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A top-down view of a frothy mug of hot chocolate with fluffy white marshmallows.
Hot chocolate is an important resource to make it through Chicago winters.
Katherine Anne Confections

Where to Drink Chicago’s Most Heartwarming Hot Chocolates

Melt away the pandemic winter blues

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Hot chocolate is an important resource to make it through Chicago winters.
| Katherine Anne Confections

Chicagoans can grouse about the cold weather or just give themselves the gift of a tantalizing cup of hot chocolate. There's a wide variety to choose from as Chicago is a city that takes its cocoa seriously. From spicy to colorful to marshmallow-packed, the following options are nearly guaranteed to bring a little joy to chilly customers.

As of January 3, the city has mandated that those ages 5 and up be fully vaccinated and masked at public places indoors while not actively eating or drinking. For updated information on coronavirus cases, please visit the city of Chicago’s COVID-19 dashboard. Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; it may pose a risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial COVID transmission. The latest CDC guidance is here; find a COVID-19 vaccination site here.

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XO Marshmallow

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A palace for Instagram bait, XO Marshmallow is allegedly the world’s first marshmallow cafe and features some of the prettiest hot chocolates in town, including a steaming cup of s’mores hot chocolate with graham cracker crumbs and a toasted marshmallow.

Bittersweet Pastry Shop & Cafe

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Rich and decadent, Bittersweet’s French-style hot chocolate is served with a scoop of whipped cream but isn't too sweet. This treat is a dessert unto itself, so it’s best to come prepared with a relatively empty stomach. Mochas are also on the menu.

Caravanserai

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Local roaster Dark Matter veers off the coffee path with Caravanserai, a cafe that specializes in Mexican drinking chocolate. Patrons can expect sweet, hot concoctions like Mayan Mochas (La Rifa Mexico City chocolate, Dark Matter cinnamon blend, cayenne) made with pre-colonial recipes and chocolate from Mexico City-based partner La Rifa Chocolatería.

Chiqueolatte Chicago

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This Logan Square cafe opened in 2020, the first U.S. location for the mini-chain from Europe. The cute cafe serves sandwiches, and while there are tons of espresso drinks, the variety of hot chocolates — vanilla, dark, white, and hazelnut — all made with high quality ingredients, make it a great spot for those who want choices. If hot chocolate isn’t wanted, there’s frozen hot chocolates for Instagram cred.

Katherine Anne Confections

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Much has been written about the drinking chocolate at Katherine Anne Confections, and just a few sips will explain why. Patrons can choose from varieties including chai, salted caramel, peanut butter, and more, and top off their mug with house marshmallows or Kilgus Farm whipped cream.

Mindy’s Bakery

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Acclaimed chef Mindy Segal has closed her restaurant, Hot Chocolate, but fans can still find cups of her famous cocoa at her new bakery. Patrons can also buy her hot chocolate blends (medium, dark, or Mexican) by the bag, along with giant marshmallows that would make Stay Puft™ envious.

Cocoa + Co.

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Old Town's palace of upscale chocolate features some of the most decadent drinks in the city. Try the pumpkin drinking chocolate, made with real pumpkin puree.

Fairgrounds Coffee & Tea

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Local cafe mini-chain Fairgrounds has teamed up with luxury brand Vosges Haut-Chocolat on delectable cups of liquid love. Each one comes with a black salt coconut caramel marshmallow.

Stan's Donuts & Coffee

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Stan’s is a well-known entity in Chicago for its doughnuts and coffee, but it also has seasonal hot chocolates, hot or frozen, and sometimes in special flavors like red velvet.

Veruca Chocolates

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This indie “chocolate lab” began as a wholesale operation before blossoming into a chocolate retail wonderland in Lincoln Park. Belly-warming options include a slightly spicy Mexican hot chocolate.

L.A. Burdick Handmade Chocolates

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Gourmet chocolatier L.A. Burdick is well known for its precious chocolate mice and penguins, but the drinking chocolate at its cozy State Street cafe shouldn’t be overlooked. Staff expertly blend shavings of single-source chocolate into steaming milk for a truly rich cup.

Rick Bayless’s hot chocolates are just as famous as his tortas in River North. Choose from five concoctions, alongside an additional three that are mixed with coffee. If guests want a spicy kick, order the Aztec with chile and allspice.

JoJo's Shake Bar

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Jojo’s usually garners attention for its colorful Instagram-friendly milkshakes, but when the weather turns cold its sweet-toothed staff feature a selection of sugary hot chocolates. Diners can try a classic cup, or amp up the occasion with a double chocolate or salted caramel variation (salted caramel-infused milk, giant marshmallow, chocolate-covered pretzel). Add some Bailey’s for $6. There’s also a location inside Water Tower Place.

BomboBar

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BomboBar knows how to stand out from the cocoa crowd with design-your-own "hotter" chocolates that let customers choose from a chocolate or caramel custard, marshmallow or whipped cream, and tons of toppings like Cinnamon Toast Crunch, chocolate chips, gummy bears, and more. This year, the team has added a locally-themed “Made in Chicago” edition with blue sprinkles and doughnut toppers.

Cafe Jumping Bean

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Beat the winter blues by hunkering down at this colorful Pilsen coffee shop and sipping on a cup of Mexican hot chocolate. The drink is made with Chocolate Abuelita and is also available as a choco-espresso blend for an extra boost.

Chocolat Uzma

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Come for the shop’s fine cocoa collection but don’t miss the luxurious collection of sipping chocolate and hot chocolate bombs. Unique options include Original Sin (signature classic dark), Kashmiri Chili (Saigon cinnamon, cayenne), Espresso, and Golden Spice (turmeric, ginger, cardamom). Coffee giant Starbucks selected owner Uzma Sharif as the official chocolatier of its world’s-largest location, and offers her South Asian-flavored chocolates in store.

“The Abuelita” (Spanish for "granny") is a popular choice, but don't be bashful. Make sure to order a churro to accompany that tasty beverage, available by the cup or gallon. After all, this is the Churro Factory.

Eméché Cakery & Cafe

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This charming pastry shop in Bronzeville is known for delectable creations like chocolate bourbon pound cake and mini rum butter Bundt cakes, all of which go down beautifully with a steaming mug of hot chocolate. There’s also a s’mores version, for even more sweetness.

Back of the Yards Coffeehouse

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Neighborhood landmark Back of the Yards Coffee infuses their hot chocolate with a healthy dose of caffeine. Try the “Xocolatte” with creamy espresso, house-made chocolate ganache, cinnamon, and chile ancho.

Piccolo Mondo

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This cozy Hyde Park cafe connected to Piccolo Mondo specializes in Argentinean pastries, baked goods, and beverages. Try the traditional submarino from the espresso bar for a DIY hot chocolate. It consists of steamed milk served with a dark chocolate bar that drinkers stir into the glass themselves.

XO Marshmallow

A palace for Instagram bait, XO Marshmallow is allegedly the world’s first marshmallow cafe and features some of the prettiest hot chocolates in town, including a steaming cup of s’mores hot chocolate with graham cracker crumbs and a toasted marshmallow.

Bittersweet Pastry Shop & Cafe

Rich and decadent, Bittersweet’s French-style hot chocolate is served with a scoop of whipped cream but isn't too sweet. This treat is a dessert unto itself, so it’s best to come prepared with a relatively empty stomach. Mochas are also on the menu.

Caravanserai

Local roaster Dark Matter veers off the coffee path with Caravanserai, a cafe that specializes in Mexican drinking chocolate. Patrons can expect sweet, hot concoctions like Mayan Mochas (La Rifa Mexico City chocolate, Dark Matter cinnamon blend, cayenne) made with pre-colonial recipes and chocolate from Mexico City-based partner La Rifa Chocolatería.

Chiqueolatte Chicago

This Logan Square cafe opened in 2020, the first U.S. location for the mini-chain from Europe. The cute cafe serves sandwiches, and while there are tons of espresso drinks, the variety of hot chocolates — vanilla, dark, white, and hazelnut — all made with high quality ingredients, make it a great spot for those who want choices. If hot chocolate isn’t wanted, there’s frozen hot chocolates for Instagram cred.

Katherine Anne Confections

Much has been written about the drinking chocolate at Katherine Anne Confections, and just a few sips will explain why. Patrons can choose from varieties including chai, salted caramel, peanut butter, and more, and top off their mug with house marshmallows or Kilgus Farm whipped cream.

Mindy’s Bakery

Acclaimed chef Mindy Segal has closed her restaurant, Hot Chocolate, but fans can still find cups of her famous cocoa at her new bakery. Patrons can also buy her hot chocolate blends (medium, dark, or Mexican) by the bag, along with giant marshmallows that would make Stay Puft™ envious.

Cocoa + Co.

Old Town's palace of upscale chocolate features some of the most decadent drinks in the city. Try the pumpkin drinking chocolate, made with real pumpkin puree.

Fairgrounds Coffee & Tea

Local cafe mini-chain Fairgrounds has teamed up with luxury brand Vosges Haut-Chocolat on delectable cups of liquid love. Each one comes with a black salt coconut caramel marshmallow.

Stan's Donuts & Coffee

Stan’s is a well-known entity in Chicago for its doughnuts and coffee, but it also has seasonal hot chocolates, hot or frozen, and sometimes in special flavors like red velvet.

Veruca Chocolates

This indie “chocolate lab” began as a wholesale operation before blossoming into a chocolate retail wonderland in Lincoln Park. Belly-warming options include a slightly spicy Mexican hot chocolate.

L.A. Burdick Handmade Chocolates

Gourmet chocolatier L.A. Burdick is well known for its precious chocolate mice and penguins, but the drinking chocolate at its cozy State Street cafe shouldn’t be overlooked. Staff expertly blend shavings of single-source chocolate into steaming milk for a truly rich cup.

Xoco

Rick Bayless’s hot chocolates are just as famous as his tortas in River North. Choose from five concoctions, alongside an additional three that are mixed with coffee. If guests want a spicy kick, order the Aztec with chile and allspice.

JoJo's Shake Bar

Jojo’s usually garners attention for its colorful Instagram-friendly milkshakes, but when the weather turns cold its sweet-toothed staff feature a selection of sugary hot chocolates. Diners can try a classic cup, or amp up the occasion with a double chocolate or salted caramel variation (salted caramel-infused milk, giant marshmallow, chocolate-covered pretzel). Add some Bailey’s for $6. There’s also a location inside Water Tower Place.

BomboBar

BomboBar knows how to stand out from the cocoa crowd with design-your-own "hotter" chocolates that let customers choose from a chocolate or caramel custard, marshmallow or whipped cream, and tons of toppings like Cinnamon Toast Crunch, chocolate chips, gummy bears, and more. This year, the team has added a locally-themed “Made in Chicago” edition with blue sprinkles and doughnut toppers.

Cafe Jumping Bean

Beat the winter blues by hunkering down at this colorful Pilsen coffee shop and sipping on a cup of Mexican hot chocolate. The drink is made with Chocolate Abuelita and is also available as a choco-espresso blend for an extra boost.

Related Maps

Chocolat Uzma

Come for the shop’s fine cocoa collection but don’t miss the luxurious collection of sipping chocolate and hot chocolate bombs. Unique options include Original Sin (signature classic dark), Kashmiri Chili (Saigon cinnamon, cayenne), Espresso, and Golden Spice (turmeric, ginger, cardamom). Coffee giant Starbucks selected owner Uzma Sharif as the official chocolatier of its world’s-largest location, and offers her South Asian-flavored chocolates in store.

Xurro

“The Abuelita” (Spanish for "granny") is a popular choice, but don't be bashful. Make sure to order a churro to accompany that tasty beverage, available by the cup or gallon. After all, this is the Churro Factory.

Eméché Cakery & Cafe

This charming pastry shop in Bronzeville is known for delectable creations like chocolate bourbon pound cake and mini rum butter Bundt cakes, all of which go down beautifully with a steaming mug of hot chocolate. There’s also a s’mores version, for even more sweetness.

Back of the Yards Coffeehouse

Neighborhood landmark Back of the Yards Coffee infuses their hot chocolate with a healthy dose of caffeine. Try the “Xocolatte” with creamy espresso, house-made chocolate ganache, cinnamon, and chile ancho.

Piccolo Mondo

This cozy Hyde Park cafe connected to Piccolo Mondo specializes in Argentinean pastries, baked goods, and beverages. Try the traditional submarino from the espresso bar for a DIY hot chocolate. It consists of steamed milk served with a dark chocolate bar that drinkers stir into the glass themselves.

Related Maps