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Holiday Cocktails, Classic and Contemporary

We polled our favorite restaurants and bars for fresh and familiar takes on your favorite winter libations.

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Mulled Wine

Old School: Mulled Wine at Domain Restaurant
2869 Broadway, nr. 111th St., 212-678-8585.

"Nothing complements the holidays better than wine steeped with mulling spices, such as cinnamon and cloves, then served piping hot on a cold winter's night. When people say 'have a cup of cheer,' I believe this is what they are talking about." —Richard Bill, beverage director

• 1 bottle of red wine
• 1/2 bottle ruby port
• 2 cinnamon sticks
• 5 whole star anise
• 1 tsp. whole cloves
• 1 c. raw organic honey
• 1 orange sliced into wheels

Bring all ingredients to a boil then lower temp to simmer for 30 minutes. Ladle into a mug and garnish with a piece of orange. Serve with a sugar snap cookie.


New School: Mulled Mystic at Distilled
211 West Broadway, nr. Franklin St., 212-601-9514.

"It's perfect for those blustery days when you need to warm your bones and take the edge off. The earthy sweetness of the mead mulled with cinnamon and cloves really lets you know the holidays are here." —Travis Brown, bartender

• 1 bottle Mystic Mead
• 1 tsp. lavender
• 1 tsp. chamomile flowers
• 4 whole cloves
• 1 cinnamon stick
• Zest of 1/2 large lemon

Add all ingredients to a pot, then bring to a simmer and remove from heat. Run through a fine conical strainer and cheesecloth. Pour strained mead into a snifter glass and garnish with whole cloves and lemon wheel. (Serves 4)


Eggnog

Old School: Holiday Nog at Campbell Apartment
Grand Central Terminal, 15 Vanderbilt Ave., nr. 43rd St., 212-953-0409.

"Our Holiday Nog’s smooth and warming blend of flavors is indicative of the holiday season. It is made from scratch with fresh farm eggs, made the way classic egg nogs were intended over 100 years ago, and is a perfect pair with your holiday baked goodies." —Kenneth McClure, VP/group general manager

• 1 1/2 oz. bourbon
• 1 whole egg
• 1/2 oz. heavy cream
• 1/2 oz. Demerara syrup
• 3 drops vanilla extract
• 3 drops almond extract
• 3 drops cinnamon extract
• 1 pinch pumpkin pie spice

Shake all very well with ice and strain over ice into wine glass. Garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.


New School: Not a Nog at the Smith
55 Third Ave., nr. 11th St., 1900 Broadway, nr. 63rd St., 956 Second Ave., nr. 51st St.

"The inspiration behind the Not a Nog was to combine festive aspects of egg nog, like frothy egg whites and nutmeg, and use them in a more sophisticated cocktail that isn't so rich and sweet." —Jeff Leanheart, beverage director

• 1 1/2 oz. Santa Teresa Solera Rum
• 1/4 oz. Nonino Amaro
• 1/2 oz. lemon juice
• 1 oz. cage-free egg whites
• 1/4 oz. maple syrup

Add first 4 ingredients into a cocktail shaker then stir in maple syrup. Add ice and then shake. Strain into a chilled martini glass and garnish with freshly grated nutmeg (just enough to lightly sit on top of the froth).


Hot Toddy

Old School: Hot Toddy at Ward III
111 Reade St., nr. West Broadway, 212-240-9194.

"Nothing beats a hot toddy on a cold fall or winter day. This version has a touch of apple cider, which gives it a smooth, ever so sweet finish perfect for getting into the holiday spirit!" —Kenneth McCoy, co-owner

• 1 oz. Old Forester bourbon
• 1 oz. apple cider
• 2 dashes of bitters
• Splash of honey

Stir ingredients to combine and top with boiling water. Garnish with a cinnamon stick.


New School: Mint Tea Toddy at Gramercy Tavern
42 E. 20th St., nr. Park Ave., 212-477-0777.

"I love this drink because it’s more refreshing and less boozy than most toddies—fresh and bright, with herbal and citrus flavors. Because we use a tea base rather than brown spirits it produces a lighter version of this drink— and I appreciate the gentler touch of it given how much we all tend to overconsume this time of year …" —Juliette Pope, beverage director

• Mint tea
• 1 lemon
• 1 orange
• 1 grapefruit
• 2 oz. Nardini Acqua di Cedro

Brew the mint tea strong. While it’s brewing, take a large strip of zest (no white pith) with a peeler from the lemon, orange, and grapefruit. Twist each over a mug and drop in. Add 2 oz. Nardini Acqua di Cedro, then pour about 9 oz. (or to taste) of the hot tea into the mug.


Cider

Old School: Cider Cocktail at the Chester
18 Ninth Ave., nr. Gansevoort St., 646-253-2284.

"The perfect cocktail at the Chester this season is the 'Chester Cider.' It's balanced, easy, and classic. Many people don't think you can drink Fireball whiskey without regretting it the next day, but with this drink it's so smooth! Not to mention, it's damn good, too!" —Head bartender

• 2 oz. Fireball whiskey
• 4 oz. hard apple cider
• 1/2 c. ice cubes
• 1 apple
• Cinnamon sticks

Combine the whiskey and hard cider over ice. Garnish with sliced apples and cinnamon sticks.


New School: Yuzu Apple Cider at Morimoto
88 Tenth Ave., nr. 16th St., 212-989-8883.

"The Yuzu Apple Cider brings all the traditional flavors of the season together. The spiced rum combines nicely with the sweet apple cider and cinnamon, and the tart white cranberry and yuzu bring an unexpected yet seasonal twist. It's the perfect cocktail for the holiday season." —Joshua Blum, manager and creator of the cocktail

• 3 oz. white cranberry juice
• 1 oz. apple cider cinnamon syrup
• 1/4 oz. yuzu juice
• 1 oz. spiced rum

For the apple cinnamon syrup: Add 5 cinnamon sticks to 1/2 gallon of cider. Cook on medium heat for 30 minutes, then remove the cinnamon (to taste) and cook for approximately 30 more minutes until cider starts to bubble. Remove from heat and let cool.

Combine ingredients, then shake and strain over fresh ice.


Hot Chocolate

Old School: Bourbon Hot Chocolate at Blue Ribbon Beer Garden
190 Allen St., nr. Houston St., second fl., 212-466-0404.

"What stands out about our bourbon hot chocolate is that we use cocoa powder and fudge syrup, so it's really rich and has a deep chocolate flavor. The bourbon is added at the end, so it's still got a nice punch. It pairs well after an oxtail fried rice, or a big steak dinner.” —Ciaran Tyrrell, manager at Blue Ribbon Sushi Izakaya

• 1 qt. whole milk
• 1 c. half-and-half
• 1 c. chocolate syrup, homemade or Fox’s U-Bet
• 2 tbs. cocoa powder
• 1 c. good-quality bourbon such as Maker’s Mark

Add milk, half-and-half, syrup, and cocoa powder to a pot or large saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until cocoa is fully incorporated and mixture barely comes to a simmer, 5–10 minutes. Whisk in bourbon and cook for one more minute. Remove from heat and serve. (Serves 8)


New School: Santa’s Side Sipper at the Harrison
355 Greenwich St., at Harrison St., 212-274-9310.

"I wanted to make something fun and delicious, but that had a bit more sophistication. First of all, just the milk after you have folded it into the butterscotch is absolutely delicious. The rest is just bonus. It’s great for parties and gets a smile every time we serve it. I mean, cookies and milk are nice, but if I’m Santa I want something with a little more kick to keep me warm." —Josh Fossitt, service and bar manager

• 1.5 oz. chocolate vodka
• 4 oz. butterscotch milk
• 1 dollop Meletti whipped cream
• Grated nutmeg

Combine chocolate vodka with butterscotch milk in tin cup and steam, or heat butterscotch milk over low heat until steaming. Finish with a dollop of Meletti whipped cream and grated nutmeg on top.
For the butterscotch milk: Melt 4 tbsp. butter and add 1 c. packed brown sugar on medium heat, stirring continuously until the sugar starts to become more liquid than like wet sand. Slowly whisk in 1 tbsp. Highland scotch and 3/4 c. heavy-cream. Continue whisking for about 10 minutes on medium-low heat. Whisk in 1 tbsp. sea salt and 1 tbsp. bourbon vanilla extract at the end. Take off the heat and whisk in 1/2 of the warm butterscotch into one quart of milk.
For the chocolate vodka: Melt one cup of Valrona 100% Dominican extra bitter chocolate, and add to a 750 ml. bottle of vodka. Let sit at room temperature and shake once daily for a week.
For the Meletti whipped cream: Combine 1/2 quart heavy cream, 1 1/2 tbsp. confectioners' sugar, and 3 oz. Meletti chocolate liqueur.


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