On The Town

Top 10 Local Spots to Celebrate National Cocoa Day

From spicy to boozy, we round up the best steamy sips in town.

By Lauren Cohen | December 13, 2016, 12:05 pm

On The Town

Top 10 Local Spots to Celebrate National Cocoa Day

From spicy to boozy, we round up the best steamy sips in town.

By Lauren Cohen | December 13, 2016, 12:05 pm

It’s no secret that the chemicals in chocolate are known to boost your mood, and there’s nothing quite like a mug full of piping hot cocoa to help forget all of those winter woes.This season, plenty of area eateries are getting creative by putting their own unique spins on the classic cold-weather treat.

“It’s something everyone has a connection to,” says The Ivy Hotel’s pastry chef Sarah Malphrus, who remembers making batches of hot chocolate and spiced cider with her family as a child.“You can never have just one cup.”

Malphrus is premiering a special holiday tea service at the elegant Mt. Vernon mansion this month, complete with festively flavored teas, malt ciders, white chocolate snowmen, seasonal fruit tartlets, hazelnut mousse, and two varieties of boozy hot cocoa. Her one-of-a-kind concoctions include a hot white chocolate infused with chili powder and Rumchata, as well as a peppermint dark hot chocolate spiked with a shot of Bailey’s Irish Cream.

In addition to The Ivy, there are plenty of other spots around town highlighting decadent hot chocolate recipes this season. In honor of National Cocoa Day on December 13, we’ve compiled a list of some of the top steamy sips:

The Charmery: Especially this time of year, when crowds flock to see the 34th Street Lights in Hampden, a visit to this neighborhood creamery is in order. If you’re one of the naysayers who thinks it’s too cold for ice cream, indulge in a cup of The Charmery’s thick, creamy hot chocolate topped with whipped cream and a hunk of house-made marshmallow. 801 W. 36th St., 410-814-0493

The Bun Shop: This late-night coffee corner is a favorite of neighborhood locals and college students alike, with a menu full of worldly beverages and snacks including Paraguayan empanadas and European pastries. Not only does The Bun Shop have a killer classic hot cocoa, but it also features a Mexican hot chocolate amped up with cinnamon and chili spices. Multiple locations including 239 W. Read St., 410-989-2033

Pitango Gelato: Take your taste buds on a journey to the Italian Alps by way of Fells Point at this neighborhood gelato spot that offers an entire menu full of European hot chocolate drinks during the colder months. Head to the mint green awning to enjoy specialties such as Hot Italian Sipping Chocolate (premium cocoa brewed with milk and sugar), Marrochino (equal parts sipping chocolate and espresso) and Chocolate Affogato—a scoop of any flavor gelato drowning in Pitango’s signature sipping chocolate. 802 S. Broadway, 410-236-0741

Stone Mill Bakery: Alongside the plethora of pastries and scones on the morning menu at this Green Spring Station stalwart is a variety of warm beverages including mocha, Americano, and café au lait coffees. The list also showcases a rich hot chocolate using Valrhona cocoa powder sourced from the village of Tain L’Hermitage in the south of France. 10751 Falls Road, Lutherville, 410-821-1358

Miss Shirley’s Café: Just in time for the dropping temperatures, Miss Shirley’s is warming diners up with a new seasonal sip that takes the classic hot chocolate to the next level. The restaurant’s spiked S’mores Hot Chocolate is infused with whipped cream-flavored vodka, topped with a marshmallow skewer and a chocolate drizzle, and served in a glass with a graham cracker crusted rim. Multiple locations including 750 E. Pratt St., 410-528-5273

Spro Coffee: Head to this Hampden hangout to enjoy Colombian and Mexican-inspired hot chocolates that make use of the shop’s house-made ganache, and can be customized to include extra spices or a shot of vanilla. 851 W. 36th St., 410-243-1262

Pure Chocolate by Jinji: Gourmet chocolate purveyor Jinji Fraser highlights a sophisticated sipping chocolate during the holiday season. Swing by her stall in Belvedere Square Market to sip small pours of the dairy and gluten-free drink, which features raw Ecuadorean chocolate. 529 E. Belvedere Ave., 410-394-9901

Dooby's: As an ode to the milk chocolate oranges that often double as stocking stuffers this time of year, this beloved Mt. Vernon hangout has added special orange flower mocha to its list of seasonal beverages. Ask for it to be poured without espresso to treat yourself to a unique, orange-infused hot chocolate. 802 N. Charles St., 410-609-3162

Artifact Coffee and Bird in Hand: These sister-restaurants are getting in on the fun by offering 8-oz. cups of hot chocolate for $1 from noon to close on National Cocoa Day. In keeping with their farm-to-fork philosophy, the restaurants’ signature recipe uses local Jinji’s Chocolates, and can be infused with different flavorings like maple, blackberry jam, and fresh mint. 1500 Union Ave., 410-235-1881 and 11 E. 33rd St., 410-243-0757




Meet The Author

Lauren Cohen is a digital associate editor for Baltimore, where she blogs about food, events, lifestyle, and community news.



You May Also Like


Food & Drink

Local Flavor Live Podcast: The Art of Dining Solo

Plus, Whitehall Mill vendor lineup, Restaurant Week tips, and our best bites this week.

In Good Taste

Open & Shut: Tire Shop Pop-Ups at Parts & Labor; Koba BBQ; TigerStyle

The latest restaurant openings, closings, and recent news.

Food & Drink

Local Flavor Live Podcast: Chefs Use Food to Create Works of Art

Plus, The Tilted Row opens, food scene honors Anthony Bourdain, and our best bites this week.


In Good Taste

Anthony Bourdain Honored With Local Dinners and Discussion

Bourdain Day sparks conversations of late chef’s legacy and mental health in the industry.

Food & Drink

A-Z Guide to Crabs

The ultimate hardshell Bible.

Food & Drink

Review: Sagamore Pendry Pool Bar

With a revamped food and drink menu, the pool bar at the Sagamore Pendry is open to all.

Connect With Us

Most Read


Severe Flooding Plagues Neighborhoods Surrounding the Inner Harbor: Stark images of Harbor East and Fells Point arise on social media as area reckons with heavy rainfall.

Oletha DeVane Showcases Sculptural Works in 'Traces of Spirit' at the BMA: Local multidisciplinary artist explores religion, nature, and humanity in exhibit on view through October 20.

Developers Hope to Unveil Greektown’s Yard 56 by 2020: The mixed-use project will be anchored by Streets Market and LA Fitness.


Relics of Baltimore's Forgotten Punk Scene Showcased in New Metro Gallery Exhibit: Celebrated Summer Records owner Tony Pence curates fliers, photos, and music from 1977 to 1989.