This slow cooker hot chocolate by the blog No. 2 Pencil will do just that.

Images: Courtesy of Inside Bru Crew Life Brooklyn Supper; Pickles and Honey; The Comfort of Cooking; The Merry Thought; The House That Lars Built; A Cozy Kitchen; Cookies and Cups; The Healthy Foodie; Hello Natural; Inside Bru Crew Life; No. 2 Pencil