It’s going to snow a lot this weekend. And it’s already cold. So it’s time to drink some hot chocolate. Our Hot Chocolate Guide is a simple starter of ten places to drink sweet, chocolatey drinks. If there’s any hot chocolate spot we’re missing, let us know in the comments.
Baked and Wired
Chocolate and milk are two things that make my face break out so I don’t drink hot chocolate often. However, hot chocolate is one of those decadent things, like bath bombs or watching TLC, that while you’re enjoying its temporariness you are distracted completely from how depressed you are. The combination of winter weather permitting my skin to be clear (relatively) and winter weather also plunging me into a sea of gray despair one day resulted in my succumbing to the need for the most indulgent of all seasonal beverages: the coco[a]. Being that I work in Georgetown and also being that Starbucks hot chocolate is PISS POOR I SAY, I wandered over to Baked & Wired, not expecting to be blown away or anything, but boy was I. Baked & Wired hot chocolate is some sort of magical elixir. I walked out of the shop, took a sip of the drink (with whipped cream because, like, fucking of course) and LITERALLY stopped in my tracks because I could not make sense of how good the hot chocolate was and needed to take a moment to focus all my energy and brainpower on that. I don’t know what kind of chocolate they use, but it is unique. Rich, nuanced (Yes. Nuanced.) flavors in the hot chocolate are complimented by the whipped cream (which you really should not skip because it is also very special and unlike other whipped creams. I skip the lid because I feel like smooshing the whipped cream down like that is violent and disrespectful). This drink commands your full attention. Allot a good chunk of time to savoring it. I have developed a weekly habit, but I’m counterbalancing with Vitamin A and Zinc supplements and my skin has never been clearer. The only gripe I have is that sometimes they’ll sprinkle mini chocolate chips over the whipped cream and sometimes they won’t and I do not understand their algorithms because it seems to be completely arbitrary which cup gets this special treatment. This is a completely aesthetic gripe though as chocolate chips affect only Instagramability and not flavor. Drink this drink. Achieve 2016 resolution of being happier you. -Melissa Groth
You can always count on Barmini to do something fun. Check out their “Three wise men of the west,” which is made with bourbon, all spice dram, hot chocolate, tres leches espuma. It is not for the faint-hearted, but will warm you to your very core. -Priya Konings
This is one of my favorite hot chocolates in town. It features spicy hot chocolate made with brandy, cocoa, and, best of all,cardamom infused marshmallows the size of your face. Its sweet, its spicy, and its boozy. It doesn’t get much better than this. -Priya Konings
Blue Duck Tavern
What’s the one thing that can take hot chocolate to a new level? That’s right: booze. This winter BDT is serving up a fantastic boozy white hot chocolate, with spiced white chocolate, spiced rum, and cinnamon whipped cream. You’ll warm up in a second from the warmth of the beverage combined with the booze and spices. -Priya Konings
Co Co. Sala
When chocolate is the theme of the restaurant, you know they are going to have some awesome hot chocolate. What’s cool about coco sala is that they don’t just served one kind of hot cocoa. They have no less than six decadent choices: milk chocolate, dark chocolate, white chocolate, salted caramel, peanut butter, and pumpkin spice. The salted caramel is sweet and heavenly, and you can’t go wrong with the classic milk chocolate. But seriously, each one of these is worth a try. -Priya Konings
There’s a good chance that you’ve heard of Max Brenner. Your mom probably refers to it as the place with the chocolate syringes. It can get a little pricey if you start to order the works (waffles, crepes, chocolate fondue, fancy milkshakes) but the hot chocolate is just enough to cure your winter hot chocolate cravings. The part that makes it worth the trip to Max Brenner’s Bethesda location is that the hot chocolate isn’t too sweet, which is good for two reasons: it doesn’t taste artificial and you won’t feel like you’ll have to go to the dentist the next day because you suddenly have ten cavities.
You know José Andrés, and you know his affinity for small plates. Every tiny portion is a little snapshot of the traditions celebrated in each of his restaurants. A night at Oyamel is a little like a quick, five-day trip around the country of Mexico. Ceviche, barbacoa, mezcal… why not conclude with Oaxacan chocolate? This drink is a lot like going back to the origin point, the mother tree, where it all started. Chocolate has been a part of Oaxaca before the Aztecs settled it– it’s the oldest point of plant domestication on the continent. The hot chocolate at Oyamel offers a little taste at how far back the domestication of cacao trees goes. -Jonny Grave
For a classic hot chocolate that will satisfy any sweet tooth, head to rare sweets. Their rich cocoa is a silky delight, served with beautiful housemade marshmallows. You can even buy their hot chocolate powder and take it home, which I did and is a decision I will never regret. The hot chocolate mix is infused with loads of chocolate chips, which means when you combine hot milk and the chocolate mix the chocolate chips melt and the drink becomes extra-specially chocolatey. -Priya Konings
From our Taste Test: The flavors being offered include the South African hot chocolate, made with a blend of dark and light Madagascan chocolates and spiked with Amarula Cream. Rich, thick, and frothy, it is a chocolate lover’s dream; the Indian hot chocolate, a decadent dark chocolate cocoa infused with cinnamon and all spice liquor and topped with a cardamom marshmallow; the Italian hot chocolate comprised of chocolate, Frangelico, and mascarpone whipped cream; and finally the spicy Mexican hot chocolate which was my personal favorite. The beverage offers a trifecta of heat: a warm beverage with hot pepper and tequila. It will warm you though to your toes. Each drink also comes with a cookie or sweet treat.
The sister pastry shop to Cupcake Wars’ winner, Sweet Lobby, Souk offers a European-style sipping chocolate, which comes in a 3oz. pour. “Cartoonish” would be an appropriate word for this kind of hot chocolate. Brown sugar and confectioner’s sugar go into the mix with the cocoa and milk, then it’s all topped with house-made cardamom marshmallows. This is fancy stuff, and you will feel fancy drinking it. -Jonny Grave
Uprising Muffin Company
There’s nothing fancy or special about Uprising’s hot chocolate, but I absolutely love it. I don’t drink coffee, so when I go to coffee shops, I’m relegated to buying Bigelow tea or hot chocolate, so I like to imagine I have a good grasp on what quality hot chocolate is, but I can’t really tell you what makes there’s so good. It just really hits the spot. If you’re looking for something a little cheaper than most of the things on this list and a lot more Metro accessible than Baked & Wired, Uprising is a great option. -Kaylee Dugan