It’s snowing, it’s freezing, it’s gray, which means it’s the perfect time to cozy up under a big pile of blankets with a steamy mug of hot cocoa. Rich, creamy and decadently chocolaty, the drink is a delicious dose of much-needed warmth.
The ideal cup is made with real chocolate, served piping hot, topped with a fluffy cloud of real whipped cream and maybe even some chocolate shavings for good measure. Options can be found in almost every coffee shop and café, but here are a few of our favorites.
Malt Hot Chocolate from Civilization Coffee House (2366 W 11th St., 216-621-3838, cityroastcoffee.com) This velvety malted milk cocoa tastes like a milkshake, but with a warming (not cooling) effect. And at less than two bucks a cup, it’s likely the best hot chocolate bargain in town. (Pictured right)
Drinking Chocolate from Lilly Handmade Chocolates (761 Starkweather Ave., 216-771-3333, lillytremont.com) A small but incredibly indulgent cup of melted chocolate is made to order over a stove-top burner in this quaint candy shop. Both classic and spicy peanut butter versions are available. You might feel tempted to order one of each.
Classic Hot Chocolate from Erie Island Coffee Co. (East 4th St., 216-394-0093, erieislandcoffee.com) Chocolate stirred into steamed milk and topped with cool whipped cream. Hot cocoa traditionalists can browse work by local artists while sipping on a classic version of this wintertime treat. Try a cup at the downtown or Rocky River location.
Old Fashioned Hot Chocolate from Sweet Moses (6800 Detroit Ave., 216-651-2202, sweetmosestreats.com) Get nostalgic at this Gordon Square soda fountain and treat shop with a time-honored mug of hot chocolate. This gem is made using an original 1911 recipe, which includes topping it with a fresh, homemade marshmallow. This is the way old fashioned cocoa is meant to be.
MexiCocoa from Phoenix Coffee Company (1700 East 9th St., 216-522-9744, phoenixcoffee.com) This is hot chocolate for those of us who can take the heat. The brew is a spicy-sweet combination of chocolate, chili and cinnamon, promising to warm deep into the soul. Available at all Phoenix locations.