BANFF HOT CHOCOLATE TRAIL 2023 (REVIEWING THIS FESTIVE ACTIVITY)

White Bark hot chocolate in a big mug with whip cream, raspberry flakes and a biscotti.

A fun and festive activity to do around the Christmas season in Banff is to see how many restaurants and cafes you can tick off the Banff Hot Chocolate Trail. 

This chocolatey treasure map is the perfect warm up treat after a day of skiing or exploring Banff National Park.

As someone who is borderline obsessed with hot chocolates, I have made it my mission to tick off all 25 spots on this trail and give you my honest review. That way, in the future, you can see which places are go to spots and which ones you could miss. 

Moving to Banff? Check out my post on everything you need to know about moving to this magical town.

What is the Banff Hot Chocolate Trail? 

Every year, the town of Banff in Alberta, Canada, puts on an epic trail that gives restaurants and cafes the chance to get creative and experiment with different hot chocolates.

A lot of the weird and wonderful ones are boozy, which adds a fun twist to the drink. 

Unfortunately, there is no prize for completing them all. And if you aren’t local, you will not get the opportunity, which is why I am doing it for you! 

When is the Banff Hot Chocolate Trail? 

This year, the trail is from 17th November to 31st December 2023.

Let the festive flavour journey begin! 

Can we skip to the good part? show

As I am doing this in real time, I have compiled a list of all the hot chocolates on offer and will add my pictures and thoughts once each one is tried and tested. 

Pacini 

Holding a Pacini Hot Chocolate. With Nutella and cookie dust around the rim.

Location:

Located on Banff Ave. Pacini restaurant is part of the Moose Hotel and is a stone’s throw from the centre. 

From the visitor centre, it is a 5 minute walk. 

What hot chocolate choices are on offer? 

Buona Notte: Delicious steamed milk hot chocolate,spiced with Irish whisky and hazelnut liqueur. Garnished with hazelnut chocolate spread and cookie crumble – $10

Amore Mio: Steamed milk hot chocolate with Amaretto, garnished with Parmesan cheese. A new experience full of flavours – $12

(WHO ON EARTH WOULD WANT TO TRY THIS!?!?!)

Chocolate Picante: Chilli oil and dark rum with steamed milk hot chocolate – $12

Pacini’s Hot Chocolate Trail Score Card: 

Price point: 7/10

Taste: 8/10

Presentation: 8/10

Overall score: 7.5/10 

Pacini Buona Notte hot chocolate with marshmallows, nutella and cookie crumble in a whisky glass.

Thoughts on the hot chocolate: 

We have started the Banff Hot Chocolate Trail strong! I went for the Buona Notte, and it was delightful. The presentation was sweet, with a nutella and cookie crumble around the top of the rim. The drink was in a whisky glass, and I found out why shortly after.

The Pacini restaurant does not hold back on the alcohol and I am not sad about it. This drink was very warming and very pleasant. 

Depending on how strong you like your spiked hot choc will depend on how much you enjoy it.

You can taste the whisky! 

The cookie crumble was more nutty than cookie dust, but it still added a nice little twist to it. 

I would have liked a bigger glass to mellow out the alcohol, but I was very happy with this festive treat. 

Cheersing our hot chocolates

White Bark 

White Bark entry into Banff Hot Chocolate Trail. Hot chocolate with whip cream, raspberry dusting and a biscotti.

Location: 

Located on Banff Ave. The White Bark cafe is part of the Aspen Lodge hotel and is a 4 minute walk from the visitor centre. 

What hot chocolate choices are on offer?

Raspberry Ripple Hot Chocolate: A decadent raspberry hot chocolate made with pure dark chocolate from Thomas Haas, whipped cream and a dusting of raspberries. Served with a pistachio and raspberry biscotti – 12oz $6.25/16oz – $6.75

White Barks Hot Chocolate Trail Score Card: 

Price point: 8/10

Taste: 8/10

Presentation: 9.10

Overall score: 8/10

Girl doing the peace sign with coffee and hot chocolate in front of her.

Thoughts on the hot chocolate: 

Firstly, you do not need a large! The 12oz is huge and gives the perfect ratio of whip cream to hot choc. 

The presentation was perfect and with their outdoor seating and firepit, it set the tone for the most aesthetically pleasing winter vibes. The whole thing was very Instagrammable. 

The biscotti was really tasty, especially when dipped in the cream. The raspberry flakes on top gave a different element to the drink, which I really enjoyed. 

I would have liked the hot chocolate to have had raspberry syrup or something to make that actual drink element special, but overall, I am very happy and strongly recommend it if you want a hot chocolate that is not boozy. 

Elk and Oarsman 

Elk and Oarsman Hot Chocolate Trail drink

Location:

Located on Banff Ave. The Elk and Oarsman are in the heart of town. It is a 4 minute walk from the visitor centre and opposite Beaver Tails. The entrance is easy to miss, so make sure you are looking up at the signs. The doorway leads up a flight of stairs, and you are in the bar. 

What hot chocolate choices are on offer?

Santa’s Little Helper: Apricot liqueur, spiced rum, walnut bitters and hot chocolate topped with whip cream – $8

Elk and Oarsman Hot Chocolate Trail Score Card: 

Price Point: 9/10

Taste: 10/10

Presentation: 8/10

Overall score: 9/10 

Thoughts on the hot chocolate: 

By far my favourite on this Banff Hot Chocolate Trail! The Elk and Oarsman have absolutely smashed it. I can not emphasise enough how tasty this hot chocolate is. Originally, I was very sceptical about how the apricot would work with the walnut, but it works. I love how creative they were with this flavour combination. 

I always rate restaurants and cafes that aren’t afraid to experiment and try something a little bit different. 

Another reason why I have rated this hot chocolate so highly is because the price is really affordable. I like that they aren’t charging a premium rate like other places participating in the trail. 

My only criticism is that the whip cream was probably a little too much and I would have liked more of the tasty liquid. 

I loved the Elks one so much, I took my friend to go for a second!

Girl in beanie hat at the Elk having their apricot and walnut bitters hot chocolate.

La Terrazza 

Decadent Tiramisu Hot Chocolate, Callebaut dark chocolate, Illy espresso, steamed milk, Borsci San Marzanno Liqueur and Frangelico. Topped with Tia Maria spiked Marscapone cream and a chocolate glazed lady finger -

Location: 

Located on Lynx Street. La Terrazza is part of the Banff Park Lodge Hotel. From the Banff Visitor Centre, it is a 5 minute walk.

What hot chocolate choices are on offer? 

Tiramisu Hot Chocolate (non-alcoholic): Decadent Tiramisu Hot Chocolate, Callebaut dark chocolate, Illy espresso, Mascarpone cream, steamed milk and a chocolate dipped ladyfinger – $8

Tiramisu Forte Hot Chocolate: Decadent Tiramisu Hot Chocolate, Callebaut dark chocolate, Illy espresso, steamed milk, Borsci San Marzanno Liqueur and Frangelico. Topped with Tia Maria spiked Marscapone cream and a chocolate glazed lady finger – $14

La Terrazza Hot Chocolate Trail Score Card: 

Price point: 7/10

Taste: 8/10

Presentation: 9/10 

Overall: 8.5/10 

Thoughts on the hot chocolate:

This hot chocolate was on the pricier side; however, essentially, it is a warm cocktail. 

The Tiramisu Forte is delivered in a wine glass with a chocolate lady finger perched on top, making the presentation top notch. 

The biscuit was the perfect dipping utensil for the Mascapone cream. I have to say this cream is the best one I have tasted during this challenge. 

I am not a big coffee fan, but the taste was subtle and not overpowering. 

This one is a firm favourite. 

Cheersing our La Terrazza hot chocolates.

Wild Flour Bakery

Holding up the Wild Flour Hot Chocolate.

Location:

Wild Flour Bakery has two stores in town. One is on Bear Street, which is their main cafe. And a much smaller store on Banff Avenue that they call Little Wild.

Both stores are a 4 minute walk from the Visitor Centre.

What hot chocolate choices are on offer? 

Brownie Bauble Hot Chocolate: Rich hot chocolate with chocolate sauce and whipped cream, decorated with a chunk of brownie – $6.75

Wild Flour Hot Chocolate Trail Score Card: 

Price Point: 7/10

Taste: 4/10

Presentation: 7/10

Overall: 5/10

Wild Flour Bakery Hot Chocolate. Brownie on top with whipped cream in a mug.

Thoughts on the hot chocolate

I am sad to say that this has been the worst one. I usually like Wild Flours hot chocolate (I normally add caramel). But this was so watery and bland. I had two other people tell me it wasn’t very good, but I needed to see for myself. 

The brownie is the saving grace of this cup, as it was gooey and tasty. But personally, I would choose another cafe for a trail hot chocolate.

View from outside Wild Flour's window.

Good Earth Coffeehouse 

Good Earths White Hot Chocolate

Location: 

Located on Banff Ave. Good Earth Coffeehouse is part of the Elk and Avenue hotel. From the visitor centre, it is a 3 minute walk.  

What hot chocolate choices are on offer?

Minty White Chocolate Cafe Mocha: Rich white chocolate, espresso, and peppermint syrup, topped with a sprinkle of cocoa powder and whipped cream – $3.95

Good Earth Hot Chocolate Trail Score Card: 

Price Point: 9/10

Taste: 7/10

Presentation: 7/10

Overall: 6.5/10 

Sipping Good Earths hot chocolate

Thoughts on the hot chocolate:

Personally, I do not think this drink should be on the Banff Hot Chocolate Trail as it is a mocha. 

When I went in and asked for the Hot Chocolate Trail one, he looked at me blankly and directed me to the festive flavour board. 

After another colleague stepped in, we settled on the minty white with chocolate syrup sauce instead of the coffee mocha. 

The drink tasted very milky and fresh due to the mint. It was very easy to drink and a good option if you don’t have a sweet tooth, but for me, it was a little too weak. I like bold flavours. 

Showing the white hot chocolate.

The Balkan Greek Restaurant 

The Balkans Malibu Hot Chocolate

Location: 

Located on Banff Avenue is The Balkan. It is a 4 minute walk from the visitor centre.

What hot chocolate choices are on offer? 

Hot Chocolate Rasta (non-alcoholic): Hot chocolate, topped with cream – $4.50

Hot Chocolate Rasta: Kahlua, Park vanilla vodka, Malibu coconut rum, hot chocolate, topped with cream – $14

The Balkan Hot Chocolate Trail Score Card: 

Price Point: 7/10

Taste: 9/10

Presentation: 7/10

Overall score: 8/10

Thoughts on the hot chocolate

I was very excited about the Balkan hot chocolate because it had Malibu in it, and that is my favourite alcohol. 

And it did not disappoint. This hot chocolate was delicious. The flavours of coconut, vanilla and chocolate blend so well together. It didn’t taste too alcoholic or too rich, which made it pretty much perfect.

Friends all having hot chocolates out of wine glasses.

Happy Camper Cafe

Happy Camper hot chocolate with marshmallows and chocolate syrup.

Location:

Right at the top of Banff Avenue is The Happy Camper. This cafe is part of the Canalta Lodge. It is a trek from the centre of town, being a 17 minutes walk.

If you would prefer to get the bus, you will need to get routes 1 and 3. 

What hot chocolate choices are on offer? 

Campfire Cocoa: Roasted marshmallows, cream and a chocolate dusting S’more Hot Chocolate  – $6.50

The Lodge: A warming mix of Amaretto and Grand Marnier hot chocolate with roasted marshmallows and cream – $9

Happy Camper Hot Chocolate Trail Score Card: 

Price: 8/10

Taste: 8.5/10

Presentation: 8.5/10

Overall: 8.5/10 

Thoughts on the hot chocolate

I was pleasantly surprised by this hot chocolate. The Happy Camper drink is made from a hot water dispenser rather than a barista machine, but this drink didn’t taste watery at all. It was the perfect blend of alcohol and chocolate. 

It was really easy to drink, and they even roasted the marshmallows with a little blow torch. 

A key reason to visit the Happy Camper Cafe in the Canalta Lodge is their smores happy hour! It is free! Between 4.30pm – 7pm there is a smore station for you to indulge in. They have a lit fire in the back area where you can roast your marshmallows and melt your chocolate. 

This s’mores and hot chocolate combination is a must. 

Hot chocolate and s'mores.

The Maple Leaf

Maple Leaf Hot Chocolate.

Location: 

The Maple Leaf is right in the heart of Banff. With just a 2 minute walk from the Visitor Centre, you will see it on the corner of the opposite side of the road. 

What hot chocolate choices are on offer?

Black Forest Hot Cocoa: Maple Rye, Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur, hot chocolate, whipped Cream – $14

The Maple Leaf Hot Chocolate Trail Score Card: 

Price Point: 7/10

Taste: 6.5/10

Presentation: 6.5/10

Overall score: 6.5/10

Thoughts on the hot chocolate:

Another very boozy edition to the Banff Hot Chocolate Trail. I personally found it a little too strong. The alcohol overpowered the drink and it took me a long time to finish it. I sat in the bar area and it was really cosy. It felt like a high end restaurant. 

I did like that it came in a chunky glass mug, which made you feel like you got your money’s worth. Although, sadly, I wasn’t a huge fan. 

Bluebird 

Bluebird Coco Colada drink. With vanilla and coconut vodka and coconut foam and flakes.

Location: 

Located on Lynx St. And opposite Banff Park Lodge is the Bluebird. With a 5 minute walk from Banff Visitor Centre, it is very centrally located. 

And as it is also opposite La Terrazza, why not try both?

What hot chocolate choices are on offer? 

Hot Chocolate Bomb (non-alcoholic): Hot Chocolate bomb filled with white chocolate and marshmallows – $8.50

Cocoa Colada: 0.75oz Park vanilla vodka, 0.75oz coconut vodka, coconut foam and coconut flakes – $15

Bluebird Hot Chocolate Trail Score Card:

Price Point: 6/10

Taste: 6/10

Presentation: 6/10

Overall score: 6/10

Thoughts on the hot chocolate

I decided to try this hot chocolate at 9.45am with my breakfast, and man did it pack a punch for that early. 

The coconut whip cream was my favourite part of the drink. 

Even though the vodka was flavoured, it still tasted very alcoholic. After stirring it a lot, I did start to enjoy the coconut flavour, but vodka just tastes like vodka no matter what flavours you put with it. 

Coconut foam and flakes on the coco colada drink.

St James Gate 

Location: 

St James Gate is an Irish themed pub, around the corner from the visitor centre (2 minutes). It has a really cosy, warm vibe to it. The pub is located on Wolf Street. 

What hot chocolate choices are on offer?

Cointreau Cocoa Fusion: Hot chocolate infused with the bright and zesty flavours of Cointreau and triple sec liqueurs – $8

St James Gate Hot Chocolate Trail Score Card:

Price Point: 8/10

Taste: 9/10 

Presentation: 8/10

Overall Score: 9/10

Thoughts on the hot chocolate

The St James Gate hot chocolate has been one of my favourites. It tastes like Terry’s Chocolate Orange, which, in my opinion, is one of the best hot chocolate flavours out there. 

I really liked how orangey it tasted and how it came with a slice of fresh fruit. 

It did not taste alcoholic, which is good but also dangerous, because I would gladly have a few of them in one sitting.

The Meatball Pizza and Pasta 

The winterberry hot chocolate at The Meatball.

Location:

The Meatball is part of the Ptarmigan Inn, right next to Good Earth. The walk from the visitor centre is 4 minutes. 

What hot chocolate choices are on offer? 

Winterberry Hot Chocolate: A creamy hot chocolate with WLD blackberry gin, topped with raspberry whip cream – $14

Meatball Hot Chocolate Trail Score Card:

Price Point: 6/10

Taste: 6/10

Presentation: 6/10

Overall score: 6/10

Thoughts on the hot chocolate:

Honestly, this hot chocolate was bang average. I was excited to taste the blackberry, but unfortunately, I couldn’t taste it at all. It tasted like normal hot chocolate. It was nice, but for the price I paid, I would have quite liked to have that flavour stand out. 

I am not sure if he forgot to add the gin or was just being stingy. Either way, it wasn’t worth the money. 

Holding up the Winterberry hot chocolate

Rimrock Cafe 

Banana Bliss hot chocolate from the RImrock Cafe.

Location: 

The Rimrock Cafe is linked to the Rimrock Resort hotel. Which is located next to the Banff Hot Springs and the Banff Gondola. 

From the Visitor Centre, it is an hour walk, so I recommend getting the number 1 bus. 

What hot chocolate choices are on offer? 

Banana Bliss: Banana Cashew Hot Chocolate – $8

Rimrock Cafe Hot Chocolate Trail Score Card:

Price Point: 6/10

Taste: 7/10 

Presentation: 6/10

Overall score: 7/10

Thoughts on the hot chocolate

I am very undecided on this one. I liked it, but I did not love it. Banana is usually a flavour I really enjoy but I couldn’t figure out if it belonged in hot chocolate or not.

The Rimrock cafe doesn’t have seating inside. Which means you are sitting in the hallway of the hotel, which is a little odd. 

It also came in a takeaway cup, which I was not a huge fan of. 

close up of the banana bliss with the christmas tree behind.

Larkspur Lounge 

Larkspur Lounge Hot Chocolate

Location: 

Another Rimrock resort location is the Larkspur Lounge. This is an hour’s walk from town or a 7 minute bus journey on the number 1. The Rimmrock is right next to Banff Hot Springs and the Banff Gondola.

What hot chocolate choices are on offer?

ChocoLuxe Elixir: Flavours of Baileys and Disaronno, crowned with a velvety whip and an enchanting dusting of cocoa – $15

Larkspur Hot Chocolate Trail Score Card:

Price Point: 7/10

Taste: 9/10

Presentation: 10/10

Overall Score: 9/10

Close up of Larkspur Lounge hot chocolate, with cookie crumble around the rim, cream and chocolate flakes.

Thoughts on the hot chocolate:

This hot chocolate was way better than I expected! The photo online looked nice, but the one I got was so much better. There was a biscotti to dip in the cream and the rim had chocolate and cookie crumbs and flakes on it. The presentation was amazing! 

The Disaronno and Baileys were a really nice combination that complimented each other. 

This is another top contender, which I really recommend trying. 

Maclab Bistro 

Maclab hot chocolate with a piece of strawberry cake and a fresh strawberry on top.

Location: 

The Maclab Bistro is located in the Banff Arts and Creativity Centre. The views from the bistro are amazing. It is a way out of town with a 21 minute walk. 

It is located on Tunnel Mountain Drive, and there is not a direct bus route. 

What Hot Chocolate choices are on offer? 

Dark Chocolate Strawberry hot chocolate: hot dark chocolate with your choice of milk, topped with whipped cream, strawberry chocolate shavings, and strawberry cake accent – $9.50

Thoughts on the hot chocolate:

Unfortunately, the Maclab was closed from 21st December to January 3rd, which meant I did not get a chance to sample this hot chocolate. My friend, however, did get the chance to try it and said it was a 5/10. They also sent me the photo. 

Hot chocolates with a view of the mountains in the background.

Three Bears Brewery

3 bears hot chocolate.

Location: 

As you can probably guess, the Three Bears Brewery is located on Bear Street, with a 4 minute walk from the visitor centre. 

There are a lot of “bear” named places, which does make it confusing. 

What hot chocolate choices are on offer? 

The Boss Hot Chocolate: ‘The Boss’ Brown Ale Syrup and Park Chilli Vodka, topped with whipped cream and nutmeg – $14

Three Bears Hot Chocolate Trail Score Card:

Price Point: 6/10

Taste: 5.5/10

Presentation: 5/10

Overall: 6/10 

Thoughts on the Hot Chocolate:

This hot chocolate was spicy!! The chilli vodka really packs a punch. I am a mild girl when it comes to heat, and therefore, this chilli really warmed the throat. If you like spice, then you will love it. For me, I would have prefered it to be more subtle and as a background flavour. 

Eddie Burger and Bar 

Eddie Burger hot chocolate with lots of cream and weird candy crushed on top.

Location: 

Located on the same street as The Maple Leaf  and opposite Tooloulous is Eddie Burger. These restaurants are a 2 minute walk from the visitor centre, making them easy to target. 

Why not tick all three off the Banff Hot Chocolate Trail in the same day?

What hot chocolate choices are on offer? 

The North Pole (non-alcoholic): Dark chocolate, peppermint, whipped cream and crushed candy canes – $7

Mountain Top: Dark chocolate, Park Maple Rye and whipped cream – $12

Eddie Burger Hot Chocolate Trail Score card:

Price Point: 7.5/10

Taste: 5.5/10

Presentation: 5/10

Overall: 6/10

Thoughts on the Hot Chocolate:

This Eddie Burger hot chocolate is nearly identical to the Park one. The mug even said Park Distillery on it. I loved how chunky, warming,and cosy it felt drinking out of this ceramic mug. The topping on the whipped cream was interesting; it tasted like crushed candy cane. The hot chocolate itself was nice, but I preferred the Park’s version. 

Holding Eddie burger up and cheersing the camera.

Lake Louise Inn 

Location: 

This Banff hot chocolate trail spot will require a car, unfortunately. You can get the 8x bus to the Lake Louise Inn in North village; however, it is $10 each way and is nowhere near the lake (1 hour walk), making it a bit of a mission. 

What hot chocolate choices are on offer?  

Ice & Fire Hot Chocolate: Indulgent chocolate cocktail with a kick, made up of White Mint Schnapps and Chocolate Cake Flavor Vodka, mixed with cocoa powder, topped with chili-infused whipped cream – $16

Snowball Hot Chocolate: Made up of hot milk infused with cocoa powder, Drambuie, and a hint of ground cinnamon, garnished with mini marshmallows and a touch of orange bitters – $17

Thoughts on the hot chocolate:

Unfortunately, I did not get the opportunity to try this one.

Magpie and Stump 

Magpie and Stump hot chocolate.

Location: 

Right next to Eddie Burger on the corner of Caribou and Bear Street is Magpie and Stump. Another 2 minute walk from the visitor centre. 

What hot chocolate choices are on offer?  

Mayan Mocha (non-alcoholic): Chocolate-infused coffee, topped with whipped cream and spicy chocolate shavings -$9

Mayan Mocha: 1oz Park vanilla vodka, 1oz Creme de menthe, Hot chocolate Topped with whipped cream and spicy chocolate shavings – $14

Magpie and Stump Hot Chocolate Trail Score Card:

Price Point: 6/10 

Taste: 5/10

Presentation: 6/10

Overall 5.5/10

Thoughts on the hot chocolate:

Personally, I just didn’t like it. The minty taste from the Creme de Menthe wasn’t the fresh, peppermint taste that I was envisioning. It tasted a bit smokey and also had a coffee aftertaste to it, which threw me off. 

Girl smiling with hot chocolate in front of her.

Tooloulous

Two hot chocolates side by side with caramel swirl on top of the cream.

Location: 

Located on Caribou Street is Toolouous. This is a 2 minute walk from the visitor centre and is surrounded by other Hot Chocolate Trail participants. If you feel like having a delicious afternoon, hit a couple of them on the same day. 

What hot chocolate choices are on offer? 

Bayou Bourbon Hot Chocolate: Bourbon, Rumchata, vanilla, cinnamon, hot chocolate & toasted marshmallows – $13.95

Caramel Spicy Hot Chocolate: Butterscotch Schnapps, Caramel Bailey’s, cinnamon, pinch cayenne pepper, hot chocolate, whipped cream, caramel drizzle – $13.95

Tooloulou’s Hot Chocolate Trail Score Card:

Price Point: 7/10

Taste: 8/10

Presentation: 7/10

Overall: 8/10

Thoughts on the Hot Chocolate:

Do not let the pinch of cayenne pepper put you off. It really added to the drink and, I’m not an overly spicy person. The caramel drizzle over the cream was lovely. At first, I thought it was about to knock someone off the leaderboard, but by the time the cream was off, it was just a rich and tasty hot chocolate. We also had French toast with it, and it was a sugar high!

Girl taking a sip of hot chocolate with huge plate of french toast in front of her.

Juniper Bistro

Location: 

The Juniper Bistro is part of the Juniper Hotel, located on Juniper Way on Mount Norquay Road. Unfortunately, there isn’t a direct bus up, which means it will be a 31 minute walk from town.  

What hot chocolate choices are on offer?

Wild Hot Chocolate: Velvety steamed oat milk, topped with coconut whip and cocoa nibs (vegan) – $12

Thoughts on the hot chocolate:

Unfortunately, I did not get the opportunity to try this one.

Park Distillery 

Park Distillery hot chocolate with loads of cream on top and a little chocolate.

Location: 

Located on Banff Ave, next to Sundance Mall, is the Park Distillery. It is a 2 minute walk from the visitor centre. 

What hot chocolate choices are on offer? 

Fireside Hot Cocoa (non-alcoholic): Hot chocolate, whipped cream and cocoa shavings – $8

Fireside Hot Cocoa: 1oz chili vodka, 1oz Forty Creek Butter Tart Cream, Hot Chocolate, Whipped cream and cocoa shavings – $14

Park Distillery Hot Chocolate Trail Score Card:

Price Point: 6/10

Taste: 6/10 

Presentation: 6/10

Overall: 6/10 

Thoughts on the hot chocolate:

Two other restaurants have copied or created very similar hot chocolates to Park. Park is a Banff Distillery, so I do understand that other places will shelve their alcohol. This one recipe is the same as the Bear Street Tavern, although with theirs I went without the chilli vodka. I liked this hot chocolate. It had a little kick, but it didn’t take over the whole drink. I felt super cosy when drinking this one, as it came in a big mug and it was 9.30pm. I sat at the bar, just having a late night tipple. 

The Prow

Mug of pumpkin spice hot chocolate with a straw and maple chunks on top.

Location:

The Prow is part of the Buffalo Mountain Lodge. It is located on Tunnel Mountain Road. It is a 25 minute walk from the visitor centre. 

You can get the number 2 bus up to the hotel. 

What hot chocolate choices are on offer?

Pumpkin Spiced Hot Chocolate: Pumpkin spice syrup in hot chocolate topped with whip cream and maple nuggets – $5

Smoked Maple Spiced Hot Chocolate: Knob Creek Smoked Maple Bourbon, pumpkin spiced syrup in hot chocolate topped with whipped cream and maple nuggets – $12

The Prow Hot Chocolate Trail Score Card:

Price Point: 7/10 

Taste: 8/10 

Presentation: 5.5/10 

Overall: 8/10

Thoughts on the hot chocolate:

When I first saw the description for this hot chocolate, I basically thought they were trying to get rid of their Autumn (Fall) drink syrup. But actually, pumpkin spice in hot chocolate felt like Christmas in a cup! This really took me by surprise. The flavour combination with the alcohol wasn’t overpowering; it was really tasty. 

Bear Street Tavern 

Bear St Tavern Hot chocolate with cream and a caramel swirl.

Location: 

As the name suggests, the Bear Street Tavern is located on Bear Street. It is also a 4 minute walk from the visitor centre. 

What hot chocolate choices are on offer?

Baby Bear Hot Chocolate (non-alcoholic): Creamy hot chocolate, caramel swirl and whipped cream – $8

Spicy Bear Hot Chocolate: 1oz Park chili vodka, 1oz Forty Creek butter tart cream, creamy hot chocolate, garnished with whipped cream and a cinnamon stick – $14

Bear Street Tavern  Hot Chocolate Trail Score Card:

Price Point: 5/10 

Taste: 7/10 

Presentation: 6/10

Overall: 5/10

Thoughts on the Hot Chocolate:

I ended up getting the sweet version of this hot chocolate. As I did not realise it was an option. I think it just means they take the chilli vodka out and the cinnamon stick out. Although they still charge the same. I thought it was nice, it tasted like a rich hot chocolate. But it wasn’t very special. I also realised that this is the exact same hot chocolate as Park Distillery. Their overall score changed to a 5 as it didn’t come up with an original idea. I am glad I went for the “sweet” version; otherwise, I would have had two of the same. 

The Coco Lab 

Location: 

The Coco Lab is located in Sunshine Village Ski Resort. It is in the same building as the Alpine Grill. The bus from town is free, but you will need a ticket to the top of the gondola to try this hot chocolate. 

What hot chocolate choices are on offer?

Spiced Chilli Hot Coco: Spicy chilli syrup made with nutmeg and cinnamon and topped with a cinnamon stick – $7

Thoughts on the hot chocolate:

Unfortunately, I did not get the opportunity to try this one.

Top Five Banff Hot Chocolate Trail Restaurants 2023

1st Place: Elk and Oarsman 

2nd Place: St. James Gate

3rd Place: The Balkan

4th Place: Larkspur Lounge

5th Place: La Terrazza 

Final Thoughts 

The Banff Hot Chocolate Trail is an epic and fun Christmas activity to add to your Banff itinerary. There are loads of options to choose from, meaning there is something for everyone. 

Let me know how many you manage to tick off! 

As always, Happy Exploring!

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