Mulled Wine Warms Up a ‘Moose Is Loose’ Cocktail at the Randolph


The Randolph (349 Broome Street; 212-274-0667) bar is known for its selection of beer, coffee, and cocktails, yet it was the previously unexplored world of wine — and Family Guy — that inspired one of co-owner Dave Plate’s favorite seasonal cocktails. The bar’s team recently hired a sommelier, which led them to think about new ways to serve wine. As Plate says, “this notion of a wine cocktail just started to seep into the consciousness of the menu.”

While they were developing a fall-focused cocktail list, Plate and his partners were drawn to red wine. They ended up choosing a full-bodied Australian shiraz because it seemed more representative of fall than other types. Plate remembered a mulled wine cocktail he enjoyed in Canada, which likely included whiskey. His beverage director then suggested adding mulled wine syrup to a popular drink at the Randolph — the gold rush.

When the Randolph first opened, it conjured the spirit of former clandestine cocktail lair Milk and Honey (currently Attaboy). One of the former partners of Sasha Petraske’s influential spot brought over the recipe for the gold rush — which traditionally includes bourbon, honey syrup, and fresh-squeezed lemon juice. “Whenever there is bourbon, I immediately think honey and lemon,” Plate explains.

Boiling the shiraz reduces it to a syrup, which brings out the grape’s inherent tasting notes of black currant, cinnamon, and peppercorn. (The bar opted to add extra cassis for more currant flavor.) Because of the mulled wine, Plate says, the drink has a higher alcohol content than you’d expect in a wine-based beverage — it’s essentially “the antithesis of a light, summery cocktail.”

While the drink does have some bite to it, the idea of calling it “The Moose Is Loose” came about for a few reasons: The drink that inspired Plate in Canada was named the “Caribou,” and there was an epic TV scene from Family Guy involving a “moose doing stuff for money” that served as a sign. Ultimately, it was a co-worker’s nonchalant uttering of the phrase “the moose is loose” that gave this cocktail a place in the Randolph’s history.

The Moose Is Loose by the Randolph

2 ounces bourbon
1 ounce mulled wine reduction*
One barspoon of cassis
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
1/2 ounce honey

Add ingredients into a shaker and shake. Strain into a glass filled with ice. Optional: Garnish with cinnamon and bay leaf.

*Mulled wine reduction:
Pour three bottles of shiraz into a pot. Add freshly ground black peppercorns, cinnamon, bay leaves, simple syrup, and three big handfuls of cassia bark. Simmer for 15 minutes or until the volume is reduced by half.