4:37am, restate my assumptions:
- Conventional supermarket hot chocolate of various sorts (ie Milo, Bournvita, Cadbury Drinking Chocolate, etc) are fairly inexpensive per packet, but contain such high quantities of powdery substrate (grit, chalk, soluble fiber, sawdust), that you need to shovel it into the mug with a table spoon in order to taste the low quantities of third rate chocolate that they put into it;
- More classy brands of drinking chocolate merely alter the ratios of soluble grit to chocolate and flavouring essences, but don't entirely eliminate the scrapple, and charge a premium for it. Even the Cadbury brand that's entirely shaved chocolate is just dairy milk shavings in a tin, sold at three times the price of a block of chocolate;
- Hot chocolate is, in it's quintessential form, chocolate dissolved in a hot liquid. Things like sweeteners, milk (flat or frothy), flavouring essences, malt and marshmallows are things you add afterward to taste.
I'm currently making hot chocolate using packets of dark chocolate buttons purchased from the baking section of the supermarket. The trouble with this stuff is that it still contains an appreciable amount of sugar and milk solids, but it's cheap enough to experiment with for the time being; later on when I've perfected the technique, I'll switch to using chocolate with high concentrations of the cocoa solids that tend to be found in gourmet shops, so that I can cater for both my sweet tooth, and friends who consider anything less than 80% cocoa to be for lightweights.
I start by adding six of the chocolate buttons to the bottom of a mug and place it on one of our halogen ceramic hot plates on medium heat, while the kettle boils. This pre-melts the chocolate and heats up the mug, so that precious joules of energy contained in the hot water from the kettle doesn't get lost to the room while melting the chocolate. Melting the buttons with the hot water from the kettle itself tends to give you a warm chocolate, which isn't nearly as good on a cold night (though you do loose the visceral pleasure of scooping out molten chocolate syrup from the bottom of the mug with your fingers, afterward).
You do have to be careful not to burn the chocolate; I find the little bit of warm water tends to speed up the melting process and a little stirring helps prevent the burning just by making sure you're paying attention, if nothing else.
I then add hot water from the kettle to coffee levels, add about a pipette full of natural vanilla essence, milk, and a few Windsor Bake Mallows (rather than so called drinking marshmallows, which are, basically, arse).
Obviously there is considerable scope for further research — combinations of the hardest of the hardcore dark chocolate and various sweeteners, different flavouring essences, frothy milk, malt, cream, sprinkles, etc, etc.
(Seminars are usually held during Bordello Mystery Theatre nights.)