Half pestle, half whisk, the molinillo has a singular focus: chocolate. Drinkable chocolate, specifically.
This ornately carved wooden utensil dates back some 400 years, its area of origin roughly the same - in what is now Mexico - as the native ground of the cacao tree. It improved upon the practice of pouring a chocolate drink from one cup to another, the traditional method of frothing the beverage.
To use: set the molinillo in a prepared glass or cup. Place it between your palms and whisk vigorously, breaking up the chocolate at the base and allowing the stem's rings to froth the liquid.