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When Is National Hot Chocolate Day?
Blog / Hot Chocolate / When Is National Hot Chocolate Day?

When Is National Hot Chocolate Day?

In the midst of the chilly British winter, there's nothing quite like wrapping your hands around a warm mug of hot chocolate, feeling the steam caress your face and the rich, velvety liquid melt away the cold.

But did you know there's an entire day dedicated to celebrating this indulgent beverage?

That's right, there is an unofficial National Hot Chocolate Day!

When is National Hot Chocolate Day in the UK?

In the UK, no specific "National Hot Chocolate Day" is officially recognised.

However, many Brits often align with the international calendar, acknowledging the 31st of January as the day to celebrate this rich and comforting beverage.

Given the British penchant for a warm drink to stave off the cold, every chilly day could arguably be a perfect hot chocolate day!

If you're seeking an excuse to indulge, you can join in the global festivities at the end of January or choose any winter day to raise a mug to this timeless treat.

Related Post: When is International World Chocolate Day?

What is National Hot Chocolate Day?

National Hot Chocolate Day is an informal celebration dedicated to honouring one of the most comforting and cherished beverages: hot chocolate.

Though it's not an official holiday, it's warmly embraced by many across the globe, including some folks in the UK, as a day to indulge in this rich and creamy drink.

The day encourages chocolate enthusiasts to revel in their favourite hot cocoa recipes, experiment with new flavours, or simply take a moment to enjoy a steaming mug with friends and family.

While its origins are a tad unclear, the sentiment behind the day is crystal: It's all about savouring the simple pleasure of a good cup of hot chocolate and appreciating the warmth and comfort it brings, especially during the chillier months.

Related Post: How to Heat Milk For Hot Chocolate

What is a Good Way to Celebrate National Hot Chocolate Day?

Celebrating National Hot Chocolate Day offers the perfect excuse to indulge in the comforting embrace of this delightful beverage, especially during the UK's colder months.

If you're looking for inspiration on how to mark the occasion, here are some quintessentially British ways to toast to this special day:

  • Classic Hot Chocolate: Begin with a basic recipe: warm milk, good quality cocoa or chocolate, and perhaps a touch of sugar. This classic version is perfect for purists who savour the genuine taste of cocoa.

  • Toppings Galore: Elevate your hot chocolate with whipped cream, marshmallows, a dusting of cocoa, or even a sprinkle of cinnamon or nutmeg. A splash of your favourite liqueur, like Baileys or Cointreau, can add a grown-up twist for those feeling adventurous.

  • Try a New Recipe: Explore variations like white chocolate cocoa, peppermint hot chocolate, or even a spicy chilli-infused version. The UK has a plethora of artisanal chocolate brands, so sourcing unique flavours to experiment with should be a delightful endeavour.

  • Host a Hot Chocolate Gathering: Invite friends or family over for a cosy evening in. Lay out a hot chocolate bar with various ingredients and toppings, allowing guests to customise their drinks. Accompany with some classic British biscuits or scones.

  • Visit a Local Café: Many local coffee shops and cafes might mark the occasion with special hot chocolate blends or offers. Head to your favourite spot or discover a new one to enjoy a professionally made cocoa treat.

  • Watch a Film with a Mug in Hand: Nothing beats the comfort of a warm blanket, a good film, and a steaming mug of hot chocolate. Choose a classic British film or a heartwarming favourite to set the mood.

  • Make It a Charitable Occasion: Why not spread the warmth? Prepare a batch of hot chocolate and share it with those in need, or host a small fundraiser where proceeds from selling cups of cocoa go to a local charity.

  • Get Crafty: If you're creatively inclined, use the day as inspiration to craft — from handmade hot chocolate-themed cards to knitted cocoa mug cosies.

  • Outdoor Adventure: If the weather allows, take a flask of hot chocolate on a brisk walk in the countryside or to your local park. The contrast between the cool air and the warm drink can be incredibly refreshing.

Whatever way you choose to celebrate, the key is to relish the comforting embrace of the drink and the moments of warmth and connection it can foster.

After all, National Hot Chocolate Day is as much about the shared experience as it is about the cocoa itself.

Related: Who First Invented Hot Chocolate?

How to Make Delicious Homemade Hot Chocolate

Celebrating National Hot Chocolate Day with a delectable homemade brew is a delightful treat, especially when the British weather calls for something warm and comforting.

Here's a classic yet indulgent recipe to make your very own hot chocolate that'll rival even the best café concoctions:


  • 500ml whole milk (for an extra creamy texture, you can substitute 100ml with double cream).
  • 100g good-quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids work best).
  • 2-3 tablespoons caster sugar (adjust to your preference).
  • A pinch of salt.
  • Optional: 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract or a drop of your favourite liqueur for added flavour.
  • Toppings: whipped cream, marshmallows, cocoa powder, or a sprinkle of grated chocolate.


  • Prep the Chocolate: Break the dark chocolate into small pieces so it melts more easily.

  • Warm the Milk: In a saucepan, gently heat the milk (and cream, if using) over a low to medium flame. You want it warm but not boiling.

  • Melting Magic: Once the milk is warmed through, reduce the heat and add the broken chocolate pieces to the saucepan. Stir continuously until the chocolate has melted entirely into the milk.

  • Sweeten to Taste: Add the caster sugar and a pinch of salt, and stir until dissolved. For those with a sweeter tooth, adjust the sugar to your liking.

  • Flavour Boost (Optional): If you're using vanilla extract or a liqueur like Baileys or Amaretto, add it now and give it a good stir.

  • Serve in Style: Pour your hot chocolate into pre-warmed mugs. Finish with a generous dollop of whipped cream, a few marshmallows, a sprinkle of cocoa powder or some grated chocolate on top.

  • Enjoy the Comfort: Cradle your mug, breathe in the chocolaty aroma, take a sip, and let the rich, velvety hot chocolate warm you from the inside out.

Expert Tip: Choose high-quality chocolate with a high cocoa content for the richest flavour.

For an extra layer of indulgence, you can infuse your milk with a cinnamon stick or a vanilla pod while warming, removing it before adding the chocolate.

With this simple yet indulgent recipe, you can create moments of cocoa-infused bliss in your own kitchen.

It's the perfect way to mark National Hot Chocolate Day or any day when you crave a touch of warmth and sweetness.

Related Post: Cacao Fruit

What Can You Add to Your National Hot Chocolate Day Treat?

Ah, hot chocolate – a classic British comfort, perfect for those nippy evenings and drizzly afternoons.

But if you're keen to jazz up your regular cocoa, there's a wealth of delightful additions to elevate your drink to new indulgent heights.

Here are some tasty suggestions:

  • Flavour Infusions:

    • Vanilla: A drop or two of vanilla extract can enhance the natural flavours of the chocolate.
    • Mint: A few fresh mint leaves or a splash of mint extract offers a refreshing twist.
    • Orange: Orange zest or a small splash of orange liqueur (like Cointreau or Grand Marnier) pairs beautifully with chocolate.
    • Cinnamon & Spices: A cinnamon stick, a pinch of nutmeg, or even a hint of ground ginger can evoke those warm, festive feels.
  • Creamy Additions:

    • Double Cream: Add a swirl for an ultra-rich texture.
    • Nut Butter: A spoonful of almond, hazelnut, or even peanut butter can lend a creamy, nutty twist.
  • Boozy Boosts: For the adults, a shot of your favourite spirit can take your hot chocolate up a notch:

    • Baileys: For a creamy Irish touch.
    • Rum: Spiced or dark varieties work well.
    • Whisky: Especially a smooth Scotch or a peaty one for a smoky hint.
    • Kahlúa: Coffee and chocolate? A winning combo!
  • Sweet Enhancements:

    • Maple Syrup or Honey: Natural sweeteners can add depth.
    • Caramel or Toffee Sauce: Drizzle on top or stir into your drink for a sumptuous treat.
  • Texture Treats:

    • Marshmallows: A classic topping, they melt into a fluffy, sweet layer.
    • Whipped Cream: A generous dollop on top is always a hit.
    • Grated Chocolate or Cocoa Powder: For an added chocolatey touch.
    • Crushed Biscuits: A sprinkle of crumbled Digestives, Hobnobs, or even Bourbons can be delicious.
  • Coffee Kick:

    • Espresso Shot: Combining hot chocolate with coffee creates a delightful mocha.
  • Fruit Accents:

    • Berries: A few fresh raspberries or strawberries on top can add a tart contrast.
    • Coconut: Either as coconut milk or a sprinkle of desiccated coconut for a tropical twist.

What is the History of National Hot Chocolate Day?

National Hot Chocolate Day is one of those joyous celebrations that many eagerly anticipate, especially during the colder months.

However, its origins are a bit murky, and its history isn't as well-documented as other food or drink-related holidays. Here's what we do know:

  • Origins of Hot Chocolate: While the day might not have a lengthy history, it surely does. The drink dates back thousands of years to the ancient Mayans and Aztecs. These civilisations consumed a much different version, often a cold, frothy beverage made of crushed cocoa beans, water, and spices. It was considered a drink of the elite and was used in sacred ceremonies.

  • Introduction to Europe: Spanish explorers, particularly Hernán Cortés, are credited with bringing the cocoa bean back to Europe in the early 16th century. It wasn't long before the drink underwent a transformation, with sugar, milk, and other ingredients added to match the European palate. The beverage was first served cold but soon gained popularity as a hot drink among the European elite.

  • Commercial Celebrations: Like many food and beverage 'days', National Hot Chocolate Day may have been established by companies or organisations within the food and drink industry as a marketing or promotional tool. These types of days often gain traction thanks to the support of brands, retailers, and the media.

  • Growing Popularity: While the exact date of inception for National Hot Chocolate Day remains uncertain, it has been observed for several years, primarily in the United States. Its popularity has since spread to other countries, including the UK, where any excuse to celebrate and indulge in a warming drink, especially during winter, is heartily embraced.

  • Modern Celebrations: Nowadays, the day is marked by cafes and restaurants offering special deals or unique hot chocolate flavours, individuals crafting their own homemade brews, and a general outpouring of appreciation on social media.

So, while National Hot Chocolate Day might not have the deep historical roots that the drink itself boasts, it serves as a modern reminder of the timeless appeal and global affection for hot chocolate.

Whether it's to commemorate its ancient significance or simply to savour its delicious warmth, raising a mug on this day is a delightful nod to a beverage that has traversed cultures and centuries.

Related Post: Is Hot Chocolate Good For a Sore Throat?

Where Can You Buy Chocolate to Make Homemade Hot Chocolate?

Creating the perfect indulgent hot chocolate begins with sourcing the finest quality chocolate, and there’s no better place than the trusted Whitakers Chocolates.

Founded in 1889, our family-run Yorkshire-based company has been delighting Brits with our superior chocolate offerings for generations.

Our product, Easymelt, is a game-changer for hot chocolate enthusiasts.

Easymelt is a high cocoa percentage dark chocolate couverture specifically crafted for ease of melting.

With its rich, robust flavour profile and smooth consistency, it provides an excellent base for making luxurious hot chocolate at home.

The high percentage of cocoa solids ensures an intense, authentic chocolate taste, making it a perfect choice for hot chocolate lovers seeking an indulgent experience.

So where can you buy this brilliant product?

Whitakers Chocolates’ Easymelt is available to buy here

Some Notes From an Expert Chocolatier

As an experienced chocolatier, I’ve spent many years perfecting the art of chocolate making and learning to appreciate the nuances of flavour and texture that make the difference between good and extraordinary chocolate.

When it comes to treats like hot chocolate, my philosophy is simple – if you’re going to indulge, make sure it’s worth every calorie!

The base should be top-quality real chocolate, like the Easymelt from Whitakers Chocolates.

Its high cocoa percentage and ease of melting make it an excellent choice for creating a rich, luxurious base for your hot chocolate.

I always recommend using full-fat or oat milk when making hot chocolate.

These lend an extra creaminess to the drink, enhancing the velvety texture and rich taste.

Simply melt the chocolate in a small amount of warm milk, stirring until it’s smooth and glossy, and then gradually whisk in the rest of your milk.

And for that final flourish?

I am a firm believer in the magic of grated chocolate and mini marshmallows.

Grating a little chocolate on top adds an extra layer of indulgence and a beautiful visual touch, while the marshmallows provide a delightful sweetness and a fun, playful texture contrast as they slowly melt into the drink.

Final Notes On National Hot Chocolate Day

National Hot Chocolate Day, whilst a relatively modern festivity, provides a delightful opportunity to recognise and celebrate a beverage steeped in history, culture, and tradition.

From its ancient Mesoamerican origins to its luxurious transformation in European courts, hot chocolate has withstood the test of time, continually adapting to the palates and preferences of each era.

This day has been warmly embraced in the UK, where the weather often calls for a warming cuppa.