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10 Must-Have Drinks for a Cold Day in San Francisco

Warm Drinks for the SF Cold

When strolling around San Francisco, you are usually able to tell the tourists apart from the locals. The tourists are usually shivering in their lightweight outerwear, feeling confused. You can basically here them thinking, “Isn’t this California? Where’s the warm weather?”

Well, that’s San Francisco for ya – where the weather is as fickle as it comes – sunny one moment and damp, foggy and chilly the next. Not to mention, the fact that this December, the temperatures haven’t been feeling like winter at all. People have been asking, “winter where are you?” because of how warm it’s been despite the official winter season. But one thing that’s more reliable than the weather is the fact that no matter what part of San Francisco you’re in, there’s always a place nearby that has a warm and toasty drink ready for you.

1 - hot toddy at blackbird bar

  1. Hot Toddy at Blackbird Bar

The hot toddy is great for a cold day, and is even touted as a classic poor man’s medicine. The whiskey and lemon gets an upgrade with some tea, sugar and warm vanilla bean paste. Located on the corner of 14th and Market streets, this lounge-style bar is the perfect place to sit back and enjoy the weather thorough the glass.

2 - mexican hot chocolate at la oaxaquena

  1. Mexican Hot Chocolate at La Oaxaqueña

It’s just like regular hot chocolate but with extra spices and creaminess. The evaporated milk gives it a creamier texture than milk, and a thick layer of foam helps you feel like it’s made just for you. A sprinkle of chili powder adds a great depth to the chocolate. While you’re there, don’t pass up the tacos.

3 - irish coffee at buena vista

  1. Irish Coffee at Buena Vista

An Irish coffee is a staple drink from the West Coast to the East Coast. If you’re planning to see the cable cars, then Buena Vista is right in your area. It will probably be busy, since the place is known for its coffee, but it’s worth the wait. There’s even a story posted both online and in the bar about how the famous drink came to be – the secret is in the cream.

4 - snowy plover at andytown

  1. Snowy Plover at Andytown Coffee Roasters

Coffee is a hit-or-miss drink, but if you love it, you really love it. Most coffee drinkers know what they like and how they like it, and you’d be hard pressed to change their minds, but Andytown is trying to do just that. Its unique Snowy Plover is a delicious but unusual blend of espresso, sparkling water and whipped cream. You’ve never had anything like it, but it will haunt your dreams!

5 - hot and spicy extra dark hot chocolate cocoabella

  1. Hot and Spicy Extra Dark Hot Chocolate at CocoaBella

At Cocabella, you can have your hot chocolate made however you like, as treats, as syrup and as a drink. Those who like a little something extra know that a touch of heat somehow turns regular delicious chocolate into a whole new beast.

6 - hot buttered rum at smugglers cove

  1. Hot Buttered Rum at Smuggler’s Cove

Wake up the pirate inside you and visit a little place known as Smuggler’s Cover – where they have all the rum you could possibly want. With more than 400 kinds available for your choosing, the options are still limited – rum or water. Of course it makes perfect sense that there’s no other place to go for a steaming mug of hot buttered rum. Stop by and walk out feeling like a pirate!

7 - spiced hot chocolate at tcho

  1. Spiced Hot Chocolate at Tcho

If you’ve ever had a hot chocolate and felt like it was just hot water with a little chocolate tossed in, prepare to have the best hot chocolate of your life. Tcho is big on sustainable harvest and fair trade, but it’s also big on a good product. This is why when you get a hot chocolate from Tcho, you’ll be getting a wonderfully creamy, thick, cinnamon-y drink. It evokes the idea of drinking a melted candy bar, which may or may not bring back some toothache inducing childhood memories.

8 - japanese tea garden

  1. Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park

Not everyone is a big fan of coffee or chocolate (gasp!) If you’re interested in a different experience, you can swing through the Japanese Tea Garden, especially if you’re exploring Golden Gate Park and start to feel a bit chilled. You can drop by for a choice of classic Japanese teas, including reds, blacks, green and of course, matcha. Don’t forgo the other treats it offers either, and make sure to take a tour of the grounds after you’ve warmed up a bit.

9 - loose leaf tea at samovar tea

  1. Loose Leaf Tea at Samovar Tea Lounge

Loose leaf tea is the only option for a cuppa in England, but it’s a rare find in the States. It makes sense that the best loose leaf teas will invoke a sense of grandeur. There are three locations for you to choose from, so can probably go no matter where you are. Plus, they do international food and tea pairings, so you won’t have to worry about leaving hungry.

10 - european hot chocolate at boulettes larder

  1. European Hot Chocolate at Boulette’s Larder

Since we haven’t spoken about hot chocolate enough – because you never can – let’s end with one last cup – a simple, classic, delicious, hot chocolate. Boulette’s Larder has some of the thickest, richest chocolate around, but the sweetness doesn’t get too heavy. Add to that the lovely new bar, and you’re sure to leave impressed and with a very happy sweet tooth.

About the Author: Anum Yoon is the blogger behind Current On Currency who enjoys sharing her travel experiences even more than writing about money management. Her favorite city in the world is her hometown of Hong Kong, but in her honest opinion, San Francisco is the next best thing.