The best hot chocolate in NYC

Kiss Swiss Miss goodbye—NYC’s best hot chocolates are being remade with ice cream, fiery chilies and, yes, even booze

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Photograph: Filip Wolak

Winter isn’t coming—the blistery, cheek-blushing chill is here, and there’s no better way to combat the cold than with toasty mugs of hot chocolate at some of the best coffee shops and restaurants in the city. But these aren’t your average cup ‘o cocoa—they come laced with Nutella, packed with pink peppercorns or spiked with bourbon as a warm winter cocktail. Merry sipping!

Hot Chocolate at Acme

Hot Chocolate at Acme Photograph: Laura Gallant

Salted-caramel and bourbon hot chocolate at Acme

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

This salty-sweet, bourbon-spiked number is like a lush affogato, except the coffee is swapped for dark, slightly bitter chocolate. The warm Mast Brothers mixture is poured over caramel ice cream scoop until it melts into sweet oblivion. $12

  1. 9 Great Jones St, (between Broadway and Lafayette St), 10012
Book online

Photograph: Courtesy Alison Nelson's Chocolate Bar

PBJ hot chocolate at Alison Nelson’s Chocolate Bar

  • Price band: 1/4

The schoolyard favorite ditches its bread confines for a bath in warm milk and melted chocolate. A swirl of Bonne Maman grape jelly and organic peanut butter will send you back to the best parts of grade school. $4

  1. 19 Eighth Ave, (between Jane and W 12th Sts )
More info

Photograph: Courtesy Blossom Bakery

Vegan Hot Cocoa at Blossom Bakery and Blossom Du Jour at Bryant Park

This rich, warming cup may lack dairy, but the Chelsea bakers didn’t skimp on flavor: Two types of melted chocolate give this sip surprising creaminess, finished with a sprinkle of salt and a heavy-handed scoop of marshmallows. $5.75

  1. Sixth Ave, (between 40th and 42nd Sts)
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Photograph: Courtesy Boqueria

Nutella Hot Chocolate with brandy at Boqueria

  • Price band: 2/4

No need to spoon it from the jar anymore—Nutella nuts can glug down this hot cup at Yann de Rochefort’s tapas bar instead, where two tablespoons of the hazelnut spread are splashed with a shot of oaky, lightly nutty brandy. $11

  1. 1460 Second Ave, (between 76th and 77th Sts), 10075
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Photograph: Courtesy Champion Coffee

Peppermint Hot Chocolate at Champion Coffee at Gansevoort Market

  • Price band: 1/4

Coffee maven Talitha Whidbee’s daughter Sadie is the brain behind this simple mint-chocolate cup for her mom’s java shop, combining her favorite Christmastime flavors and fresh farm milk. $3.50

  1. 52 Gansevoort St, (between Greenwich and Washington Sts), 10014
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Photograph: Courtesy Choza Taqueria

Mexican Hot Chocolate at Choza Taqueria

  • Price band: 2/4

From their taco-and-tamale counter inside Gotham West Market, Matt Wagman and David Albiero heat up classic cocoas with a hit of chili pepper—soothed with and a dash of more soothing baking spice— that will transport you from nippy New York to a lounger on the Gulf Coast. $4

  1. 600 Eleventh Ave, (between 44th and 45th Sts), 10036
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Photograph: Filip Wolak

Hot chocolate at the Gander

Executive pastry chef Christina Lee cuts crafts cookie sheets of sage-infused marshmallows that she cuts into hefty squares and plunks them into these dark, and peppery cups during weekend brunch service. The best part? You can lace it with bourbon or tequila. $14

  1. 15 West 18th, 10011
Book online

Photograph: Courtesy L'Apicio

Salted ganache cocoa at L’Apicio

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Ask for this rich, syrupy cup fortified with two types of chocolate and you’ll get a cup toppling with a torched marshmallow and paired with a brown-butter chocolate chip cookie for decadent dipping. $10

  1. 13 E 1st St, (between Bowery and Second Ave), 10003
Book online

Photograph: Courtesy MatchaBar

Matcha Hot Chocolate at MatchaBar

  • Price band: 1/4

Matcha-loving masters and brothers Maxz and Graham Fortgang whisk a teaspoon of Japanese tea into hot water until foam appears, then fold in cacao powder and steamed milk to create a chocolatey tea latte. $4.60

  1. 93 Wythe Ave, (between North 10th and 11th Sts), 11249
More info

Photograph: Courtesy Meadowsweet

Green Chaud at Meadowsweet

  • Price band: 2/4

To riff on the French cup, pastry chef Jared Rubin (Bouchon, Dover) serves this chartreuse-splashed cocoa with a scoop of green-chartreuse gelato and a gooey chocolate chip cookie. $9

  1. 149 Broadway, (at Bedford Ave), 11221
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Photograph: Laura Gallant

Pulled hot chocolate at Pasar Malam

  • Price band: 2/4

Inspired by Malaysian night markets, chef-owner Salil Mehta infuses hot tea with cinnamon, clove, ginger and cardamom, then swirls in condensed milk and hand-pulled, melted chocolate. Free

  1. 208 Grand St, (between Bedford and Driggs Aves), 11211
Book online

Photograph: Courtesy Presstea

White Chocolate Mochai at Presstea

  • Price band: 1/4

Chai leaves are steamed and steeped to extract just the right amount of bite for this sweet white chocolate number laced with black pepper and cinnamon. $4.63

  1. 167 Seventh Ave South, (at Perry Street), 10014
More info


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