Winter Relief: Hot Chocolate!

Introduction: In this article, Gena Philibert-Ortega searches newspapers to find all kinds of tasty and exotic recipes for hot chocolate. Gena is a genealogist and author of the book “From the Family Kitchen.”

The Aztecs and Mayans partook of a drink made of the pounded beans of the cacao tree native to central and southern America. This bitter drink is not what we think of today when we order hot chocolate. Chocolate made its first appearance in North America in 1641. By 1773 cocoa was a major import and the colonists were enjoying hot chocolate.*

Photo: latte art on hot chocolate. Credit: Jo Anslow; Wikimedia Commons.
Photo: latte art on hot chocolate. Credit: Jo Anslow; Wikimedia Commons.

Today you can make hot chocolate at home or enjoy it in a restaurant or coffee shop. Typically thought of as a “kids’ drink,” that definitely was not always the case – and you can make hot chocolate drinks that are for everyone, including adults.

For example, this 1857 ad was clearly directed at adults, offering hot chocolate as one of the “luxuries of the season.”

An ad for hot chocolate, Cleveland Leader newspaper 11 November 1857
Cleveland Leader (Cleveland, Ohio), 11 November 1857, page 3

Hot Chocolate Recipes

How do you make hot chocolate? Sure, you can use a powdered mix, but why not try something new? This collection of six recipes in the following newspaper article includes Mexican Hot Chocolate with vanilla and cinnamon, “Adult Hot Cocoa” with espresso and brandy, and Chocolate-Mint Sipper that includes finely crushed peppermint candies. These recipes are a good reminder that hot chocolate can include all kinds of additions.

An article about hot chocolate, Staten Island Advance newspaper 12 January 2005
Staten Island Advance (Staten Island, New York), 12 January 2005, page 60

This article titled “Most Americans Have Never Had REAL Hot Chocolate” provides two recipes and comments that Mexican Hot Chocolate comes from a bar chocolate and not the powered chocolate powder most people are used to. The recipe is one that is similar to one I use – but when I make hot chocolate I use a wooden molinillo that froths the hot chocolate.

The other recipe in this article, Bonanza Chocolate Drink, calls for 2 cups of strong, hot coffee to be added to the drink. Experiment with other flavored liquids (coffee, syrups, alcohol) to your hot chocolate. The chocolate is the base to which you can add any number of flavorings.

An article about hot chocolate, Albuquerque Tribune newspaper 22 March 1984
Albuquerque Tribune (Albuquerque, New Mexico), 22 March 1984, page 24

Hot chocolate can even incorporate fruit. Raspberry and chocolate are one flavor combination most people like. This more unusual Peachy Hot Chocolate recipe incorporates a 16-ounce can of peach halves or peach slices that are pureed. Other familiar flavors in this recipe include cinnamon and vanilla.

An article about hot chocolate, Advocate newspaper 30 January 1991
Advocate (Stamford, Connecticut), 30 January 1991, page 23


This newspaper article suggests something I’ve done in the past when we go out to look at Christmas lights: create a Hot Chocolate Bar. This article gives ideas for various types of hot chocolate and reminds the readers that even marshmallows come in different colors and flavors (if you’re feeling really creative you can even make your own). For a Hot Chocolate Bar, you supply the hot chocolate and then your guests add flavorings and toppings to make their own tasty creations. Suggestions include candies that can be dropped into the hot beverage (think peppermint, or chocolates) and flavored syrups. This is a great idea that allows kids (and adults) to create the drink they want and it’s a fun holiday tradition.

An article about hot chocolate toppings, Staten Island Advance newspaper 1 March 2006
Staten Island Advance (Staten Island, New York), 1 March 2006, page 49
An article about hot chocolate, Staten Island Advance newspaper 1 March 2006
Staten Island Advance (Staten Island, New York), 1 March 2006, page 49

Here are two more hot chocolate recipes for staying warm this winter.

An article about hot chocolate, Register-Mail newspaper 18 April 2007
Register-Mail (Galesburg, Illinois), 18 April 2007, page 15

It’s Getting Cold Outside, Enjoy Some Hot Chocolate!

Take some time from your busy schedule to relax with some hot chocolate. It’s a treat made for these cold winter months, and historical newspapers have some great recipe ideas!

Explore over 330 years of newspapers and historical records in GenealogyBank. Discover your family story! Start a 7-Day Free Trial.

Note on the header image: a cup of hot chocolate with whipped cream and chocolate flakes. Credit: Itisdacurlz; Wikimedia Commons.

* “History of Chocolate,” History ( accessed 6 December 2022).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *