Cocoa and Chocolate Beverages

For Thousands of years the Olmecs, then Mayans, and the Aztec were drinking cocoa in Mexico. In 1502, Columbus was presented with 'almonds' which he said were used as currnecy in what would become Mexico. After Cortez defeated the Aztecs, beans from the cacao tree were brought back to Spain. Chocolate gained wider acceptance with the import of cane sugar after 1610. A chocolate house opened in 1657 in England. The Aztec and Mayan drink used red peppers, which is seen in one of Glasse's recipes. Her other recipe was the sweeter version which the Dutch prefered. NYC traded with the Dutch island, Curacao, and exported a great amount of milled chocolate before the Revolution. The medicinal benefits persisted into the recipes of the mid 1800's with Rac-a-haut "for delicate persons" in Lea. In the early 1800's coffee gained precedence because chocolate was more expensive and until 1828, the serving process at the table was more elaborate for chocolate. The chocolate pot would have an extra hole in the top for the stirrer. For many centuries chocolate was used for drinks, rather then the candy bars we have today. John Cadbury, a Quaker, opened a coffee shop with tea and choc in 1824. Bakers Chocolate is the oldest remaining US company since 1780 when James Baker and partner opened a chocolate mill. "Drink up! Beverages in Early America, 1750-1850", a symposium held at George Mason U by the Fairfax County Park Authority on April 1, 2005 had knowledgeable speakers who covered numerous topics including chocolate. A grower from Bolivia spoke at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. He described how their morning drink was prepared, and said its effects would last until lunch while doing very hard work. He never heard of putting peppers in the drink, but used sugar and fresh milk.

Of Cacaos, 700, of white Sugar, one pound and a halfe, Cinnamon, 2. ounces; of long red pepper, 14, of Cloves, halfe an ounce: Three Cods of the Logwood or Campeche tree; or in steade of that, the weight of 2 Reals, or a shilling of Anniseeds; as much of Agiote, as will give it the colour, which is about the quantity of a Hasellnut. Some put in Almons, kernells of Nuts, and Orenge-flower-water.    1631


Dufour, Philippe Sylvestre. Traitez Nouveaux & Curieux du Café, du Thé et du Chocolate - The manner of Making Coffee, Tea & Chocolate. 1688 2d (1671)
Head, Brandon. The Food of the Gods: A Popular Account of Cocoa. London: 1903
Parloa, Maria. Chocolate And Cocoa Recipes. 1909
Knapp, Arthur W. Cocoa and Chocolate: Their History from Plantation to Consumer. London: 1920


The art of cookery made plain and easy. Hannah Glasse 1784 two types of chocolate drinks
The Italian Confectioner. William Alexis Jarrin. 1829
The cook's own book: being a complete culinary encyclopedia. N. K. M. Lee. 1832
Hale. The Good Housekeeper . 1839
Dalgairns. The Practice of Cookery. Scotland. 1840
Leslie. Directions for Cookery. 1840
Miss Beecher's Domestic Receipt Book . 1850
Collins. The Great Western Cook Book. 1857
Parkinson. The Complete Confectioner. 1864
Mrs. Goodfellow's Cookery as it should be. 1865
Peterson. The national cook book. 1866
The Dominion Home Cookbook. Toronto, 1868
Lea. Domestic Cookery. 1869
Croly. Jennie June's American Cookery Book. 1870
Presbyterian Cook Book. 1873
Henderson. Practical Cooking and Dinner Giving. 1877
Wilcox. Buckeye Cookery . 1877
Parloa. Miss Parloa's New Cook Book. 1882
Lincoln. Mrs. Lincoln's Boston Cook Book . 1884
Hearn. La Cuisine Creole. 1885
Corson. Miss Corson's Practical American Cookery. 1886
Gillette. White House Cook Book. 1887
Aunt Babette's Cook Book. 1889
Shuman. Favorite Dishes. 1893
Farmer. The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book .1896
The Neighborhood Cook Book.1912
Williams. Dishes and Beverages of the Old South. 1913

Chocolate - 18th Century receipts

Selected 18th Century receipts: Chocolate Puffs, Cream, Wine, 'Almonds', Tarts, Ice cream...

Articles and Web pages

Chocolate in Colonial America
History of Hot Chocolate
American Heritage Chocolate
Latin America: the lore & history of chocolate
History of Chocolate
Baker Chocolate Co.
Fry's Chocolate - Tour of a Chocolate and Cocoa Manufactory, 1884.
ICCO International Cocoa Organization
Field Museum. All about Chocolate. with Educator's resources
Medicinal Use of Chocolate in Early North America
A Brief History of Chocolate
Kakawa Chocolate House historic Elixor [cocoas]: 1644 Spanish; 1666 Italian; 1692 French; 1790 Jefferson...
Imhoff-Stollwerck Chocolate Museum / Schokoladenmuseum


Print of Chocolate factory by Diderot. 1762
Print of Grinding cocoa by de Blegny, 1687
Photo of Splitting Cocoa pods, 1896

Purchasing historical equipment

Chocolate pots & bean roaster

Smithsonian Folklife chocolate display
Past Holiday Recipes
Drinks page

©2006 Patricia Bixler Reber