As the bitter winter cold continues to invade NYC, we can’t think of anything sweeter than a cup of hot chocolate to keep us warm. We’ve gathered some of our favorites below, some spiked and spicy, one vegan and several made using high-quality, bean-to-bar chocolate.
“Swiss Miss”–style hot chocolate at Olmsted
After dinner, guests at Greg Baxtrom’s (Per Se, Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Alinea) locavore kitchen can cozy up in the backyard garden with this elevated take on a childhood classic: Swiss Miss hot chocolate. Inside an Olmsted-branded packet is Valrhona cocoa powder, powdered sugar, dehydrated milk and mini dehydrated marshmallows. It’s served with a thermos of warm milk for guests to prepare the hot chocolate to their liking.
Xocolat at Paper Coffee
Located inside the new MADE Hotel, this cozy coffee shop crafts the classics plus boozy barista cocktails like the hot buttered Americano (Bermuda rum, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, butter), Toki toddy (Japanese whiskey, turmeric tea, pressed ginger, lemon, star anise) and Xocolat. A riff on a Mexican hot chocolate, this spicy premium beverage features chile-infused mezcal, Valrhona chocolate, espresso, cinnamon, orange zest (inspired by the tradition of serving mezcal with orange slices and worm salt) and espresso whipped cream. Conceptualized by food and beverage manager Josef Grznar, whose background is in cocktails, the drinks are served at Paper and the hotel’s lobby bar from 12–5 PM (when the coffee shop closes).
SQC hot chocolate at Butcher & Banker
At this updated chophouse in a restored 1930s bank vault below The New Yorker Hotel, chef Scott Campbell presents a rich signature hot chocolate made with Valrhona chocolate, milk, cocoa powder and a housemade vanilla bean and bourbon infusion. It’s topped with whipped cream flavored with vanilla extract, both made in-house.
Hot chocolate with cinnamon marshmallows at Gramercy Tavern
At Danny Meyer’s Flatiron fixture, pastry chef Miro Uskokovic has developed a decadent hot chocolate made with high-quality ingredients like Valrhona chocolate, Battenkill Valley milk and cream, local maple syrup from the Catskills and fluffy cinnamon marshmallows that are made in-house. A touch of spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger and cayenne bring some extra heat to the drink.
Super hot chocolate at Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream
This delicious dairy-free option from the small-batch ice cream specialist begins with a ganache base made with Michel Cluizel's 99% Noir Infini dark chocolate and cocoa. It’s finished with double-filtered water, a touch of organic coconut sugar and topped with housemade vegan coconut whip or classic whipped cream. The super hot chocolate is available at all NYC shops along with affogatos (featuring Toby’s Estate espresso) and mini sundaes with dairy-free fixings like vegan fudge.
Blossoming hot chocolate at Dominique Ansel Bakery
The renowned pastry chef delights with this theatrical treat topped with a marshmallow flower that “blooms” when placed in the hot chocolate as the thin white chocolate ring surrounding it melts away, revealing mini chocolate bonbons inside. The from-scratch hot chocolate is made with two types of Valrhona chocolate, whole milk and sugar.
Nutella hot chocolate at La Pecora Bianca (Midtown)
This stylish offshoot of a market-driven Italian eatery brings to the table a bigger space (almost twice the size of the NoMad original) and a hot chocolate made with Nutella, (also Italian) Venchi milk chocolate and steamed milk.
Spicy hot chocolate at Gran Eléctrica
Combining the richness of a French chocolat chaud with the heat of a Mexican hot chocolate, this Mexican street food specialist located under the Brooklyn Bridge makes its hot chocolate by simmering whole milk with bittersweet chocolate, then adding a touch of brown sugar, cinnamon and aged mezcal (optional) before topping it with whipped cream.
Hot chocolate at Mah-Ze-Dahr Bakery
In true Mah-Ze-Dahr fashion of elevating the classics (like the next-level soft serve debuted over this past summer), chef Umber Ahmad presents a straightforward hot chocolate with a bittersweet Valrhona chocolate ganache that’s mixed to order with steamed milk (regular or almond) and topped with a toasted vanilla bean marshmallow (optional) that’s made in-house.
Hot chocolate at Daily Provisions
Two types of Valrhona chocolate — Bahibe (46% milk chocolate) and Guanaja (70% dark chocolate) — go into pastry chef Daniel Alvarez’ chocolatey concoction at Danny Meyer’s all-day cafe. Battenkill whole milk and a splash of heavy cream (both sourced from upstate New York) are also added into the mix, plus a seasonal flavored marshmallow (currently peppermint) as a finishing touch.