Hot Chocolate a History Uncovered

Can you find Fergus?


Ayla Faullin

Hot chocolate is the most common Christmas drink. Whether you just got done ice skating or you’re just starting to curl up to watch a Christmas movie, hot chocolate is the drink of the season. But hot chocolate wasn’t always the warm, sweet, marshmallow-filled drink we know today. It started as a very different drink from the one we know today. 

The origins of hot chocolate come from Mexico, where the Mayans were drinking a mixture of cocoa beans, water, wine, and chili peppers. This drink was typically extremely bitter and served cold, but it was the start of the glass we know today. An explorer brought the drink and the tools to make it back to Europe, and it gained popularity. They started sweetening it and removed the chili peppers. 

Hot chocolate instantly became extremely popular, used as a stomach and liver treatment, as well as just being a special drink, despite the expensiveness of imported chocolate. Chocolate houses, similar to modern-day coffee shops, began popping up all over the place, and it became an after-dinner drink for the wealthy for many years. The milk added came from a Jamaican version of the recipe, brought back to Europe by Hans Sloane. 

Today, hot chocolate is no longer used to treat anything but is regarded as a holiday season staple. American hot chocolate is typically thin, usually made by adding hot water to a powder package, although you can purchase a more genuine version from coffee shops and gourmet places.

So, as you sip your hot chocolate this Christmas, whether at home in your pajamas or out admiring all the Christmas decorations, remember that the tasty warm drink in your hand first came from a drink made with chili peppers, bitter and cold. 


Can you find Fergus? He’s left you a song!


O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum

Wie treu sind deine Blätter!

Du grünst nicht nur zur Sommerzeit,

Nein auch im Winter, wenn es schneit.

O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum,

wie treu sind deine Blätter!