Food & Drink

Get Into the Winter Spirit With NYC's Best Seasonal Cocktails

Published On 12/28/2015 Published On 12/28/2015
Cole Saladino/Thrillist
Courtesy of Wallflower

Dolce Vita


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West Village

Life is sweet at Wallflower, where owner/cocktail guru Xavier Herit is celebrating the season à la Dolce Vita: a hot beverage blending Pierre Ferrand cognac 1840 with red wine, dry orange curaçao, sweet sherry, cinnamon syrup, lemon and orange juices, clove, and shaved nutmeg with a cinnamon stick ornament.

Courtesy of Gotham Bar & Grill

Gotham Fizz

Gotham Bar and Grill

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Union Square

New head bartender Jason Hedges (previously at Aldea, L’Ecole) brings his cocktail prowess and creative drink game to Gotham Bar and Grill. Case in point: the Gotham Fizz, a house rosemary-infused gin shaken with lemon juice, simple syrup, and egg white -- topped with a dash of Fee Brothers cranberry bitters.

Megan Murphy/Thrillist

Spiced Irish coffee

White Oak Tavern

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Greenwich Village

At this inviting Waverly Place tavern, a super-festive interior and delicious spiced Irish coffee (Jameson, freshly brewed Illy coffee, dash of cayenne pepper, and chocolate-infused heavy cream) deliver the ultimate dose of winter cheer.

Megan Murphy/Thrillist

Frontier Toddy

Clover Club

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Cobble Hill

The cozy space (with a fireplace!) and killer drinks from mixtress Julie Reiner make this Brooklyn cocktail den an ideal cold weather hideaway. A menu of new winter warmers includes this soothe-your-soul riff on a hot toddy with High West Double rye, Angostura amaro, Smith & Cross rum, cinnamon syrup, lemon juice, and hot water.

Courtesy of Mr. Jones

Reindeer Smash

Mr. Jones

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Pretend it's still Christmas at this new Trump Soho lounge, where beverage director Benjamin Wood is offering a holiday-inspired version of a classic whiskey smash using Elijah Craig 12-year small-batch bourbon, yellow chartreuse, fresh mint, lemon, and simple syrup spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and allspice. 

Megan Murphy/Thrillist



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West Village

Head bartender Shinya Yamao, of the Michelin-starred Piora, shakes up tradition with his frothy and festive Sakegg-nog. He adds a Japanese twist to America’s go-to holiday drink by mixing nigori (unfiltered) sake with soy milk, sugar, egg yolk, and vanilla beans. This sake-kissed sipper -- full of nog flavor, but lighter in texture -- can be ordered hot or cold.

Courtesy of Park Avenue Winter

Yule Mule

Park Avenue Winter

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Each December, NYC’s seasonally changing restaurant totally transforms its dĂ©cor and menu to create the ultimate winter wonderland -- complete with cold-weather cocktails like this updated mule (dark rum, amaro, ginger syrup, raspberry syrup, lime juice, and soda water) garnished with mint, raspberry, and powdered sugar “snow” dusting.

Courtesy of CafĂ© Clover

Maple Leaf Cleanse

Café Clover

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West Village

Overdid it with the holiday treats? Head over to this health-conscious West Village cafĂ© for a detoxifying Maple Leaf Cleanse -- one of the seasonal specialties on rotation from bartender Johnny Swet -- made with vodka, honey, lemon, and cayenne. Because doing something good for your body while getting your buzz on is always a win-win.

Courtesy of Maharlika



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East Village

Take a laid-back winter getaway -- without ever leaving the East Village -- at this chill mod-Filipino hangout, where you’ll find authentic eats and drinks like this rich tsokolate (Filipino hot chocolate) made with SelvaRey cacao rum, milk, coconut milk, dark chocolate, and whipped cream topper. Bonus: a side of SkyFlakes s’mores.

Courtesy of Anfora

White mulled wine


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West Village

At this West Village hotspot, beverage director/co-owner Joe Campanale focuses on natural and biodynamic wines, along with creative hand-crafted cocktails. ’Tis the season for a new crop of libations like a Brooklyn-inspired hot toddy and a warming white mulled wine made with Rainwater Madeira, house-made ginger syrup, and Cocchi Americano.

Courtesy of Evelyn Drinkery

After Dinner Delight

Evelyn Drinkery

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Alphabet City

There’s never a shortage of spirited concoctions to try at this quirky Alphabet City drinkery -- one of our favorite hideouts in the neighborhood. This spice-up-the-season delight is made by combining Portobello Road gin with St. George spiced pear liqueur, Cardamaro amaro, Oloroso sherry, and Bittermens Tiki bitters.

Cole Saladino/Thrillist

The Griswold

Cedar Local

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Financial District

The Griswold features High West Double rye blended with Disaronno amaretto, allspice dram, Cherry Heering, Peychaud's and Angostura bitters, cinnamon syrup with star anise, and lemon zest garnish. Sure beats that subscription to the Jelly of the Month club your boss got you.

Michael Tulipan

Ponche Navideño

Hecho en Dumbo

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East Village

Beverage director/co-owner Ethan Smith is whipping up a warm punch served during the holidays in Mexico using traditional tejocotes (seasonal fruit similar to crab apples) simmered with other fresh and dried fruits, cinnamon, cloves, tamarind, and piloncillo (unrefined sugar), mixed with artisanal California brandy -- all adorned with fruit and sugar cane.

Ethan Covey

Hot cider

Spritzenhaus 33

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Brooklyn’s behemoth beer hall serves up craft brews, homemade brats, and Bavarian pretzels a plenty. When the cold weather (finally) creeps in, cozy up next to the brick fireplace with this seasonal sipper, fusing crisp and refreshing Rekorderlig spiced apple hard cider with Mount Gay rum, cinnamon stick, and lemon.

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1. Wallflower 235 W 12th St, New York, NY 10014

A sister restaurant to The Eddy, The Wallflower offers a plethora of original cocktails, an international wine list, and a menu inspired by seasonal and regional French country fare. The spot doesn't have a sign out front, but if you find it you'll enter a tin-ceilinged space with orange and grey banquettes and a distinctively intimate vibe. The small plates feel like elevated picnic fare, making perfect accompaniments to cocktails (made by Xavier Herit, former bartender at Daniel) and conversation. Both the food and drink menus change seasonally, inviting you to come time and again for a new evening in a familiar space.

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2. Gotham Bar and Grill 12 E 12th St, New York, NY 10003

Since 1985, French-trained chef Alfred Portale has helmed the kitchen at this iconic Greenwich Village eatery. Gotham serves Michelin-rated American eats in a trendy and palatial space, defined by its relaxed sense of elegance -- black-framed windows, a granite bar, soft lighting. The 12th st. staple serves expertly prepared dishes like steak frites, tartare, and foie gras, each presented with a careful attention to detail, while the sommeliers' personalized recommendations off the house-curated wine list ensure the perfect pairing. For those mainly looking to drink, there is a full menu of house-cocktails available, while the most indulgent of the liquor options comes in the form of Gotham's famous dark chocolate bonbons, hand-made by the kitchen's very own chocolatiers, and filled with rosé champagne.

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3. White Oak Tavern 21 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10003

This cozy tavern on iconic Waverly Place is a great spot to catch a meal any time of the day: benedicts at brunch, a BLT midday, and pan seared salmon for supper are just some of the options in store. Also check out their ever-changing, inventive cocktail menu for a bit of buzz during your meal.

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4. Clover Club 210 Smith St, New York, NY 11201

From Julie Reiner (Flatiron Lounge) and her protege, cocktail legend Ivy Mix, this tearoom-style spot charms with pressed tin ceilings, velvet-upholstered settees, and a 19th-century mahogany bar. In keeping with the casual-sophisticated vibe, dinner fare includes everything from mac & cheese and steak frites to steak tartare and caviar service, while the cocktail selection, which includes numerous variations on Old Fashioneds, cobblers, punches, cocktails, and five other categories, will have the most experienced of drinkers excited with options. For a new take on a real classic, start with the Improved Whiskey Cocktail, which combines rye, maraschino, absinthe, and bitters.

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5. Mr. Jones 246 Spring St, New York, NY 10013

Eat savory, internationally inspired bites at this decidedly American (the walls are garnished with old images from LIFE magazine) lounge and bar inside the Trump Soho. The Mr. Jones House Band hits the stage three nights a week, so this a great spot to take a date you're trying to woo over gimlets and grooves.

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6. Piora 430 Hudson St, New York, NY 10014

Taking its name from the word "to blossom" in Korean, Piora's menu is a lively mash-up of Italian and Korean cuisines and fittingly features plenty of veggie-centric, farm-fresh fare. Housed in a West Village townhouse, the ground-floor dining room is intimate with 32 seats and great cocktails, and overlooks a beautiful private garden. You’re gonna want to get the signature bucatini with black garlic, Dungeness crab, maitake mushrooms, and chilies.

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7. Park Avenue Autumn/Winter/Spring/Summer 360 Park Ave S, New York, NY 10010

No two dining experiences at Park Avenue are ever alike, because the menu and interior change with every season. Locals enjoy stopping by throughout the year to taste inspiring new breakfast, lunch, dinner, and brunch dishes in a redesigned space, but the main draw is the California-style burger (served two to an order!), which is thankfully available all year.

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8. Cafe Clover 10 Downing St, New York, NY 10014

Focused on health and ALSO being delicious, this corner joint worked with a nutritionist to create dishes like cauliflower “steak” with romesco and veggie chutney, roasted oyster with truffle and pickled shallot, and actual, no-air-quotes-necessary steak, with Brussels sprouts and olive oil potato puree.

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9. Maharlika 111 First Ave, New York, NY 10003

Named after an ancient Filipino warrior class, Maharlika takes diners on a modern crash course through Filipino street-food-inspired dining. A sibling of nearby -- and more casual -- Jeepney, the East Village restaurant emphasizes bold small plates like grilled chicken feet, battered Spam fries, and crispy chicken skins, the last of which is served as a complimentary starter. Having started as a brunch pop-up before going full-service brick-and-mortar, Maharlika maintains its weekend meal reputation with dishes like fried chicken and purple-tinted ube waffles, and mango-stuffed French toast.

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10. Anfora 34 8th Ave, New York, NY 10014

Anfora-goers are sure to find a great beer selection, creative house cocktails, and a bar menu filled with snacks, charcuterie, cheeses & sandwiches. The atmosphere is typical of most West Village haunts -- it's intimate and cozy and the place is pretty small (so make sure to get there early to snag a corner booth).

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11. Evelyn Drinkery 171 Avenue C, New York, NY 10009

A dark Alphabet City cocktail parlor named after the concept of a dreamy woman with "many layers," Evelyn features libations like the Hoochie Coochie Mama w/ gin, rye, Cynar, sherry & Cajun bitters. Head here for a date or drinks with friends -- there's plenty of sitting and standing room and cozy booth seating.

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12. Cedar Local 25 Cedar St, New York, NY 10005

This cozy and classy neighborhood watering hole will become your go to post-work kickback. Signature "New Money" cocktails and craft beer are what's on tap; follow up with Italian inspired bites like the cavatelli carbonara with crispy prosciutto.

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13. Hecho En Dumbo 354 Bowery, New York, NY 10003

Despite the name, this place is actually located in Manhattan, or at least it has been since it relocated from DUMBO a few years back and moved into a Bowery location with exposed brick, dangling iron fixtures, and a stainless steel kitchen. The kitchen stays true to Mexico City cuisine, turning out a range of small plates that includes made-to-order guacamole, caramelized wagyu beef tongue, and berkshire pork with Yucatan spices. They've also got a killer brunch menu for the weekenders that features breakfast tortas, Mexican French toast (it's like the UN of breakfast plates), and more.

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14. Spritzenhaus 33 Nassau Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11222

Aside from the sausages and Belgian fries on their mouthwatering menu, this huge watering hole boasts ciders, lagers, gluten-free options, wheats, and sours, in addition to 20+ drafts and an exhaustingly badass whiskey selection.