Philly's Exotic Cocoas, Creative Cocktails & Sweet Sips

Philly's  Exotic Cocoas, Creative Cocktails & Sweet Sips

Philly's Exotic Cocoas, Creative Cocktails & Sweet Sips

Coffee & Tea
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Huddling around a steamy cup is one of winter’s greatest pleasures, and Philadelphia’s restaurants, bars, cafes and tearooms offer plenty of delicious options. Be it a cocoa infused with habanero and orange, a julep with bourbon and mint tea or an old-timey hot fountain soda, this season’s drinks call for leisurely enjoyment. Here are a few of the most tempting hot beverages in town:

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Coziest Cocoa:

  • A creative cannoli bakery in the Italian Market, Café Crema pays equal attention to its drinks. The hot chocolate bar is stocked with all manner of meltables—including red velvet, peppermint, peanut butter and other delicious flavors—ready to be combined for a customizable cup. 1205 S. 9th Street, (267) 928-4501,
  • Paging Nutella enthusiasts: Gran Caffè L’Aquila prepares its luxurious Italian hot chocolate each day, made from Classic Perugina 70% dark chocolate. Boozy variations are also available. 1716 Chestnut Street, (215) 568-5600,
  • Known for its frozen confections, Franklin Fountain also entices during the winter season, serving an array of intriguing warm drinks. Try the Hot Chocolate Float, made with cocoa powder and topped with a fluffy scoop of housemade ice cream. 116 Market Street,
    (215) 627-1899,
  • Few eateries are as cocoa-obsessed as the Max Brenner chain. Hot chocolate here comes in eight varieties (from marshmallow to hazelnut), each of which can be prepared with milk, dark or white chocolate. 1500 Walnut Street, (215) 344-8150,
  • In keeping with its always-soul-satisfying cuisine, Talula’s Daily serves hot drinks that quickly become an obsession. A must try: The Charleston, a salted caramel latte.
    208 W. Washington Square, (215) 592-6555,
  • Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest offers all the cold weather merriment and hot beverage comforts skaters and onlookers could want. Among them is Thomas Jefferson’s Toasted Chocolate Nightcap with marshmallow, available at the Franklin Fountain Confectionery Cabin. 101 S. Columbus Boulevard, (215) 925-RINK,

Tipsy Tipples:

  • Cocktail lovers at the colorful and crowded Bing Bing Dim Sum can sip and savor the Bonita Applebaum, a concoction that swirls together lemon, brandy, ginger wine, spiced apple puree and clove. 1648 E. Passyunk Avenue, (215) 279-7702,
  • What’s better than hot apple cider? The Hot Chai Apple Cider at The Dandelion, spiked with Bulleit Rye, chai tea, honey and lemon. 124 S. 18th Street, (215) 558-2500,
  • Anyone skeptical of the idea of hot booze should visit The Franklin Bar. As its name suggests, If You Don’t Know Now You Know packs a convincing punch with rum, apple schnitz-infused calvados, caramel, Fuji apple, cinnamon and nutmeg. 112 S. 18th Street, (267) 467-3277,
  • When the weather snaps, Frankford Hall keeps the chill away. The house-mulled wine, made from a traditional recipe, is a spicy delight. 1210 Frankford Avenue, (215) 634-3338,
  • Step out of the cold and come into the cozy with the Winter Julep at Red Owl Tavern. The original cocktail combines hot mint tea, Maker’s Mark, mint syrup and lemon juice—to great effect. 433 Chestnut Street, (215) 923-2267,
  • An epicenter for choco-consumption, the Venezuelan restaurant Sazon features an entire menu devoted to the stuff. Selections change from month to month, but always feature something delicious, such as the El Duende (homemade eggnog, Venezuelan rum, dark sugar cream and nutmeg). 941 Spring Garden Street, (215) 763-2500,
  • Those Winterfest visitors who need a more fortifying drink than the hot chocolate mentioned above can sample the S’mores cocktail (hot chocolate, whipped pinnacle vodka, marshmallows, crumbled graham cracker). 101 S. Columbus Boulevard, (215) 925-RINK,
  • Devotees of the hot cocktail will find plenty of options at University City’s White Dog Café. The most fragrant of the bunch is the Happy Hound, a combination of Bill Hill gin, St. Germaine, passion fruit, white grape, orange blossom and hibiscus tea. 3420 Sansom Street, (215) 386-9224,

Hot & Sweet:

  • No one should have to wait until summer for a milkshake or fountain soda, and that’s why Franklin Fountain serves them steamy. Hot milkshake flavors include Caramel Apple Pie, Peach Praline Pie, Hot Peanut Butter Brownie and Double Espresso; the hot sodas come in Violet Limeade and Mead. 116 Market Street, (215) 627-1899,
  • Simple pleasure awaits with the honey vanilla steamer at La.Va Café. Sweet, creamy and warming, it’s the perfect alternative to coffee or hot chocolate. 2100 South Street,
    (215) 545-1508,
  • It’s known primarily for its teas, but the infusions and tisanes at the Mary Cassatt Tea Room in The Rittenhouse are just as rewarding. Mocha Spice, for example, features the flavors of chicory, carob, malt and vanilla. 210 W. Rittenhouse Square, (215) 546-9000,
  • When the occasion calls for herbal healing, The Random Tea Room & Curiosity Shop meets the need. On the infusion menu are house blends like the organic Simmer Down (chamomile, lemon balm, lavender, peppermint, passionflower), designed for relaxation. 713 N. 4th Street, (267) 639-2442,

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