Chocolate milk’s story has been up for debate for centuries. Some historians insist that an Irish physician and botanist named Sir Hans Sloane is to thank for the delightful libation. The Natural History Museum in London claims that, when visiting Jamaica in the late 17th century, the doctor was offered cocoa to drink but found the taste to be “nauseous,” so he mixed it with milk. When his quest came to an end, Sloane brought the healthy, “new” recipe back with him to England, where it eventually was sold as medicine at apothecaries.
However, despite what the records show, Sloane technically cannot be given credit as the inventor of chocolate milk. The Dairy Alliance states that, way back in 1494, when Christopher Columbus arrived at the tropical islands, the people of Jamaica were whipping up beverages brewed with cocoa shavings, milk, and cinnamon. This theory has been expounded by James Delbourgo, a historian and researcher from Duke University, in a 2011 essay (via Smithsonian Magazine). In other words, Sloane borrowed the chocolate milk formula from the Jamaicans.