Warm milk and chocolate doesn’t need to put you to sleep. In fact, when done correctly, it can make your day or evening complete. If you’re with the kids or need something a little heartier than coffee with cream, try a hot chocolate from any one of the following restaurants. The sweet combination of hot chocolate and a brisk day can put a smile on anyone’s face.

Blackbird Baking Company (Credit, Marissa Burke)

Blackbird Baking Company
1391 Sloane Ave.
Lakewood, OH 44107
(216) 712-6599

Winning awards is pretty standard to Blackbird Baking Company. Its chocolate chip cookies are an “American Best” winner and a daily sell-out while the bakery itself is a Cleveland Magazine “Best Local Bakery” for the second time. It’s no wonder that Blackbird’s hot chocolate comes in as one of the best hot cocoas in Cleveland. Because the espresso machine is ready and running when you come in, steaming the milk for your hot chocolate is super easy. It’s adding that dark chocolate to the bottom of the cup that’s the surprise. No chocolate syrup for the customers here, just rich decadent chocolate swirled with warm milk and served with whipped cream for that extra sweet tooth. Adding a chocolate chip cookie might be overkill, but pack one up and take it home as something to remember Blackbird Baking Company by.

The Chocolate Bar
347 Euclid Ave.
Cleveland, OH 44114
(216) 622-2626

Hot chocolate here should only be served to adults. Spike your hot chocolate with any number of flavored or pure spirits and enjoy a warm-to-the-toes drink on a cold Cleveland night. In the Gateway District, The Chocolate Bar is good for dinner and dessert, though most come for dessert. Many flavors and varieties of spiked hot chocolate await you here including the spiked dulce de leche made with white chocolate and Three Olives caramel for a smooth creamy flavor or the spiked English toffee made with hot chocolate and chocolate liquor swirled with caramel. You can try a regular hot chocolate, but why? Make it a spiked coconut macaroon, hot chocolate with coconut flavored rum, and make it memorable. The next blustery evening in Cleveland calls for one of the best hot chocolate spiked with a shot of your favorite liquor.

Related: Best Chocolate Cake In Cleveland

The Coffee House At University Circle
11300 Juniper Road
Cleveland, OH 44106
(216) 791-0300

The Coffee House at University Circle is supported by doctors, nurses, students and the rest of the common worker bees and it’s always humming. A 2013 winner of the “Best of the East” award from Circle East Magazine, the hot chocolate is outstanding. It is made with real milk and Ghirardelli chocolate and worth the wait while you zigzag your way through tables and chairs filled with students and teachers looking to relax, study, catch up or take a break. If you need a little pick-me-up before heading back to Case Western Reserve University or University Hospital, than try the s’more mocha – espresso with dark chocolate and toasted marshmallows. It is guaranteed to keep you happily awake with a caffeine jolt and sugar buzz.

Related: Best Milkshakes In Cleveland

2366 W 11th St
Cleveland, OH 44113
(216) 621-3838

The bold red neon Espresso and Coffee sign in the Civilization coffee shop says it all. Self-aware and unpretentious, this spot doesn’t even accept credit cards, but Civilization makes a mean hot cocoa. In Cleveland’s well-loved and historic Tremont district, near Lincoln Park and many other restaurants, shopping sites and living quarters, Civilization coffee stands in a restored Victorian building and serves those who are walking by. It’s a warm, wooded space with small tables and big ideas. Look to Civilization coffee for the Saturday morning jaunt during the winter. The hot chocolate and atmosphere will warm you from the inside out.

The Root Cafe (Credit, Marissa Burke)

The Root Café
15118 Detroit Ave.
Lakewood, OH 44107
(216) 226-4401

You’ll be hard pressed to find a table at The Root Café in Lakewood, and for good reason. The hippy vibe, creative music, relaxed atmosphere and central location make it a popular hangout for tweens to adults. The hot chocolate is even creative here at The Root Café. While you can order at regular hot cocoa made with a house recipe of chocolate and half and half cream, you should daringly try the Mexican hot chocolate made spicy and sweet with cinnamon, cayenne and vanilla. If the hot chocolate at The Root Café doesn’t warm you up, nothing will!

Marissa Burke is a happily adventurous wife, mother and runner. Living in Lakewood, Ohio she searches neighboring communities for exciting food and drinks that are good and good for you in the Cleveland area. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.