A boozy hot chocolate flight at Whiskey Down Diner in...

A boozy hot chocolate flight at Whiskey Down Diner in Farmingdale. Credit: Brittainy Newman

These days, almost anywhere you go you’ll find a menu of classics that come with a twist. When it comes to hot chocolate, that blueprint still applies.

Some restaurants stick to cocoa powder, while others use syrups or chunks of chocolate. Many also let customers get creative with their hot chocolate, too, from toppings (chocolate chips, s’mores and even gummy bears), all the way down to the milk (almond, soy, oat, whole, skim, half-and-half) and yes, booze (vanilla rum and RumChata, for starters).

Check out these spots offering standout versions of the drink.

South Shore Dive (65 Main St., West Sayville): At this trendy pub and restaurant, craft brews, cocktails and comfort food are the draw, and on Sunday nights through the winter, so is hot chocolate. Get a mug of traditional hot chocolate, which can be spiked with the likes of RumChata or Stoli vanilla, plus toppings like marshmallows, Teddy Grahams and gummy bears. Live music and a snow machine add to the vibe. More info: 631-218-6500, southshoredive.com

Spiked hot chocolate topped with marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolate syrup...

Spiked hot chocolate topped with marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolate syrup at South Shore Dive in West Sayville. Credit: Daniel Brennan

The French Workshop (191 Seventh St., Garden City): This French-style bakery brings three types of hot cocoa to the table: classic hot, white chocolate and Nutella. The shop uses authentic chocolate — Monin for the white and Valrhona for the classic — for a tasty, rich cup of cocoa. Nutella is combined with steamed milk and ice for the third offering. Top your drink off with a sprinkle of cinnamon or classic whipped cream. (Other locations at 417 S. Oyster Bay Rd. in Plainview and 1187 Wantagh Ave. in Wantagh.) More info: 516-248-6800, thefrenchworkshop.com 

Druthers Coffee (1113 North Country Rd., Stony Brook): Melted-down Callebaut white chocolate and oat milk are infused with chamomile, lavender, spearmint, lemon myrtle and butterfly pea flower to create Druthers’ aptly named blue cocoa. If you want to stick to the basics, there’s also a classic hot chocolate made with oat milk. Served hot or cold. More info: druthers.coffee

For Five Coffee Roasters (292 Plandome Rd., Manhasset): The sleek For Five cafe may be known for its coffee, but don't overlook the hot chocolate (made with chocolate ganache and steamed milk). Come winter, you'll notice a peppermint version of the Gotham hot chocolate, too. Before it's served, a barista will finish it with an Instagram-worthy design. (Other location at 147 Seventh St. in Garden City.) More info: 516-918-9488, forfivecoffee.com

Gotham hot chocolate at For Five Coffee Roasters in Manhasset.

Gotham hot chocolate at For Five Coffee Roasters in Manhasset. Credit: Newsday/Joann Vaglica

Grindstone Coffee & Donuts (7A Main St., Sag Harbor): On top of its creative doughy creations, this hipster doughnut shop offers an impressive drinks list. Try a traditional hot chocolate or kick it up a notch with a spicy creation, the Mexican Mocha, made with Monin dark chocolate syrup, steamed whole milk, Saigon cinnamon and cayenne pepper, topped with a dusting of cocoa powder. More info: 631-808-3370, grindstonedonuts.com

Coffee Booths (226 Middle Country Rd., Selden): Specialty lattes are just the tip of the iceberg at this hidden gem. The family-owned and operated spot has a housemade hot chocolate on the menu (melted Belgian chocolate, sugar and a hint of Ghiradelli Classic White vanilla chips mixed with milk and steamed; topped with whipped cream and drizzling of chocolate), but any of its 15 specialty lattes can instead be made with a hot chocolate base. Options may include such rich flavors as s’mores, spicy dark chocolate, chocolate-dunked pretzel, Rice Krispies Treat and black-and-white cookie. Cash only. More info: 631-846-1966, coffeebooths.business.site 

Whiskey Down Diner (252 Main St., Farmingdale): Sister and brother duo Alyson and John Kanaras are slinging more than just pancakes and eggs at their diner. Ahead of the holidays each year, the duo extends its drink menu to include Scott Calvin’s Boozy Hot Chocolate Bar (an homage to Tim Allen's character in "The Santa Clause.") It consists of five spiked hot chocolates — peppermint, s’mores, peanut butter, salted caramel and rainbow cookie; $12 each — and will be available through the winter. The drinks are made with a Nestle rich cocoa base, then jazzed up with liquor and toppings unique to each flavor. New this year: a flight of three five-ounce versions for dine-in only; $17 a flight. More info: 516-927-8264, whiskeydowndiner.com 

A boozy hot chocolate flight at Whiskey Down Diner in...

A boozy hot chocolate flight at Whiskey Down Diner in Farmingdale. Credit: Brittainy Newman

Toast Coffeehouse (9 S. Park Ave., Bay Shore): This carnival-themed breakfast-and-lunch spot offers a standard hot chocolate, also available with specialty options like s'mores and salted caramel. Hot chocolate here is served in a unique mug and can be spiked with coconut rum. (Other locations at 650 Rte. 112 in Port Jefferson Station and 46 E. Main St. in Patchogue.) More info: 631-647-9560, toastcoffeehouse.com 

Soul Brew (556 Rte. 25A, St. James): Since its inception in 2016, this coffee shop has been creating whimsical cups of joe. The same rings true for its hot chocolates, sometimes topped with Oreos, whipped cream, cinnamon, sprinkles or cereals. Standards on the menu include s’mores, peanut butter cup and banana, but turn to its extensive latte menu for more adventurous flavors like Cinnabon, apple pie, Crunch Berries, rainbow cookie or peanut butter. (For a hot chocolate, the base of the drink is swapped from espresso to Ghirardelli chocolate sauce.) Available hot or chilled. (Other locations at 2718 Grand Ave. in Bellmore and 387 New York Ave. in Huntington.) More info: 631-250-9238, soulbrew.coffee

A cinnamon gingerbread hot chocolate at Soul Brew.

A cinnamon gingerbread hot chocolate at Soul Brew. Credit: Kristin Lambros

Witches Brew Coffee House (311 Hempstead Tpke., West Hempstead): This Gothic Victorian cafe offers hot chocolate in 30 flavors — cocoa powder is infused with hot water and steamed milk, then mixed with syrup, allowing customers to choose from flavors like peanut butter, chocolate cupcake, raspberry and caramel. For a caffeine boost, try the half cocoa-half coffee (café au lait with cocoa powder and steamed milk). All drinks can be topped with marshmallows, shredded toasted coconut, sprinkles and more. More info: 516-489-9482

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