How to Make Xocoatl, the Aztec Chocolate Drink

The first chocolates were not bars but drinks. In fact, throughout most of the history of chocolate making, it’s well-known as a form of beverage. Chocolate wasn’t also associated with the word “sweet” until recently. It comes from the Nahuatl word “xocoatl” which means “a bitter drink from the brewed cacao beans.”

The History of Xocoatl
Today, you can duplicate xocoatl without having to grind the beans yourself. You can even add other spices such as anise, cinnamon and vanilla besides chili peppers. The drink has been present even before the Olmec culture. They were the first to cultivate, ferment and roast the cacao beans.

Chocolate was considered a drink reserved for gods. Only the nobility, priests and warriors were allowed to drink it. Even when it was introduced to Europe after Hernan Cortes returned from Mexico, chocolate could only be accessed by the rich Spanish.

It was only after the invention of the cocoa press by Coenraad Johannes van Houten, that it became popular among the masses. This made the process of extracting the cocoa butter from roasted beans easier. The byproduct was turned into powder then mixed with different ingredients. The concoction was poured into molds and then hardened. This was the beginning of modern chocolate.

Ingredients for Xocolatl with Jalapeño
2 tablespoons of cocoa powder
2 cups of water
1 sliced Jalapeño
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
2 teaspoons of sugar or more, optional

1. Mix the water and jalapeño in a saucepan then boil the mixture.
2. Add cocoa powder, vanilla extract and the sugar.
3. Keep stirring the ingredients until the chocolate has dissolved.

Ingredients for Xocoatl with Chili Pepper
1/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
5 and 1/2 cups of water
1 green chili pepper
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

1. Boil 1 and 1/2 cups of water then add the sliced chili peppers including the seeds. Boil for another 5 to 10 minutes.
2. Remove the chili pepper and seeds from the water by straining. Add 4 cups to the remaining water.
3. Slow-boil in medium-low heat then add cocoa powder and vanilla extract. Stir the concoction for 5 to 10 minutes.
4. Keep stirring until the cocoa powder has fully dissolved.

Ingredients for Xocoatl with Cinnamon and Cayenne Pepper
50 g of dark chocolate bars
300 ml of water
A pinch of cinnamon
A pinch of cayenne pepper
Vanilla extract

1. The chocolate bars must be broken into smaller pieces then placed inside a jug.
2. Boil the water then pour it in the jug which contains the chocolate bars
3. Add cinnamon, cayenne pepper, and a few drops of vanilla extract.
4. Mix all the ingredients until the chocolate has fully dissolved.