It just is.
Hot chocolate is one of those things that is so easy and so much better made from scratch that after you've made it once, the instant kind just looks ridiculous. Not to mention less delicious.
I flavored this one with peppermint extract, the kind made with real peppermint oil, so your mouth tingles a little when you breathe in after sipping, and it tasted exactly like a Christmas morning mug of hot chocolate with broken bits of candy cane dissolving into sticky shards at the bottom. It's just as good with vanilla or any chocolate-friendly booze. I want to experiment a bit with spicing the milk as it's heating too: cardamom pods, star anise, allspice, cinnamon would all be good. When I say 'teaspoon' below, I just mean the kind of spoon you would eat cereal with, not an actual measuring spoon. They're probably not that different, but I think the cereal spoon might be a little bigger. Yes? No? Maybe?
The Best Hot Chocolate
Fill your mug to about 2" below the top with milk (I'm a 1% girl, but anything works) and pour into a small saucepan. Heat the milk on med. until steaming, but not boiling. While the milk is heating, put two heaping teaspoons of unsweetened cocoa (I like Droste) and two less-than-heaping teaspoons of sugar in the mug. Add a splash of milk and stir to make a smooth paste. When the milk is hot, pour into the mug and stir to combine. Add your flavoring of choice. With the peppermint, I measured out 1/4 t. because it could easily get out of hand, but vanilla I just splash in and with booze I eyeball about a shot.