NEW YORK CITY — While sledding and romping about in the snow is exhilarating on its own, it's also a wonderful excuse for a hot chocolate respite.
Younger sledders may be satisfied with a simple cocoa made straight out of the packet, but we've found the most over-the-top hot chocolates in the city for those who have a more sophisticated palate.
Best Boozy Hot Chocolates
The Con Leche cocktail, available at The Modern's bar or restaurant, combines peanut-sesame hot chocolate, tequila and cinnamon.
"Inspired by the flavors of a Mexican hot chocolate, the hint of spice from the Aleppo pepper and tequila are balanced with the sweet bitterness of Crème de Cacao, Angostura Bitters and a Guanaja chocolate dipped cinnamon stick. The peanut and sesame milk add great texture to the drink," said Erin Jameson, who leads the drinks program at the restaurant.
Le Monde's Chef Regis Courivaud has created a Chestnut Cognac Hot Chocolate that he serves hot and frothy in a large bowl, as is the French custom, for $8. The hot chocolate is not overly sweet because Courivaud doesn't add any additional sugar.
By not making it too sweet he also lets the complimentary flavors of the chestnut cream and cognac shine. The chestnut is a reminder of home, in the Limoges region of France, where it's very popular.
The Cocoa Bar's "French Hot Chocolate," made with Graham's Tawny Port, dark hot chocolate and dark chocolate shavings makes for a rich combination. The drink is available for $12 at both the Park Slope and Lower East Side locations of this café-by-day and wine-bar-by-night spot. If you'd prefer to skip the alcohol, Cocoa Bar also serves hot chocolate in flavors including mint, white chocolate, cinnamon, or banana, which it calls its "funky monkey" variety.
The tony Italian restaurant and café has two New York City locations where it serves "cioccolata calda" or hot chocolate. But while hot chocolates across the city are going for around $4 or $5, the St. Ambroeus hot chocolate costs $6 for a small 10-ounce takeaway cup and $6.50 if you're sitting at a table at its Madison Avenue location. In the West Village, however, it's only $5.
A new 100-square-foot outpost in Madison Square Park features a new drink from celebrated dessert chef Christina Tosi: Cereal Milk™ Hot Chocolate. The drink will blend Momofuku Milk Bar's signature cereal milk™ with white chocolate and cost $4. Cereal milk™ is made with milk, cornflakes, brown sugar and a pinch of salt.
An equally rich choice is Momofuku Milk Bar's original version, available in Madison Square Park and at other Milk Bar locations, also for $4. The drink is made with organic milk steamed with fudge sauce and blended with charred marshmallows.
The end date for the pop-up has yet to be determined, a spokeswoman said.
If local and sustainable production matters to you, Everyman Espresso's hot chocolate is one you can feel good about drinking.
The hot chocolate is made from a 73% cacao chocolate from the Dominican Republic's Roig Cacao Co-Op that's processed in the Mast Brother's Brooklyn Factory. It's then mixed with with frothed milk from the Battenkill Creamery in Salem, N.Y.
The Dominican Republic chocolate "has a great earthy quality, along with blueberry, stone fruit and balsamic flavors — warming and fruity and perfect for the cold weather," wrote the espresso shop's General Manager Samuel Lewontin.
Jacques Torres has a veritable chocolate empire that seems to be always expanding. And while his original hot chocolate is much lauded, his mix-in offerings are a way to take a rich treat to the next level.
For 50 cents extra, the bartender will add in a swirl of homemade peanut butter, homemade orange puree, crushed peppermint or a shot of espresso — or if you want to live dangerously, a combination of these flavors. Peanut butter and peppermint anyone?
Still want more hot chocolate options? Check out our selections for the best in the city.