Saturday, December 17, 2022

Brief History of My Favorite Holiday Beverage: Hot Chocolate



My favorite holiday beverage is hot chocolate topped with marshmallows. Because I love,I set out to find the origin about 2,500 years ago with the Mayans and Aztec. However, the chocolate drink or Xocali was served cold. The Mayans believed cocoa had many health benefits. When used as a beverage, the ground cocoa beans were mixed with water, cornmeal, chili peppers, and other spices to disguise the bitter taste. The mixture was poured into a cup and then back into the bowl until it became forthy. This cocoa was often part of religious ceremonies.

 Cocoa beans were so valuable that the Mayans used them as currency 

When the Cortez invaded Mexico  in the 1500s he took these interesting beans back to Spain where it became the drink of royalty. The Spanish experimented with flavors. And as it spread over Europe various countries experimented with various spices. Because cocoa could only be found in the New World, the drink was very expensive and only the wealthy could afford it.

The first chocolate houses appeared in London in the 1700s, fashion after the already popular tea houses.

Europeans continued to experiment with the drinks, eventually adding honey , then sugar to make it more palatable.

In the late 1700s  in the Netherlands, the president of the Royal College of Physicians brought a recipe from Jamaica and tinkered with the flavor, adding sugar and milk then served it hot. It became a popular after dinner drink among the Aristocracy. 

Until the early 1900s it was a treatment for stomach and liver ailments.

The Dutch had large holding in the West Indies where the cocoa bean was plentiful. In the mid 1800s Coenraad Johannes van Houten invented a press that separated the greasy cocoa butter from the cocoa seeds, leaving a purer chocolate powder. Further experimentation and he successfully soften the cocoa, add butter and sugar creating the first milk chocolate bars.

The European Aristocrats nicknamed it the drink of the gods.


Chocolate along with Tea and Coffee were introduced to Colonial America at the same time. And it remained a popular drink, preferred over coffee and tea.

 Charles Sanns invented a powdered chocolate mix that could be mixed with warm milk in the late 1800s. It sold well until the tainted milk scar in the early 1900s. Milk was  then considered Charles reformulated the powder to be mixed with water. Even so many continued using the powder with milk.

Hot Cocoa powder was used by soldiers in World War II. For a time it was served on airplanes as part of their beverage choices.


Then things changed when Anthony Sanna invented Swiss Miss, the first commercial brand of instant hot chocolate in 1961. It remains the most popular brand today, usually topped with marshmallows, or whipped cream. As in the past there are new flavors such as mint and hazelnut and the ever popular pumpkin spice. Who doesn’t enjoy a cup of their favorite hot chocolate.



Here is a homemade hot chocolate recipe that was jused before Swiss Miss and it’s contemporaries came on the scene.

2 ozs of unsweetened cocoa powder

1/3 cup white sugar


4 cups of whole milk

Pinch of salt

½ tsp of vanilla extract

Place powdered cocoa, sugar and salt in saucepan, blend together. Then add enough water to make a runny consistency. Then place the pan on medium heat  and stir until the chocolate comes to a boil. Remove from heat and slowly add milk until blended. Return to medium heat and stir constantly until desire temperature.  Then add vanilla. Pour into four one cup mugs and add your favorite topping. Enjoy.

What is your favorite hot chocolate recipe?

Cindy Ervin Huff is an Award-winning author of Historical and Contemporary Romance. She loves infusing hope into her stories of broken people. She addicted to reading and chocolate. Her idea of a vacation is visiting historical sites and an ideal date with her hubby of almost fifty years would be live theater.

Visit her website and sign up for her newsletter and receive some free short stories as a thank you. 


Angelina’s Resolve: Book 1 of Village of Women

Proving her skills are equal to a man’s may cost her more than she ever imagined.

Modern-thinking Angelina DuBois is determined to prove her cousin Hiram wrong. He fired her from the architect firm she helped grow when her father’s will left the business to Hiram. Using her large inheritance and architectural degree, she sets out to create a village run by women—Resolve, Kansas.

Carpenter and Civil War veteran Edward Pritchard’s dream of building homes for Chicago’s elite must be put on hold until he gains references. Serving as a contractor under Angelina’s well-known DuBois name provides that opportunity. But can Angelina trust her handsome new carpenter to respect her as his boss? Will the project take Edward one step closer to his goals, or will it make him a laughingstock? Can these two strong-willed people find love amid such an unconventional experiment?


1 comment:

  1. Thank you for posting today, and Merry Christmas! It was interesting to read about the beginnings of hot chocolate, but all of the things they added to make it palatable? Corn meal? That gave me pause. My favorite cocoa is probably opening the package of Swiss Miss, I don't drink a lot of hot chocolate.