Make Me Hot

The finest instant hot chocolate in town

Like squirrels, we begin to hoard this time of year, stocking the cupboards with essential provisions. Below, three of the best local options for ensuring your mugs stay hot, sweet and frothy until spring.

Salted Caramel Cocoa A strong caramel kick sets this just-launched cocoa mix apart. The individual packs (four for $9; available online) contain a blend of cocoa, Callebaut chocolate, English sea salt, and caramel made from local Bron's Bees honey. Use as the base of a mocha, or stir into warm milk and top with stout marshmallows, which the local confectioners launched last year.

Black Dog Gelato Chocolate To Go This Ukrainian Village gelato shop is open from Friday through Sunday only during winter mode, which begins on November 1. With the change comes owner Jessica Oloroso's astoundingly rich hot chocolate, available in to-go quarts ($10). Oloroso adds whole milk and a touch of sugar to bittersweet chocolate ganache, and promises cinnamon- and cayenne-spiked Mexican hot chocolate will appear occasionally, too. 859 N. Damen Ave.; 773-235-3116 or blackdoggelato.com

Mindy's Hot Chocolate Mindy Segal makes a mean hot chocolate mix. Find six varieties online ($20 each)–including malted milk-espresso, made with barley malt and chocolate-covered espresso beans–or stop by her Bucktown restaurant to take home containers plus salted chocolate cookies for dunking. 1747 N. Damen Ave.; 773-489-1747 or hotchocolatechicago.com