16 of the Best Sips of Hot Chocolate You Can Only Find in Chicagoland

On a winter day in Chicago, those at-home Swiss Miss packets just won’t do when you’re jonesing for a cup of hot chocolate to awaken your senses. Whether the warm drink is boozy, simple or over-the-top, we’ve found the best places for hot chocolate that you can only get in the Windy City.

ArrivaDolce

 

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The signature hot chocolate at this casual cafe comes with your choice of milks, your choice of flavorings, (of course whipped cream) and even an option for an espresso shot. Basically, this hot chocolate is designed to make you happy.

Bombo Bar

 

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There’s no filter needed for these epic, Instagrammable cups of Hotter Chocolate — brimming with color and a dark chocolate taste! While we like the classic, you’d be crazy not to opt for the Chocoholic or Funfetti versions. They’re both served in a chocolate-coated waffle cone, which is dressed with whipped cream. The Chocoholic is loaded with a brownie, whoopee and salted caramel, while the Funfetti boasts Rice Krispie treats, pop tarts and a sour rainbow belt. Either way, you’ll need to break out the stretchy pants. During the pandemic, the original West Loop window is open, and watch for a pop-up in River North (355 N. Clark St.).

Cocoa & Co.

Photo Credit: Jennifer Marx

The drinking chocolate from this prime chocolate shop in Old Town was featured on FoodNetwork.com as one of the best hot chocolates in the country. In addition to sipping on the hot cocoa from Cocoa & Co., you can also sign up for chocolate classes (post-pandemic) or treat your friends and extended family to a virtual tasting event now.

Emeche Cakery & Cafe

This Bronzeville bakery is known for its cakes, cookies and cupcakes, but add whipped coffee and perfect hot chocolate to that list. You’ll swoon over the house hot cocoa, but step up to try the s’mores hot chocolate, a delectable offering that hits every note to warm up winter.

Firecakes

 

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  • Address: Multiple window locations in Chicago and Oak Park

Made with Valrhona chocolate drops, steamed milk and vanilla extract, the Belgian Hot Chocolate at Firecakes is decadent and smooth. Top it off with a house-made, Tahitian vanilla bean marshmallow, and pair it with any small batch donut that Firecakes is known for (our favorites are Honey Glazed, Apple Fritter and Old Fashioned Buttermilk). If you’re not ready to leave the house, you can order for delivery through GrubHub.

Glenview Grind

 

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Brewed fresh daily, this local coffee shop is known for its “Glen Cocoa” with a “Lil’ Glen Cocoa” perfect for kiddos. Choose from dark, milk or white chocolate and topped with a healthy dose of whipped cream, you’ll want to order four.

Hometown Coffee & Juice

Fresh from the Espresso bar, this creamy hot chocolate comes iced or piping hot and served to your liking. For the littlest in your family, it is available in four sizes, including as small as eight ounces. With Hometown Houses that can be reserved for families as big as six, you can also enjoy a lunchtime S’mores bar with your hot cocoa.

JoJo’s Shake Bar

 

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What’s better than a cup of hot chocolate? A Biggie Hot Chocolate, offered only at JoJo’s Shake Bar. Served in a 96-oz. thermos, flavors include salted caramel, cinnamon bun, double chocolate and hazelnut. Each variety is topped with whipped cream and special toppings like jumbo marshmallows, covered pretzels and cinnamon buns. Make it adult-style by adding Baileys. Make a reservation to sit in the outdoor “Winter Wonderland,” to try the shop’s new “Baked Hot Chocolate.”

Katherine Anne Confections

Sometimes, simplicity shines. This is true for the luxurious drinking chocolate at Katherine Anne’s Confections. The signature item on the menu, Katherine Anne’s uses real chocolate, a touch of sea salt and a mixture of high-quality milk and cream. Throw a fluffy, house made marshmallow in there (flavors include salted caramel, cinnamon and vanilla black pepper) and watch it dissipate into pure heaven in a cup. Delivery is available in Wicker Park and Lakeview, or order for pickup.

Kilwin’s

  • Address: Locations in Chicago (Hyde Park, Michigan Ave., Wrigleyville), Elmhurst, Arlington Heights, Evanston, Naperville & Wheaton

This shop in Hyde Park might be known best for its ice cream, but thanks to its history of chocolate making it also tops the list of some of the best hot chocolate in the city. When you buy it by the bag to make the hot chocolate at home, there’s no powder here. You’ll be adding piping hot milk to sweet shaved chocolate!

Le Chocolat du Bouchard

This gourmet chocolatier serves up hot cups in eight flavors, making the trip to the Western Suburbs worth the calories. Included on the menu is Mexicocoa, mint chocolate, toasted marshmallow and a hot chocolate cherry. Even the “classic” is made from a blend of Belgain and Swiss cocoas, proving that classic doesn’t mean basic.

Leonidas Chocolate Cafe

This Belgian hot chocolate is the kind that will have your kids – and your taste buds – begging to go back for more. Made with Belgian chocolate callets (better than a chocolate chip because it’s created for melting rather than baking), this decadent drink comes in seven flavors ranging from Mexican chocolate to triple chocolate to extreme dark. Kids will love the lollipop hot chocolate, which is the original hot chocolate bomb.

Mindy’s Hot Chocolate

 

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Named “Best Hot Chocolate in the U.S.” by Food & Wine Magazine, Pastry Chef Mindy Segal serves seven varieties (Mexican, Dark, Lemon, and yes, even Boozy) of decadent hot chocolate at her Bucktown restaurant and dessert bar. While they are all to die for, the best part is the perfect-for-dunking house made marshmallow on the side. Bags of the hot chocolate mix – including marshmallows – are available for pickup during COVID restrictions.

Xoco

 

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Xoco is the only restaurant in Chicago with its own bean-to-cup chocolate program. We will spare you the technical details, but just know that the beans (which are imported from Mexico) are given lots of TLC (they’re roasted, grinded and cooled) before they hit your cup. The end result is five authentic options of hot chocolate, which can be mixed with streamy milk, water and organic sugar, depending on personal preference. Due to the pandemic, all transactions at the restaurant are cashless and orders can be made to pick up the signature chocolate curbside.

XO Marshmallow

 

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Chicago’s first marshmallow cafe, XO Marshmallow, may be known for its ooey gooey marshmallows, but we’ll let you in on a secret: the gourmet hot chocolate is the star on the menu. The whimsical shop serves up ever-changing flavors like lavender, white peppermint, and salted caramel, and even has an online shop that sells the mixes for delivery or pickup.

Xurro

 

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  • Address: Locations in Chicago include Clearing, Pilsen, Navy Pier, Logan Square, Northcenter and on the Pink Line

This Mexican hot chocolate is nothing short of amazing to warm you up for winter. Flavors include white chocolate, spice Mexican chocolate, peppermint, Mayan mocha and Abuelita Hot Chocolate. You can even pick up Abuelita Hot Chocolate by the gallon to treat the whole family at home.


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This story originally published on ChicagoParent.com on Dec. 27, 2017. It has been updated with the most recent information.

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