10 Warm Winter Cocktails Available To-Go in NYC
Because the weather outside is friggin’ frightening.
The cold winter weather has finally arrived in NYC, but luckily New Yorkers have a weapon to help them get through it: Hot cocktails. With the advent of year-round to-go cocktails in NYC due to COVID-19, restaurants and bars are having fun selling their drinks in portable form. And this winter, many are offering more than just mulled wine with options that include absinthe, whiskey, and mezcal instead. Familiar favorites also get a boost like at Tørst, where the celebrated Scandinavian-focused craft beer bar in Greenpoint inspired by the new legality of booze to-go, added hot cocktails for the first time this year. Served in those iconic blue-and-white Anthora paper cups NYC bodega coffee is known for, their traditional hot buttered rum drink is topped with whipped cream and crumblings of Butterfinger. “Hot buttered rum is rich but not overly sweet and decadent,” says manager Michael Haigis. “You can still really taste the rum element, and the body of it is surprisingly light.”
Below, here are spots to get your hot cocktail fix in NYC right now. Keep in mind that all outdoor and to-go liquor sales must be accompanied by a food purchase. And as always, please wear a mask and social distance responsibly.
What to drink: Brown buttered rum
Named after the owners’ rescue pitbull mix, the recently-opened café by day/natural wine bar by night is attracting customers with natural ingredients and homey vibes, and coffee beans sourced from Parlor Coffee right down the street. Flavorful menu items like lamb belly fritters and boquerones toast are hearty cold-weather options, along with their decadent brown buttered rum drink, made with aged rum, amontillado (a dry sherry), cream, brown butter, and baking spice.
How to order: Order ahead of time for pickup through their website
What to drink: Lovers & Liars
With a name like Lovers & Liars, emotions can go either way. But at Amali, a Mediterranean spot with offerings inspired from Greece and Italy, their hot buttered toddy presented with hot orange saffron tea, honey, liqueur, and a twist of peach brandy will have you leaning more towards love.
How to order: Place to-go orders through their website
What to drink: Hot spiked cider
The best sports bar in the Bronx is also a true neighborhood joint: their wide selection of craft brews with over a dozen taps showcases borough buddies the Bronx Brewery plus some lesser-known local breweries. But if you’re not into a festive holiday pick like St. Bernardus Christmas Ale, a hot spiked cider here comes with options, too. Simmered in-house, choose between bourbon and rum. Soak it up with quality pub grub like smoked ribs and fried mac and cheese, all available to go.
How to order: Walk up or order for pickup through the website, using promo code BXSTIMULUS2020 for 20% off
What to drink: Hot chocolate
This popular downtown spot is known for its creative Italian-inspired dishes and killer, award-winning wine list. But this winter, the hot cocktails menu gives new reason to stop by, including a spiked cider and hot toddy with pear brandy and Suntory’s Yamazaki 12 whiskey. But if you’re craving a childhood favorite with a kick, go for their boozy hot chocolate, made with mezcal and Green Chartreuse, and topped with Angostura marshmallows.
How to order: Order delivery or pick-up through Caviar
What to drink: Hot CoCo Kicker
This neighborhood gathering spot offers happy hour deals like $6 well drinks and $5 burgers all day until 7 pm. And now you can do a good deed while boozing it up with their Hot CoCo Kicker made of hot chocolate, vodka, Baileys and whipped cream. Not only does it feel like a warm hug, but 10% of sales will be donated to nokidhungry.org. Complement it with in-house s’mores and marshmallows you can toast right at your outdoor table under a heated tent.
How to order: Place orders via website or IG
What to drink: Experts Only
Opened this summer, Festivál operates as an all-day cafe during the morning/afternoon before transforming into a “farm-to-table” cocktail destination in the evening. With all of spot’s offerings made in consideration with in-season ingredients that are local and sustainable, one of their latest cocktail additions to try is a warm concoction named Experts Only, which is made with rum, sherry, and Woods Vermont cider.
How to order: Via website
What to drink: The grasshopper
This laid-back bar situated on a Greenpoint corner opened this September and is from the same team behind Honore Club in Bushwick. For winter, Minnows Bar is taking their popular summertime frozen rendition of the New Orleans classic, the grasshopper, and is serving it up warm instead (topped with whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles). Try it in their new branded mugs that come with a lid and are available for purchase.
How to order: Order to-go on site
What to drink: Drunken pumpkin
There are no rules in 2020, and pumpkin spice season can be as long and tipsy as you want. The Queen’s Room obliges to this approach, and one of four hot cocktails on the neighborhood bistro’s menu is their rummy pumpkin spiced drunken pumpkin, which practically doubles as medicine with the addition of ginger and lemon. Enjoy it with their Mediterannean-influenced fare paying homage to Astoria’s Greek roots.
How to order: Call 347-987-3994 to pick up
What to drink: Choco + Mint
Angel’s Share bartender Shige Kabashima opened ROKC (Ramen, Oysters, Kitchen and Cocktails) in 2016 and was quickly lauded for his Japan-inspired drinks with decidedly unique presentations (think: lightbulbs, eggshells and ceramic skulls). Their warm Choco + Mint is a holiday in a glass: dark rum, mint, vanilla, soymilk, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cacao, made heady with the addition of absinthe. Their new Upper East Side location, NR, also has a hot drink item that’s simple with an edge, spiking dark chocolate with spicy tequila in the aptly-named Spicy Chocolate.
How to order: Order for pickup and delivery through Grubhub
What to drink: Hot buttered rum
This airy Scandinavian-inspired spot is lauded for its natural wine beer selection, made even more appealing with custom stemware. But beer tastes terrible hot, so for the cold weather they’ve devised a few options: a heated apple cider with allspice, sherry, and Calvados; and a decadent hot buttered rum topped with whipped cream and crumbled Butterfinger. As it nears the holidays, don’t be surprised if a boozy peppermint hot chocolate drink also makes an appearance on the menu, too.
How to order: Call 718-389-6034 for pick-up