Hot chocolate, hot cocoa, or “drinking chocolate,” as few refer to it as, is one of the season’s most underrated delicacies. But today is National Hot Chocolate Day and we are here to celebrate by adding some boozy and upgrading to cocoa’tail. You in?
Check below on where you should get your spiked hot cocoa in NYC this winter.
Cioccolata Calda Al Rhum at L’Amico
Lounge at L’Amico, a rustic-chic Italian restaurant firing wood-oven pizzas and boiling hot cocoa’tails care of Beverage Director (and recent Drinking With subject) Percy Rodriguez. A seasonal favorite, Cioccolata Calda Al Rhum is presented in a coffee mug with a homemade marshmallow. Made with Diplomático Extra Añejo 8yr Rum, hot milk chocolate, pinch of freshly ground nutmeg and orange zest, it’s an absolute crowd-pleaser. 851 6th Ave. (at the Eventi Hotel), 212-201-4065, lamico.nyc, @lamiconyc
Spiced Mexican Hot Chocolate at JIMMY at the James
Shock your sweet tooth with a Spiced Mexican Hot Chocolate at SoHo’s trendiest nightspot. This Johnny Swet creation is made with El Tesoro tequila, Ancho Reyes Chili liqueur, pinch of a cinnamon and hot chocolate, garnished with double cinnamon-dusted toasted marshmallows. Between this fiery cocktail, the toasty fireplace and your hot date, expect heat all night. 15 Thompson St (The James Hotel), 212-201-9118, jimmysoho.com, @jimmyatthejames
Superfly at The Standard Meatpacking
Pretend you’re figure skater, and hit the ice for a skate sesh under the Highline. Later, cozy up in a fur-covered rocker along the rink with a Superfly in hand. The warmth of Hot Valrhona Caraibe Dark Chocolate spiked with Zaya rum and Angostura bitters will lessen the chill nipping at your face. Scoop up the Brancamenta whipped cream, made with mint-flavour liqueur, superfine sugar and heavy cream, instead of stirring – cocoa ain’t just for children anymore. 848 Washington St., 212-645-4100, thestandardgrill.com, @thestandard
Smokey S’more at Baita at Eataly
Can’t afford a ski trip to the Alps? Say no more. The Eataly team brought the sips and sights of the Italian Alps back (for its second year) to New York City. Warm up in a log cabin atop the 14th floor of the famous Italian market while nibbling on appetizing Alpine-inspired plates under a furry blanket and wooden rocker (while they last). Indulge in one of their signature winter cocktails by Alan Lam like the Smokey S’more for a full winter effect – hot chocolate, 1921 Tequila Cream and Buenbicho mezcal with cookie crumble to finish. 200 Fifth Ave., 212-937-8910, eataly.com, @eatalyflatiron
Divine Intervention at shay & ivy
New kid on the block shay & ivy brings progressive American cuisine, well-curated cocktails and coffee program to the Flatiron neighborhood. Settle in near the wall of lush greenery, and take in the tastes of cleaner fare and tasteful floral accents of the “secret garden.” Bursting with flavor is Patrick Martin’s Divine Intervention, a mixture of Rye Whiskey, chai tea and hot chocolate, layered with ginger egg-white foam and sprinkled ground cinnamon. 39 West 24th St. (located at Hotel Henri,), 646-666-8635, shayandivyny.com, @shayandivyny
Park Hot Chocolate at The Living Room
Crafted by Park Hyatt New York mixologist Johan Hagstrom, enjoy the Park Hot Chocolate made with Applejack bonded brandy, Ancho Chile liqueur and 70% Valrhona hot cocoa served with a half chocolate dipped chocolate marshmallow and dark cocoa shavings as a garnish. A nice “pick-me-up” after a blistery Central Park walk. 153 West 57th St. (located at Park Hyatt New York, ), 646-774-1234, newyork.park.hyatt.com/en/hotel/dining.htm, @parkhyattny
Dirty Hot Chocolate at Seabird
This season, you want to see the winter blues, not feel them. Relax in a classy “beach club” setting, and savor ocean-focused fare like bouillabaisse or jalapeño lobster mac & cheese. Load up on cocktails, too – shrimp, lobster, or even sparkling Aperitivo Spritz or (better yet) warm Dirty Hot Chocolate ideated by Alon Moskovitch. This boozy hot cocoa consists of homemade hot dark chocolate combined with Cardamo Wine, a Moscato-based aperitif wine & Cocchi Vermouth served in a snifter glass to contain the sweet aroma. Slowly drink your way through the swirl of whipped cream and dusting of cocoa powder on top. 361 6th Ave. at Washington Pl., 212-414-9500, seabirdny.com, @seabirdny