Mexican Hot Chocolate

mexican hot chocolate topped with whipped cream and a cinnamon stick

I’m gonna be honest – I’ve never been a big fan of Halloween.

If you know me at all, (or are getting to know me via this blog!) you might know that I have a bit of a sunny and positive personality.

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I love all things that are bright, romantic (think Disney magic), and optimistic. If I’m watching a movie, it’s something playful and charming. (Much to my husband’s dismay, this usually involves a musical.) My favorite books are fantastical and mystical. For listening purposes, my music is emotional and meaningful. You get the picture.

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mexican hot chocolate topped with whipped cream and a cinnamon stick

The Halloween Scaries

Therefore, Halloween doesn’t really fit into my stream of consciousness. I can’t handle horror films, I abhor gore and I used to be VERY afraid of the dark. (Sometimes, I still am. shhh.) So it’s a bit of a conundrum that my birthday falls on the 27th of October. My day always seems to be overshadowed by this “holiday” that I’ve never connected to.

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As a kid, I remember going to Party City for birthday decorations. I’d cover my eyes as we passed through the sliding doors to hide from the hideous displays they had put up. It wasn’t like butterflies and peanut costumes. It was witches and goblins and clowns and Freddy and all the things I was terrified of. I couldn’t even look! None of this helped my fear dissipate.

mexican hot chocolate topped with whipped cream and a cinnamon stick
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As an adult, I’ve been to my fair share of Halloween parties and yes, I had fun. Especially now that I have a daughter, it opens up a new avenue of entertainment. Seeing her have fun imagining all the possibilities for her costume will be a blast. But still, never will I be as excited about Halloween as I recently became about Dia de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead. If you haven’t heard of it, neither did I – until I watched (surprise) the Disney movie Coco.

Dia de los Muertos

Dia de los Muertos is the Mexican celebration dedicated to honoring and remembering the dead. It’s not sad, it’s not scary – it’s a party! It’s a blowout bash that involves music, parades, food and fondly remembering those who have passed before us. The premise is to honor your loved ones on an “ofrenda” or altar. You add their picture and their favorite foods and objects that they loved during their lifetime.

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photo of woman wearing traditional dress

And on this night, they come back from the dead to hang out and enjoy all the things they used to with their families. You eat, drink (one of the traditional drinks is Hot Chocolate) and have fun in their honor. It’s a lively and fun occasion! The skulls that are painted on faces and candies are colorful and full of life, rather than the skulls in the US that are grey and dead.

mexican hot chocolate topped with whipped cream and a cinnamon stick

Let’s give it a go…

This is right up my alley.

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I instantly latched onto this tradition. (Don’t worry – I kept in mind that this is NOT our culture but I fully and completely loved and appreciated the Latinx tradition). Last year, after talking to my Mexican counterpart at work about the traditions he used to partake in as a kid in Mexico, my husband and I did it up. We posted pictures of our loved ones in the living room, told stories about each one and dressed to the nines. I painted skulls on our faces and went out to a local bar who was throwing a Dia de los Muertos party. It was awesome and I loved every second of it. That is until my pregnancy nausea kicked in and then we had to go home;)

Mexican Hot Chocolate

mexican hot chocolate topped with whipped cream and a cinnamon stick

In honor of the day coming up, I thought I’d throw together my Mexican Hot Chocolate recipe. Derived from chocolate, cayenne and coffee, this recipe is homey, comforting and delicious. It’s got a slight kick from the cayenne, a richness that’s brought out from espresso powder (or espresso if you’ve got it) and warmness from the cinnamon. Topped with slightly sweetened cream, Mexican Hot Chocolate is super cozy and a decadent treat. To really do it right, treat yourself to a slice of Pumpkin Cheesecake Bread! If you do decide to walk around Trick or Treating, jazz it up with bourbon, rum or smoky mezcal for your own private Happy Hour.

And chase those Halloween Scaries away!


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Mexican Hot Chocolate

  • Author: Melissa-Smith
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 68 servings 1x


This Hot Chocolate recipe is heavy on the cinnamon, espresso and heat. Serve hot or cold, straight up or with a shot of whiskey, rum or mezcal.


  • 6 cups milk
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup dark cocoa powder, good quality
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Pinch of salt

Whipped Cream

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Combine the milk and half and half in a pot set over medium heat.
  2. Whisk together the sugar, cocoa powder, spices and salt in a separate bowl. 
  3. When the milks are luke warm, whisk in the dry ingredients. Cook over medium heat until hot and the sugar has dissolved.
  4. Whisk the cream, confectioner’s sugar and vanilla until soft peaks.
  5. Serve the hot chocolate in mugs, topped with a few spoonfuls of whipped cream. Garnish with a shake of cocoa powder and a cinnamon stick. Cheers!


Combining the dries together before adding them to your warm (not hot) milk will ensure the cocoa powder does not cook on impact and create a lumpy hot chocolate. If you don’t have espresso powder, adding a shot of espresso or coffee to an individual serving will do just the trick!

  • Category: Drinks
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Mexican-American

Keywords: drink, hot chocolate, cinnamon, coffee, fall drink, chocolate recipe

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