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New York’s Best Hot Chocolate

2c3aeb6930b66bf7ff226c597ed17cfcIf there’s one upside to being smack dab in the middle of bone-chilling winter, it’s that we get to warm ourselves from the inside out with mugs of thick, sweet hot cocoa.  Which, let’s be honest here, is essentially candy in a cup; especially if you order it at the following cafes and restaurants.  From Baked’s Sweet & Salty version to City Bakery’s iconic melted chocolate in a cup to Public’s deliciously grown up DIY hot chocolate spiked with everything from cognac to vodka.

City Bakery

City Bakery
3 W 18th St # 1
Union Square,New York 10011
(212) 366-1414

You simply can’t make a list of the best hot chocolate in New York without paying lip service to City Bakery, which holds their infamous Hot Chocolate Festival every February.  For 30 straight days, their menu showcases a different, fabulous flavor of hot chocolate — from Banana Peel, Peanut Butter and Cinnamon Rum to Malted Milk, Caramel and Creamy Stout.

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Public

Public
210 Elizabeth Street
Nolita,New York 10012
(212) 343-7011

Brad Farmerie just introduced a number of health-conscious items to Public’s weekend brunch menu, such as Quinoa Pancakes and Avocado Toast.  Which gives you plenty of leeway to indulge in their new DIY hot cocoa bar, offering a variety of toppings such as mint whipped cream, Aleppo peanut brittle, vanilla marshmallows, salted caramel sauce and gingersnap cookies, or swap your mimosa for one of the boozy Hot Choc-tails, such as the “Choc Full O Nut-ella,” spiked with Pierre Ferand Cognac and Frangelico, and the “Java the Hot,” made with Vanilla-infused 42 below vodka, Galliano Ristretto, and frozen hot chocolate.

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Baked

Baked
359 Van Brunt Street
Brooklyn,New York 11231

Now with branches in both Brooklyn and Tribeca, this critically-acclaimed bakery offers three different kinds of hot chocolate, including the “Classic,” made with Jacques Torres‘ rich chocolate mixture and steamed milk, the “Shot Chocolate,” augmented with a fiery pour of liquor, and the “Sweet & Salty,” flavored with ribbons of salted caramel.  And be sure to top off your cup with one of the fat, housemade marshmallows, in seasonally changing flavors such as Whiskey Cinnamon, Peppermint and Ginger Cardamom. 

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Mast Brother’s Brew Bar

Mast Brother’s Brew Bar
105 N 3rd St
Williamsburg,New York 11249
No Phone

The impressively bearded Mast brothers recently opened a small café out of their aromatic Brooklyn factory, showcasing both hot and cold-brewed chocolate, roasted and ground on-site from beans sourced from the Dominican Republic, Peru, Madagascar, Belize, or Papua New Guinea.  Order your uniquely bitter but highly nuanced brew served red (the cocoa equivalent to taking your coffee black), or tempered just slightly with sugar and milk.

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Alison Nelson’s Chocolate Bar

Alison Nelson’s Chocolate Bar
19 8th Ave
West Village,New York 10011
(917) 388-3761

Although it boasts branches in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Pakistan and Australia, you’ll only have to travel to the West Village to get your mittens around one of Alison Nelson’s superior cups of hot chocolate.  Try the “Classic” (made with bittersweet cocoa), “Spicy” (spiked with cinnamon and chipotle chiles), or best of all, the “PB&J,” augmented with spoonfuls of Bonne Maman grape jelly and organic peanut butter.

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The Chester

The Chester
18 9th Avenue
Meatpacking District,New York 10014
(646) 253-2284

You wouldn’t necessarily think to get your hot chocolate fix at The Chester — Sam Hazen’s chic new American restaurant, located in the Meatpacking District’s sceney Gansevoort Hotel.  And while you won’t find it on the menu, it’s worth knowing to ask for the seriously indulgent Hazelnut and Praline Hot Chocolate, served in a handled mason jar, and extravagantly topped with rashers of crispy candied bacon, and melting pillows of bacon bourbon marshmallows.

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Van Leeuwen

Van Leeuwen
81 Bergen Street
Brooklyn,New York 11217
(718) 701-1630

Since you can’t run a successful, year-round business serving ice cream alone, Van Leeuwen wisely welcomes winter with a truly impressive hot chocolate.  Think melted-down nuggets of Michel Cluizel 99 percent cacao, blended with whole milk and sugar and finished with a cloud of homemade whipped cream, or (we’re talking about Van Leeuwen after all), a cold, dreamy scoop of Espresso, Mint Chip, or Gianduja ice cream.

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MatchaBar

MatchaBar
93 Wythe Ave
Williamsburg,New York 11249
(718) 599-0015

Green tea is actually poised to be “the” hot liquid of 2015.  So you can stay on trend by ordering your hot chocolate at MatchaBar — a new Brooklyn establishment dedicated to the healthy Japanese drink — which assembles their steamy, emerald-hued concoction from cacao powder, steamed milk, and a foamy shot of antioxidant-rich matcha.

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