Heading out to do some holiday shopping? Looking for something sweet after dinner? Going to visit Zoo Lights? Stop by Gemini Restaurant in Lincoln Park (2075 N Lincoln Ave., Chicago) and visit their new Hot Cocoa Stand on your way. Open from Sunday – Thursday from 3:00pm-8:00pm and Friday through Saturday from 3:00pm-9pm, guests can swing by the stand and enjoy house-made hot cocoa made with a Belgian chocolate blend, and other specialty items such as hot apple cider, lattes, coffees, and more. Also available for purchase are Gemini’s oatmeal butterscotch, peppermint sprinkle, and ginger snap cookies.
Bottled cocktails are also available in batches that serve up to 4 people. Orders can be placed on Gemini’s website and walk-ups are welcome. Hot Cocoa to-go package offers are also available for purchase and can serve up to 2 and 4, making it the perfect cocoa date night at home.
The Holiday Hut is a small, welcoming wooden hut decorated for Christmas and holiday cheer on the corner sidewalk in front of the restaurant. You can inquire about orders by stopping by Gemini’s carryout/pick up window on Lincoln Ave. When you arrive, you are greeted by Gemini’s general manager, Christopher Till, and shown to the hut. Next to the hut is a row of outdoor dining tables with heated lamps above, to provide you with some much needed warmth, while you sit down to enjoy your hot cocoa or cider.
The Holiday Hut offers a simple, yet lovely variety of choices to consume when you visit including the above mentioned hot cocoa, hot cider, lattes, coffee, along with added spirits to top off your hot drinks. If you order the hot chocolate, you can also add a package of marshmallows, which is a hot cocoa must.
When my guest and I visited the Holiday Hut, we were warmly welcomed by Christopher Till, who supplied us with samples of the hot cocoa and hot cider. It was wonderful to sit down at a table under the heated lamps, while we sipped away and warmed our faces and bodies. Although the hot cocoa was tasty, I felt that the overall quality of the hot drink could have been a tad richer and creamier with other cocoa powders, various spices, or even milk. Gemini is well known for its outstanding cuisine, and the hot cocoa offered did not seem as up to par with their usual standards.
The highlight of the visit was the hot cider! It was warm, spiced with cinnamon, allspice and juniper, and perfectly tart without being too sweet. I could have sat at the outdoor table and sipped the hot cider all day, as it was delicious and satisfying.
I am excited for and applaud Gemini’s Holiday Hut, and was impressed with the overall experience when I visited. It was a real pleasure and break from the woes of the current pandemic, to briefly escape into a holiday world of spiced deliciousness and holiday warmth and cheer. Make sure you stop by Gemini’s Holiday Hut this winter if you are looking for a tiny vacation away from home, even if only for a while. This spot is also a good option to visit before or after Lincoln Park Zoo Lights. Enjoy!
Photos: Jennifer Lunz