Divine Drinking Chocolate

Take a sip, swirl it in your mouth, savor the way it coats your tongue. This is the way the season should taste.

Adam Ewing No usage without written permission.

Belgians will argue that they make the best chocolate; the Swiss lay stake to similar claims. The Dutch simply assume their place in the chocolate hierarchy, and the French, famous for being the first to pair chocolate with pastries, take credit for making it a breakfast food. As for Americans, our place in confectionary history is assured for bringing the rarified hot beverage of drinking chocolate to the masses.

In 18th-century Europe, “the drinking of chocolate was something only the very elite [were] doing,” says Robert Brantley of Colonial Williamsburg. Not so in the brash colonies. “At the time of the American Revolution, there was one chocolate maker in France and one in Britain,” adds Brantley, noting that a heavy tax on cocoa beans in Europe made drinking chocolate prohibitive in cost. At the same time, there were 70 chocolate makers spread around the American colonies, turning out product at prices that made drinking chocolate their preferred cold-weather quaff.

But it is a subjective endeavor. The Mayans, who were the first to drink their chocolate, spiced theirs with chili peppers. Colonists favored flavoring their drinking chocolate with cinnamon and mace, and scents like jasmine and ambergris. Today, we know that cardamom offers an exotic flourish. Attended by ramekins of whipped cream or frothed milk, or even served simply bare, drinking chocolate is more than an accompaniment; it is a complete confectionery course. So sip, swirl, savor, enjoy.


Chocolat Chaud à l’Ancienne

Adam Ewing No usage without written permission.
  • 5 1/4 ounces chocolate (70 percent cacao), chopped or broken into small pieces
  • 2 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 ounce sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • whipped cream for garnish

Split the vanilla bean lengthwise. Heat the cream in a saucepan with the sugar and add the vanilla bean. Before the cream boils, remove it from the heat and let rest for 10 minutes before removing the vanilla bean. Add cocoa powder. Reheat the cream slowly, blending carefully. When the cream is warm, add chopped chocolate. Whisk over low heat for five minutes until chocolate is melted. Pour into teacups. If you prefer it thicker, add more chocolate. Top with whipped cream, and garnish with cocoa powder or crushed almonds.

Serves 2


Vodka Chocolate

Adam Ewing No usage without written permission.
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons dark chocolate, chopped or broken into small pieces
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla vodka
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons marshmallows, small or
  • chopped for garnish
  • powdered cocoa for garnish

Heat milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Add chocolate and stir until melted. Whisk until smooth. Add vodka to mug. When chocolate is melted and milk is hot, pour into mug. Top with marshmallows, and dust with cocoa powder.

Serves 1


Peppermint White Chocolate

Adam Ewing No usage without written permission.
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup white chocolate, chopped or broken into small pieces
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • whipped cream for garnish
  • peppermint candy, crushed

Heat milk and cream in a saucepan over medium heat. Add extracts and chocolate and whisk until smooth. When chocolate is melted and milk is hot, pour into mugs. Garnish with whipped cream, and sprinkle crushed peppermint on top.

Serves 4-5


Old-fashioned drinking chocolate

Adam Ewing No usage without written permission.
  • 4 cups milk
  • 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped or broken into small pieces
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt

Heat milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Add sugar and salt. Stir until smooth. Add chocolate and vanilla, and whisk until smooth. If you prefer it thicker, add more chocolate. Pour into mugs.

Serves 4


Chili Chocolate

Adam Ewing No usage without written permission.
  • 6 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 red chili pepper, split
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 12 ounces dark chocolate, chopped or broken into small pieces
  • pinch of salt
  • whipped cream for garnish

Heat milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Add vanilla, chili pepper, pepper flakes, cloves and cinnamon. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Strain into a clean pot. Heat on medium, and add chocolate in batches, stirring until smooth. Add salt. Pour into mugs, and garnish with whipped cream.

Serves 4


Food by Chef J Frank

Styling by Neely Barnwell Dykshorn

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