Drinking Chocolate


Beverages, Chocolate, Winter / Friday, November 7th, 2008

Tonight, I was walking into the house, saw my reflection, screamed like a banshee and walked directly into the sliding glass. I thought my reflection was someone standing INSIDE my house. And I walked TOWARD it. Screaming. Now, I know what it feels like to be a horror movie bimbo.

My head hurts.

So, it’s a good night to curl up on the couch and finally get down to the business of drinking chocolate.

I’d never even heard of drinking chocolate until Oprah introduced Mariebelle Aztec Original Hot Chocolate as one of her “Favorite Things” a few years ago. You remember, the one with the mesmerizing, lustworthy brown-and-blue tin. Which I still have.

Most of us use the terms “cocoa” and “hot chocolate” (aka “drinking chocolate”) interchangeably, but the difference is in the cocoa butter. Cocoa is made with cocoa powder, which is produced when most of the cocoa butter is squeezed out of the cocoa nib. Hershey’s, Nestle, Swiss Miss and Carnation – all cocoas. Drinking chocolate contains melted dark chocolate, so it has all of the cocoa-butter richness that cocoa lacks. Cocoa is chocolaty; drinking chocolate is chocolate.

A cup of drinking chocolate is thick, rich and very intense. Some, like MarieBelle, are very full-bodied, fruity and might remind you of drinking liquid pudding. Others give you a bright punch of chocolate with a smooth finish. You can add spices, liqueurs and even whipped cream, but drinking chocolate has plenty of flavor without them.

There are basically two ways to prepare drinking chocolate at home: using a commercially-packaged drinking chocolate or creating your own recipe. Both options have their benefits. Commercial drinking chocolates offer the promise of luxury in a cup, with complex chocolates created by the world’s best, beautiful packaging and exciting flavor combinations, like Schokinag’s Moroccan Spice and Jacques Torres’ Wicked Hot Chocolate with ancho and chipotle chili peppers. Now, Allegro Coffee is pushing the idea of travel-via-taste with its series of “cups by country,” including drinking chocolates from Ecuador, Ghana and the Dominican Republic.

However, there’s something to be said for (and money to be saved by) making your own drinking chocolate. You choose the chocolate (bittersweet, semisweet, unsweetened or any combination), liquid and any flavorings. Need a place to start? Why not play around with John Scharffenberger’s recipe? During the holidays, he adds rum or brandy and serves it instead of eggnog. My kind of guy.

John’s Classic Drinking Chocolate

Adapted from John Scharffenberger and Robert Steinberg’s “Essence of Chocolate”

Serves 6 to 12

  • 2 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 4 ounces 99% unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, warm the milk until it is hot to the touch.
  2. Whisk in the chocolate and sugar, and continue whisking for 1 to 2 minutes until the sugar has dissolved. Whisk in the vanilla (and the cinnamon and cayenne, if using).
  3. Reduce the heat to low. Serve immediately, or remove from heat and mix with a hand blender for a lighter consistency.

22 thoughts on “Drinking Chocolate

  1. Bwahahahahahha!

    I watched my sister do that once. I laughed so hard I pee’d myself. Poor girl. Her head hurt too.

    We make our own drinking chocolate. Oh, and have you ever added butterscotch schnapps to hot chocolate???

    Divine.

  2. Yum! I have The Essence of Chocolate. I just love the Fudgy Brownies. My children are standing here clamoring for hot chocolate for breakfast, and I usually make it similar to the recipe you gave–milk, chocolate, maybe a little sugar depending on the chocolate, a pinch of salt and a bit of vanilla. I’m really tempted by the rum idea, but I probably shouldn’t at 8:30 in the morning… =)

  3. […] Ezra Pound Cake » Blog Archive » A Highly Oversimplified Drinking … […]

  4. Mmmmmm,I’m thinking I need to make some right now! MarieBelle is delicious.

    I was laughing out loud about the door incident by the way – only because it’s something I would do.

  5. Drinking pudding – now that sounds delish! No wonder I’m always on a diet. if you had said ‘like drinking carrot juice’ I would have been ‘yeah, whatever’,

    Good luck with your scary reflection. I’m thinking next time you should run away when you thing there’s an intruder. But, that’s just me.

  6. LOL. who does that?! imagine if you were carrying a knife or a spoon, you could have really hurt yourself and done yourself some harm! i would’ve prob. put some liquor in my chocolate drink after that moment to calm myself down!

  7. I have done that walking into the door trick myself, but it is oh, so funny when someone else does it! And you know how to make a girl drool, drinking chocolate. I have chocolate in my coffee every morning, but will have to try this now.

  8. It’s most fun to whirl up your hot chocolate with a molinillo, a wooden beater on a stick that you roll between your hands. Classic chocolate pots have a hole in the top through which the molinillo is threaded. A friend brought me a molinillo from New Mexico and I love it — it works really well right in the saucepan. (I guess it’s basically a manual immersion blender.)

  9. I’ve totally done the door thing…we were on vacation in Florida when I was twelve, I had just woken up, everyone was on the back porch sitting by the pool, and the sliding door was so clean and transparent that I thought the door was open…needless to say, it was not. It was, however, extremely painful.
    I’m going to give this one a try when I’m home over Thanksgiving break…I love drinking chocolate, and I bet my dad would be crazy about it.

  10. I JUST made that recipe you provided and topped it off with some Crown Royal for a nice, warm front porch drink in this chilly fall weather.

    Fantastic. I also suggest adding a pour of sea salt. Really pops the flavor.

  11. I’m scared of my own shadow… so you can only imagine how skittish I am around others. One night my husband came home, I was sitting outside and looked in the glass door to see his face looming over me and I was scared… I screamed… but NO sound came out! It was horrible.

    Chocolate looks great! I can’t ever finish a full mug of it though. I always hand it over (hanging my head in chocolate shame…). I’m just not a chocolate person.

  12. If you want the BEST EVER drinking chocolate, find a source for Charbonnel et Walker’s “Chocolat Charbonnel: THE Chocolate Drink.” It comes in white tins and has the distinction of being the Queen of England’s drinking chocolate. The website on the tin is http://www.charbonnel.co.uk
    I make hot chocolate for myself and son every morning. I use just a tablespoon (my butt and budget keep me from using more) mixed with just a little milk, heat it in the microwave 30 seconds, whisk, add some more milk, heat another 20 seconds and it’s done. Oh so good.

  13. […] Hot Buttered Rum from James Starmer Pumpkin Martini among others from The Intoxicologist John’s Classic Drinking Chocolate from Ezra Pound […]

  14. Yum! I have The Essence of Chocolate. I just love the Fudgy Brownies. My children are standing here clamoring for hot chocolate for breakfast, and I usually make it similar to the recipe you gave–milk, chocolate, maybe a little sugar depending on the chocolate, a pinch of salt and a bit of vanilla.

  15. Mmmmm sounds really good! I am on a bit of a hot chocolate mission at the moment for our shop.. collecting all sorts of good ideas and recipes! I will HAVE to try them all out first though :-) … any excuse!

  16. Fun post. I love Scharffenberger chocolate. I recently bought some commercial sipping chocolate from Trader Joes but haven’t tried it yet. You have inspired me.

  17. […] page of NaBloPoMo and I must say I’m really impressed with the blog. Rebecca has given us the lowdown on drinking chocolate (as distinct from hot chocolate made from cocoa) as well as a delish-sounding recipe for cranberry, […]

  18. […] page of NaBloPoMo and I must say I’m really impressed with the blog. Rebecca has given us the lowdown on drinking chocolate (as distinct from hot chocolate made from cocoa) as well as a delish-sounding recipe for cranberry, […]

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