Ski towns and hot chocolate are one of those proverbial love matches. There’s something about the alchemy of snow, slopes, and après ski that makes a heated mixture of milk, chocolate, and whipped cream that much better, no matter what your age. Whether you like yours made with melted chocolate or cocoa powder, and spiked, garnished with marshmallows, or lactose-free, there’s no shortage of variations in Aspen. A few of my favorite renditions follow, including an on-mountain version from Aspen Skiing Company Culinary Director Jim Butchart.

The Little Nell

Hot chocolate from the Little Nell

Hot chocolate from the Little Nell

Travel & Leisure has cited the Limelight’s sister hotel as having some of the best hot chocolate in the nation. It’s a decadent combination of whole milk, cream, Valrhona chocolate ganache, and housemade marshmallows. Assistant Food & Beverage Director Csaba Oveges suggests adding a shot of Cognac for an over-the-top touch.

Peach’s Corner Café

Over-21 locals and visitors both brave the lines at this little café for its epic hot chocolate, which is supplemented with Frangelico, Bailey’s, Kahlúa, coffee, and whipped cream. You’ve been warned.

New Belgium Ranger Station

It’s no surprise that this fast-casual Snowmass Village eatery and bar- from the folks who kicked off Colorado’s craft beer movement- does great hot chocolate, capped with housemade whipped cream. Want more of a jolt? Add a shot of Stumptown espresso.

When you’re in need of a mid-morning or –afternoon break from the slopes, hit up these on-mountain eateries for a cup of cocoa with an in-your-face view: Elk Camp (Snowmass), The Sundeck (Aspen Mountain) and Cloud Nine Alpine Bistro (Aspen Highlands). Feeling fancypants? Ask for a shot of Grand Marnier, topped with whipped cream. See? Growing up is overrated.

Stop in by the Limelight Hotel post hot chocolate for a night cap. We have rotating specials til 10 pm most evenings. Cheers.