Hickory nuts, though a pain and a half to try getting out of their shell, are some of my favorite nuts.
Apparently they were the favorite nuts for one of my aunts as well. She chose to serve hickory nut tea as a special treat for the bridal party at her wedding.
We used to have several hickory nut trees on our property while I was growing up. We would gather just enough of the nuts to make a batch of tea, and leave the rest for the squirrels to tuck away for winter.
Thanksgiving was made complete by enjoying a cup of steaming hickory nut tea at bedtime, a delectable treat, that never lasted long enough.
Hickory Nut Tea
1/2 cup finely chopped hickory nuts (toasted)
1 cup water
Simmer until water has been reduced to about 1/2 cup and it has a nice golden brown color.
2-3 cups milk
Brown sugar to desired sweetness
Heat until hot, but not simmering.
Personally I think it's better than hot chocolate, but maybe that's only because it takes more effort and it was a once a year treat.