This time of year, few things take the nip out of the air better than hot chocolate – especially when it's spiked with something stiff. Here are two of our favorite new places to grab a cup of cocoa.
If you miss the days of roasting marshmallows with your scout troop or on family camping trips, Irish Whiskey has the solution: The popular Dupont Circle pub is turning its gas-fueled patio fire pit into an urban campfire, complete with s'mores and hot chocolate.
Order the $5 DIY s'mores kit at the bar and you'll get baggies filled with graham crackers, marshmallows and a choice of Hershey's chocolate or Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, plus a long stick on which to spear the marshmallow. (Yes, the idea of peanut butter cups and marshmallows is unconventional, but it's as delicious as it sounds.)
The s'mores come with a mug of hot chocolate, which is topped with a peak of rich whipped cream. The cocoa is sweet and a little generic, but it can easily be punched up with a shot of whiskey or a liqueur. Bar manager Eric Morris says that "Frangelico and Kahlua are popular, but we made it with [the fruity Italian amaretto] Disaronno and had a lot of fun with that." A mug of cocoa with a shot of Disaronno costs $4.
The bar will give away free s'mores supplies from 6 to 9 p.m. tonight. After that, you'll be able to order the s'mores any weekday beginning at happy hour, or during weekend brunch.
Irish Whiskey, 1207 19th St. NW. 202-463-3010.
Hank's Oyster Bar
Anyone who appreciates the really good stuff – Cordillera's 65 percent cacao chocolate from Colombia – should make tracks for the original Hank's Oyster Bar in Dupont Circle on Monday nights, where the intimate second-floor bar is turned into a special hot chocolate bar.
Chunks of the Cordillera are cooked in a saucepan behind the bar, mixed with milk and a house ginger syrup as they melt. The result is smooth, luxurious and utterly decadent. It's available on its own for $5 – ask the bartender to add some fresh orange oil to bring out the flavors of the chocolate – or you can add spirits for an extra $4. Zucca Amaro plays up the chocolate's bitter notes, while adding a house-made lavender Campari adds a mellow floral note. The fun doesn't end when your glass is empty, as you'll get some rocks of Cordillera to snack on as you leave.
Hank's Oyster Bar, 1624 Q St. NW. 202-462-4265.