The Secret to This Perfect Camping Hot Chocolate? Cayenne Pepper.

A double dose of chocolate and spice will keep your taste buds hopping this winter.

Photo: Cavan Images via Getty

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Hot chocolate just got hotter. With a touch of cayenne added to the mix, this new take on a centuries-old beverage boasts a slight spice that will warm you all the way through.

The Mayans were among the first believed to enjoy a chocolate beverage over 2,000 years ago, a key ingredient being a hint of spice. In homage, we took a page out of their book to give the traditional fireside staple a kick.

To whip up this tasty blend, start by finding a hot chocolate mix that already has powdered milk included in its ingredients (we like Whole Foods 365 Organic Hot Cocoa Mix). That way, you only need to add water and, if desired, alcohol when you’re in the field. To spice things up, add a dash of cayenne powder to the dry mix.

The Recipe

At Home

Add hot cocoa mix and a dash of cayenne powder to a zip top bag and seal. Add 1921 Crema de Tequila, Van Gogh Dutch Chocolate Vodka and agave nectar to a separate zip top bag and seal as well. Roll up baggies and store in a wide-mouth water bottle.

On the Trail

Add hot cocoa/cayenne mix and water, heat until warm. Add agave nectar (and liquor, if desired) to a glass with the hot cocoa. Stir, float a marshmallow on top, and for a little extra spice add another dash of cayenne on top of everything.

Originally published 2010; last updated March 2023

From 2023