A pinch of cinnamon plays well with rich cocoa flavor. Use a rotary beater for an extra-frothy drink.
In a saucepan, combine sugar, cocoa, cinnamon and salt. Add water and 1 cup of the half-and-half; whisk together. Stir over low heat until mixture just comes to boiling. Gradually whisk in the remaining half-and-half; heat through but do not boil.
Remove from heat. Stir in almond extract and vanilla. If you like, beat mixture with a rotary beater or Mexican molinillo (carved wooden beater) until very frothy. Serve in mugs. If you like, top each serving with whipped cream and top with a sprinkle of additional cinnamon.