Deceptively simple looking yet a party for your palate, Mexican hot chocolate is a thing of wonder. The Aztecs drank it without sugar (there was no sugar here before the Spanish arrived, only honey and fruit nectar), but it was still considered so stimulating that the drink was reserved for nobility. Commoners were only allowed to taste it on very special occasions.

In Morelia, Mexico this past weekend we had a great dinner of Michoacan food at Meson Agustinos, then got down to the business of what the place is really famous for: the hot chocolate. As you can see from the menu board, you can order it several different ways.

We went for the version named after the restaurant, semi-sweet with milk. No the cup pictured at the top of this post is not empty—the creamy foam on the top is white. Of course it was delightful, real rich chocolate, whole milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and a bit of chili pepper, all mixed until frothy with a wooden whisk called a molinillo.

Might as well go all the way when sampling this, so it was accompanied by an order of churros with more chocolate on top. Yum!

If you have a Mexican grocery where you live—and there are few U.S. towns that don’t anymore—look for chocolate sold in discs, sometimes in the baking section. This is what they use to make Mexican hot chocolate. If you don’t have a whisk, just put it all in the blender. Look out though as you may get spoiled. After trying this it’s hard to go back to water+powder from a packet and still think that qualifies as hot chocolate.