Whether they come spiked with alcohol or topped with marshmallows and other sweet accouterments, cups of hot cocoa are sure to be the balm that will get us through this frostier-than-usual season. Here’s where to find some around Austin, in case you want more than your usual Hershey’s cocoa mix at home.
Contigo, 2027 Anchor Lane
You don’t have to stay away from this East Austin restaurant’s normally perfect patio during the colder months, as Contigo has a menu of hot winter cocktails to warm you up. These include the Branca-Menta Hot Chocolate with Branca Menta, hot chocolate and whipped cream. The sweet liqueur Branca Menta is the key to this steaming cup, as it blasts you with minty freshness.
Craftsman, 2000 E. Cesar Chavez St.
On particularly cold nights, the East Austin bungalow bar has a roaring fire pit going in the backyard and a menu of hot drinks to boot, including the Toasted Cinnamon and Hazelnut Hot Cocoa, a boozy version with Frangelico, vodka, Rumchata-infused whipped cream and a cinnamon stick.
Dolce Neve, 1713 S. First St.
No doubt there are some people who eat ice cream even if they had to defrost the car to get some, but for those of us who shiver just thinking about it, the South Austin gelato shop has hot cocoa made with Valrhona chocolate.
Epoch Coffee, 221 W. North Loop Blvd. and 2700 W. Anderson Lane
In case you have any late-night hot cocoa cravings, the North Loop location is open 24 hours and has a rich hot chocolate on the menu full of cream and cinnamon notes.
Halcyon, 1905 Aldrich St. Ste. 110
The fairly new Mueller location of this boozy coffee shop has a trio of hot chocolates on the menu: the chocolate-heavy French, the spicy Mayan and the Peanut Butter, which tastes just like drinking a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. Sip one of these while enjoying the do-it-yourself s’mores Halcyon is known for and you’ve got a cozy night indeed.
Holy Cacao, 1311 S. First St.
One of the best cups of hot cocoa in town is served out of a food truck. There are several flavors to choose from — including regular dark, caramel, peppermint and spicy cinnamon and cayenne — but that’s not even the best part. Holy Cacao has a non-dairy option for vegans, as well as a frozen hot chocolate for the 11 months out of the year when Austinites aren’t covered head-to-toe in winter gear.
Jo’s Coffee, 1300 S. Congress Ave. and 242 W. Second St.
Two months ago, just in time for the first of Austin’s wintry blasts, Jo’s two locations began offering new seasonal drinks, including a toasted marshmallow latte and a spicy Tex-Mex Hot Chocolate.
Mozart’s Coffee Roasters, 3825 Lake Austin Blvd.
You may have been too busy admiring the holiday light show outside Mozart’s last month to pay much attention to the drinks menu indoors, but Mozart’s has an impressive list of hot chocolates you can order, with flavors including Pecan Pie White Chocolate, Mexican Hot Chocolate, Pumpkin Spice and After Dinner Mint.
Prohibition Creamery, 1407 E. Seventh St.
The combination bar and ice cream shop has two boozy hot chocolates this winter: the Spiked Peppermint Hot Chocolate or, if you’re feeling like you really want some heat, the Diablo Hot Chocolate made with Valrhona chocolate, Patrón XO Café Incendio and homemade whipped cream. It’s the Patrón, a tequila-based chocolate-and-chile liqueur, that makes the drink so spicy.
SPUN Ice Cream, 1912 E. Seventh St.
This local sweets shop has made a name for itself by using liquid nitrogen to whip up made-to-order ice cream, but its hot chocolate is pretty special, too. It’s practically a meal thanks to the toppings of whipped cream, chocolate crumble and a mini-doughnut that comes wrapped around the straw.
Summer Moon Coffee Bar, 3115 S. First St.
Though known for its house-roasted coffees, the original location of this fast-growing local cafe makes a terrific hot cocoa, too. It’s a creamy confection with a nutty backbone that reminds you how made for each other chocolate and hazelnut can be.
Via 313 Pizza, 3016 Guadalupe St. and 6705 Highway 290
Having one of Via 313’s sturdy, square Detroit-style pies with a boozy hot chocolate might seem like a strange combination, but go with it. The pizza maker’s two brick-and-mortar locations have the Rumchata Hot Chocolate, made with Ancho Reyes chili liqueur, chocolate bitters, whipped cream and marshmallows. It’ll be a little spicy and a little sweet, another perfect match.