Elevated versions take the classic warmer-upper over the top—we're calling them haute cocoa.

By Claire Sullivan
January 17, 2020
Arianna Tettamanzi

Rich, creamy, and piping hot, a mug of cocoa is just the sweet thing to keep us warm in the middle of winter. While enjoying a cup of cocoa at home is always fun, it's such a treat to order it at your favorite bakery, coffee shop, or restaurant. That's why we searched across the country to find the best cup of hot chocolate, but don't be mistaken—there are no ordinary sips here. From textural toppings like cookie crumbles and vanilla meringue to chocolate blends made from ganache, dairy-free milk, and even lemon (yes, really!), one taste certainly won't be enough.

Related: Learn How to Make Our Test Kitchen's Favorite Hot Chocolate at Home

Bakery Nouveau in Seattle, Washington

Ganache made from Bakery Nouveau's bean-to-bar chocolate intensifies its creamy drink. This cup of cocoa is made with a 68 percent blend with beans from Peru, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Ecuador, and Fiji. "The fruity flavor of the Island beans is a perfect balance to the acidity of the South American bean," says owner William Leaman.

Fluff Meringues & More in Austin, Texas

Try the local favorite at Fluff Meringues & More: a cinnamon-spiked Mexican recipe capped with a vanilla cocoa meringue topper and a dark chocolate or ginger caramel drizzle. Guests can also add a toasted marshmallow to take their hot cocoa to the next level.

Mindy's Hot Chocolate Chicago, Illinois

Keep it light (Belgian and French white chocolate and lemon), or go deep (dark chocolate, oat milk, and maple syrup) at Mindy's Hot Chocolate. Add some spirit to your drink with a shot of rum, whiskey, cognac, or brandy. Each cup is served with a picture-perfect, pillowy marshmallow that is made in-house.

Maman in New York, New York

A frothy blend of walnut and oat milk comes with cookie crumbles on top at Maman, a rustic hot spot with locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Toronto, and Montreal. Skip the cookie crumbles and this beverage is completely dairy-free.

Josephine in Nashville, Tennessee

A rich treat for two, the hot chocolate at Josephine is prepared with high-quality dark chocolate, dark brown sugar, and whole milk. If that's not indulgent enough, their over-the-top, homemade add-ins include graham crackers, peppermint bark, and marshmallows to mix in as you please.

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