How can you rate hot chocolate? Start with, Do you like chocolate? Milk or dark? Hershey's vs. Swiss or Belgian (there is a difference)? Well, just as I prefer 1-2 ounces of good espresso to 1 gallon of regular restaurant drip coffee, I prefer a small amount of very rich dark chocolate made with whole milk (or cream). 3 tablespoons of chocolate powder with sugar in 4-6 ounces of milk. thick. Potent. Delicious. Try MariBelle Aztec or Barefoot Contessa Hot chocolate mix. Or, if you want to splurge, go to Florence, Italy and on the Piazza della Signoria try the hot chocolate at Rivoire and bring back a bag of mix. Ok, I just had the best hot chocolate I've had in the USA. Lilly's chocolates in the Tremont area of Cleveland makes a hot chocolate with the finest chocolate-melted chunks-not powder, some spice, and cream. Worth the trip.
I don't think there's anything that can beat out hot chocolate as the perfect fall and wintertime beverage that isn't alcoholic. Personally, I prefer my hot chocolate with cayenne pepper sprinkled in it, as I think the heat enhances the sweetness of the chocolate.
It's chocolate, and it's hot! What more do you need to know? It's great after a hard outdoor winter activity, but I find in a lot of cases you need to ignore the serving size and just really dump in the hot chocolate mix in order to get the real chocolate taste. Otherwise it doesn't taste like chocolate, but like hot water that happens to be flavored like chocolate.