It’s prime time for hot chocolate. If you’re looking to elevate the experience beyond the standard Swiss Miss, here are five ways to get your fix.
1. For a good cause
The fourth annual Valrhona Hot Chocolate Festival kicks off Saturday, with pastry chefs whipping up premium drinks using Valrhona chocolate. Fifty cents from each hot chocolate sold goes to the nonprofit Food Tank, which fights against food waste. A dozen bakeries, chocolatiers and coffee shops are participating this year, including Almondine, Lafayette New York, Épicerie Boulud, Patisserie Chanson, Dominique Ansel Kitchen, Ladurée, Baked, La Maison du Chocolat, Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolate, Marie Belle, Brooklyn Roasting Company and Levain Bakery. The festival runs through Feb. 3. More info and locations at valrhona-chocolate.com
2. With booze
The new Gitano Jungle Room NYC in the James Hotel in SoHo may channel Tulum, Mexico, with its menu and tropical décor, but you can still find an appropriate winter offering on the menu. The double hot chocolate ($18) features coconut milk dark hot chocolate with chipotle-infused mezcal, ancho chiles and, for garnish, black lava salt. It may be on the cocktail menu, but consider getting it for dessert after all those tacos and palomas. 23 Grand St., 212-201-9119, grupogitano.com/nyc
Hold the dairy. At Atla, the more casual, all-day sister spot to Cosme, beverage director Yana Volfson has concocted a dense hot chocolate ($6) that’s made from coconut or cashew milk, jet black cocoa and hoja santa, a Mexican herb. Pair it with some of the round churros. 372 Lafayette St., 347-662-3522, atlanyc.com
The West Village sweets destination sherry b dessert studio has two options when it comes to hot stuff: The sb hot chocolate ($6) features steamed organic milk and a blend of five chocolates, while the sb shimmy ($8) is a shake made with home-made ice cream that’s then steamed for a creamier cup. Either offering can be customized with a variety of toppings, including nine different types of marshmallows ($2), a scoop of ice cream ($3), a cookie ($3.50) and a shot of St. Germain, Kahlua or other liqueurs and spirits ($10). 643 Hudson St., 646-850-0170, sherryb.com
For an indulgent hot chocolate affair, head to Felix Roasting Co. One of the chic new coffee bar and café’s most popular drinks is its most visually striking: the hickory-smoked s’mores latte ($14.50). The mocha creation is made with 70-percent dark chocolate, cinnamon, spiced graham cracker-infused milk, double espresso that’s then smoked with hickory wood chips in a bell jar and topped with a house-made, torched salted caramel marshmallow that’s pierced on a branch. Oh, and the rim of the coupe glass is coated in chocolate and graham cracker dust. If that isn’t indulgent enough, grab a pastry by Supermoon Bakehouse. 450 Park Ave. S., felixroastingco.com