Cocoa Lowdown

Need a reason to taste-test the hot-chocolate scene? Antioxidants can be your alibi.

Crema Café The drink

Like molten chocolate mousse. The scene As calm and comforting as the hot chocolate itself. The drinkers Uptown lovebirds. Pros A perfect balance of creaminess, sweetness, and cocoa flavor. Cons No room for Crema’s first-class pastries. Cost $3.15 Rating 9

Photo by Terry Brennan

Clicquot Club Cafe

The drink

Half espresso, half high-end chocolate syrup, and so much more than a mocha. The scene Morning-paper readers. The drinkers Neighborhood creative types working away from the office. Pros Extra caffeine—chocolate alone doesn’t have enough. Cons You’ll stay jittery for hours. Cost $3.25 for a single. Rating 7

Photo by Terry Brennan

El Meson

The drink

Super-sweet. Cocoa focus with hints of cinnamon, lemon, and star anise. The scene Iberian-inspired, with cozy booths. The drinkers Diners with bellies full of paella and pollo ajillo. Pros Non-dairy: great for vegans and the lactose-intolerant. Cons Too sweet to taste your flan. Cost $1.95 Rating 6

Photo by Terry Brennan

Caribou Coffee

The drink

A thin mix of chocolate syrup and milk. The scene What you make it—you could be anywhere. The drinkers As common as the drink itself. Pros Variety: white chocolate if you’re looking for a change; low-temp cocoa for kids. Cons Doesn’t seem special. Cost $2.30 regular; $2.60 white chocolate; $1.55 kiddie. Rating 5

Photo by Terry Brennan

Schokinag European Drinking Chocolate

The drink

Thick, rich, and dark; made from little drops of solid chocolate. The scene Anywhere with access to whole milk and a microwave or stove. The drinkers Minimalists: a loaf of bread, a mug of cocoa, and thou. Pros Chasing the last drizzles around the bottom of your mug with a spoon. Cons All good things must come to an end. Cost $14.50 for 8 servings, available at upscale grocers and Cooks of Crocus Hill. Rating 10

 

 

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