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Hot chocolate Bicerin

The spiritual predecessor of the mocha.

An elegant, layered sipper created in Turin, Italy, about 300 years ago, bicerin means “little glass” and is traditionally served in a small, stemmed glass. You’ll need an espresso machine, ideally, but a Moka pot or similar stovetop espresso maker would also work. Be sure to use the highest-quality chocolate you can.


  • 3 1/2 oz. (by volume) half-and-half or alternative milk
  • 1 oz. (by volume) melted chocolate
  • 1/2 oz. simple syrup (1:1)
  • double shot of espresso
  • Glass:small stemmed or wine (make sure it's tempered)
  • Garnish:shaved chocolate (or a dusting of cocoa powder)


Pour the melted chocolate into the bottom of a small (6 oz.) stemmed glass. Pour the half-and-half and simple syrup into a steaming tin and use the steam wand on your espresso maker to heat and froth. (Alternately, heat the liquid in a microwave or small saucepan until steaming, then froth with a milk frother.) Slowly pour the frothy milk on top of the chocolate—it will sit on top of the chocolate, without blending.

Meanwhile, pull a shot of espresso (a double is best, but a single will also work), or prepare espresso on a stovetop maker. Slowly pour the espresso into the middle of the foamed dairy so that it layers itself below the foam, which will rise to the top.

Note: Melting a small amount of chocolate can be accomplished in a microwave, but go slowly and stir often, because chocolate burns easily. Run the microwave for about 10 seconds at a time, checking the chocolate after each run and stirring to help it melt uniformly.

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