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Reviews > Food > Energy Bars and Drinks > Clif Bar > Clif Shot Hot Recovery Drink > Test Report by Ernie Elkins

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Clif Shot
Hot Chocolate
Recovery Protein-Enhanced Drink

Test Series by Ernie Elkins

Initial Report: January 24, 2008
Long Term Report: May 17, 2008

Personal Information
Name: Ernie Elkins
Age: 35
Gender: Male
Height: 5'9" (1.75 m)
Weight: 130 lb (59 kg)
E-Mail Address:
Location: Denver, North Carolina, USA
I've been an avid hiker and backpacker since the late 80s. In a typical month, I spend two to three days in the field, and I usually travel 10-20 miles (16-32 km) per day. I prefer to travel light: my base pack weight (excluding consumables) averages about 8 lb (3.6 kg) in summer and 12 lb (5.4 kg) in winter.

Initial Report
January 24, 2008

Product Specifications

Manufacturer: Clif Bar & Co.
Year of Manufacture: 2008
Manufacturer's Website:
MSRP: Not Provided
Listed Weight: 1.5 oz (40 g)
Measured Weight (Packaged): 1.5 oz (40 g)
Product Description

The Clif Shot Hot Chocolate Recovery Protein-Enhanced Drink is one of a new line of instant, hot beverages from Clif Bar & Co. that, in their words, “combine performance-enhancing nutrition with class hot drink flavors.” Here’s what they say about the Hot Chocolate drink on the Clif Bar website: “After hard training or racing, you‘re likely a little dehydrated and low on energy. With carbohydrates, protein, and amino acids to help rebuild muscle glycogen stores, and anti-oxidants (Vitamins A, C, E, and Green Tea extract) to help boost your immune system, CLIF SHOT Recovery will help you bounce back fast.”

The Hot Chocolate drink mix is packaged in a single-serve foil pouch. There’s a notch for opening near the top, left corner. The product itself is a fine powder that, according to the usage instructions, should be mixed with 8 oz. (0.25 l) of hot water (not boiling) or, “for richer taste and more protein,” it may be mixed with soy, rice, or dairy-based milks. For best results, they recommend that it should be consumed immediately following activity. It’s also worth noting that it contains 87% organic ingredients.

Ingredients: Organic Evaporated Cane Juice, Organic Brown Rice Syrup Solids, Whey Protein Isolate (Contains Soy Lecithin), Natural Flavors, L-Glutamine, Salt, Dicalcium Phosphate, Arginine, Dipotassium Phosphate, Magnesium Oxide, Ascorbic Acid (Vit. C), Valine, Isoleucine, Guar/Xanthan Gum, Green Tea Extract (Decaffeinated), D-Alpha Tocopheryl Succinate (Vit. E), Beta Carotene (Vit. A), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vit. B6).

Nutrition Facts

Nutrition Facts courtesy of Clif Bar & Co. website at

Initial Impressions
Although I won't be able to evaluate the performance aspect of the Hot Chocolate until I’ve put in hard day in the backcountry, I thought a trial run would be in order. The packet was easy to open thanks to the notch on the side. I then added the powder to 8 ounces (0.25 l) of hot water (not boiling) as instructed. It appeared to dissolve completely after about 10-15 seconds of vigorous stirring, but I did notice a little sludge in the bottom of the cup after finishing it. The resulting beverage has the rich, dark brown color and slightly frothy surface that I associate with hot chocolate. Although not as sweet as the typical instant hot chocolate mix, the Clif Shot Hot Chocolate tastes quite good. It has a nice, rich chocolaty flavor even when mixed in water, and there’s no unpleasant aftertaste or undertone that suggests “sports drink.” I should have no trouble downing a cup of this after a long, cold day in the woods. Some miniature marshmallows would be nice, though!
Test Plan

In the coming months, I'll be testing the Hot Apple Cider while hiking and backpacking in a variety of state parks and national forests in the Carolinas. Here are some of the questions that I’ll attempt to answer:

  • Especially after long days on the trail, will the Hot Chocolate help me bounce back quickly?
  • Will I continue to enjoy the flavor?
  • Will the packaging be as easy to open in the field as it was initially, especially when my hands are cold and I’m wearing gloves?
  • Will I continue to have good results when mixing the powder with liquids?
  • Will the packaging be as easy to open in the field as it was initially, especially when my hands are cold and I’m wearing gloves?
My initial impression of the Clif Shot Recovery Hot Chocolate is quite favorable, and I look forward to testing it in the coming months. I’ll post my conclusions in late April, so please check back then for my final report on this very intriguing product.

Long Term Report
May 17, 2008

Test Locations & Conditions

Over the last several months, I’ve consumed Clif Bar's Hot Chocolate on two day hikes and three backpacking trips for a total of nine days in the field. My destinations were all in North Carolina and included two state parks (Lake Norman and Crowder’s Mountain), the Black Mountains, and the Linville Gorge Wilderness Area. The terrain varied from gentle in the state parks to steep and rugged in the Blacks and Linville Gorge, and I traveled about 10 miles (16 km) per day while backpacking and 13.5 miles (22 km) per day while day hiking. Daytime temperatures ranged from the 30’s to the 70’s F (0 to 24 C).


During the test period, I’ve ended each day of hiking and backpacking with a cup of Clif Bar’s Hot Chocolate, and it’s a practice I’ve come to thoroughly enjoy. The flavor is rich and satisfying (I’ve continued to appreciate the fact that it’s not overly sweet), and it does seem to help me recover and bounce back after a hard day on the trail. The process of making and drinking it (slowly, of course, because it’s hot) is in and of itself relaxing, so some of the effect may be psychological. Regardless, the result is worthwhile.

The mechanics of making a cup of Hot Chocolate have proven to be relatively trouble-free. The package is easy to tear open, and I’ve yet to spill the drink mix. There’s a lot of it to fit in the mug, though, and it doesn’t help that I use a small mug that barely accommodates it all. It takes a minute or so of careful stirring to dissolve the mix in hot water, but it does mix reasonably thoroughly. There are usually a few small clumps floating on top that failed to dissolve fully, but that’s a relatively minor issue.

Unfortunately, as the weather has grown warmer, the Hot Chocolate has grown less palatable at the end of the day. It’s not that I like the flavor any less. Rather, a rich, hot beverage just doesn’t go down well once the mercury hits the 70’s F (21 to 26 C).


I’ve thoroughly enjoyed testing Clif Bar’s Hot Chocolate. It’s a great way to wrap up a day on the trail, but it’s definitely better suited to colder conditions. The richness that makes it so satisfying in cooler weather makes it considerably less appetizing when I’m sweating rather than shivering.

Read more gear reviews by Ernie Elkins

Reviews > Food > Energy Bars and Drinks > Clif Bar > Clif Shot Hot Recovery Drink > Test Report by Ernie Elkins

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