Warm up With a Winter Cocktail at These New York City Bars
As temperatures drop in New York City, it is an even better time to stay indoors and sip the best cocktails the city has to offer. From cocktails with winter spices, warm drinks, and seasonal ingredients, here are the hottest bars in NYC to drink cocktails this season.
Dressed as a vintage pharmacy, Apotheke’s cocktail list is also aptly dubbed “Prescription List”. For the winter, the stronger cocktails in the Painkillers section would be appropriate, such as Dead Poet (bourbon, rye, espresso, black walnut husk, allspice, smoked clove, and agave). Fat is important to keep warm in the winter, so try the Huntsman, which is made with duck fat washed scotch, fig, chocolate, balsamic vinegar, lime, agave, and a peated scotch mist.
Baita at Eataly
For the third year, the rooftop at Eataly Flatiron turns into Baita, an Italian-Alps pop up restaurant. The cozy space with city skyline views offers a number of winter cocktails, from traditional Vin Brule (mulled wine), hot chocolate spiced with whiskey, Yule Tide (steamed milk, hazelnut butter infused whisky, amaro, and cinnamon).
The low-lit Bar Moga brings 1920s Japan to New York City, with food and drink menu that is centered around the idea of yoshoku, Japanese-style Western comfort foods. The cocktails are also based on Western classics but reimagined using Japanese ingredients, including Woman in the Dunes (barley shochu, coffee liqueur, iron amaro, toasted almond, heavy cream).
Neighborhood favorite cocktail bar Elsa in East Village closed three years ago, but it has now reopened in Brooklyn this past summer in an art deco style space. Death of a Ladies’ Man is a winter sipper with rye, maple, Laphroaig scotch, lemon, and tobacco bitters. There’s one for the absinthe lovers – Werewolf Season is made using absinthe, Ancho chile liqueur, lime, honey, fresh orange, egg white, mole bitters, and grated cocoa.
Seamstress in the Upper East Side is headed by Dead Rabbit alum and one of America’s best female bartender, Pam Wiznitzer. This season, try her creations such as Winter Denial (rum, benedictine, sherry, lime leaf, yuzu) or Final Countdown (rye whisky, banana liqueur, sunchoke, honey, thyme, brown butter, hazelnut). The menu is divided by flavor profiles, making it easy to first-timers to navigate.
Veteran New York bartender Giuseppe Gonzalez has worked at many important bars including Dutch Kills and Flatiron Lounge, and he finally stands on his own at Suffolk Arms. Veer towards the “Savory” section of the menu this season, for drinks like “Pastrami” on Buttered Rye (rye whiskey, black pepper, mustard seed, butter, and honey). Treacle in the “Strong” section is another good choice with aged rum, brown sugar, apple juice, and molasses.
Sunday in Brooklyn
This Williamsburg neighborhood hangout has a number of seasonal cocktails to keep Brooklynites warm. Those wanting a spiked cocoa can order Snowball #1 with peppermint pisco, cacao, and cream. Santa’s Little Helper is a smoky number with mezcal, Campari, sweet vermouth, maple, and nutmeg, and salt. White (Christmas) Negroni is one for those who prefer a cleaner aromatic drink, made with gin, bergamot aperitif, and Salers.
The NoMad Bar
Leo Robitschek slides in some festive cocktails at the award-wining NoMad Bar every winter, this year not excluded. Head to any bar at the NoMad Hotel to try this year’s winter warmer selections, which include Ciampino (Fernet Branca, green chartreuse, salted hot chocolate, Angostura marshmallow), egg nog, hot buttered rum, and Mama Welker’s Cider (bourbon, honey crisp apple cider, cardamom, peppercorn).
Alinea Group from Chicago opened the New York outposts of the famed Aviary and The Office in New York City earlier this year. The bartenders at The Office gladly mix cocktails that cater to guests’ preferences, but there are a number of signature cocktails not to be missed. This winter, try the Rosemary (mezcal, smoked cacao, anise, cinnamon, lemon, white egg) or warm apple brandy with port, cider, and fernet. For the adventurous looking for something savory and rich, try the Amaretto Sour with black truffle, cynar, lemon, whole egg, and smoked salt.
The Rag Trader / Bo Peep
The Rag Trader is a new restaurant set inside a former garment factory, with hidden lounge called Bo Peep. The restaurant will officially open on Jan. 9, but they are currently in soft opening, so New Yorkers can get a sneak peek at the cocktails here, including Tunisian Toddy. The winter appropriate drink is made with bourbon, rye, Moroccan spice, lime and mint tea. Smoke and spice stars in the Stirred Pictford, with rum, smoked pineapple, cherry, vanilla and spices.
One of the new bars this year in Brooklyn, Until Tomorrow has made its name known with experimental cocktails and house-made tinctures. The cocktail names are equally creative, such as When Cats Used to Harmonize, which combines scotch, mezcal, rum, curacao, with spiced winter syrup and Sfumato. 1st Class, Next to Vanna White is a good example of the experimentation done here. The cocktail combines aquavit, Bols Genever, graham cracker infused amaro, salted citrus honey, ginger, spiced pear liqueur, and cashew milk.