14 Indulgent Hot Chocolates to Sip Around DC This Winter

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Photograph courtesy of Pixabay/Jill Wellington.

Sure, packaged cocoa is fine in a pinch. But when you’re out and about, there are few better ways to get cozy than a mug of real-deal hot chocolate. 

Dolcezza Gelato

Multiple DC-area locations

When not cooling us off with dreamy gelato, Dolcezza keeps us warm with its house-made cocoa—a creamy blend of milk and Valrhona chocolate. There’s a subtle hint of cinnamon and clove in its seasonal version, or you can order it plain.  

Levain Bakery

3131 M St NW, Washington, DC; 4844 Bethesda Ave, Bethesda, MD

While the Manhattan-based bakery is best known for massive chocolate chip cookies, it doesn’t overlook the details when it comes to hot chocolate. The Bethesda and Georgetown cafes hand-shave Valrhona chocolate bars—renowned for high cocoa-butter content—before melting it into any milk you choose.

L.A. Burdick Chocolates

1319 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, DC

This fancy “drinking chocolate” is from artisanal chocolatier L.A. Burdick, whose Georgetown location is well-known for its indulgent sips. Guests can customize kinds of sipping chocolate, including milk, white, dark, or spicy dark.

Colada Shop

Multiple locations in DC, MD, and VA

Staying true to its roots, this local mini-chain pours a classic Cuban-style hot chocolate called Chocolate de Abuela. It’s slightly thick and spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove—the perfect vessel for churro-dipping.

Pitango Gelato

Multiple locations in DC, MD, and VA

This gelato shop describes its “sipping chocolate” as the “chocolate equivalent to espresso.” The drink—thicker and stronger than your average cup of cocoa—is a blend of single-origin Vidama chocolate from the Ivory Coast, milk, and cane sugar. Add more milk if you want to turn down the intensity (but who wants that?).


2032 P St NW, Washington, DC; 1726 20th St NW, Washington, DC

No Hershey’s or Ghirardelli syrups here: Emissary creates its own using ethically-sourced tcho chocolate. The result is a delightfully bittersweet drink, and it comes with a little bonus chocolate hidden beneath your mug. 

The Wydown Coffee & Bar

600-B H ST NE, Washington, DC; 1924 14th Street NW, Washington, DC

Vegans and those who avoid lactose will be happy to know that the Wydown’s housemade dark-chocolate syrup, also made with tcho chocolate, is dairy-free. Enjoy it with oat, almond, or soy milk. Or, go for cow’s milk from Maryland’s South Mountain Creamery.

Urban Roast

16 G St NW Suite C-2, Washington, DC 

Hot chocolate has its own menu section on this Penn Quarter cafe’s menu. There are five different flavors, including peppermint and coconut, which you can spike with various liqueurs. Also: boozy hot cocoa flights, all flavored with a different variety of Bailey’s.

Le Diplomate

1601 14th St NW, Washington, DC

For more boozy hot chocolate, head to this 14th street French brasserie, which pours green Chartreuse into its Valrhona-based cocoa. The liqueur adds an herbal note, and the cup is topped with a housemade chartreuse-infused marshmallow.

Pretzel Bakery

257 15th St SE, Washington, DC

The Nutella craze is still going strong at this Capitol Hill pretzel shop, which prepares its hot chocolate—known as the “Hotella”—with the hazelnut spread.


 7140 Bethesda Ln, Bethesda, MD

Aside from its classic cup of cocoa, Maman—the NYC-born bakery now in Bethesda—offers several twists for the season. A shot of Matchabar matcha serves as the base for their Vanilla Mint Matcha Hot Chocolate, which can come with dairy-free peppermint whipped cream. If you’re not big on matcha, Maman’s Lavender Hot Cocoa adds floral notes to the winter drink. Or you can try the Après Ski, a boozy hot cocoa with menthe-pastille and crème de cacao that’s topped with whipped cream, Ecuadorian cacao nibs, and a mint leaf.

Bread and Water Company

1512 Belle View Blvd, Alexandria, VA

Bread and pastries aren’t the only thing made in-house. The Alexandria cafe also crafts its own chocolate syrup, made with 60 percent dark chocolate.

Call Your Mother Deli

Multiple locations in DC, MD, and VA

The bright pink-and-turquoise deli, which has been sprouting new locations across the DMV, also creates its own house-made chocolate syrup for hot cocoa, which you can order with a shot of peppermint.

The Conche

1605 Village Market Blvd SE, Leesburg, VA

It’s probably no surprise that a restaurant devoted to cocoa-based dishes offers mugs of hot chocolate, too. The Leesburg restaurant stirs up five different flavors—milk, white, and dark chocolate as well as peanut butter and salted caramel. Guests can also pick up a few of their housemade hot chocolate bombs to drop into steamed milk at home (flavors include white chocolate peppermint, milk chocolate salted caramel, and dark chocolate).

Jessica Ruf

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