Gin and bear it

Not every holiday woe can be fixed with eggnog. We asked three Gotham mixologists to create special cocktails to salve some of the season's most trying scenarios.

To view recipes for each cocktail, see the next page

Photograph: Chrissy Lush

The Christmas Virgin at Allen & Delancey Beverage director James Endicott rejected the notion that this drink—intended to soften the impact of the first visit to the home of a significant other’s family—should literally be virgin: “Oh, no. You’d need alcohol. I did that last year. It was horrible.” He combines ginger liqueur and cinnamon simple syrup as a nod to seasonal flavors, and adds bracing Calvados (apple brandy) and a float of champagne to suit either gender. For a guy, Calvados “has punch, so it will impress your girlfriend’s brother,” but it’s not too manly: “If your girlfriend meets your parents and she’s drinking Scotch on the rocks, they’ll think she’s about to smoke a pack of Pall Malls.” 115 Allen St at Delancey St (212-253-5400)

Braised short ribs

Photograph: Wenyi Huang

The Why Still Single at Huckleberry Bar Tired of explaining why you’ve come to yet another holiday gathering solo? Co-owner Stephanie Schneider whipped up a cocktail she says is “spicy and salty, just like you need to be around your mom” when she inquires about your love life (or lack thereof). She mixes equal parts tequila—“it makes you happy”—and smoky mescal—“it says you don’t need a man”—with a Thai chili–infused pear syrup, and coats the rim with chili powder and salt. 588 Grand St between Leonard and Lorimer Sts, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-218-8555)

Apple sorbet

Photograph: Wenyi Huang

The Patience at Bar Veloce Those of us crankily waiting out our third delay at JFK will be wishing for one of these. Proprietor Frederick Twomey waxes nostalgic for the pre-Bond era when people requested drinks stirred, not shaken—he believes the former act will sooth even the most jangled nerves. “There’s a certain meditative property to stirring something properly,” he muses. Twomey swirls sweet vermouth and the citrusy, grappa-based Italian liqueur Veloce with prosecco, then singes an orange peel—a technique that releases its aromatherapy-worthy oils—to garnish. The potent elixir will help you stay serene, if glassy-eyed, all vacation long. 176 Seventh Ave between 20th and 21st Sts (212-629-5300); 175 Second Ave between 11th and 12th Sts (212-260-3200)


The recipes you’ll need to get through the holidays with yuletide cheer intact.

Each makes 1 serving

The Christmas Virgin
James Endicott at Allen & Delancey (115 Allen St at Delancey St, 212-253-5400)

2 oz Calvados
3/4 oz ginger liqueur
1 oz lemon juice
3/4 oz house-made cinnamon simple syrup (Syrup: 1 cup sugar and 2 cups water combined with five cinnamon sticks in a medium saucepan, brought to a boil and allowed to cool)
1/2 to 1 oz champagne
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp sugar
Lemon wedge

Combine cinnamon and sugar on a small plate. Use the lemon wedge to moisten a chilled martini glass. Dunk in cinnamon and sugar mixture; invert. Shake first four ingredients together with ice; strain into chilled cocktail glass. Top with a float of champagne. Serve.

The Why Still Single
Stephanie Schneider at Huckleberry Bar (588 Grand St between Leonard and Lorimer Sts, Williamsburg, Brooklyn; 718-218-8555)

For the rim of the glass:
1 tbsp Thai chili, ground coarsely in a spice mill
4 tbsps fine sea salt

For the drink:
1 oz Silver Tequila (Herradura preferred)
1 oz mezcal (Del Maguey San Luis del Rio preferred)
2 dashes Regans’ orange bitters
1 oz spiced pear syrup (pears, dried Thai chili, sugar, lemon zest)

For the pear syrup:
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsps lemon zest
1 tsp Thai chili (available at Asian specialty food stores), powdered
2 lbs Bosc or Bartlett pears peeled, cored and diced
3/4 cup water

In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, water, chili and zest over medium heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Add pears; increase heat to high. Once at a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until pears are tender. Let mixture rest until cool; strain into a bowl.

Blend chili and salt in a spice mill until it’s become a fine powder; use a strip of lemon zest to oil the rim of a chilled martini glass and dunk glass into the powder mixture. Shake tequila, mezcal, bitters and pear syrup with ice, and strain into a martini glass. Serve.

The Patience
Frederick Twomey at Bar Veloce (176 Seventh Ave between 20th and 21st Sts, 212-629-5300; 175 Second Ave between 11th and 12th Sts, 212-260-3200)

2 oz Veloce liqueur
1 oz sweet vermouth (Punt e Mes preferred)
2 oz sparkling wine (prosecco preferred)
Bitters (orange preferred), for glass
1 thin slice orange peel, for garnish

Pour ingredients one at a time into a mixing glass with ice. Stir for one minute after each addition. Pour a small amount of bitters into a chilled martini glass; swirl to coat; drain. Strain mixture into a glass. Singe orange peel briefly with lighter. Add to drink. Serve.