Best new winter cocktails in NYC
Kenta Goto gives the classic toddy Far East–flavor enhancers at his Japanese cocktail bar. A base of lemon-ginger tea is spiked with sharp, sweet calvados apple brandy and swirled with honey and fresh-squeezed lemon juice in a blue-and-white ceramic bowl. Temper the glass to your preference with dollops of bright yuzu-infused marmalade, spooned from a matching side dish. $15.
At Laurent Tourondel's Italian-inflected American restaurant in the Eventi Hotel, the classic martini gets a seasonal tweak, bundling up with sweet cranberries and herbaceous rosemary for the winter. The gin of choice is London's Ford, while the vermouth is an Italian Carpano Antica. $14.
Julie Reiner and Ivy Mix’s Carroll Gardens coctelería spotlights the tradition of post-dinner sherry and coffee in this spirits-forward drink, crafted by Mix’s protégé Amanda de la Nuez. Inspired by Christmas Eve in Cuba (noche buena translates to “good night” in Spanish), the cup gets its kick courtesy of Black Bottle Scotch and Plantation Jamaica rum, offset by a potent splash of Heering coffee liqueur and a froth of egg white. Grated nutmeg, cinnamon and an espresso bean top off the festive sip. $12.
Give tiki a cold-weather twist with barkeep Laura Newman’s Foxon Park birch beer fizz, doubling up on rum with aged Gosling’s and Hamilton Jamaican Pot Still Black. Channeling a sunny escape in the dead of winter, the drink employs traditional warm-weather flavors—chocolate mole bitters, pineapple and lime juices, and cinnamon-smacked R. Jelínek fernet—crowned with a bouquet of absinthe-sprayed mint sprigs. It will almost make you forget the impending snowfalls to come—almost. $15.
At the West Village's Michelin-starred mainstay, head bartender Shinya Yamao slings a Japanese twist on traditional eggnog. Nigori, or unfiltered, sake forms the base, layered with a rich blend of soy milk, sugar, vanilla beans and egg yolk. The ingredients are shaken together with ice before being strained into a coupé and the drink can be served hot upon request. $16.
It’s all in the name: Head bartender Nick Bennett’s room-temperature quaff recalls the soul-warming comforts of by-the-hearth boozing with malty Bols Genever, fortifying herbal Becherovka bitters and almond-laced amaretto, with a nuttiness that’s nicely rounded out by a spoonful of walnut liqueur. And like many of Bennett’s hallmark potables, it’s conveniently stored on-tap and only poured into a brandy snifter upon service. $15.
All the comforts of warm hot cocoa—even the cozy mug—are found in this surprisingly cold, coconut-milk–based cup by bar director Meaghan Dorman. Inspired by a spicy coffee libation she had at New Orleans' famed Spitfire (hence the name), Dorman soothes stiff Vida mezcal with a dash of Bittermens chocolate mole bitters, and spices it with boisterous Ancho Reyes chile liqueur, a bar spoon of cinnamon syrup and a crown of grated nutmeg. $15.
Tzimmes, a sweet Ashkenazic Rosh Hashanah stew traditionally made with root vegetables and dried fruits, is the inspiration for Amir Nathan’s carrot-whispered punch. In this spiked rendition, the root is candied as a floating garnish as well as infused with cardamom to yield an aromatic syrup, brightening a blend of Ironstone Vineyards merlot and a 10-year-aged port. $12.
Descend into this subterranean Macdougal Street den for a seriously stiff winter cocktail from owner-bartender Matt Piacentini. The spirits-forward concoction fuses a mix of Vermont-sourced Whistle Pig rye, Atlantico Reserve rum, Jägermeister and grappa, barely tamed with a splash of pistachio orgeat and a sprinkle of nutmeg. The stiffer the drink, the warmer you get. Right? $14.
Jennifer Lim and Ben Sandler's cider-soaked boite feels like the cool-weather months all year round, with dozens of drafts and nearly 100 bottles of the apple elixir on offer at any time. For the winter, head bartender Jade Sotack crafts a traditional wassail (a Norse mulled cider), tweaked with one of her favorite ingredients, Madeira. The drink fuses that fortified Portuguese wine with equal parts sweet and Scrumpy cider, along with bourbon, pear brandy and a dash of Angostura, all topped with a clove-studded citrus peel. $13.