MR’s Guide to Good Hot Chocolate in NYC

Not the best, but good

12.16.14

We’ve talked Iced Coffee, we’ve covered Smoothies but with the return of polar bears who carry the baggage of seasonal vortexes, there is only one non-alcoholic libation that gets a New Yorker through frost bite with a smile. It’s not tea — tea is great but not necessarily indulgent, and when your fingernails have grown so irreversibly brittle, indulgence is all you’ve got. It’s not coffee either because maybe we’re quitting, maybe we’re not. Also, it’s not quite as sweet, both literally and figuratively as our shining star, the liquid apex and sole redeeming quality of Jack Frost’s oasis.

Have you guessed what it is yet?

Fuck.

It just occurred to me that the story’s title is a tell-all.

I feel like I’m standing pants down, only if that were true, you would see that I am wearing emo pink and black underwear that look like they’re from Hot Topic and say Bad on them.

What?

Here’s a guide to good hot chocolate in New York City.

Maman, 239 Centre Street

Lavender flavored hot chocolate from a beautiful little piece of Aix-en-Provence staffed with handsome french angels and pretty patisseries. The hot chocolate is delicately scented and doesn’t taste too floral or too rich.

Swiss Miss Coca Powder with Marshmallows

It never fails to be perfect because you can’t mess it up. Too chocolatey? Add coffee or more water. Too watery? Add more powder. The crunchy little freeze-dried Marshmallows are floating bits of happy aliens covered in cotton, and make me feel like an astronaut. Oh, and I’m sorry, this story is titled “Good Hot Chocolate in NYC” but you can get this stuff anywhere? Well if I’m in New York, and I’m drinking Swiss Miss, then news flash, Channel 5. It’s the best in New York.

-Amelia “weird red head” Diamond

Sant Ambroeus, 265 Lafayette Street

The general manager, Alireza, brought the Man Repeller team some of its crack equivalent last week and it was more of a sipping chocolate than your typical hot chocolate (it was really rich and delicious). He said it was a giant block of chocolate melted into the cup.

City Bakery3 West 18th Street

I think of City as the old staple for hot chocolate; they serve it in what resembles a soup bowl and add a giant homemade marshmallow the size of a Rubix Cube.

Also, has anyone tried MarieBelle?

-Charlotte “I love knit two-pieces” Fassler

Mast Brothers, Williamsburg

Mast Brothers just started brewing their own hot chocolate, and it is some next level shit, especially because their maple chocolate bar is my favorite confectionery ever.

Or, to try and copy their recipe at home:

4 cups whole milk

1⁄4 cup cocoa powder

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 ounces dark chocolate

Combine and warm on stove

-Krista “I am the coolest member of this stupid team” Lewis

To make at home if you don’t drink dairy and are sugar-conscious:

This Vegan Mint Hot Chocolate recipe from the Instagram account @runningonveggies:

1 cup of almond milk

a few stems of fresh mint

1 bag of peppermint tea

2 teaspoons of cocoa

Nu Naturals peppermint liquid stevia to taste

Combine all ingredients and warm on stove

Separately, Fika Mexican Hot Chocolate is sold by the box in nearly all of their NYC locations, and is the perfect blend of dark chocolate, cinnamon and chipotle. If you’re stopping in at the Tribeca flagship, make sure to stock up on their bite-sized chocolates too. Melt them over the stove and fondue your celery sticks.

-Esther “I love dance cardio and paleo cookies” Levy

Max Brenner, 841 Broadway

There is a 0% chance that this hot chocolate isn’t actually just a bar of melted milk chocolate, which comes topped with marshmallows. You have the option to overload the cup in many marshmallows or submit yourself to just a few sprinkled in. I would suggest doing the former. After two or three sips, you might start to feel nauseous but just power through it. Trust me.

The Greenwich Hotel

TriBeCa’s Greenwich Hotel, which is connected to Locanda Verde, also serves a delicious helping of hot chocolate in a white ceramic mug about the size of my head (which, surprising, isn’t big to scale but seems generous for a ration of hot chocolate) and can come with a) marshmallows, b) chili flakes, c) cinnamon.

-Leandra “Wears the same jeans 15 times a week” Medine

This seems like barely a dent in the underworld that is the saccharine potion so, please, finish off our list.

Get more Brain Massage ?
  • Royal Wang
  • Quinn Halman

    I don’t know a single person who doesn’t like hot chocolate. It’s universally accepted by all, best one I ever had was in Warsaw, but you can still make it your own. And that doesn’t mean just the extra spices, it’s the way you drink it, like, maybe you’re 7 and you don’t actually stir the powder just dunk it then eat the milk covered powder and throw out the rest. Who knows?!

    Today in oddly satisfying gifs, https://38.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m5u616vITU1qbxemoo1_500.gif

    • andrea raymer

      Oh my God that gif is incredibly satisfying. And the cup stays so clean, it looks like it is being deflated and reflated rather than melting.

    • Leandra Medine

      oh. mah. gah.

    • parkzark

      This is hypnotizing.

    • Charlotte Fassler

      I CAN’T STOP WATCHING THIS.

    • Esther Levy

      I have the chills.

  • I’m with Esther, it’s all about the Mexican hot chocolate. Muy bien.

    • Esther Levy

      muy picante

    • Willchris Elmidor

      i like that chocolate so much…

  • Kelsey Moody

    Im working with Swiss Miss this morning, brought to you by the dying Keurig in my office kitchen. Luke warm, watery and satisfying (the sun is still not up.)

    And TEA can be indulgent! Hot Toddy: 1 cup of black tea (I like Early Grey or English B-fast), honey, lemon, and a healthy floater of Maker’s (or Chivas or Jack Honey….) and magically, your cold is gone 🙂

  • andrea raymer

    I like to make my own on the stove and I always add either mint or cinnamon to make it a bit more special. sometimes I will melt a chocolate bar with milk or sometimes I will use cocoa powder (organic, otherwise I will get hives due to the nickel added in processing).

    I also like the Brazilian equivalent of Nesquik, Toddy. It is a much finer powder and tastes much less grainy.

    • andrea raymer

      Also don’t ever wikipedia Nesquik or similar products. it makes it sound awful.

      “a pre packaged powdered milk drink” bleh.

  • Melissa

    Ya’ll left out Vosges! Why?

  • I love, love, love hot chocolate. Instagram is full of beautiful photos of hot chocolate (and marshmallows! gosh … ), I’m trying to resist but I feel that I will loose this battle.
    Katharina // ktinka.com

  • Looks delicious:)

    Check out my latest post on Christmas Wish list! xoxo
    http://blizzard-girl.blogspot.com/2014/12/christmas-wish-list.html

  • Hcforever

    The best hot chocolate is in the cafe above fairway market on 72nd. I did my research.

  • Lulu

    MarieBelle Aztec Hot Chocolate is my fav!!

    • Charlotte Fassler

      must try it!!!!!!

      • Lulu

        Try their lavender chocolates as well!!

  • Erica

    Also Yura on Madison! Way uptown but 2 types of hot chocolate both absolutely incredible

    • Leandra Medine

      Oooooooooooooooo there’s a Yura right under my parents building uptown. Will have to check that $hit OWT.

  • Holly Jolly Maddie

    Grey Dog has amazing Mexican Hot Chocolate!!

  • Esty Turner

    The hot chocolate from Breads Bakery is amaaazing. Like I usually don’t drink hot chocolate but I make an exception for theirs. I’m pretty sure they make it with actual bits of chocolate as apposed to cocoa powder.

  • Jacques Torres Wicked Hot Chocolate, various locations

  • Does this differentiate between hot chocolate and drinking chocolate?

    City Bakery, the bomb.com with that beautiful homemade marshmallow.

    Lavazza Cafe in Eataly and 2beans has the incredible drinking chocolate kind, the kind that’s barely liquid it’s so chocolate-y. A little goes a long way.

    Laduree has some bomb hot chocolate. It’s creamy yet satisfyingly chocolate-y. A lot of times the light colored hot chocolate isn’t chocolate-y enough and it’s SO ANNOYING, brings back childhood memories of trying to melt chocolate chips into hot milk and having the flavors never fully melding (I’m sure chemistry will explain this).

    Vosges Chocolates has great ones, and Fresco Gelateria in the East Village actually has a pretty good one too.

    In a pinch, Dunkin Donuts beats Starbucks.

    I’m actually quite annoyed Balthazar’s hot chocolate isn’t that great, it might as well be Starbucks.

  • kksong

    I think anything that Is chocolate is awesome!

  • therealdp

    you guys need to add the standard hotel’s hot choc to this list as they spike it and it comes with homemade whipped cream. i am happy to provide a quote free of charge as a hanukkah gift to you all. xo

  • PRAISE YOU FOR THIS!!

    http://tostylewithlove.com/

    Daphne