davidburke & donatella
133 E. 61st St., between Lexington and Park Aves.; 212-813-2121
Black-tied revelers gather in the red-and-white sixties-mod dining room for a showman’s take on eggnog: The Drunken Egg Potion. After injecting Goldschlager, bourbon and cognac with a buttery spice, bartenders set the concoction aflame then serve it in a massive Australian ostrich egg. Be forewarned: The double serving is more lethal than its dainty meringue taste and high-art looks imply. For a safer digestif, the Angry Claus pairs high-brow Godiva liqueur with low-brow Swiss Miss. Brandy and cayenne pepper ensure it’s a sip that’s both naughty and nice.
1048 Fifth Ave., at 86th St.; 212-288-0665
At the Neue Galerie’s beloved eatery, wood paneling and pristine China bespeak of Old World traditions. The kitchen’s artful renditions of hearty fare like chestnut soup and spätzle can be toasted with a gullet-warming glass of mulled wine called glühwein: Worthy of an Alps ski chalet aglow with illuminated Tannebaums, the prim, fruity Burgenland Glatzer is heated with Pompadour Glühfix spiced tea packs.
422 Seventh Ave. at 14th St.; 718-369-7776
While this Austrian eatery may be more lowkey than its posh uptown kin, it takes a more laborious approach to its homemade glühwein: Cloves, cinnamon and citrus skins are drowned in a vat of red wine for hours. If a liquor-laced espresso drink is more your cup of tea, Irish and Viennese coffees can be further enhanced with scoops of mint and vanilla ice cream.
530 Driggs Ave. at N. 8th St., Williamsburg; 718-388-6607
This free-spirited Marseilles-styled eatery is waxing romantic this winter with the most ample mugs in town. You can fill yours up with Rhum Lait Chaud, a vanilla-like confection of seasoned rum, hot milk, and honey or classic grog with its dream team of heated spicy rum, lemon, and honey. Sweeter still is Chocolat Fada, a saucerful of hot chocolate and Grand Marnier, that’s as good as dessert.
Good World Bar & Grill
3 Orchard St. between Canal and Division Sts.; 212-925-9975
Clearly, the back patio is no longer the draw at this Chinatown watering hole. But the innovative Green Tea Hot Toddy is worthy of its own cult of imbibers. A mix of sencha green tea, Charbay green tea vodka, and Swedish honey, Good World’s holiday beverage staves off any digestive problems stemming from too many aquavit shots or too much gravlax.
21 E. 47th St at Madison Ave.; 212-753-5757
Thanks to Clontarf, a rich mellow toffee-and-oak-noted whiskey, the Famous Irish Coffee surpasses the usual Jameson’s-and-drip affair at his 30-year-old family-run pub. Yet you might consider putting aside any notions of elder statesman respectability and opting for the delightful Peppermint Paddy, a flirty hot chocolate with peppermint schnapps that’s served with a candy cane.
15 W. 56th St., between Fifth and Sixth Aves.; 212-582-4445
Some of the season’s most glamorous drinks are served in this lavish, gold-accented hotel restaurant. Especially rich is the Cassia Frappe, an eggless take on hot nog with a nod to the Brandy Alexander. Torched orange peel and coffee beans doused in Sambuca provide this creamy blend of Kahlua, light cream, and brandy with an aftertaste of citrus chocolate.
115 E. 60th St. between Park and Lexington Aves.; 212-355-7069
A rustic cottage with crystal glass works? Ulrika’s sometimes counters your expectations which may explain why glögg is served year-round and not just at the holidays. The house specialty, Madera port and red wine brewed with vodka, brandy, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, and whole clementines, is gracefully balanced by the gritty sweetness of raisins and almonds served on the side. This year, a streamlined version served in a shot glass uses the juice of the cloudberry, a Scandinavian cousin to the raspberry.