Three cocoas at Pepper. Photo by Sailor Bailey

Unique Hot Chocolate in Boulder


If wintertime in Boulder looks like the “Flatirons Star,” a massive star made of holiday lights on the side of the foothills, then the taste of winter in Boulder is a warm cup of hot cocoa, held in your hands as you wander down the Pearl Street Mall.

If you’re looking to warm up your winter with a sweet treat, you can find delicious hot chocolates in most coffee shops and bakeries. Spruce Confections is a local favorite. But if you’re looking for a unique spin on the ol’ winter fave, here’s where to go for a unique cup of hot chocolate in Boulder.

Spiked Hot Cocoas

Pepper the Noshery, 1043 Pearl St., is offering three winter drink specials: spiked hot cocoas. These hot chockies are for the grown-ups.

First, The Snuggle is Real is like regular hot cocoa (milk and cocoa, of course), but add to that spiked cinnamon whiskey. Top it with whipped cream and freshly ground cinnamon for a kick.

Rebel Without a Claus. Photo by Sailor Bailey

Or try The Rebel Without a Claus, hot cocoa plus peppermint schnapps. Of course, this drink is topped with a candy cane and a dollop of whip.

Hot cocoa at Pepper. Photo by Sailor Bailey

Then there’s the Almond Joy to the World. Take a hot cocoa and mix in some coconut rum and almond liqueur. Top with whip and toasted coconut for a candy bar you can drink.

Rich Drinking Chocolate

Hot chocolate at Peace, Love and Chocolate. Courtesy photo

Peace, Love and Chocolate, 805 Pearl St., does hot chocolate like nowhere else around here. It serves hot sipping chocolate in 4 or 8 ounces. This is much richer and thicker than the hot chocolate you’re used to in the United State. Sipping chocolate is a European-style drink made from melted whole chocolate. You can make it dairy-free or vegan by subbing milk for almond milk.

Get sipping chocolate in a variety of ways. The original is made with 85 percent dark chocolate. Or try it flavored: Maya Spice, salted caramel, raspberry, blood orange or honey lavender.

Not up for the whole rich cup? Take a hot chocolate shot (3 ounces). This is the strongest, darkest most intense hot chocolate. It’s “for the purist,” the restaurant says. Bonus: It’s dairy-free.

Want some energy with your chocolate beverage? Melt it into espresso for the Molten Jolt. The restaurant calls this the “ultimate mocha.” It’s not a weakling’s drink, so brace yourself for a serious chocolate punch.

Another unique way to drink hot chocolate is as a White Chocolate Chai, made with local Bhakti Chai, blended with white chocolate. This is for people who want a hot cocoa, but don’t really want a hot cocoa.

Hot cocoa with house-made marshmallows at Peace, Love and Chocolate. Courtesy photo

Peace, Love and Chocolate does serve regular hot cocoa if the Euro-style isn’t your style. Except even the regular is extraordinary. Because these can be served with vanilla bean whipped cream and house-made marshmallows. Plus, hot cocoa is different than hot chocolate. Even though many people use the terms interchangeably, they’re not technically the same, among chocoholics. Hot cocoa is actually made from cocoa powder, whereas hot chocolate is made out of cocoa beans. Hot chocolate tends to be thicker and doesn’t usually have added sugar.

Cannabis Hot Chocolate

Wana cannabis hot cocoa. Courtesy photo

For a double Colorado experience, kick the cold with a hot chocolate made with cannabis. Boulder-based Wana Brands makes a hot cocoa with Dutch chocolate and 200mg of THC. If that’s too strong for you, just do a shot or a portion of the package. In fact, the standard service for this is just 10 mg, so you’re not necessarily intended to drink the whole thing in one sitting. The amount of THC you choose depends on your own limits, but as always, start small and take your time.

Buy some cannabis hot chocolate at Native Roots Dispensary, 1146 Pearl St., Unit 200.

Note: Since this contains THC, you can’t drink it on the Pearl Street Mall, but you can enjoy it in the privacy of your own room.

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