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Seasonal Booze, Served Hot

Twenty-three places to warm up with holiday-inspired mulled wines, spiked hot chocolates, and comforting cocktails.

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Left to right: Timna's Warm Tzimmes Punch, Ward III's Hot Toddy, and Middle Branch's Ginger and Spice.  

Achilles Heel
180 West St., at Green St., Greenpoint; 347-987-3666
Andrew Tarlow’s Brooklyn spot will bring back its seasonal house toddy—an aromatic concoction of apple brandy, Meletti amaro, lemon, and honey, served in a beer mug and garnished with a stick of cinnamon.
$12

Aquavit
65 E. 55th St., nr. Madison Ave.; 212-307-7311
Drawing influence from their Scandinavian roots, this modern Nordic establishment will feature a traditional glögg, a mulled-wine variant that’s brewed in batches by dropping housemade spice sachets into a wine-and-vodka medley. Diners get to leave the restaurant with their very own sachet for at-home steeping.
TBD

Bodega Negra
355 W. 16th St., nr. Ninth Ave.; 212-229-2336
The Dream Hotel’s restaurant/lounge/café will be warming up guests with their Abuelita’s Cocoa, a tequila-spiked dark hot chocolate spiced up with an ancho chile liqueur and housemade cinnamon-and-habanero syrup.
$16

Cienfuegos
95 Ave. A, at E. 6th St.; 212-614-6818
The East Village rum bar will serve a tea-based mulled wine using a ruby spice cider tea—a blend of berries, pomegranate, cinnamon, and apple—mixed with red wine, Jamaican rum, and cognac.
$14

Distilled NY
211 W. Broadway, nr. Franklin St.; 212-601-9514
This gastropub specializes in all things comfort, so for the holiday season they’ll be featuring three piping-hot specialties. Their mulled mead apple cider features mead (a honey wine) and dry hard cider alongside a spiced rum, while their hot toddy mingles rye whiskey and apple brandy with lemon and cinnamon. Meanwhile, the Noon Rooster, a seasonal version of their signature Morning Bell, blends whiskey with amaretto liqueur, demerara sugar, coffee, and Angostura cream.
$12 each

DONNA
27 Broadway, at Dunham Pl., Williamsburg; 646-568-6622
Stop in for bartender Nick Settle’s specialty winter creation, I Think You’re Bananas, a combination of El Dorado eight-year rum and Hamilton Jamaican rum with banana liqueur, steamed milk, and a cinnamon nutmeg seasoning.
$13

The Eddy
342 E. 6th St., nr. First Ave.; 646-895-9884
At this rustic American bar and eatery, you’ll find a house-mulled cider complete with Rowan’s Creek bourbon, maple syrup, and brown butter for added richness.
$14

Eli’s Night Shift
189 E. 79th St., at Third Ave.; 212-879-7160
Eli Zabar’s newly opened craft-beer concept will be joining in on this year’s hot-beverage game with a warm milk punch called the Last Shift. Drawing inspiration from pumpkin pie, the tea-based concoction combines chai, pumpkin purée, pear and lemon juices, vanilla vodka, bourbon, glögg, and a variety of spices.
$12

Grand Army
336 State St., at Hoyt St., Boerum Hill; 718-422-7867
Damon Boelte, the head barman at this trendy Brooklyn watering hole, will enlist his warm spirit of choice, Jamaican black rum, along with coconut, orgeat, Angostura bitters, and a dash of nutmeg for the bar’s fragrant holiday libation, the Rainier.
$13

Hecho En Dumbo
354 Bowery, nr. Great Jones St.; 212-937-4245
This winter, beverage director Ethan Smith will introduce his very own Ponche Navideño—a warm punch that’s traditionally served during Christmastime in Mexico. The drink’s made by boiling tejocote, a seasonal Mexican fruit (similar to the crab apple), with California-distilled brandy, fruits, spices, and unrefined Mexican sugar.
$13

Il Buco Alimentari e Vineria
53 Great Jones St., nr. Bowery; 212-837-2622
Chocolatier and Jacques Torres protégée Genevieve Meli has created an entire menu for the Italian eatery devoted solely to hot chocolate. Choose between rosemary, smoked-cinnamon, and burnt-orange variations, topped with housemade marshmallows and served with a shot of Varnelli, an Italian liqueur, upon request.
$10 ($6 without Varnelli)

Leyenda
221 Smith St., nr. Butler St., Carroll Gardens; 347-987-3260
For cozy comfort with a caffeinated charge, try co-owner and head bartender Ivy Mix’s Guatemalan coffee with Zacapa rum and orange cognac. While the recipe draws from Latin influence, the roast and macadamia-nut syrup are sourced locally from Brooklyn, and the drink’s topped off with a freshly whipped cream for an extra note of holiday decadence.
$13

The Meatball Shop
All locations
Coinciding with their annual “Jingle Balls” menu special, the famed meatball specialists will be rolling out a handful of holiday cocktails, like the Warm & Cozy, a no-nonsense mixture of Laird’s Applejack, cider, and cinnamon. The drink offerings will vary by location, so call for availability.
$10

Middle Branch
154 E. 33rd St., nr. Lexington Ave.; 212-213-1350
This Murray Hill cocktail lounge will offer a few steaming specialties crafted by managing partner Lucinda Sterling. Her Colorado-whiskey-and-ginger-liqueur-based drink, the Warm Embrace, is balanced with a simple pairing of freshly pressed apple cider and lemon juice and garnished with an apple slice. And her Ginger and Spice offers a deeper, red-wine-and-allspice-liqueur option that’s garnished with brandied cherries and topped off with a cinnamon stick.
$15 each

Mother of Pearl
95 Ave. A, at E. 6th St.; 212-614-6818
Ravi DeRossi’s recently opened tiki bar will serve a specialty hot drink for its first holiday season in business. The Gingerbread Tea Toddy mixes a gingerbread-black-tea syrup with apple brandy, rye, and lemon, served with a side of gumdrops.
$15

Piora
430 Hudson St., nr. Morton St.; 212-960-3801
Shinya Yamao, head bartender of this Michelin-ranked West Village establishment, will be stirring up two Japanese-influenced concoctions. His Sakegg-nog, served either hot or cold upon request, involves swapping in soy milk and nigori (unfiltered) sake to complement the vanilla-bean flavoring of traditional eggnog. Alternately, wine lovers can indulge in Yamao’s made-to-order mulled wine, seasoned with a handful of spices and lightly sweetened with honey and Japanese cane sugar.
Sakegg-nog, $16; mulled wine, $15

Reynard
80 Wythe Ave., at N. 11th St., Williamsburg; 718-460-8004
The Wythe Hotel’s chic restaurant space will add a Quiet Storm to the winter drink menu. The soothing cocktail introduces orange curaçao and winter pear liqueur to a base of steamed whole milk and Lost Spirits navy-strength rum.
$13

Sotto 13
140 W. 13th St., nr. Seventh Ave.; 212-647-1001
This cozy Italian spot will offer a rich, dark beer-based hot chocolate, made with Troubadour stout and infused with the spicy undertones of cinnamon, allspice, and chili powder.
$10

The Spotted Pig
314 W. 11th St., at Greenwich St.; 212-620-0393
April Bloomfield will once again whip up her acclaimed mulled wine to combat the blustery New York winter. Her recipe involves all of the traditional mulling spices, with a punch of chile and brandy for added warmth.
$14

The Third Man
116 Ave. C, nr. 8th St.; 212-598-1040
Hunker down at this Viennese-inspired cocktail bar with a mug of their specialty, the Hot Mentha Mess, a bourbon-and-mint-liqueur-spiked hot chocolate heated with cayenne and topped with homemade marshmallows.
$13

Timna
109 St. Marks Pl., nr. Avenue A; 646-964-5181
At Timna, beverage director Amir Nathan’s hot-drink offerings all have a Mediterranean influence. His Hot Marxist, named after the restaurant’s bustling locale, features an apple-and-cinnamon vermouth stirred with a wine-based aperitif and muddled blood orange. Nathan will also be serving up a Warm Tzimmes Punch, his creative drink interpretation of the Jewish sweet stew, infused with carrot-cardamom syrup, aged port, and candied carrots.
$12

Ward III
111 Reade St., nr. West Broadway; 212-240-9194
On the happy-hour menu at this swanky Tribeca cocktail den, you’ll find the Cutty Sark Hot Toddy, a Scotch drink subtly sweetened with honey and muddled fresh ginger.
$12


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