Molinillo or Chocolate Whisk


A molinillo is a whisk that was first produced by Spanish colonists in Mexico. They used the molinillo to stir and froth their chocolate drinks. Prior to Van Houten’s invention of the hydraulic press, chocolate contained a large amount of fat that was not soluble in water. A chocolate drink had to be continuously stirred in order to stay mixed. A small molinillo would have been used with an individual serving size cup. A large molinillo would have been used in a chocolate pot.

During the 18th century, the preparing, serving and consuming of chocolate and coffee became a ritualistic affair for the middle classes. While it had been popular with upper classes for a century earlier, the desire to mimic the upper classes led to a proliferation of utensils and serving ware to enhance the experience.

See more items in: Home and Community Life: Domestic Life, Food, American Enterprise, Domestic Furnishings

Exhibition: American Enterprise

Exhibition Location: National Museum of American History

Credit Line: Mars, Inc.

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: 2014.0015.05Catalog Number: 2014.0015.05Accession Number: 2014.0015

Object Name: stirrer

Physical Description: wood (overall material)Measurements: overall: 14 5/8 in x 1 1/4 in; 37.1475 cm x 3.175 cm


Record Id: nmah_1460191

Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.

If you would like to know how you can use content on this page, see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use. If you need to request an image for publication or other use, please visit Rights and Reproductions.