Chocolate milk is a sweetened, cocoa-flavored milk drink. It can be purchased pre-mixed or made at home with either cocoa powder and a sweetener (such as sugar), or with melted chocolate, chocolate syrup, or chocolate milk mix. Other ingredients, such as starch, salt, carrageenan, vanilla, or artificial flavoring, may be added. Chocolate milk should be refrigerated like plain milk.
There are many brands of chocolate milk available in pre-mixed packages, including bottles and cartons. Some Swiss brands like Ovaltine can be either heated up or consumed cold. It is also possible to make chocolate milk by pouring milk in a glass, adding chocolate syrup, and stirring.
A variant of chocolate milk are candy-bar themed pre-mixed drinks, which claim to mimic the flavors of popular candy bars such as Milky Way, 3 Musketeers, or Snickers. Other variants include a lactose-free version may also be made using lactose-free milk and flavorings, organic chocolate milk (made with organic milk, organic cocoa, and organic cane syrup), and chocolate soy milk.
Chocolate supplies oxalic acid, which reacts with the calcium in the milk producing calcium oxalate, thus preventing the calcium from being absorbed in the intestine. However, it is present in small enough amounts that the effect on calcium absorption is negligible.
In the U.S., most school lunch programs provide both white and pre-mixed chocolate milk as beverage choices, sometimes in plastic bags or milk cartons. New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin used chocolate milk as a metaphor for racial integration after his Chocolate City speech. In a recent study done in schoolboards across Canada, chocolate milk was the most popular drink among children between the ages of five and ten. In 2007, the University of Washington Huskies football team began experimenting with chocolate milk and offering it alongside popular drinks such as Gatorade.