Hot cocoa or hot no-no?
Sleigh bells ring from around the corner, announcing the arrival of the Queen of Christmas Drinks: hot chocolate. Hot chocolate is a classic beverage and whether made using hot water or milk, dark chocolate or white, it stays delicious.
I tested the boundaries of how much you can alter this classic formula and still get something good. I made four drinks all with a base of milk chocolate hot cocoa powder heated in chocolate milk, the only difference was the added ingredients.
I ranked each drink and scored it on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 exceeding expectations and being repeat-worthy and 1 being something I wished to forget. Keep in mind all ratings and rankings are based on my personal taste and unlikely universal.
1. Hot chocolate and cranberry juice
D.E.L.I.C.I.O.U.S. The addition of the sweet and tart cranberry to the sweet chocolate simply provided a taste that screams “bliss.” It imitated the taste of a chocolate covered berry yet was warm and welcoming. The scent was similar to that of hot apple cider yet seemed sharp and refreshing all at the same time. It is an addition likely to be repeated and turned into a tradition as there was no fault easily found.
2.Hot chocolate and gummy bears
This addition added little to no extra flavor but did provide a new texture. Similar to putting gummy bears in shakes, adding gummy bears to hot chocolate resulted in surprising swallows of chewy, fruity, goodness. However, it was not all perfect as the chocolate partially merged with these fruity flavors, leaving the gummies’ texture and flavor less distinguishable from the drink itself.
3. Hot chocolate and cheddar Chex Mix
Simply put, this was a bad idea. Adding a cheddar to a chocolate-based drink really could not have had any alternate result than the borderline mediocrity/disgusting beverage it created. The texture added was that of soggy cereal, and the flavor was a blandness which can only come when sweet and savory clash to cancel each other out. Unfortunately, the savor of the cheese was starting to gain an upper hand as a slight aftertaste could be noticed, leaving the flavor of warmed cheese dust.
4.Hot chocolate and pizza Pringles
Never again. This beverage tasted of soggy chips and artificial seasonings. None of the goodness of the original hot chocolate remained and by the end of the sip there was an unwanted coating of vaguely pizza related flavors like garlic and parmesan.
These flavors were a hit or miss compared to the surefire satisfaction of a hot cocoa and most of the tastes mentioned are not to be recommended unless you’re feeling gutsy. You may also be wondering “why would you try this?!” and the answer is simply that I thought these additions would be yummy. Clearly for some of them I was wrong.