Though we’ll drink icy martinis and frozen cocktails all year long, there’s something especially festive about a hot drink when the days get shorter and the temperature drops. While you can always tip some booze into your instant hot chocolate at home, it's also nice to have someone else whip up something even better–especially since NYC’s nixing outdoor propane heaters this year. Here’s where to sip the best hot cocktails in town this season.
The Honey Well’s subterranean space is especially cozy this time of year, and some of its warmth is generated by flaming cocktails. Its Hot Thotty, however, is a toasty tipple without the fire, made with lemon juice, hibiscus agave, honeybush tea-infused bourbon, cinnamon and orange-infused water and a cinnamon stick or lemon wheel for garnish.
One of NYC’s best restaurants, Leland Eating and Drinking House has four hot drink varieties this season: a hot spiked cider with Fresno chilis, a Mexican hot chocolate, mulled wine and a cafe en fuego that’s only available at the bar.
Oft-lauded Dante frequently appears on local, national and global best-of lists. It’s also simultaneously known for a lot of different things, depending who you ask, including negronis, martinis and hot cocktails. We’re partial to the hot buttered rum, with allspice, amontillado, and English breakfast tea, on top of its titular spirit.
4. Good Judy
Good Judy has two hot options to choose from this season: Hot cider with bourbon or rum, spiced with cardamom, allspice, cinnamon and cloves, and hot toddies with bourbon or rum, with housemade honey syrup and clove-studded lemon. Sip ‘em around the bar on the ground floor, up in the piano lounge or out on the patio before it gets too cold.
Leyenda’s Hot Zombie has rum, passion fruit, honey, lemon and an absinthe rinse. Sip it inside if you can nab a seat in the popular spot, or get some fresh air at one of its two outdoor spaces. Leyenda will also add more warming options come December 1.
6. Sweet Afton
One of Astoria’s best bars for more than a decade, Sweet Afton has a hot mulled apple cider with bourbon, spiced rum or apple jack brandy to toast to the season. Its photogenic enclosed garden’s retractable roof evokes outside vibes without having to fully commit to the bit.
7. Dead Rabbit
Of course an Irish bar that also happens to be one of NYC’s most honored would have an excellent Irish coffee–and be so bold as to name it ‘World Famous.’ Dead Rabbit’s World Famous Irish Coffee mixes java, demerara sugar, a whiskey blend and freshly whipped cream for an intoxicating jolt of caffeine much more delicious than any espresso martini.
The ever-changing backyard at Schaller & Weber on the Upper East Side is shifting for the season once more, back into a wintery ski lodge form from Thursday, November 4. Hütte is also reintroducing two glühwein varieties for the occasion: A red mulled wine with star anise, cinnamon and cloves, and a white, with cloves, orange, apple and star anise.
Newly renovated Gansevoort Meatpacking on the west of Manhattan side has a refreshed look and a warming new drink on its menu. The Take it Outside tips mezcal, triple sec, chai tea, steamed oat milk and agave syrup into a tall toasty, mug to wrap your frigid fingers around.
The speakeasy-themed restaurant and bar below the Andaz hotel just reopened, and it already has a new cocktail on its menu. Fashioned after the Mexican hot chocolate, Bar Downstairs & Kitchen’s The Fellow includes tequila or mezcal, chile liqueur, house-made cocoa mix and oat milk with peppermint foam on top.