As low temperatures gradually become the norm, fighting the impulse to embrace all things comforting and cozy can feel like an exercise in futility. For anyone with any soul at all, the turn towards life’s finest indulgences (i.e. 2000s teen television and hot chocolate) is simply an inevitability. Yet, as you revel in the refined joys of putting on your favorite pajamas and cocooning in your softest blankets — you may start to wonder if there’s something missing. You may ask yourself if there is something more that you could be doing. If your favorite things could, perhaps, be artfully combined so as to enhance the experience of both. You may find yourself looking for the perfect nostalgic television and hot chocolate pairings.
Much like wine and cheese, the interaction between television and hot chocolate is remarkably complex — and requires the carefully trained palette of a connoisseur. Rest assured, the following recommendations have been thoughtfully vetted so as to ensure the total escalation of both your viewing and tasting experiences.
1. Gossip Girl - French Hot Chocolate
The rich, luxurious, opulent qualities of le chocolat chaud align exceptionally well with the rich, luxurious, opulent lives led by the characters on Gossip Girl. Consisting of thick, creamy melted chocolate that is often dressed up with whipped cream and chocolate shavings, this beverage would make anyone on the Upper East Side jealous.
2. Gilmore Girls - Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate
The cozy fall show of all cozy fall shows — Gilmore Girls pairs best with a Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate. The only ingredients needed are pumpkin pie spice, cocoa powder, and milk. However, those looking to go above and beyond can add any combination of maple syrup, vanilla extract, cinnamon, chocolate chips, whipped cream, and marshmallows to make it as warm and flavorful as possible.
3. 90210 - Rose Hot Chocolate
Packed with love triangles and other complex intimate relationship dynamics, rose hot chocolate is the only variant quite romantic enough to match the 90210. The sweet, vibrant flavor is perfect for a series set against the backdrop of a Beverly Hills High School, and a beverage dressed up with decorative rose petals is precisely the type of thing Kelly Taylor would love.
4. Vampire Diaries - Spicy Hot Chocolate
Vampires love to drink blood. People love to drink hot chocolate. Blood is red. Chili peppers are red. By drinking a hot chocolate spiced up with chili powder and cinnamon, you are basically one of them. As far as beverages go, blood and hot chocolate do tend to be pretty disparate. But, if I had to name a hot chocolate that comes closest to bridging that massive gap, I’d say that spicy hot chocolate comes the closest.
5. One Tree Hill - Cinnamon Caramel Hot Chocolate
This combination of warm, classic flavors is everything that you need to bring yourself into the emotionally charged universe of Tree Hill, North Carolina. This show chronicles all the ups and downs associated with small town life, and this delightfully sweet yet spicy beverage mirrors the wonderful whole that emerges when drama and comfort combine.
6. Pretty Little Liars - Chai Hot Chocolate
Similarly pairing sweetness and spice, chai hot chocolate combines the best qualities of two beloved winter beverages. Fusing the herbal warmth associated with chai to hot chocolate’s sweet and creamy flavor, this beverage makes a great accompaniment to the thrilling yet sweet realities of the liars.
7. The O.C. - Orange Hot Chocolate
Pairing orange hot chocolate with a series set in Orange County may seem a bit on the nose, but hear me out. Beyond that one direct parallel, the zesty flavors of citrus notes genuinely do align with the sun drenched dramatic plots seen on the show. The O.C. fully realizes a bright yet emotionally charged image of adolescence, and orange hot chocolate is the edible incarnation of this same idea.
8. The Carrie Diaries - Peppermint Hot Chocolate
The lively chronicle of Carrie Bradshaw’s teen origin story is filled with sweet moments, youthful energy, and a struggle for balance — just like peppermint hot chocolate. This beverage pairs the cool taste of peppermint with the heat of hot chocolate and brings back memories of holiday seasons past.
9. Glee - Unicorn Hot Chocolate
The quintessential maximalist of the hot chocolate world, unicorn hot chocolate sings a pop-inspired melody of pastel colored white chocolate and rainbow marshmallows. The bold, whimsical flavors of this beverage are the perfect pairing to this classic depiction of highschool glee.
10. Degrassi - Lavender Hot Chocolate
For the characters on Degrassi, growing up is a long and trying effort to navigate the complex personal challenges that accompany the transition to adulthood. These characters are really put through it. As a result, you may find the soothing floral notes of a nice lavender hot chocolate just the thing you need to remind you that it will, in fact, all be ok.