Eating + Drinking

Hot Cocktails to Warm Up Cold Nights

Spritzers are so last summer. These days, we prefer our drinks served toasty warm.

Photo courtesy of the Honey Well/Facebook

Now that we’ve traded beachside bars for cozy taverns and heated rooftops, we need some toasty libations to further set the mood. If the thought of iceberg-size cubes floating in your tumbler sends chills down your spine, consider sipping something that’ll warm you right back up. Our hot cocktails of choice this season? Lustful toddies, cozy nightcaps, and the most unexpected kind of sake.

The Drink: Hot Thotty
The Spot: The Honeywell in Hamilton Heights

Stepping into this subterranean cocktail lounge instantly transports you back to your parents’ heyday: tiny mounted televisions flickering hits from the ’70s, sky-high cheeseballs that I’m convinced are made with artisanal Cheez Whiz, and libations served in—what else?—lava lamps. The Honeywell’s sexier hot toddy, though, will have you sweating under your collar. Served out of a demure teakettle, the honey bush–infused Buffalo Trace is a lusty hibiscus shade and gets extra lip-smacking with two types of lemon (fresh and dehydrated). 3604 Broadway (between West 148th and 149th Streets)

The Drink: Irish Coffee
The Spot: Fort Defiance in Red Hook

Deep in the heart of far-off Red Hook is this mellow Americana pleaser named after a Revolutionary War fort. Owner-bartender St. John Frizell has designed a libations list that spans beyond the continental United States, from a 19th-century “dram of spirits” (the Breuckelen Corpse Reviver) to a rum-based nightcap straight out of Jamaica (the Kingston Stinger). But for sips that are as warm as the welcoming ambience, we turn to its dedicated Hot Helpers. Those needing a Van Brunt pick-me-up will find it in the full-bodied Irish Coffee, made with Counter Culture espresso.  365 Van Brunt Street

Photo courtesy of Fort Defiance

The Drink: Hudson Cider
The Spot: Silver Light Tavern in Williamsburg

Mulling isn’t just for wine anymore. This homey newcomer, quickly becoming known as a reliable brunch spot and perfectly lit first-date standby for Williamsburg residents, isn’t afraid to take a few risks behind the bar. Its upstate-sourced apple cider is brewed with classic autumnal spices and presented with a cinnamon stick perfect for swizzling. Additionally, your piping apple libation is ladled from a heated stockpot and ready to be spiked with your choice of bourbon, spiced rum, or Irish whiskey. 689 Lorimer Street

Photo by Justin Aharoni/Courtesy of Silver Light Tavern

The Drink: Peace Process
The Spot: Dead Rabbit in the Financial District

Irish bartenders Jack McGarry and Sean Muldoon may have initially opened an entire parlor dedicated to grog in the Financial District, but they’ve expanded their focus way beyond the sailor’s spirit. Fortunately for casual drinkers (and the judges behind the World’s 50 Best Bars list), there’s plenty of other cocktails to sip through inside the well-worn taproom. Those who linger until the wee hours need a properly peaty nightcap to close out the night (and the bar), so this scotch-and-Jamaican rum–forward slow sipper will do just the trick. Mixed with two types of liqueur (herbal Fernet and nutmeg-infused), walnut milk, and chocolate, the Peace Process doubles as a dessert. 30 Water Street (at Broad Street)

hot cocktails
Photo courtesy of Dead Rabbit

The Drink: Kotsuzake
The Spot: Zauo in Chelsea

Don’t knock it until you try it: fish bones in hot sake. In honor of its first birthday, this FIY (fish-it-yourself) Japanese restaurant is introducing a limited-time-only, rare–to–New York concept, a drink that literally translates to “bone sake,” to the thirsty masses. Skeletal swimmers left over from the day’s catch are roasted at a low temperature until all the umami-loaded moisture gets absorbed, then dropped into a warmed cup of rice wine. What results is a surprising flavor bomb of nuttiness and savoriness you can’t experience anywhere else in the five boroughs. 152 West 24th Street (between Sixth and Seventh Avenues)

Photo courtesy of Zauo

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