The Best Cups of Hot Chocolate in NYC
Look, we’re not exactly looking forward to arctic-level winds and that deceptively cheery-sounding moniker “wintry mix.” But as we move away from pumpkin spice lattes and sweater weather and into full-on puffer coat season, we will take any excuse to pick up our favorite hand- warmer: a piping-hot cup of cocoa. Ahead, the city’s best, from unexpected renditions to classics with a kick.
1. Daily Provisions
Made with Guanaja Dark Chocolate 70%, Bahibe Milk Chocolate 46% and Guittard Chocolate Ganache, this delicious seasonal treat tastes of rich chocolate with a hint of cinnamon and vanilla, and is topped with whipped cream and Daily Provisions’ house-made vanilla marshmallow. You can also have it made with any non-dairy milk option (oat, almond, soy).
2. Breads Bakery
Chot Chocolate = “Chot” for “Challah Hot,” since this chocolaty sipper comes with a slice of challah. Breads Bakery’s super-rich hot chocolate is a mix of cocoa powder, sugar, whole milk, half-and-half and a pinch of salt. Topped with dark chocolate crumbles and served with sesame challah. Available at Union Square, Lincoln Center, Bryant Park and Time Out Market locations.
3. Levain Bakery
While most known for their over-the-top, ooey-gooey cookies, Levain Bakery is taking a more minimal approach with their hot chocolate. They use just two ingredients: a generous amount of Valrhona dark chocolate (shaved by hand daily), blended with dairy, oat or almond milk until frothy and rich. It’s the perfect dipping vessel for their cookies and pastries, because what better way to warm up on a chilly day than with baked goods and molten chocolate?
Mocha lovers can also request a shot or two of espresso, and those who enjoy cold drinks year-round can have theirs served over ice.
351 Amsterdam Ave; or levainbakery.com
4. Van Leeuwen
The popular ice cream joint’s version of hot cocoa is something you can feel good sipping. It’s made with cocoa powder from the Republica del Cacao, which uses direct-trade Ecuadorian chocolate from small, sustainable family farms. It can be made with dairy milk or non-dairy milk for the non-vegans and vegans.
20 Hudson Yards; or vanleeuwenicecream.com
5. Sunday In Brooklyn
The High Hot Violet is a sip with a boozy kick—but it’s more traditional than you’d think. Made with green Chartreuse, amaretto, beet, almond and milk chocolate, this spiked hot chocolate is actually very classic of French Alps ski lodges, where the drink is referred to as Verte Chaud.
Brian Evans, director of bars at SIB says, “Chocolate and beets also pair wonderfully, and with a bit of amaretto, the end result is herbaceous and cozy, with a familiar Black Forest–like flavor.”
6. Good Enough to Eat and Harvest Kitchen Hot Chocolate
Nothing is more seasonal than hot cocoa and peppermint—and this cocoa collaboration between two sister restaurants has a ton of each. This thick, chocolaty blend of cocoa and vanilla has a graham cracker rim, is topped with toasted marshmallows and has a chocolate swirl garnish topped with even more chocolate syrup. It can also be ordered as a spiked hot chocolate with a shot of Godiva chocolate liqueur. Oh, and it’s available at both Upper West Side restaurant locations.
The famed café known for their fresh Colombian beans is now in the hot cocoa game—and it’s just as incredible as their coffee. Devoción’s decadent hot “drinking” chocolate is made in partnership with L.A. Burdick Chocolate, primarily from Criollo and Trinitario cocoa beans, sourced from the finest cocoa growing regions in South America and the Caribbean. Melted into steamy frothed milk, it’s the perfect kick-back-and-relax treat. They also offer an Omanhene Hot Chocolate, a sweeter, less heavy hot chocolate that is perfect for kids or adults. (Psst: That hot chocolate base can also be used as the base for a mocha latte if you request it!)
25 East 20th Street, New York; devocion.com
8. The Standard, East Village and Highline
Enjoy a Super Dark Hot Chocolate in a yurt (seriously) in The Garden at The Standard East Village. This “super dark” chocolate mix is made in-house with Valrhona Caraibe, dark chocolate, sugar, cocoa powder, a dash of salt and whole milk. The mug is topped off with homemade whipped cream. The Standard High Line is serving their own version, in the form of a White Chocolate Chai at their Winter Plaza. It’s made with white chocolate and sweet chai tea, topped with vanilla whipped cream.
25 Cooper Square; standardhotels.com/new-york
9. Dr Smood
Hot cocoa that doubles as a beauty potion? Sign us up. The Hot Virgin Cacao is a two-part beverage: Stir the chocolate stick (molinillo) into steamed cashew milk until dissolved. The raw cacao is high in antioxidants and infused with resveratrol, known for its anti-aging properties.
205 W. 37th St.; drsmood.com
10. Milk Bar
The crazy soft serve, pie and cookie shop is debuting an equally fun caffeinated take on hot chocolate: the Peppermint Mocha. This minty-fresh combo takes Milk Bar Peppermint Mocha, Cereal Milk, espresso, chocolate fudge and peppermint simple syrup.
1196 Broadway at 29th St.; milkbarstore.com
11. Caffé Panna
Hot chocolate made from ice cream exists, and we cannot get enough of it. Gramercy gelato joint Caffé Panna combines house-made chocolate sorbet with their signature panna (Italian whipped cream that’s imported from Piedmont) and milk, and then tops it with cinnamon. It’s decadent—and totally delightful.
77 Irving Place; caffepanna.com
12. L.A. Burdick
These thick drinking chocolates from famed chocolate specialist L.A. Burdick are basically melted-down chocolate bars, and yes, it’s as rich as it sounds. Cacao also gets the single-origin treatment here, with dark drinking chocolates from different regions like Madagascar (bright and fruity) or Venezuela (subtle nutty notes).
13. Jacques Torres
Add a bit of fire to your chocolaty mug. This spicy blend from the famed chocolatier warms up dark chocolate with allspice, cinnamon, ground ancho chili peppers and smoked ground chipotle chili.
110 E. 57th St.; mrchocolate.com
15. Gotham Hot Chocolate at Gotham Bar & Grill
Pining away for City Bakery? Nearby the former hot chocolate mecca is Gotham Bar & Grill, and they’re doling out their own top-notch hot choco. They combine their own Gotham Chocolates, made with Bolivia Alto Beni cacao beans, with steamed skim milk for a perfectly classic cup.
16. Broome Street Bakery
To make their hot chocolate, Broome Street Bakery uses the same chocolate ganache that their pastry department makes for their brownies. They melt that ganache using foamed milk or oat milk, and add freshly made whipped cream and shaved chocolate on top.
254 Broome St.; broomestreetbakery.com
The honey-centric food spot uses raw wildflower honey to sweeten up this healthful treat. The rich chocolate drink contains 80% dark cacao, which is rich in antioxidants. To add more bang for your buck, it’s topped with a shake of matcha (in a cute honeybee design).
18. Bien Cuit
Baked-good fave Bien Cuit ramped up their hot chocolate game this season with a recipe that features Valrhona’s 70% Guanaja chocolate paired with a hint of toasted guajillo pepper. Rich and balanced, warm and delicious, and a punch of sweet heat.
120 Smith St., Brooklyn; biencuit.com
19. Bar Moxy at Moxy Times Square
Hot chocolate but make it pink (and spiked with vodka). This girly Pink Velvet Hot Chocolate courtesy of beverage director Nikki McCutcheon is made with soy milk, Godiva white chocolate, vanilla vodka, their special Pink-White Hot Chocolate, whipped cream and edible pink glitter. Because even hot chocolate can be extra sometimes.
485 Seventh Ave.; marriott.com/hotels
21. Tulo House
NYC’s only nut-milk café brings us the “Choc Chagaccino,” a serotonin-boosting cacao, cinnamon, energizing chaga, calming reishi and coconut sugar sipper. It can be made with any of the café’s nut milks (vanilla bean almond, tiger nut, cashew). Created by culinary food coach and founder Laura Hopkins, chaga contains anti-aging properties and helps to support the immune system and fight inflammation.
217 Mulberry St.; tulohouse.com