Hot Chocolate Reviews

Everything here is worth getting cocoa-belly for.

Abuelita (Nestlé)
This is the best hot chocolate I have ever had. It comes in a hexagon filled with a bunch of tablets that you break off, melt over the stove, and stir with milk till it becomes a delectable froth. Because I am a child, the cups-to-tablet ratio suggested by the packaging (4:1) doesn’t make for a mug quite sweet enough, so if you too have developmentally stalled taste buds, I recommend using two cups of milk for each tablet, and lots of added sugar and cinnamon. —Tavi

Swiss Miss Milk Chocolate
Old school! And it tastes way better when you make it with milk, rather than hot water, but if you find yourself in a water-only situation, cream it up with a ton of marshmallows. (I recommend using an outside marshmallow brand rather than the sad little ones that come premixed in the Swiss Miss version.) According to a recent study conducted by me with my nieces and nephews, the perfect amount of marshmallows is five, mostly because that’s the maximum their mugs would hold without spilling everywhere. —Pixie

Archer Farms Dark Chocolate
Hot cocoa isn’t as easy and instant when you are vegan—you can’t just get it at any diner or buy the premixed packets at the store—but it can be made deliciously with very little work. My go-to hot cocoa mix is the Target brand Archer Farms Dark Chocolate—it’s affordable, easy to find, and totally dairy-free. I’ve experimented with all kinds of milk substitutes over the years, and almond milk is definitely my fave for hot cocoa, because it’s thicker than rice milk, sweeter than soy milk, and not as sweet as coconut milk. And I’m all about the vegan add-ons. To get a mint fix, I add a candy cane or Trader Joe’s Candy Cane Joe-Joe’s (aka the best holiday cookie of the season). Or to go classic, I swear by Chicago Soy Dairy’s vegan marshmallows, Dandies, or Soyatoo! vegan whipped cream. (Or go all out and use both!) —Stephanie

Chipotle Spice Drinking Chocolate (Theo)
I’m a huge fan of Theo Chocolate, a fair-trade and organic chocolate-maker in my hometown of Seattle. I ask for their stuff for my birthday and Christmas, and then ration it throughout the year, because it is so special and amazing. Last year in my stocking I received my favorite product thus far, Theo’s Chipotle Spice Drinking Chocolate. Spicy chocolate is my hands-down, across-the-board FAVORITE flavor in the entire universe, and this mix’s faint touch of salt gives it an over-the-top flavor complexity. The heat of the spice translates to more of a warm-throat feeling than a spicy, tongue-burning ouch-vibe when mixed with the milk. (I tried it with almond milk, too, and I definitely recommend real dairy for this one.) Also, this isn’t a powder, you guys. This mix comes in the form of little pieces, which means it doubles as an insanely delectable chocolate snack. —Dylan

Twix Stirring Stix
Because the universe is a vast and magical place, hot chocolate and Twix exist at the same time, providing those of us who prefer our sugar with a side of sugar an excellent opportunity to combine the two. Stirring your hot cocoa with a Twix is delightful, because the cookie softens and crumbles a bit, and the caramel gets gooey and mixes in with the hot liquid, making a caramel-cocoa-cookie confection that is both a dentist’s nightmare and a dream come true. The trick is to put the Twix in the fridge for a while (or in the freezer), so that the Twix stays solid enough for stirring before melting into what is essentially a delicious mug of candy bar soup. —Pixie

The Grey Dog’s Mexican hot chocolate
I drink hot chocolate without discrimination. I will happily drink any variety, including Swiss Miss from a street cart (because it’s a dollar). But one hot chocolate reigns supreme in my life, and that is the mouth-coatingly rich, cinnamon-tinged goddamn spirit of Christmas that is embodied in a cup of Mexican hot chocolate from the Grey Dog on 12th and University in Manhattan (I’m assuming the other locations use the same recipe, but I haven’t tried them). One sip and I’m transported to my Northeastern childhood, hyped up on holiday cheer. I hear sleigh bells ringing and smell warm roasted peanuts and pine needles. I remember ice skates and vinyl snowsuits and stinging red cheeks and mittens on a string. And that’s only the first sip. It just gets better from there. —Michele Berry

Marshmallow Fluff hot chocolate
I believe there are two camps when it comes to hot chocolate: he marshmallow lovers and the whipped cream brigade. I belong to the former group, and though I love regular marshmallows, nothing tastes better in a cup of cocoa than a big ol’ dollop of Marshmallow Fluff. It kind of just floats there for a minute when you place it in the mug, like an iceberg of goodness on a warm chocolaty sea, but if you let it melt (divine) and stir it in a bit, it gives the entire cup a dreamy texture and taste that whipped cream just can’t measure up to. —Pixie

Milo (Nestlé)
Milo is a dry, crunchy, chocolate-like substance designed for mixing with milk. Until now I’d never had reason to wonder what it actually WAS—apparently “malted barley,” which is fine by me ’cause it tastes pretty damn good. It’s been around since the 1940s, which doesn’t come as a surprise—it’s still in the same green tin. A classic. Good for its intended partnership, of course, but I’d recommend trying a Milo sandwich, or using Milo as a topping on your ice cream. Hell, just eat it straight out of the tin—but whatever you do, don’t put a wet spoon in there, because it goes all hard and forms little Milo rocks. My sister has committed the heinous crime, and it isn’t good. —Minna

The City Bakery’s hot chocolate
This is not an obscure choice. It’s often named the best hot chocolate in New York City, and at least once the best hot chocolate in America. It’s obvious why. The main thing you notice is how thick it is. Like a molten chocolate bar, except not as sweet. Sort of a semisweet dark chocolate flavor, maybe a little chalky, which might sound bad but in fact creates a primal milky aftertaste that feels like a Saturday morning when you were two-and-a-half. A tiny cup of the stuff fills you up and packs a punch, like the concentrated uranium they made the atom bomb from. You can get it with a homemade artisanal marshmallow, which, OK, who even knew there was such a thing? I prefer it without, but most people are different from me. I grew up with the guy who invented this hot chocolate, Maury Rubin. Please make a mental list of everyone you know from junior high and pick the person least likely to become a pastry chef—that’s Maury. Back then, he loved sports. He played drums. He was really funny. The most sophisticated desserts he or I or anyone we knew ever ate were the roll cakes we assembled when we worked together at Baskin-Robbins as kids. One time a couple years ago we talked about his by-then-famous hot chocolate. I remember he said that one secret ingredient—besides the incredibly wonderful chocolate he splurges on—was crème fraîche, which is heavier than heavy cream, nearly as thick as sour cream. At least that’s how I remember the conversation. When I asked Maury to confirm my memory for this review, he told me I had it wrong—that the secret ingredient is really Baskin-Robbins’ Pralines ’n Cream ice cream. If you’re ever in New York, you can judge his truthiness for yourself. Available only at his City Bakery store on 18th Street near Fifth Avenue. —Ira Glass

Twizzlers hot chocolate
I don’t know if this is just something I do, but I’m going to share it with you anyway, so you can go and discover THE WONDER that is this combination: Twizzlers and hot chocolate! Basically, while you are making the hot chocolate, whether on the stove or in the microwave, throw in some torn-off pieces of Twizzlers, and then fish out their remains with a spoon when you’re done (nobody likes finding chunks in their hot chocolate). Then drink the chocolate through a new Twizzler, like a straw! The candy’s fruity, artificial flavor balances out the dark richness of the chocolate. I give this combo an 11 out of 10. —Ruby B.

Nutella and milk
IN A WORLD where you think you’re out of hot chocolate mix and your snow day has been ruined…one day…there came…NUTELLA HOT CHOCOLATE! Basically, if you have some kind of milk and a jar of Nutella sitting around, you have everything you need to make delicious, frothy hot chocolate. First, pour a few splashes of milk in a small saucepan over low heat. Then add two or three big spoonfuls of Nutella, and whisk it all together until it’s nice and smooth. Pour in about 3/4 of a mug full of more milk, and maybe even a sprinkle of cinnamon, if you want to get fancy. Keep whisking until everything is hot, but don’t let the milk boil! Carefully pour your creation into your mug and drink. I personally like to top this with a rosette of Reddi-wip and drink it while wearing silk pajamas (sweatpants) and watching educational television (Hoarders: Buried Alive) in my luxurious television parlor (parents’ basement). —Gabby

Polar Express hot chocolate
I’ve never HAD this hot chocolate, because it is fictional, but the description from Chris Van Allsburg’s book has stayed with me since childhood, and I have spent the majority of my life trying to find a mug that matches up to one as “thick and rich as candy bars.” I’d even sit through 24 straight hours of Tom Hanks’s uncanny avatar singing this song to get a taste of the legendary stuff. Now that’s devotion! The closest I’ve ever come to Polar Express goodness is a mug of delicious hot cocoa at Le Cochon Dingue in Quebec City, which was magical, especially paired with a piece of sugar pie. If you’ve found anything that measures up, let me know! —Pixie ♦


  • lydiajamesxxx December 6th, 2012 11:12 PM

    Pixie- when I lived in germany, my friends and i would literally go to Prague for the weekend, just because there is this one place there that, first of all, is really adorable, and second…THERE IS HOT CHOCOLATE THAT IS SO THICK AND CREAMY THAT YOU ALMOST HAVE TO EAT IT WITH A SPOON. Here’s the website, if you’re ever in Prague…


    • alisatimi December 7th, 2012 1:43 PM

      PRAGUEE!! I lived there for fourteen years and I love it so so much, especially at this time of year. Everyone needs to visit!!!

    • Pixie December 7th, 2012 2:11 PM

      Oh man! It sounds like the stuff of dreams. If I ever get there, I will definitely check it out!

    • enthusiastictruckdriver December 9th, 2012 11:42 AM

      Oh man, I’m Polish, and while I don’t live there anymore, I used to have a house right by the Czech border. My parents and I would go on day trips to Prague, get some hot chocolate and a dessert, and then head back home. I don’t know what it is about Prague’s hot chocolate, but, man, they know how it’s done. In Poland, I always get my hot chocolate at Wedel ( where the hot chocolate is literally just melted chocolate, none of that milk and powder stuff. It’s so creamy and wonderful!

  • jenaimarley December 6th, 2012 11:18 PM

    My family makes a kick ass spicy vegan chocolate cake that is so gooey and delicious you’d never believe me that it is vegan.

    Anyway these are just the best reviews <3

    • soretudaaa December 7th, 2012 7:05 AM

      you kind of owe the whole website the recipe now, you know… :P

      • jenaimarley December 7th, 2012 3:54 PM

        I’d love to share the spicy chocolatey love!
        (Rookie Staff…Anaheed?) should I post it here or…maybe submit it? It does give me faith. I didn’t believe in chocolate before, but now I recognize its true divinity!

  • I.ila December 6th, 2012 11:25 PM

    Yay! so many new NYC places to try. At home i just put chocolate chips into swiss miss made with milk. But last Christmas i got some Williams Sonoma hot chocolate, which is like a can of CHOCOLATE shavings. I do eat them with a spoon sometimes though. Like right now.

  • spudzine December 6th, 2012 11:27 PM

    YAY!!!!! SWISS MISS!!!!!!!!!!

  • azultardis December 6th, 2012 11:27 PM

    yes Abuelita is the best *-* there’s also chocolate Moctezuma and they’re both delicicous

  • atticus December 6th, 2012 11:29 PM

    disappointed to not see ovaltine up there

    • aylaluvsBM December 8th, 2012 11:32 PM

      YES!!!! its my fave!

  • Kennedy December 6th, 2012 11:38 PM

    Thanks so much for including the vegan hot chocolate! I had no idea the dark chocolate one at Target was dairy free!

    • Stephanie December 7th, 2012 1:10 PM

      Dark chocolate is often the key to finding vegan options that aren’t clearly marked. I always take the time to read ingredients on anything dark chocolate basically because I’m totally dark chocolate obsessed and if I find one I can have it makes my day :)

  • coolgirl December 6th, 2012 11:39 PM

    THANK YOU for the vegan option. vegan eating/drinking = ethical and enjoyable! we do eat yummies! and cookies and hot cocoa! u rock stephanie!!!!

    • Stephanie December 7th, 2012 1:11 PM

      You are welcome. I am always happy to spread the word about delicious vegan options whenever I can. And I have the world’s biggest sweet tooth…

  • Laura Lemon December 6th, 2012 11:43 PM

    now I’m going to go crazy with my hot-chocolate/polar express fantasies. i’m going to have that slightly creepy song stuck in my head. and i’m going to be hyped up on chocolate.

  • DreamBoat December 6th, 2012 11:59 PM

    Omg all these new ideas GOSH! I’M SO EXCITED! (especially for marshmallow fluff, cause that shit is GOOD)

    Double Chocolate Premium Hot Chocolate (Ghiradelli)
    I’m a bit back and forth on hot cocoa. Sometimes I just wanna sit and cry and watch My So-Called Life with a nice cup ‘o cocoa, but sometimes drinking cocoa is like drinking wet sugar (ew) and then I want to barf.
    But then came along the hot chocolate that has converted me into a cocoaholic forever, AKA Ghiradelli Double Chocolate Premium Hot Cocoa.
    That’s freaking right. Ghiradelli made hot cocoa, and it is literally the greatest cocoa I have ever tasted.
    It comes in a powdery form, and if you heat some up with milk and add a little whipped cream to the cup, YOU’LL MELT LIKE A ‘LIL MARSHMELLOW.
    One of the best parts is how the top is all frothy, and you can just sip and cry because it’s beautiful. It’s not like wet sugar, but like a deep, rich, fairly sweet tunnel of LOVE. I think they embodied my soul and put it in this liquid chocolate. It will seriously satisfy your cocoa cravings (WE ALL GET THEM, AMIRIGHT LADIES?) and you’ll be left sobbing when you realize it’s only been two days and the tin of precious chocolate powder is gone. <3

    • AriDumbledore December 12th, 2012 2:08 AM

      YES YES YES! Oh my goodness, I must agree with everything you’ve said in this post. My mom got me a can of Ghiradelli hot cocoa forever ago, and I tried to make it last as long as I could. It was just sooo rich and delicious, it made me want to cry sparkly tears of joy.
      Sadly, my can has long since ran out, and I have no idea where to find it any more. ;A; Hopefully I can find it soon though, because I need more hot chocolate!

  • firky December 7th, 2012 12:15 AM

    Montrealers: You can get the Abuelita stuff at Cafe 92 in NDG! Haven’t seen it anywhere else, but I may have just not looked hard enough

    • Nadine December 7th, 2012 1:08 PM

      Oh, you’re the best! I’ve searched for it long and far here!

  • Teez December 7th, 2012 12:30 AM

    milo and malt based drinks like horlicks, ovaltine and the dreaded SUPERMALT are such a big deal in nigeria for some reason. but i cannot stand them!!! whenever i see a can of milo it it reminds me of my dad

  • Kathryn December 7th, 2012 1:08 AM

    OMG I’M DYING these all sound SOOOOO goood.
    While we’re talking about hot chocolate I need to mention tim tam slams. You take a Tim tam (you can buy the pepperidge farm kind at target… But it’s sadly not as good as the original arnott’s, which is hard to find in the US), you bite off two diagonal corners (it’s a rectangular cookie dipped in chocolate) and you dip one corner into your hot chocolate and suck the other corner like a straw, thus melting the inside and creating the tastiest chocolate experience everrrr. I like it best with the caramel kind.

    I think most people who have had tim tams have heard of it? But I wouldn’t have if my sister didn’t study abroad in Australia and now MY LIFE HAS CHANGED

  • Elspbeth December 7th, 2012 1:41 AM

    The Dutch hot chocolate brand Chocomel is literally like chocolatey unicorns prancing around a maypole on your tongue (really delicious).

    • Bloom December 8th, 2012 5:44 PM

      dude nothing will ever get better than chocomel

  • eireann December 7th, 2012 2:13 AM

    I luuurve hot chocolate, and this is wonderful <3

  • LilySew December 7th, 2012 2:40 AM

    For some reason I was surprised to see Milo on this list, thought it was something that only Australia was into, haha. Turns out that Minna is from Australia anyway, that explains it.
    :D :D

  • Lemons December 7th, 2012 3:46 AM

    Lol the nutella commentary made me laugh. You should try the Swedish chocolate powder ‘Oboy’ …best i’ve tried for both hot or cold.

    or … if you hail from Ireland, the best they have to offer is ‘Aero’ which is creamy and bubbly.

  • zhajean December 7th, 2012 4:12 AM

    hot chocolate and marshmallow ♥
    perfect for a late study night.

    this Rookie segment is really becoming a favorite! more :)

  • futheradventuresoflydia December 7th, 2012 4:50 AM

    Omg…you added Milo <3

  • Ibe. December 7th, 2012 6:51 AM

    Also I wish we had Fluff in Belgium.

  • Dino December 7th, 2012 6:58 AM

    Ahhh… I love everything about Rookie. I am absolutely obsessed!!!! Recently I showed 2 of my friends Rookie and tried to explain what this site is about but I was speechless. How do you explain something so mind blowingly awesome???? I was so mad at myself afterwards for not being able to formulate a description… I still can’t! So keep rockin’ my world. :)

  • allydoubleyou December 7th, 2012 10:42 AM

    I just wanna brag that I saw Ira’s name on the list and my first thought was, “he’s gonna talk about City Bakery’s hot chocolate.” I have just awarded myself ten points.

  • eyelet December 7th, 2012 11:04 AM

    Candy Cane Joe-Joe’s really are the best.

    Also, I love the Whole Foods brand of hot chocolate mix.

    • Stephanie December 7th, 2012 1:12 PM

      I am going to look for that when I go to the store today. I am always up for more hot cocoa experiments! And yes those Candy Cane Joe-Joe’s are literally the best thing ever.

      • back2thepast December 12th, 2012 12:31 PM

        Oh my pants. So yesterday I was at a church activity making Peppermint fudge for old folks in the neighborhood (can you tell I’m Mormon?) and there were Candy Cane Jo-Jos sitting on the counter…so I grabbed one and covered the entire thing in peppermint fudge and I DIED ahhhhhhh so good.

  • Mikazuki42 December 7th, 2012 11:47 AM

    You know which place has the best hot chocolate? Quebec City, Canada. Seriously. Not too rich, really creamy, perfectly chocolate-y…om nom nom.

    • Pixie December 7th, 2012 2:12 PM

      It really does! The best I’ve had yet.

  • saramarit December 7th, 2012 12:14 PM

    I won’t go into why Nestle are a terrible company but everyone should buy Fairtrade chocolate where possible. I’ve met some cocoa farmers from Ghana and it really makes a difference to their lives and futures.

  • Sorcha M December 7th, 2012 12:24 PM

    the first time i tried abuelita i had to sing some impromptu opera in alto, and i’m a soprano

  • wallflower152 December 7th, 2012 1:03 PM

    Is your hot chocolate ever too, well, hot? I discovered a delicious solution to this problem last winter. Make the hot chocolate of your choice then add a scoop of vanilla ice cream. I use Blue Bell’s Homemade Vanilla. No more burning your mouth! You could just wait til it cools down but it’s not as delicious. I also add a dash of cinnamon and some marshmallows.

    Also, I can’t wait to try the Twix thing and the marshmallow fluff thing. : )

  • Kitri December 7th, 2012 1:20 PM

    Pixie: I feel the same way about lemon desserts because of The Stories Julian Tells, by Ann Cameron. Nothing ever measures up to that sky high lemon pudding. I will never eat that pudding. BUT YOU CAN MAKE hot chocolate as thick and rich as candy bars. Castillian hot chocolate. Google it. The secret ingredient is actually corn starch, and it makes it thick, but a lot of recipes call for cocoa powder for your chocolate. No. Melt some bomb semisweet chocolate with your milk preference (the fattier the better) and whisk in the starch (mixed with water so it doesn’t get lumpy) until thick and rich as shit, then add whatever you want to it! Cayenne! Candy canes! Marshmallow fluff! If it doesn’t measure up to the hot cocoa of your imagination, I completely understand.

    • Pixie December 7th, 2012 2:18 PM

      Right? I felt the same way about Turkish Delight after reading The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. And then I had Turkish Delight for the first time many years later and was like, “Oh…no! This is not what I hoped it would be!” But your cocoa recipe gives me Polar Express hope, and I’ll give it a whirl! xo

      • Anaheed December 7th, 2012 5:29 PM

        I had that same EXACT experience with Turkish Delight.

        • Kitri December 7th, 2012 6:51 PM

          The thing about Turkish Delight is that it’s just not as delightful as the name suggests. And the selling out of your siblings suggests. Really, Edmund?

        • Kathryn December 10th, 2012 3:41 PM

          Me too! The fruity kind isn’t too bad, but the kind with nuts in it kinda sucks, IMHO. Like, he could have asked for literally any candy, and that’s what he chose?!

    • camille December 7th, 2012 2:29 PM

      Never thought of melting semi-sweet chocolate, let alone corn starch– it all sounds like a great idea! I’ve been doing mine with cocoa powder (2 tsp/cup), and in order for it to be thick but not lumpy, I do it in a pot on the stovetop. Also, to add to your dream list (cayenne!!!): CARDAMOM!!!!

  • Mary the freak December 7th, 2012 1:47 PM

    BAAAP I love this. And I will make some hot chocolate right now! <3

  • Gabby December 7th, 2012 1:50 PM


  • Abby December 7th, 2012 2:04 PM

    “I personally like to top this with a rosette of Reddi-wip and drink it while wearing silk pajamas (sweatpants) and watching educational television (Hoarders: Buried Alive) in my luxurious television parlor (parents’ basement)”

    ahaha I love this.

  • katie December 7th, 2012 3:51 PM

    omg chris van allsberg grew up a few blocks from me and every year there is a big party at the library and everyone wears pajamas and drinks hot chocolate and the librarians read the book to us and we give them presents. (and even better there is a train that runs through the city quite often (including christmas night!!))

  • NotReallyChristian December 7th, 2012 4:23 PM

    No Nestle please Rookie! They really really suck. I suggest Ovaltine/Horlicks for a Milo alternative.

    Also, Scottish Rookies: I am staying with my brother in Edinburgh this week (because I’m going to Glasgow World Cup Gymnastics tomorrow!!!) and ohmygod today I went to The Chocolate Tree in Bruntsfield for hot chocolate and it is AMAZING. They have spiced and flavoured hot chocolate (and Spanish-style which you can have with fresh churros!) and single-origin hot chocolate from around the world – I had Peruvian, it was sooo good.

  • pij_sirup December 7th, 2012 5:02 PM

    omg the twix idea is the greatest! can’t wait to try it out. so sorry i’m not from usa so i can’t try all these hot chocolate mixes you mentioned. we don’t have many choices in my country, but still hot chocolate <3 beats coffe and tea

  • imsexyandyousmellfunny December 7th, 2012 5:05 PM

    I’m disappointed that the best hot chocolate ever isn’t on here.
    Land O’ Lakes. The only hot chocolate that I can put the recommended amount of mix in and not die.
    And Swiss Miss shouldn’t be on here. It simply sucks.

  • pij_sirup December 7th, 2012 5:08 PM

    oh yeah and nutella + milk?! why didn’t I think of that?

    P.S. I’ve been reading Rookie articles from the start and it seems that you only get better. I had recently deactivated my facebook account (due to my overwhelming and time-consuming addiction) and Rookie is a great comforting place (you know, when I get lost on the internet without facebook) and I actually enjoy spending my time on this site.

  • Maddy December 7th, 2012 5:21 PM

    If you are in Massachusetts you HAVE to have hot chocolate from Burdick’s!!! Even a tiny cup is amazing. It is somewhat thick, but mostly extremely creamy and I’m pretty sure it’s 90% chocolate (dark or milk), 8% milk, and 2% love. It warms you up on a cold Cambridge night :)

  • catpower44 December 7th, 2012 5:39 PM

    OH MY GOD IT ALL SOUNDS SO GOOD!!! I love hot chocolate. Even in the summer! It just has a awesome vibe in the winter though when you’re wearing a cosy sweater and looking outside at the cold weather. :) :) :)

  • sophiethewitch December 7th, 2012 6:18 PM

    Everyone: I don’t remember the polar express reference, but I HAVE BEEN TO THE LAND OF COCOA (aka Italy*) and I know how to achieve hot chocolate of this thickness: arrowroot. Try it. Please, try it. It will redefine your entire understanding of what chocolate can be.

    Make hot chocolate in the traditional, old fashioned way. Make a slurry of unsweetened cocoa powdered, sugar, and a little water, and heat this mixture with milk. Then, once it’s combined, whisk in a teaspoon of arrowroot. At first, nothing will happen. Don’t think, “I guess it’s not working, I’ll add more.” (Hahahahaha that’s exactly the same warning there was in the rookie article about LSD.). Finish heating the cocoa, then take it off the heat. As it cools it will become amazingly thick.

    TRY IT. Tell me what happens.

    *Yes, I know, hot cocoa, and chocolate in general, are really Mayan. I KNOW. But the best cocoa I’ve ever had was in Italy.

    • sophiethewitch December 7th, 2012 6:20 PM

      And of course you can also add cinnamon/ mint extract/ ginger/ chili peppers/ whatever seasoning you want.

  • Jes December 7th, 2012 6:52 PM


  • Sky December 7th, 2012 7:42 PM


    • Pixie December 8th, 2012 11:04 AM

      Best compliment of MY LIFE! xoxo

  • Ms.O December 7th, 2012 8:17 PM

    Ira! I read your review, realized City Bakery was a few blocks away and felt such satisfaction with their hot chocolate (their marshmallows are amazing, jsyk!)

  • annadazzle December 7th, 2012 8:43 PM

    Best hot chocolate I’ve had as while I was in Spain. My roommate introduce me to Cola Cao. It’s so creamy and not too sweet. I love and it’s impossible to find in the US. :(

  • Harley December 7th, 2012 9:00 PM

    Abuelita is my favorite kind! I also just eat the tablets when I am craving chocolate, because I don’t like other kinds of chocolate. Delicious!

  • missmadness December 7th, 2012 10:00 PM

    Guys, I know I’m treading on sacred ground mentioning this, but hot chocolate mix+coffee=a decent mocha thang for about a quarter of the price. You have to fool with the coffee/milk ratio a bit to figure out your tastes.

    I am a former barista and I approve this message.

  • pinky December 8th, 2012 12:51 AM

    I work at a summer camp where we have “Tim Tam slams” which are basically using small chocolate cookies called tim tams as straws. You bite of the corners stick it in hot chocolate and suck like a straw as delicious hot chocolate melts its way through. THIS IS HONESTLY THE TASTE OF MAGIC GUYS! Even so that there is a whole website dedicated to it: see!

  • cleobea December 8th, 2012 1:15 AM

    This made me really want a hot chocolate, but I’m not the type who keeps powdered hot-chocolate in the cupboards at all type (maybe I should start?). But! I did find some chocolate-chips which I melted in milk. And it was actually super delicious! Thick and chocolaty, super yummy. So, if like me you don’t have typical chocolate milk fixings on hand, don’t be afraid to try other techniques!!

  • GorillazFangirl December 8th, 2012 7:02 AM

    man, milo is the best and so is ovaltine and horlicks. mmm i love malty drinks

  • mayaautumn December 8th, 2012 2:51 PM

    i did the exact same thing with Nutella the other day when there was not chocolate powder in the house! (of course when my mum came home, she found it.)

  • therealmadeline December 8th, 2012 3:31 PM

    Gabby – I think we should be best friends because I also make Nutella hot cocoa and watch hoarders in my PJs and I’m glad to know I’m not alone :)

  • Dylan December 8th, 2012 4:21 PM

    I was at my local corner store last night at 1am and saw Abuelita and was like HOLD UP TAVI SAID THIS WAS GOOD I’M GETTING IT and I ate part of a disc for breakfast what’s up feeling great

  • lilyrose December 8th, 2012 6:20 PM

    Abuelita is my favorite! If you grind up the little wedges of chocolate and sprinkle it over ice cream it’s beyond yummy.

  • Mim December 8th, 2012 8:20 PM

    I discovered last year, that even though I think peeps are disgusting to eat raw, putting a little chick-shaped peep on my hot cocoa produces the marshmallow effect I have aways wanted from marshmallows. They melt so perfectly!

  • amazeedayzee December 9th, 2012 12:24 AM

    This article is PERFECTION. Gonna have to try stirring with Twix sometime. I personally am in love with the peppermint hot chocolate mix I recently bought from Trader Joe’s. I don’t have to bother adding sugar like when I use regular cocoa powder, since it’s already sweet from having real chocolate in it, and the result is just glorious.

  • Jeanne December 9th, 2012 4:38 AM

    To make the best hot chocolate ever you’ll need the Choc ô lait sticks! Just stir it until it gets all creamy and you will be in Wonderland.

    Oh and I also looooove Italian hot chocolate. Its basically stirred for hours while adding
    water and some flour. It’s really thick and heavy, but It is unbelievably good.

  • tweevalleyhigh December 9th, 2012 3:41 PM

    I kind of spammed the Rookie twitter with my thoughts on hot chocolate, but I wanted to give more opinions on this important drink! ;)

    Like I said, El Beit in Williamsburg has the best hot chocolate I’ve ever had. All the other fancy rich $4 hot chocolates have been off somehow, too sweet or too rich or something.

    Mi Tierras in San Antonio, Tx, my hometown, had the best mexican hot chocolate I’ve ever had, legit stuff.

    Investigative Research Time!
    After reading this article I went to Grey Dog and gotta say, I wasn’t impressed. I was talking to the barista about hot chocolate and for about $4 something, it turns out theirs in just the powdered version of Abuelita, which is way less satisfactory than when it’s melted on the stove.

    I’m excited to try your dark chocolate version, city bakery’s and most of all the nutella version. I’m a nutella fiend and this sounds fantastic!

  • Silver Giraffe December 9th, 2012 4:26 PM

    me and my cousinfound every chocolaty thing in the house (nutella, toblerone, coaco, dairy milk, crunchy and celebrations) and put them in a pan with milk to boil – it was the best hot chocolate ever!!!!!!! :)

  • Lena December 9th, 2012 11:23 PM

    if you’re looking for something that will knock your socks off

  • captainteapot December 10th, 2012 2:12 PM

    This is maybe the best kitchen trick I know — using an immersion blender to froth hot chocolate. I make it dark and thick and foamy, but if you want it sweeter, feel free to add more sugar.

    Slightly less than a teacup of milk per person, with a tablespoon or two of heavy cream per person. Sugar to taste. If you want it flavoured, add a cinnamon stick or a spoonful of vanilla or cardamom pods or a tangerine peel or a lemon peel or peppermint extract or almond extract or rose water or whatever strikes your fancy. Heat gently and remove from heat before milk boils manically and cascades in a burny lava flow across your stovetop. Meanwhile, grate or finely chop a bar or chocolate into a tall receptacle (you’ll be blending in here), or throw in a generous handful of chocolate chips. Add a spoonful of pure cocoa powder (I use unsweetened, but again, if you need more sugar then you can use a hot cocoa mix). The better the chocolate you use, the better your hot chocolate will be. Pour warm milk mixture over chocolate and cocoa (first fishing out any flavourings you added), and let sit for 30 seconds to one minute to let the chocolate get nice and melty. Insert immersion blender. Froth away! If you do not live with a hand blender, you can whisk your hot chocolate OR stir briskly and then stick a straw in it and blow lots of bubbles (fun!). But the immersion blender is magical. You can use it to make any hot chocolate, of course.

  • SweetSarahO December 10th, 2012 5:04 PM

    Pixie! What you’re describing as Polar Express hot chocolate sounds like Angelina’s in Paris. I’ve never been, but the descriptions people give me after they’ve tried it are very similar. Hot chocolate pilgrimage?

  • insteadofanelephant December 10th, 2012 5:56 PM

    mm that chipotle one sounds delish. sooo happy it’s cocoa season again..

    blog: instead of an elephant
    Creative Director: Thread Magazine

  • erinaudrey December 18th, 2012 11:59 PM

    Thank you!! I went vegan quite recently (I think it’s only been like 3 weeks now) and I really love hot chocolate- so I’m totally going to try archer farms version. Especially during some upcoming snow storms :)

  • Cutesycreator aka Monica May 1st, 2013 3:07 PM

    I have hot chocolate first thing every morning and last thing every night every day! (Even in summer!) I’ve done this for as long as I can remember. It used to be chocolate milk, and I believe before that it was normal, ie. not chocolate, milk, but hot chocolate has remained my twice-daily beverage of choice for the longest period of time.

    I must try all of these!!!!!!!!!!