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The best hot chocolate in NYC

Kiss Swiss Miss goodbye—the best hot chocolate in NYC features fiery chilies, marshmallow “flowers” and, yes, booze

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 the best hot chocolate in NYC from some of the city’s best coffee shops, best bakeries and best chocolate shops. But these aren’t your average cup ‘o cocoa—they come laced with Nutella, packed with pink peppercorns or spiked with whiskey as warm winter cocktails. Merry sipping!

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Best hot chocolate in NYC

1

Blooming hot chocolate at Dominique Ansel Bakery

It looks like magic but really, it’s just dessert-world ingenuity—pastry maestro Dominique Ansel crowns his rich cup of hot cocoa with a marshmallow flower that’s wrapped in a band of chocolate. When the chocolate hits the warm liquid, it melts and the flower “blooms” and reveals a chocolate truffle in the middle. $4.25 

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Soho
2

Brownie batter hot chocolate at El Rey

The team at the Lower East Side luncheonette stirs their hot cocoa with egg-less brownie batter and a sprinkle of sea salt for a decadent, salty-sweet rebuttal to winter's chill. $4

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Lower East Side
3

Hot chocolate at City Bakery

You'll have to wait until February to try the myriad incarnations presented during the bakery's annual Hot Chocolate Festival; for now, sate your sweet tooth with an oversize serving of the traditional version. Thick and potent, the cult favorite can be ordered with a dense, gooey, housemade marshmallow that bobs at the bubbly surface. $5, with marshmallow $5.50.

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Flatiron
4

Cioccolata calda “al bacio” at Grom

Steamed to order, this indulgent version of the wintry classic gets a distinctive essence  from Venezuelan gianduja milk chocolate and Tonda Gentile hazelnut chips. Cut only with a hint of white cane sugar and whole milk, the nutty flavors from the chocolate and the chips come through very clearly without being cloyingly sweet. 2165 Broadway at 76th St (212-362-1837) * 1796 Broadway at 59th St (212-974-3444) * 233 Bleecker St at Carmine St (212-206-1738) * grom.it. Medium $5.50, large $6.50.

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Midtown West
5

Lavender hot chocolate at Maman

What better accompaniment for the bakery's exceptional chocolate-chip cookies than a steamy mug of creamy hot cocoa made with melted dark chocolate and infused with dried lavender. $3.50

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Little Italy
6

Hot chocolate at MarieBelle

The Cacao Bar of this chocolate boutique has a hot cocoa for every palate: Opt for a warm milk chocolate cup with freshly ground hazelnuts or natural banana pulp, or a white-chocolate rendion with Tahitian vanilla. $5 each

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8

Mexican hot chocolate at Choza Taqueria

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. $3

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Midtown
9

Hot chocolate at Amy’s Bread

This pared-down cup brims with a ganache made of artisanal chocolates that's whipped with milk until smooth and creamy. A big ol' house-made marshmallow is plopped on top for even more sweetness. $4.95

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West Village
10

Hot chocolate at the Gander

Venue says: “Join us for happy hour everyday from 2:30-7:00pm. Large groups welcome! For reservations please email reservations@thegandernyc.com”

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. $7, $16 with liquor

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Flatiron
11

Matcha hot chocolate at MatchaBar

Matcha-loving masters and brothers Max 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. $5.50

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Chelsea
12

Green Chaud at Meadowsweet

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

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Williamsburg

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Comments

6 comments
Juliette S
Juliette S

Thanks for the article and all the comments! Happy Holidays 🎄✡

Wade
Wade

My favorite is La Maison du Chocolat's hot chocolate. I usually stop by on my way to the office for a cup to go. It is true, sometimes they don't have it in the store simply because they sold out! According to what i was told by one of the store managers they ship the product from France so they run out of it once in a while, specially during busy seasons. As replacement, I also like Maribelle and Le Pain Quotidien (they have a very good one and they were not listed).

Anonymous
Anonymous

How could you miss Chocolate By The Bald Man's spicy Mexican hot chocolate; dark or milk with chili's, or their "Dark Italian" more puddingy and chocolatey and less crazy rich than The city bakery...really, chocolate by the bald man 14th and Broadway. Do not venture in on any friday saturday or sunday; go on a random weekday morning to avoid the madness...

Barbara
Barbara

As recommended, we showed up at La Maison du Chocolat after going to see the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center 2 days before Christmas, and were told they weren't serving hot chocolate. We persevered and took the bus (and a long walk on a cold, windy day) to La Maison on Madison and 78th, and were told they had run out of hot chocolate. So much for Time Out's savvy holiday recommendations.

Anonymous
Anonymous

You also missed my new favorite, which has turned into a veritable addiction, really, the VEGAN hot chocolate at Cocoa V on 9th ave at 21st--so freaking good it;s unreal, and i'm not even vegan!

Cindi C
Cindi C

OMG- you missed my NU favorite: hot chocolate at NUNU. It's like you landed in hot chocolate heaven and you never want to leave. Union Square Holiday Market and 529 Atlantic Ave Brooklyn 917-776-7102 www.nunuchocolates.com