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 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 a grown-up version of Swiss Miss.
There’s no competing with a classic, and City Bakery’s hot chocolate is legendary. Coming into its 25th anniversary, City Bakery offers liquid bliss made with rich milk chocolate and heated milk. Don’t forget to ask for the giant house-made marshmallow—it’s essential. And be sure to stop by in February, when City Bakery offers a different hot chocolate flavor each day (like cinnamon, banana or chili pepper).
3 W. 18th St.; thecitybakery.com
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.
Multiple locations; drsmood.com
Maman’s beloved nutty chocolate-chip cookie (one of Oprah’s—and our—favorite things) now comes in drink form. The dairy-free treat is made with cocoa and Elmhurst unsweetened walnut milk and oat milk—and topped with nutty chocolate-chip cookie pieces. P.S. There's also a new vegan version of those famous cookies that's just as good as the original.
Multiple locations; maman.nyc
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).
156 Prince St.; burdickchocolate.com
Marshmallows take the sideline to hazelnut in the popular gelateria’s cioccolata calda al bacio. Steamed Venezuelan gianduja milk chocolate gets sprinkled with hazelnut chips, and if you’d expect them to sink, you’d be wrong. The brew is so famously thick, it requires a spoon.
Multiple locations in Manhattan; grom.it
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.
Locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn; mrchocolate.com
Dominique Ansel Bakery
Of course baking genius and Cronut inventor Dominique Ansel has a madcap riff on the beverage. A delicate marshmallow flower wrapped in a chocolate shell slowly “blooms” when the heat from the hot chocolate melts the band. (Push play to see it in action.) Surprise: There’s a white chocolate truffle inside.
189 Spring St.; dominiqueansel.com
Everything at this cacao-themed wonderland is worth trying (hello, chocolate pizza), but you can’t go wrong with its signature chocolate shot: It’s straight-up pure melted chocolate made from some of the finest beans in the world. (No judgment if you get three.)
28 E. 13th St.; bluestripes.com
You know with a name like “The Hot Chocolate Experience,” they’re not messing around. Choose one of ten flavors (like gianduja, orange, cinnamon, almond, white chocolate or caramel). Your cocoa comes presented on a long wooden block along with a cup of whipped cream, mini marshmallows, a chocolate macaron and a piece of dark chocolate with a shaver.
Multiple locations in Manhattan
Two of our favorite beverages join forces at last, and we promise it tastes amazing. Ceremonial-grade matcha meets single-origin Ghanaian chocolate ganache and steamed milk (the house-made almond is highly recommended).
Multiple locations in Manhattan; chalait.com
Enjoy a cup of what might be more accurately described as liquid pudding, made with 72 percent pure Colombian cacao, in this gorgeous cocoa bar reminiscent of an old-world European café.
484 Broome St.; mariebelle.com
This quirky ice-cream shop brings its magic touch to cold-weather sweets in the form of a classic mug of cocoa that combines 64 percent dark chocolate, nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla and a gooey topping of torched marshmallows.
Locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn; oddfellowsnyc.com
Think Swiss Miss, but, you know, made by an acclaimed farm-to-table chef. The aptly named“fancy powdered hot chocolate” arrives in an envelope with a thermos of warm milk. Olmsted uses Valrhona cocoa powder, confectioners’ sugar and dehydrated milk to make the powder, and even makes tiny dehydrated marshmallows. Take this mug outside to the garden (it’s open year-round) and snuggle up under a blanket and heat lamps.
659 Vanderbilt Ave., Brooklyn; olmstednyc.com
Famed for its crullers and kouign amanns, Daily Provisions offers a hot cocoa that’s just as enchanting as its pastries. This cup of cocoa combines dark Valrhona chocolate with milk and heavy cream. The blend is then topped with a seasonal marshmallow (right now it’s an appropriately festive peppermint flavor) and, if you’d like, spiked with crème de menthe.
103 E. 19th St.; dailyprovisionsnyc.com
Imagine a drinkable peanut butter cup (without the mess of microwaving a bunch of Reese’s, which, for the record, we do not recommend). Pure chocolate blocks are melted and mixed with fresh vanilla cream and a creamy peanut butter infusion in this decadent rendition of the iconic chocolate bar.
841 Broadway; maxbrenner.com
La Pecora Bianca
You didn’t think we’d close out this list without including something Nutella-related, did you? This cheery Italian spot melts together chocolate and Nutella and whisks it with steamed milk—proof that sometimes the simplest things are the best.
Two locations in Manhattan; lapecorabianca.com
Food influencer Marisel Salazar is a member of the Coterie by PureWow.