8 quick ways to heat up your hot cocoa game

When it comes to cocoa, most people are content to just pour the pre-made stuff into a mug with water and be done with it. But there are so many ways to make better cocoa. I’ve rounded up my favorite ways to make that warm cup of chocolate into something everyone will love. Bonus points for stacking tips and making epic cocoa.

Make it Fresh


Add all of the following ingredients into a food processor and pulverize. Mix can be stored in an airtight container. When ready to use, mix equal parts cocoa mix and milk.

2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup powdered milk
1 cup unsweetened cocoa (either regular or dark, I like to do half and half)
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup shaved chocolate (choose your favorite chocolate bar and using a microplane, shave the bar)
1 tbs. powdered vanilla (if you can find it, if not, skip!)

We’ve got the ticket!


One of our vendors, Ticket, makes a variety of flavors of hot chocolate on a stick. Simply warm milk and melt as much of the chocolate as you like (clearly, I like to melt the whole thing). The resulting cocoa is a dreamy, chocolate lovers paradise. And with flavors like Belgian milk, peanut butter cup and French truffle, there’s a flavor for everyone.


Melt a truffle


After you’ve made your cocoa the normal, boring way, simply drop a truffle into it and stir. I like to use Lindt truffles because they melt quickly and come in several flavors.

Cool it down

I know, I know, I said we were heating up the cocoa, well, one way to do that is it turn it into a cold drink. Make the cocoa as directed and then put it in the freezer. Once chilled, pour over ice and enjoy a cold hot chocolate. Take it one step further and throw the whole thing into a blender for a frozen treat.

Homemade marshmallows


No matter how many of those tiny pre-made marshmallows you pour into your cup, they’re simply not going to compare to ones you make fresh. Check out our recipe here, but feel free to be adventurous and add flavors to your marshmallows with crushed peppermint, crumbled dehydrated berries or mini chocolate chips.

Rich Switch


When my husband asks why the cocoa tastes so good I just shrug and pretend that it’s normal, when the truth is I know exactly why it’s so delicious. Most ready-to-go packages say to just mix with water. That’s no good. I always switch it out with whole milk and if I’m feeling decadent, I splash in heavy cream. This one tip can turn the simplest package of Swiss Miss into a deliciously, sippable chocolate dessert.

Spice it up!


I’ve never really understood why there aren’t more flavors of cocoa readily available (there are few) but overall it feels like an untapped market. With chocolate candies there are unending supplies of flavor combos, so pull inspiration from what you love to eat into what you love to drink. Here are 3 easy ways to add flavor:

  • Make it Mexican Hot Chocolate by adding cinnamon and cayenne to taste
  • Mix in a bit of orange zest for a bright burst
  • Add just a few drops of rosewater to add subtle floral notes

When all else fails, add booze.


What better way to take a beloved childhood favorite and turn it on its head than to add liquor? Our staff cocktailian recommends cognac but says that bourbon is more universally loved and pairs equally well. Add to your taste.

So there you have it, all are super-simple, most just include a small change or you can easily make ahead. So what are you waiting for? Go heat up your cocoa game.


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