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Photograph: Courtesy Kindred/Archer Lewis

The best hot cocktails to warm you up at NYC restaurants and bars

Dining out, whether outdoors or indoors, is heating up as hot cocktails are popping up on menus everywhere these days.

Written by
Bao Ong

Outdoor dining is allowed 365 days a year across the five boroughs and many of New York’s best restaurants and bars have jumped into outdoor dining for the first time during the current crisis. While many businesses are still trying to figure out the best options for heated outdoor areas to prolong al fresco dining, hot cocktails are having a moment like never before. These warm drinks are no longer relegated to the role of holiday or seasonal specials, but they’re as essential as the heat lamps and blankets popping up everywhere. Here are some of the best drinks we’ll be ordering in the months ahead.


Photograph: Archer Lewis

For six weeks, starting on October 30th, Kindred is running a pop-up called Après-Ski from 4-11pm Wednesdays-Saturdays. The Alpine-themed experience includes a host of drinks to keep you warm, like a hot buttered rum with chai, almond grappa and spiced butter. If you want to stick with the bar’s wine specialty, there will be bottles from the Alpine regions that you can also enjoy in the outdoor chalet (heated, of course).

Charlie Bird

Charlie Bird
Photograph: Delicious Hospitality Group

The seasonal Italian-leaning menu (and the expertly-curated wine list) at Charlie Bird makes it one of our favorite neighborhood restaurants. If you’re not ready to dine indoors yet, find a patio seat and order the Charlie’s Toddy with a Japanese whisky ($22), hot cider (for $16 it includes Scotch) or a bourbon-fueled hot chocolate ($16).  

Sugar Monk

Sugar Monk
Photograph: Sugar Monk

One of the best cocktail bars in Harlem, Sugar Monk nods to the neighborhood’s history of uptown speakeasies. This season, co-owner Ektoras Binikos will serve you the Captain Cook’s Toddy ($16) that features the bar’s own Palatine Amaro with hints of eucalyptus and allspice—all poured from a teapot to keep the vibe extra cozy.

Bathtub Gin

Bathtub Gin
Photograph: Bathtub Gin

You don’t have to order a martini or an over-the-top cocktail just because you’re at a speakeasy. For these colder months ahead, Bathtub Gin’s head bartender Brendan Bartley will happily serve guests mulled wine ($10) and hot buttered rum ($10) that’s prepared with as much care as the other gin-based craft cocktails.


Aquavit glogg
Photograph: Courtesy of Aquavit

Chef Emma Bengtsson’s version of glögg, a traditional Swedish mulled wine, can be made with a base of aquavit or vodka with orange juice, star anise, cardamom, cinnamon and red port wine. She places almonds and raisins in a glass before topping it off with the warm wine (we’d also recommend ordering a slice of the Princess Cake). 

Hunky Dory

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Turmeric, one of the trendiest ingredients in the past few years, finds its way to the hot toddy served at Hunky Dory, one of our favorite bars in Brooklyn. The popular spice is sourced from Diaspora Co and combined lemon, amontillado sherry and your spirit of choice. Guests can sip their drinks on a patio or order one to-go.


Photograph: Courtesy of Ernesto's

There are more than a dozen electric heaters at this trendy Basque-inspired restaurant but give us the a Hot Buttered Sherry or the Red Hot Sangria first before we dive into the delightful mountain of house-made chips draped with Ibérico ham.


Photograph: Courtesy of Amali

The Mediterranean-themed menu here features a hot buttered toddy ($16) with some unexpected touches. The peach brandy imparts some sweetness and fruity notes to go along with the orange saffron tea, honey and butter. We can imagine sipping this beverage on a cold day with sides of roasted sunchokes or marinated leeks for the full-on autumnal vibes.

Boulud Sur Mer at Restaurant Daniel

Restaurant Daniel
Photograph: Courtesy of Restaurant Daniel

The current theme at Daniel may draw inspiration from the breezy Mediterranean coasts in the South of France, but that hasn't stopped the Michelin-starred stalwart from creating a decadent warm cocktail. Enter the Café Français. A base of 1738 Remy Martin, Lavazza drip coffee and Faretti biscotti liqueur is topped with house-made whipped cream.


Photograph: Courtesy of Kintsugi

The hot sake at Kintsugi isn’t your run-of-the-mill drink served from a porcelain bottle you may order at other sushi restaurants. Here, the dry sake is infused with fennel extract and sweet orange extract to perfectly complement the pristine seafood.

Le Crocodile

Le Crocodile
Photograph: Le Crocodile

This French and Montreal-inspired restaurant at the Wythe Hotel has one of the best outdoor dining setups in the city. If you're looking to cozy up on colder days, there's a menu with a host of cocktails to keep you warm: the Cellar Door (a calvados-based drink), Irish coffee, Winter's Julep, mulled wine and a hot toddy.

Haven Rooftop

Haven Rooftop
Photograph: Courtesy of Haven Rooftop

Starting October 30th, Haven Rooftop is offering a trio of cocktails (each $16) on its Hot Toddy menu: Apple Cheer Hot Toddy (with lemon, cinnamon syrup, black tea, apple cider and bourbon), Bailey’s Hot Toddy (with black tea, agave and Bailey’s) and a Hibiscus Hot Toddy (with black tea, hibiscus syrup, lemon, agave and bourbon).


Photograph: Courtesy of Hütte

Upgrade your PSL game at Hütte. The Pumpkin Spice Glühwein is filled with cinnamon, herbs and spices and not the cloying sweetness of artificial ingredients. Whether you decide on this special cocktail or other German and Austrian-inspired drinks, there’s a tented backyard space that’s meant to look like an après ski lounge where you can also grab warm blankets.

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