You’ve survived another holiday season. Have you ever had better reason to settle into a dark bar with a stiff drink?
I didn’t think so. But, as we battle through the next few long john-wearing months, now feels like a good time to order up a strong, warm drink — with a whole lotta booze.
Here are our top 10 picks for the best hot cocktails around the city:
10. The Founder’s Toddy at L’Artusi
Regardless of the time of year, L’Artusi always feels like the ideal place to spend an evening. The Founder’s Toddy ($15), created by the restaurant’s general manager Heather Morgan, is an apple brandy and rye-based hot tea that’s finished off with a bit of demerara sugar, lemon and cloves. It will cure your worst cold symptoms, or at least get you drunk enough to forget about them. 288 W. 10th Street; 212-255-5757.
9. Swedish Punch at Aska
This new Brooklyn restaurant has been getting a lot of buzz for their foraging efforts. They’ve now extended the approach to their cocktail menu in the form of a traditional Swedish punch ($12). The drink is made from Batavia Arrack, fresh sweet fern and juniper that’s been foraged locally, a bit of cinnamon, and lemon peel. Hot water and lemon are added at the end, but cider or tea can also be substituted. 90 Wythe Avenue, no phone.
8. Hot Buttered Rum at Joseph Leonard
Crafted by JL regular, Andy Rapoport, the drink ($12) is made with his own A.F. Rapoport spirit mix. Warm, spicy, and intensely boozy, this cocktail has all the makings of an ideal winter drink. 170 Waverly Place; 646-429-8383.
7. Freeman’s Grandad’s Coffee
Brandy, walnut liqueur, and coffee are topped off with a sweet cream float in this buzzy, warming drink ($12). Embrace youth and drink like an old man. Freeman Alley; 212-420-0012.
6. Old Fashioned Ale at Atera
If you’re lucky enough to score one of the 12 seats at this lower level bar beneath Matt Lightner’s Tribeca restaurant, then you might try sipping on this warm brandy and ale cocktail ($17). Lemon, ginger, and cream are also in the mix before an egg yolk is added for a subtle flourish. 77 Worth Street; 212-226-1444.
5. The Triest at The Third Man
This newly opened cocktail bar from the Edi and the Wolf team is inspired by the classic Brit film of the same name. Their Austrian-focused menu includes this spicy drink ($12) made with myrtleberry liqueur, Fernet, and a house-made five-spice mulled cider. 116 Avenue C; 212-598-1040.
4. Vinegar Hill House’s Irish Coffee
Not that you need one, but this Brooklyn restaurant’s interpretation of a standard Irish coffee is as good a reason as any to drink during the day. Fortunately, this cocktail ($9) made from Irish whiskey, coffee, and whipped cream is available on the brunch menu. 72 Hudson Avenue; 718-522-1018.
3. The Wren’s Hot Apple Cider
Warm cider is topped off with whiskey and garnished with an orange peel in this very stiff drink ($12). While you’ve likely had this cocktail before, the East Village bar’s version will leave you happy you ordered it again. 344 Bowery; 212-388-0148.
2. Dutch Kills’ Hot Toddy
This Long Island City bar has an entire menu of warm drinks including the A La Mode (bourbon, mulled cider and whipped cream) and the Bear Trap (bourbon, apple cider and honey butter). But their classic Hot Toddy ($11) — made with whiskey, lemon juice, honey syrup, and cinnamon — is light enough to forgive any holiday indulgences. 24-27 Jackson Avenue, Queens; 718-383-2724.
1. Fort Defiance’s Irish Coffee
This Red Hook restaurant is still recovering from Sandy-induced damage, but that hasn’t stopped them from serving their seriously stiff cocktails. Try the Irish coffee ($10), made with Powers whiskey, Counter Culture brew, and cream, and feel fortified enough to weather future storms. 365 Van Brunt Street, Brooklyn; 347-453-6672