Mexican Hot Chocolate

This Mexican Hot Chocolate drink was inspired by my time (and drinks) in San Antonio. Ok, so chili/cayenne and chocolate might be a little odd sounding, but try it out for a cultural flavor experiment. In Mexico, chocolate was originally prepared only as a (bitter) drink mixed with spices, wine or corn puree.

Mexican Hot Chocolate cinnamon whipped cream cocoa

I can’t believe it’s been a month since starting my away rotation! Away rotations are dangerous – you feel like you’re in vacation and “studying” falls by the wayside because you want to hang out and explore the city.

Overall, I saw a great variety of pediatric patients both in clinic and hospital medicine, including osteogenesis imperfecta, familial adenomatous polyposis, dextrocardia (ie the heart is reversed!), congenital syphilis/HIV/hep C, Prader Willi syndrome, thyroglossal duct cysts, Femur fibula ulna complex, bizarre glycogen storage diseases, and more.

I understand the above medical jargon means nothing to the most of you, but for my fellow medical students, there’s noting quite as exciting as seeing a rare “textbook” diseases in real life. Because, some diseases are so ridiculously mind-boggling, you can’t help but feel it can’t be real. And because nothing makes you remember femur fibula ulna complex better than watching a girl with no arms do schoolwork by typing on an ipad with her feet. Pretty awesome!

On a side note, after a of month scribbling notes and obtaining faxed records, I have come to the conclusion the I am only applying to residencies with electronic medical records. Paper charts and my horrid handwriting = not a good idea.

Mexican Hot Chocolate cinnamon whipped cream cocoa
I’ve forgotten how much I missed San Antonio. Here, people are insanely nice – on my last day, everyone at the hospital, from the cafeteria workers to the administration to the patients’ families, were giving me hugs and wishing me good luck. 
San Antonio, ranked one of the friendliest cities, is also one of the *ahem* fattest cities. Coincidence? I think not!

Mexican Hot Chocolate


2 cups whole milk
4 oz bittersweet chocolate (or 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder) **
3 tablespoons sugar, to taste
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus additional for garnish
1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder
whipped cream
cinnamon sticks (optional)

** In Mexico and in the Philippines, we use coarse chocolate disks/tablets designed for “chocolate drinks,” but you can use cocoa powder or regular chocolate

Simmer the milk and sugar in a medium saucepan. Off the heat, stir in the chocolate, vanilla, cinnamon with a wooden spoon. Gradually add cayenne pepper (some people may not like the strong kick). Reheat the hot chocolate over low heat until it simmers.

Pour the hot chocolate into mugs. Stir with cinnamon sticks and top with whipped cream and cinnamon, if desired.

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  1. Yummy! The photos of this hot chocolate are gorgeous! I need to make some hot chocolate before this winter season is over!

    Also I know what you mean about EMR. It's the BESTEST. 🙂 back in college Arbor Free Clinic used paper records. And now in med school they are fully switched to EMR. I didn't think EMR could change so much since I was okay with using paper records before the EMR switch, but now I've seen EMR I can't go back!

  2. Thanks so much for this! I live in Illinois now but desperately miss the Mexican hot chocolates I would drink in Austin. I can't wait to try this recipe out!