hot coffee NYCs Best Hot Drinks

Had enough of this single-digit wind chill? One of the season’s best respites can be right at your fingertips, or grasped firmly in your hand, keeping you warm and serene. These are the city’s standout hot drinks. By Caroline Cooney.

The ‘Suckao’

suckao NYCs Best Hot Drinks
Max Brenner
841 Broadway, NYC, 10003
(212) 388-0030

It’s dense, it’s rich and you have to work for it. No, not your boss, it’s the ‘Suckao’ from Union Square chocolate factory Max Brenner. This potent mini-drink is an intense and concentrated shot of hot white or milk chocolate. The name “Suckao” is derived from the word ‘Suck’ – and suck you must, so much so that a metal straw is in order – and the German word ‘Kakao’, meaning cocoa beans.

‘Granddad’s Coffee’

freemans1 NYCs Best Hot Drinks
End of Freeman Alley (Off Rivington between the Bowery and Chrystie)

In a restaurant so hip that it doesn’t have a street address, you can find out what Gramps was hiding in his morning mug. This coffee cocktail is made silky by all-natural Nux Alpina walnut liqueur and Landy VSOP cognac. The coffee comes from ‘revolutionary’ artisanal roaster Stumptown Coffee. Bartenders top of this old-timey brew with a yummy cream float.

‘Loco Cocoa’

alice photocredit steve isaacs via flckr NYCs Best Hot Drinks

(Photo: Flickr/Steve Isaacs)

Alice’s Tea Cup
220 East 81st Street
(2 other locations in town)

The popular and whimsical uptown tea room serves a hot chocolate for tea lovers with a freaky side. Baristas add a mix of nutmeg, cinnamon and powdered cayenne pepper into tea-infused hot chocolate, giving you just the right spicy kick. A rotation of non-caffeinated, cocoa-complementing teas, such as Rooibos Bourbon (a vanilla-flavored red tea) and Rooibos Coconut Vanilla, ensure a unique tasting experience for return visitors. This hot chocolate is topped off with whipped cream and a pinch of spices.

The ‘Nell Gwynne’

serendipity flickr ben and sam NYCs Best Hot Drinks

(Photo: Flickr: Flickr/Ben+Sam)

Serendipity 3
225 East 60th Street

This well-loved restaurant celebrates all that is uppity with a steamy drink served ‘pousse-café’ style (layered with the densest ingredient at the bottom). The Nell Gwynne is named after a lowly “orange-girl” who went on to become the long-time courtesan of England’s King Charles II. Layers of espresso, steamed espresso, and a semi-sweet blend of 14 different chocolates, are topped with a heavy cream whipped with a drop of vanilla and a pinch of sugar. In honor of the drink’s namesake, the final layer is a sprinkling of orange peel.

‘Hot Greenmarket Cider’

gramercy tavern NYCs Best Hot Drinks
Gramercy Tavern
42 East 20th Street

If you’re looking to avoid calorie-laden treats this year, saddle up to this restaurant’s elegant bar for a cup of hot greenmarket cider. Made from the locally grown apples of Samascott Orchards in Kinderhook, New York, this simple but nourishing hot cider is garnished with a dried apple ring. So, you’re not that wholesome? To provide further warmth and maybe even a little cheer, bartenders are happy to add a shot or two of Appleton rum or Buffalo Trace bourbon.

Caroline Cooney is a New York City-based freelance journalist and scriptwriter (
Comments (2)
  1. Zhu Zhang says:


  2. D. Demaria says:

    Hot drinks article forwarded.

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