THE WEATHER IS FINALLY COOLING DOWN and we're getting ready for another Texas winter (hopefully one without another freak snowstorm). With Thanksgiving nearing and holiday gift shopping in full swing, you might be having a hard time carving out a moment or two for some self-care. If you’re looking for a warm cup of holiday cheer to relax or wind down as the craziness of the season ramps up, we have some cozy local recommendations—including a CBD-infused option for that extra dose of happy to scare away the winter blues.
Consider this list of the best hot cocoa spots in Houston our early Christmas gift to you.
This Greek-themed coffee, study, and hangout spot in Montrose serves hot cocoa, Greek coffee, champagne, tea, and European wines (just to name some items on their elaborate drink menu) alongside a wide menu of dessert options, including gingerbread men, kolaches, cookies, and biscottis. With a cup of cocoa in hand, you can chill out—while warming up, of course—and enjoy a unique holiday season experience amongst the ancient Greek decor by catching a belly dance performance on Wednesday nights.
This churrería in Cypress serves up traditional Spanish churros with ice cream and a variety of sweet dips like caramel, honey, and dulce de leche—you can even have some of everything with one of their churro sundaes! The centerpiece to their many drink options this winter is of course their Mexican hot chocolate, typically made with plenty of cinnamon, but they also offer the Swiss variation—usually sweeter and thicker than other kinds—and an “Iced Mexican,” in case you’re still feeling the summer heat in December (which is pretty normal for Texas).
If you want to support a business that’s been owned and operated by the same family for generations, ChocolatZeina is the place to go. Founded in 1892 in Syria, this company specializes in all things chocolate, so it’s no wonder that their hot chocolate is so tasty. Using recipes that have been in the family for years, ChocolatZeina crafts fine hot chocolate so smooth that $5 almost seems a little too good a deal for a cup of the stuff.
Next time you find yourself in Rice Village, Midtown, or any of Coco Crepes & Coffee’s other Houston-area locations, dip in for a treat. No, we’re not talking about their crêpes, though that is an added bonus. Listed under their “classic favorites” on their extensive menu is Coco’s hot dark chocolate. Order a cup and sit back in their snug dining area to sip. Don’t forget to add marshmallows for an extra 50 cents!
If you’re in the mood for hot chocolate with a twist, we’ve got the perfect option for you. Grinder’s Coffee Bar, which sits within the CBD Apothecary, serves more than just coffee. Add a 20mg CBD shot to your hot cocoa for five dollars extra, or consider the THC and Isolate options. Whichever route you take, this hot chocolate is sure to chill you out.
This restaurant may be well-known for their pies and assorted breakfast items, but nothing hits the spot like a steaming cup of hot cocoa from House of Pies topped with their famous whipped cream. Accompany your hot chocolate with a slice of their chocolate cream pie to bring out the best sweet, chocolate-y flavor notes the venue has to offer.
This French-style cafe chain, serving breakfast, lunch, dinner, and plenty of dessert, also happens to offer some of the sweetest hot cocoa in town (and the most whipped cream). Their hot chocolate is made with steamed milk and topped with warm chocolate, whipped cream, and cocoa. They also offer an array of coffee options if a cup of joe is more your thing, so be sure to try out their café mocha, an espresso made with chocolate, frothed milk, and topped with more cocoa or cinnamon.
Self-described as a “funky, fun eclectic bakery”, Red Dessert Dive was founded in 2014 and has since been serving up cups of hot chocolate to sip next to a rich chocolate brownie, seasonal bread pudding topped with bourbon caramel sauce, slice of tres leches, or a whole cake. (Because why not?) The bakery even offers a high tea experience you can book for a private event or get-together, if one hot cocoa just isn’t enough.
With seven locations across Houston, Katy, Sugar Land, and The Woodlands, don’t worry about having to travel far to get to your local Sweet Paris Crêperie. Crepes are this spot’s specialty—it is in the name—filled with sugary-sweet syrup, fresh fruit, or savory meat and veggie options. Pair your dessert or top off your lunch with one of their Nutella hot cocoa options (with or without marshmallows), or a Mayan Hot Chocolate (served hot or cold).
RICE VILLAGE / RIVER OAKS
Local favorite The Chocolate Bar has served the greater Houston area for over 20 years, providing custom made chocolate treats for the community every holiday season, and this year is no different. Pair your mug of hot chocolate with one of The Chocolate Bar’s more unique chocolate seasonal items, like their chocolate Santa or their white chocolate Snowman.
Xochi is an upscale Mexican restaurant in downtown Houston serving both traditional and modern-infused Oaxacan food and drink. (It’s even named after a Pre-Columbian flower goddess.) Their lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch options are full of Mexican staples, vegetarian faves, and diverse cocktails, but it’s their authentic hot chocolate that will lure you in this holiday season. Try their cacao, made with a real chocolate cocoa pod and mixed with tejate foam, rare chocolate criollo, and milk chocolate; or, if you like a spicier kick to your sweets, the chocolate caliente serves Oaxacan hot chocolate (usually made with fresh cacao beans for a nuttier taste) with churros for two.