11. The Aztec emperor Montezuma II drank 50 cups of hot chocolate a day
We have already made mention of the Aztec ruler Montezuma II when recounting how he served Hernán Cortés with chocolate in 1519. But beyond the importance of chocolate to Aztec culture, where it had a similarly divine status as in the earlier Mayan, it is also worth mentioning Montezuma’s personal penchant for the drink. According to legend, he drank 50 cups a day, and more when he was entertaining a woman. Our old friend Bernal Diaz explained that ‘it was said that it gave one power over women’, though quite why a ruler with a harem needed that is unclear.
Montezuma drank his chocolate from a golden goblet. Allegedly, he would habitually enjoy this from his balcony overlooking a lake in Tenochtitlan, and simply fling the vessel in the water once he had finished the chocolate. He never drank from the same vessel twice, and such profligacy doubtless contributed to the enduring legend of El Dorado, the city made of gold. Unlike the Mayan Civilization, chocolate in the Aztec Civilization was a commodity reserved only for the elite, and thought to be aphrodisiac, so these stories may be exaggerations to make Montezuma’s wealth and sexual prowess seem all the greater.