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Warm Up With Creative Hot Chocolate in D.C.

Cold weather is no match for these winter treats.

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Whether hot chocolate comes from a packet of instant mix or gets made with rich cream and real cocoa, it’s the go-to drink for snow days, cold nights, and lazy afternoons by the fire. Several D.C. coffee shops, bakeries, bars, and restaurants pull out all the stops to create special versions of the ultimate winter drink.

In addition to classic takes, you can find boozy twists and cups of hot cocoa made with flavors from Switzerland (Stable) to Cuba (Colada Shop). Hunker down with a creative cocoa at one of these spots.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

The Conche

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Venture away from the city to Leesburg’s chocolate-themed boutique restaurant for a wide array of hot chocolates. Choose from dark, milk, white chocolate, peanut butter, or salted caramel (starting at $7). Add a shot to any of the options.

The popular and eclectic coffeehouse in Adams Morgan serves a hot cocoa with house-made lavender syrup along with a classic version. Both are $4. There’s also a boozy version with creme de menthe for $11.

Pitango Gelato & Cafe

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This gelato shop draws hot chocolate inspiration from towns of the Italian Alps. The sipping chocolate is thick and intense — like the cocoa version of espresso — thanks to single-origin Vidama chocolate from the Ivory Coast. If the sipping variety is too strong, baristas can add steamed milk or espresso. 

Colada Shop

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Colada Shop gives hot cocoa a Cuban flair with its Chocolate de la Abuela (starting at $3.95). The drink involves dark chocolate, whole and evaporated milks, a Colada spice blend, and sweet Cuban crema, which is whipped espresso and cane sugar.

Peregrine Espresso (Multiple locations)

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Taking a page from third wave coffee culture, the hot chocolate at Peregrine is made from Omanhene Cocoa Bean Company beans grown in Ghana ($4).

The swanky, mod cocktail bar at the Dupont Circle Hotel serves a $16 Flaming Hot Chocolate cocktail, mixed up with with hot chocolate, cayenne pepper, coffee liqueur, and nutmeg.

Photo credit: Dupont Circle Hotel

Buttercream Bakeshop

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One of the most Instagrammed bakeries in D.C., Buttercream serves mint hot chocolate with milk and dark chocolates. Add a shot of espresso to make it a minty mocha. 

Fare Well

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For hot chocolate without the dairy, head to vegan diner Fare Well ($12) and order a Santa’s Little Helper. It has Hershey’s hot chocolate, Silk soy creamer, peppermint schnapps, and Kahlúa, all topped with marshmallow fluff and crumbled candy cane.

Courtesy of Fare Well

Stable DC

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The city’s resident Swiss restaurant makes a Schoggi Twist with (Swiss brand) Caotina hot chocolate, Godiva chocolate liqueur, and mint whipped cream. 

The Schoggi Twist from Stable
The Schoggi Twist from Stable
Courtesy of Stable

Cafe Chocolat

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At a shop entirely dedicated to chocolate, a strong hot cocoa is a must. Café Chocolat offers three choices: dark, milk, or white chocolate (starting at $4.95).

Courtesy of Cafe Chocolat

Oyamel Cocina Mexicana

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Staying true to its Mexican roots, Oyamel’s “Chocolate Caliente” is a Oaxacan hot chocolate with sugar, cinnamon, vanilla bean, cloves and steamed milk. Order it for $4 a glass.

Bayou Bakery, Coffee Bar & Eatery

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This New Orleans bakery offers the classic Bayou Cocoa, made with 64 percent Valrhona chocolate, milk, Madagascar vanilla, and sea salt, all topped with a dollop of whipped cream.

Courtesy of Bayou Bakery

Nicecream

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This liquid nitrogen-dispensing ice cream shop now has four local locations. It offers hot chocolate choices like spicy Mexican, caramel, lavender, or nutella. Hot chocolate here is made with homemade chocolate sauce and grass-fed milk with a dollop of whipped cream on top.

The Pretzel Bakery

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While obviously known for its pretzels, this bakery also draws eaters with “hotella,” a rich Nutella hot chocolate ($3).

Officina

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The rooftop at multi-level Wharf hot spot Officina underwent a winter wonderland makeover, with flannel blankets and apres-ski drinks like La Befana, which includes bourbon, hot chocolate, and fernet whipped cream. 

The Conche

Venture away from the city to Leesburg’s chocolate-themed boutique restaurant for a wide array of hot chocolates. Choose from dark, milk, white chocolate, peanut butter, or salted caramel (starting at $7). Add a shot to any of the options.

Tryst

The popular and eclectic coffeehouse in Adams Morgan serves a hot cocoa with house-made lavender syrup along with a classic version. Both are $4. There’s also a boozy version with creme de menthe for $11.

Pitango Gelato & Cafe

This gelato shop draws hot chocolate inspiration from towns of the Italian Alps. The sipping chocolate is thick and intense — like the cocoa version of espresso — thanks to single-origin Vidama chocolate from the Ivory Coast. If the sipping variety is too strong, baristas can add steamed milk or espresso. 

Colada Shop

Colada Shop gives hot cocoa a Cuban flair with its Chocolate de la Abuela (starting at $3.95). The drink involves dark chocolate, whole and evaporated milks, a Colada spice blend, and sweet Cuban crema, which is whipped espresso and cane sugar.

Peregrine Espresso (Multiple locations)

Taking a page from third wave coffee culture, the hot chocolate at Peregrine is made from Omanhene Cocoa Bean Company beans grown in Ghana ($4).

Doyle

Photo credit: Dupont Circle Hotel

The swanky, mod cocktail bar at the Dupont Circle Hotel serves a $16 Flaming Hot Chocolate cocktail, mixed up with with hot chocolate, cayenne pepper, coffee liqueur, and nutmeg.

Photo credit: Dupont Circle Hotel

Buttercream Bakeshop

One of the most Instagrammed bakeries in D.C., Buttercream serves mint hot chocolate with milk and dark chocolates. Add a shot of espresso to make it a minty mocha. 

Fare Well

Courtesy of Fare Well

For hot chocolate without the dairy, head to vegan diner Fare Well ($12) and order a Santa’s Little Helper. It has Hershey’s hot chocolate, Silk soy creamer, peppermint schnapps, and Kahlúa, all topped with marshmallow fluff and crumbled candy cane.

Courtesy of Fare Well

Stable DC

The Schoggi Twist from Stable
The Schoggi Twist from Stable
Courtesy of Stable

The city’s resident Swiss restaurant makes a Schoggi Twist with (Swiss brand) Caotina hot chocolate, Godiva chocolate liqueur, and mint whipped cream. 

The Schoggi Twist from Stable
The Schoggi Twist from Stable
Courtesy of Stable

Cafe Chocolat

Courtesy of Cafe Chocolat

At a shop entirely dedicated to chocolate, a strong hot cocoa is a must. Café Chocolat offers three choices: dark, milk, or white chocolate (starting at $4.95).

Courtesy of Cafe Chocolat

Oyamel Cocina Mexicana

Staying true to its Mexican roots, Oyamel’s “Chocolate Caliente” is a Oaxacan hot chocolate with sugar, cinnamon, vanilla bean, cloves and steamed milk. Order it for $4 a glass.

Bayou Bakery, Coffee Bar & Eatery

Courtesy of Bayou Bakery

This New Orleans bakery offers the classic Bayou Cocoa, made with 64 percent Valrhona chocolate, milk, Madagascar vanilla, and sea salt, all topped with a dollop of whipped cream.

Courtesy of Bayou Bakery

Nicecream

This liquid nitrogen-dispensing ice cream shop now has four local locations. It offers hot chocolate choices like spicy Mexican, caramel, lavender, or nutella. Hot chocolate here is made with homemade chocolate sauce and grass-fed milk with a dollop of whipped cream on top.

The Pretzel Bakery

While obviously known for its pretzels, this bakery also draws eaters with “hotella,” a rich Nutella hot chocolate ($3).

Officina

The rooftop at multi-level Wharf hot spot Officina underwent a winter wonderland makeover, with flannel blankets and apres-ski drinks like La Befana, which includes bourbon, hot chocolate, and fernet whipped cream. 

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