$1,000 Prize for the Barista with the Best Ghirardelli Hot Cocoa Recipe

Ghirardelli Hot Cocoa Challenge Feature Image

Four baristas have reimagined what hot cocoa drinks can be for the Ghirardelli Hot Cocoa Challenge; now you can pick the winner!


Step to the side, pumpkin spice lattes and gingerbread cappuccinos—how about some original hot cocoa recipes to brighten your fall and winter menus?

A mug with hot cocoa inside and whipped cream and chocolate chips on top.
The four participants were asked to create unique takes on a hot cocoa.

We asked four outstanding baristas from across the United States to develop creative recipes using Ghirardelli’s Premium Hot Cocoa as their inspiration, and they knocked the challenge out of the park!

Launched today at Barista Magazine’s Instagram, the Ghirardelli Hot Cocoa Challenge finds these four baristas’ drink recipes and photos of the completed drinks, along with the coffee professionals’ inspiration for their creations. Which one sounds the best? You’re the judge!

Ghirardelli premium hot cocoa mix with peppermint next to a and regular hot cocoa mix package.
Baristas were given the choice to use Ghirardelli Premium Hot Cocoa and/or Peppermint Hot Cocoa for their recipes.

That’s right: You can cast a “vote” for your favorite by liking that drink post. Or heck, vote for more than one—all votes go toward determining the winner of the top prize: $1,000! Don’t worry—this challenge is fun-spirited, which means all four participants are winners: Second place wins $500, and third- and fourth-place winners receive $200 each.

Just remember: Only votes/likes cast at @baristamagazine on Instagram count toward the participants’ totals. We’ve encouraged participants to campaign for their drinks with their café customers, family, friends, grocery store clerk—you name it! But only votes/likes to their drinks at Barista Magazine’s Instagram will count.

A mug with hot cocoa inside and whipped cream on top.
The barista participants in the Ghirardelli Hot Cocoa Challenge were asked to reimagine what that quintessential holiday drink could be.

To read the official contest rules, go here. And then go to Barista Magazine’s Instagram to check out the drinks for yourselves and vote for your favorite!


Out now: It’s the October + November 2023 issue of Barista Magazine! Read for free with our digital edition. And for more than three years’ worth of issues, visit our digital archives here.

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