Food & Drink

The Best Hot Cocktails in NYC This Winter

Updated On 01/07/2019 at 05:47PM EST Updated On 01/07/2019 at 05:47PM EST
bear trap dutch kills
Bear Trap at Dutch Kills | Natalie Jacob
Hot Amari | Noah Fecks


Prospect Heights

What to drink: Hot Amari
Can’t afford a trip to Italy? Travel no farther than Brooklyn to drink like a fancy European on a cold winter’s night. This classy cocktail is a mix of Gran Classico, Cynar 70 (a sweet, nutty Artichoke-based liqueur), saffron-tinged Strega, and tart Contratto Aperitif. “Amari” is Italian word for bitters, so expect a negroni-adjacent flavor profile at an elevated temperature.  

Dutch Kills

Long Island City

What to drink: Bear Trap
Hit this popular Queens bar before Amazon employees pack it even tighter. The Bear Trap is a spiked cider/hot buttered rum mash-up made with fresh apple cider, spiced butter and bourbon. The steamy winter favorite tastes like a liquid artisan Lifesaver.

Japanese Hot Toddy | Courtesy of ROKC


Hamilton Heights

What to drink: Japanese Hot Toddy
Warm your soul to the very core with a steamy bowl of ramen and a Japanese take on the ubiquitous Hot Toddy. This version includes Japanese whisky, said to be silkier than that from other parts of the world. Hot water, honey and yuzu -- a fragrant citrus that resembles a lemon and tastes like a grapefruit-mandarin-orange-hybrid -- complete the cocktail.

Extra Fancy


What to drink: Meanwhile, Back At The Cabin
Hot coffee drinks are tops. The booze keeps you chill and the caffeine gets you going. Like a Four Loco. This Brandy-based libation includes Stumptown coffee, demerara syrup, a bracing kick of Branca Menta, and a kiss of absinthe whipped cream.

Irish Coffee | Cole Saladino/Thrillist

Fort Defiance

Red Hook

What to drink: Irish Coffee
An upturned airplane bottle in a burnt bodega brew with a will do for your morning commute, but brunch calls for something a little more refined. Fort Defiance’s Irish coffee is made with high proof whiskey, espresso, boiling water, and thick, rich, heavy cream. This is a full sensory experience: the hot, caffeinated concoction toasts your palate and the hand-shaken, cinnamon-dusted cream cools it down.

Cocoa Bar

Lower East Side

What to drink: French Hot Chocolate
This little cafe’s limited bar turns out a delightfully decadent, deceptively simple, sweet hot drink. The French hot chocolate combines dense hot cocoa with port wine to rich, slightly buzzy effect. A cup is a dessert replacement rather than accompaniment for all but the most committed gourmands.

Bad Santa | Blake Jones


East Village

What to drink: Bad Santa
The Bad Santa has become a winter tradition at this cozy dimly lit cocktail bar. Last year, it was a hot chocolate/mezcal mix. Previously, it was a blend of Jamaican rum, pineapple juice, coconut water, and coconut butter. Now, it’s boozy apple cider spiked with apple calvados, aquavit (a Scandinavian spirit) and cinnamon butter.

Gael Pub

Upper East Side

What to drink: Hot Spiked Honey
The uplifting swell of rum or whiskey in a typical hot toddy can overwhelm an untrained imbiber. This gentler, entry level variation incorporates honey liquor, lemon and cloves to warm up fairweather drinkers. 

Hot Apple Cider | Courtesy of Dante


West Village

What to drink: Hot Apple Cider
Like its seasonal kin, standalone pumpkin spice is played out -- but it shakes up winter’s answer to the fruity cocktail. Hot apple cider, pumpkin butter, spice tincture, and a spike of your favorite booze amount to a basic drink that you won’t be ashamed to sip in public.

Eugene & Co


What to drink: Mulled Wine
Mulled wine is a comfort cocktail, and this is among the most nuanced recipes known to New York. Your taste buds and sinuses will be tingle after a glass or two of the port wine, Ansac Cognac VS, orange peel, peppercorn, and clove combo. Swap a stirrer with a slightly spicy cinnamon stick.

Life of Reilly | Shannon Sturgis

Dead Rabbit

Financial District

What to drink: Life of Reilly
Keeping with Dead Rabbit’s award winning, inventive cocktail menu, Life of Reilly is one of the more eclectic winter cocktails you’ll find in the five boroughs. Bartenders combine Spanish brandy, Madeira (a sweet, fortified wine from Portugal) minty Fernet liquor, cacao and macadamia nut. It’s worth a trip to Manhattan’s southern tip to sip the zany tipple.

The Moonlight Mile


What to drink: Devil’s Juice
A punishing pour of High West Double Rye is barely tamed by a tangy blood orange liqueur, fiery habanero syrup, lemon juice, and a sprinkling of shaved Belgian Chocolate. And at $13 a pop, you won’t need to sell your soul for a second.

Industry Kitchen

South Street Seaport

What to drink: Spiked Hot Chocolate
The geniuses at Industry Kitchen cracked the hot cocktail game wide open with their boozy hot cocoa concoction: Nutella mixed with dark chocolate and milk. Spike it with the spirit of your choice for an adult iteration of your childhood snow day favorite.