Last week, In-N-Out had customers seriously intrigued by the addition of hot cocoa to its menu, the first menu change the burger chain has made in more than a decade. While some felt lukewarm about its arrival, I myself was stoked: I had to get my hands on a cup ASAP! Priced at $1.60 for 8 ounces, the Ghirardelli hot cocoa is dispensed from a large machine next to the milkshake station, where it’s topped with freeze-dried mini mallows (just like the instant hot cocoa packets you drink at home) which dissolve into a frothy layer upon impact. But how does it really taste?
Having just stepped out of the cold, pouring rain, I couldn’t wait to warm up to the cup of chocolatey goodness. As soon as I took the first sip, I immediately knew something was off. The beverage tasted like hot water. I went back up to the counter and asked if it was possible the dispenser was out of hot cocoa, and it just so happened that it was. The employee apologized profusely and said they would replace my drink and bring it to me at my table. Talk about good customer service!
Within a few minutes, I had been presented with a fresh, steaming cup. Now, if you’ve ever been to a Ghirardelli shop and had the real-deal hot chocolate, make note: This is not it. In-N-Out’s version is made with a sweetened cocoa powder and hot water rather than chocolate syrup and milk, so a rich, luxurious experience, this drink is not. That being said, it’s still tasty and totally reminiscent of the instant hot cocoa we all grew up drinking in the chillier nights of our youth. It’s not too sweet, it’s pleasantly chocolatey, and it lets you indulge a little without completely ruining your appetite. In conclusion, I give it two thumbs up and definitely plan on ordering it again on a dreary day.
Bonus tip: Bring the kiddos if it’s raining, when the hot cocoa is reportedly free for kids ages 12-and-under.
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(Photo via Anna Monette Roberts + Education Images/Citizens of the Planet/UIG)