The 7 Best Drinking Chocolates to Buy in 2018

Enjoy a thick, rich, and decadent hot beverage

Hot cocoa and marshmallows
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Drinking chocolate is different from hot chocolate in the way that homemade chicken soup is different from the stuff that comes with a packet of flavoring. Hot chocolate (or cocoa, if you prefer) is typically a powder that’s mixed with water to create a thin chocolate-flavored drink. If it’s not consumed quickly or stirred regularly, some of the powder tends to settle to the bottom.

While you can certainly mix the powders with milk to make a richer beverage, drinking chocolate is a few steps above that. Often sold as tiny chunks, chips, or shavings of chocolate, it can also be a combination of cocoa and chocolate.

Unlike chocolate drink mixes that can be combined with either cold or hot milk, drinking chocolate is meant to be mixed with hot milk because heat is required to melt the chocolate. The result is a much thicker, richer drink than your childhood hot chocolate.

Drinking chocolate can be as thick as a liquid ganache or a warm pudding. It's actually designed to be sipped in small quantities from a shot glass. You can also make your drinking chocolate a thinner beverage and fill your favorite mug to the brim. Marshmallows are always optional, and whipped cream can be fun, too.

When you're ready to enjoy this luscious wonder, we've found the best drinking chocolates for you to explore.

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  • 01 of 07

    Best Overall: L.A. Burdick Drinking Chocolate

    L.A. Burdick
    Courtesy of L.A. Burdick

    You might recognize the name L.A. Burdick Chocolate from their adorable chocolate mice and penguins. The popular chocolate company offers a variety of wonderful drinking chocolates that you'll want to try as well.

    The drinking chocolates from L.A. Burdick come in a range of flavors, from white to dark. There’s even one that’s flavored with a spicy hot pepper blend that will certainly wake up your taste buds.

    Also, their single-source drinking chocolates use beans that are sourced from a single area, in a variety of countries from Bolivia to Madagascar to Venezuela. To help you choose, there are tasting notes for each country's beans, complete with descriptions as evocative as those used for wines.

    There’s no doubt that no matter what type of chocolate you like, you’ll find at least one from Burdick that you will love.

  • 02 of 07

    Best Powder: Ghirardelli Hot Cocoas

    Ghirardelli
    Courtesy of Ghirardelli

    You know this company name and it's probably from chocolate bars or for cocoa that’s sold for baking. Yet, you might not know about the hot chocolate mixes that Ghirardelli offers. They’re quite affordable and you might even find them at your local grocery store.

    The mixes include both cocoa powder and bits of chocolate, so the drink you create is richer than one made from straight cocoa powder. Yet, it's also not as thick as a drinking chocolate made from chocolate alone.

    The fun flavors include double chocolate, chocolate caramel, and chocolate mocha. For hot chocolate on the road, hot cocoa packets are also available that only require hot water.

    If you’re shopping online, make sure to check out the baking chocolates, as well as the huge variety of chocolate bars.

  • 03 of 07

    Best Flavors: Dagoba Drinking Chocolates

    Dagoba
    Courtesy of Dagoba

    Dagoba makes a variety of tasty drinking chocolates. They're available in your choice of unsweetened, sweetened with cane sugar, and a spicy version with chilies and cinnamon.

    To make you feel good about your purchase, these chocolates are Rainforest Alliance certified. This brand can also often be found at grocery stores and, of course, it’s readily available online.

    A mix of cocoa and chocolate, Dagoba's offerings create a rich hot chocolate that’s not quite as thick as chocolate-only drinking chocolates. This makes them an excellent introduction to the thicker chocolate drink.

    If you’re shopping from their online store, it’s worth a peek at the chocolate bars and baking chocolates. After all, you don’t want to run out of yummy treats!

  • 04 of 07

    Best European: Elbow Chocolates' Drinking Chocolates

    Elbow Chocolates
    Courtesy of Elbow Chocolates

    There’s a drinking chocolate for everyone at Elbow Chocolates. There is an unadulterated plain dark chocolate for the purists and one with a hint of vanilla for those who want just a little more depth. You'll also find peppermint drinking chocolate and a spiced drinking chocolate with chilies and cinnamon for those who prefer a little spice in their life.

    Made from pure ground chocolate in the European style, these chocolates are rich and decadent. The additional flavors come from natural ingredients as well.

    While chocolate is their main focus, you might want to browse over to the French style Pate de Fruit which contains no chocolate, but fits perfectly into their product line. The maple bourbon caramel sauce is worth a second look, too.

    Continue to 5 of 7 below.
  • 05 of 07

    Best Crumbles: Tcho Drinking Chocolate Crumbles

    Tcho
    Courtesy of Tcho

    The chocolate crumbles in this canister from Tcho are made from crushed chocolate bars. This means the chocolate will melt easily into your warm milk to create a rich, decadent hot drink.

    If the 8.8-ounce canister isn’t quite enough for you, you can buy a 3-kilogram (6.6-pound) bag of the drinking chocolate. With that, you definitely won't have to worry about running out!

    The company not only sells chocolate, they also work with bean growers, offering training and tools so they can produce superior quality chocolate. Since the crumbles (and other chocolate products) are so versatile, you’ll find interesting recipes on the company’s site for everything from desserts to drinks to savory foods.

  • 06 of 07

    Best Rich: Guittard Grand Cacao Drinking Chocolate

    Guittard
    Courtesy of Guittard

    Guittard is no doubt a familiar name, since their baking bars and cocoa powder are widely distributed to grocers and specialty stores. The drinking chocolate might not be as familiar, though it is just as good.

    Guittard's Grand Cacao Drinking Chocolate is a combination of chocolate and cocoa. It boasts intense flavor, the red-brown color of Dutch process cocoa, and a toasty aroma. Made at its full strength, the drink is super-rich and so thick it’s nearly syrupy and best consumed in small quantities. You can always use less of the mix if you like and still have a very flavorful hot chocolate.

    Surprisingly affordable considering the quality, this could easily replace your everyday hot chocolate mix.

  • 07 of 07

    Best Liquid: Cholaca Pure Liquid Cacao

    Cholaca
    Courtesy of Cholaca

    While not marketed as a drinking chocolate, Cholaca is a pure liquid cacao that can be sipped in small quantities. You can also combine it with milk for a rich hot or cold chocolate drink.

    Since it’s liquid, it’s easier to mix with milk than a powder or ground chocolate that has to be melted. However, it is perishable and requires refrigeration.

    Cholaca is available in a plain, unsweetened version as well as two varieties sweetened with coconut sugar. One is just slightly sweet, while the other is more noticeably sweet.

    Chocolate buttons from several countries are also available. They’re sold for baking and cooking, but you could melt the chocolate and mix your own hot chocolate with the distinct flavor of those chocolate sources.