Before there was a hot chocolatey beverage option for everyone, including vegans (coconut milk hot cocoa) and winos (red wine hot chocolate), we thought of the drink as for kids only. Chef and chocolatier Jacques Torres aimed to change the winter favorite’s reputation nearly two decades ago. Now his final recipe is a must-try at any of his stores (alongside one of his perfect chocolate chip cookies) and a favorite of all ages.

Torres, an avid motorcyclist since the age of 15, recalled drinking hot chocolate in the south of France at tea salons on roadside stops. He had a dream to bring the French-style hot chocolate to the States. “When I decided to make it in New York, nobody wanted it. That was 18 years ago. I started to put it in small cups and I’d give it away for free,” he admitted. And yet, it required lots of coaxing for customers to even taste the samples. People turned up their noses and claimed the drink was for children. However, once, they took a sip, they became hooked. “People would say, ‘It tastes like melted chocolate. It’s so good!'” he said. “Now it’s become a thing, like rosé wine.”

Just don’t call his recipe hot cocoa. “Hot chocolate is made with finished chocolate and milk,” Torres explained about the rich drink. “Hot cocoa is made of cocoa [powder], a by-product of chocolate” and usually some sugar and instant milk. It has a thinner consistency, and it’s often served with big marshmallows to help thicken it up.

If it’s too muggy to think about a warm drink, there are two ways to chill the hot chocolate. “Put [the hot chocolate] in the fridge overnight. The next day you have some type of a chocolate pudding. It’s very thick,” Torres instructed. “Blend it with a bit of ice for a frozen hot chocolate. It’s very simple.” Or try a frappé. “Combine the warmed hot chocolate with ice in a [cocktail] shaker and shake it. Then strain out the ice,” Torres told us.

Keep reading for his recipe, and if homemade isn’t your thang, you can always opt to buy a tin of Jacques Torres Classic Hot Chocolate ($30), which has all the dry ingredients pre-measured.

Jacques Torres’ Famous Hot Chocolate

(Makes 4 3/4-cup servings)

Recipe Notes: For a richer hot chocolate, use 2 cups instead of 3 cups of milk.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup (50 grams) milk powder
  • 1 tablespoon (3 grams) cornstarch
  • 1 cup (150 grams) 60% dark chocolate, in disks or coarsely chopped

Directions:

1. Bring milk to a boil in a medium sauce pot over medium-high heat.

2. Lower the heat to medium then add the chocolate, whisking vigorously until it is completely melted.

3. Add the milk powder and cornstarch, still whisking, until everything is dissolved and the mixture is smooth and thick.

4. To serve, divide the hot chocolate among four mugs or glasses, then garnish each with a large dollop of whipped cream.

If you make this hot chocolate, be sure to show it off by tagging @BritandCo on Instagram.

(Recipe via Jacques Torres; photos via Brittany Griffin / Brit + Co)

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