The Best Hot Chocolate Mixes

12/28/2011 10:30 am ET | Updated Feb 27, 2012

Photo Credit: Small Kitchen College

Hot chocolate may be one of the best things about winter. While you can drink hot chocolate year round, a warm, steamy cup of hot chocolate is best served when watching your favorite holiday film by the fire. Of course, hot chocolate is also the perfect dorm room drink -- particularly a necessary companion to finals studying! One of the best things about hot chocolate is that it is easy and convenient to prepare with the abundant array of mixes that are available -- simply add water or milk and microwave.

We've tested brands to find the best packs to keep around -- read on for our verdicts!

**SKC's Picks**

Best Marshmallow Mix
The perfect addition to hot chocolate: marshmallows! This Swiss Miss Marshmallow Lover's mix makes for a convenient drink - easy to prepare in a dorm room microwave, add the separate packet of marshmallows and voila, marshmallow heaven.

Best Frozen Hot Chocolate Mix
Recreate Serendipity's famed frozen hot chocolate drink at home with this mix. All you need is milk, ice and a blender. And maybe a toasty fire to sit by while you sip this frosty concoction. {Bonus: this makes a great gift for roomies and friends.}

Best Flavor-Infused Mix
A classic mug of hot chocolate is hard to beat, but hot chocolate flavored with peppermint or salted caramel is all the better. Willams-Sonama's peppermint and salted caramel hot chocolate mixes make for extraordinarily good drinking. This too could be gifted, preferably to a generous friend so you can also taste the deliciousness.

Best Mexican-Style Mix
Nestle's Abuelita mix is reasonably priced and available at most grocery stores. The Abuelita Mix is infused with real cinnamon for an authentic Mexican drink. Perfect to serve at your next fiesta with friends!

Best Splurge

Jacques Torres' hot chocolate mix is a little on the pricey side, but Mr. Chocolate doesn't use cocoa powder - only real chocolate - so you are in for a rich, decadent treat. Serve this drink in lieu of a traditional dessert at a holiday dinner.

— Caroline Ariail for Small Kitchen College

Caroline Ariail is a senior at the University of Georgia where she studies journalism. She prefers hot chocolate with lots of marshmallows and whipped cream!