Now don’t get us wrong, we’d never let a little thing like winter get in the way of our binge drinking. But occasional bouts of freezing rain (snow really would have been nicer) and temps that hover in the mid to low 30’s really put a damper on our enjoyment of fruity cocktails, crisp martinis, and pints of icy cold beer. Thankfully, we don’t have to resort to cold weather kiddie drinks like hot chocolate and mulled apple cider — because our favorite bars and bartenders are jacking them up with lots of high-octane alcohol.
Clover Club’s Voodoo Milk Punch
Whoever said milk does a body good probably wasn’t referring to this seriously boozy, New Orleans-inspired punch (although it sure does wonders for the spirit). Once you knock back a few of these babies — which include Ron Zacapa Centenario 23 year old rum, Navy Strength Market Spice tea-infused Smith & Cross Jamaican rum, Benedictine and demerara simple syrup — you won’t be feeling a thing (least of all the cold).
210 Smith St, (718) 855-7939
Franklin Park’s Hot Toddy
Set in a converted garage, this Crown Heights bar and beer garden recently added an “annex” to their already sprawling space (taking on the vacant hardware store next door). They’ve also installed a copper-fronted fireplace in the center of the room, perfect for curling up in front of with an Irish coffee or classic, spicy Toddy.
618 St John's Pl, (718) 975-0196
Huckleberry Bar’s Spiked Hot Chocolate
We’re not going to lie, we still take a certain childlike pleasure in steaming mugs of rich hot cocoa. But the version at this popular Williamsburg bar is a totally legit option for adults, spiked with your choice of jalapeno tequila, yellow chartreuse, Evan Williams bourbon or vanilla vodka. Being a grownup has never tasted so good!
588 Grand St, (718) 218-8555
Aska’s Swedish Punsch
Replacing the experimental Nordic pop-up Frej at the Kinfolk Studios, this modern Scandinavian restaurant serves up mugs of potent, traditional punch — made with Batavia Arrack (a fermented sugarcane liquor from Indonesia), foraged juniper, fresh sweet fern, lemon peel and cinnamon.
90 Wythe Avenue, (718) 388-2969
Tooker Alley’s Scrapple from the Apple
Just try saying that name after downing a glass of this deceptively innocent looking apple cider, spiked with Old Grandad and Maker’s Mark whiskies, pear, apple, and eau-de-vie brandies, and a dash of Christmas bitters.
793 Washington Ave, (347) 955-4743
Vinegar Hill House’s Irish Coffee
The lauded VVH is not exactly the kind of place you stroll into for an evening nightcap. However, a glass of their excellent Irish Coffee, crowned with a dollop of unsweetened whipped cream, is the perfect reward for hours spent waiting for a table on the otherwise abandoned, cobblestone streets of Vinegar Hill.
72 Hudson Ave, (718) 522-1018
Pok Pok Ny’s Yuzu-Honey Whiskey Toddy
Andy Ricker is known for making authentic Southeast Asian eats at his insanely popular restaurant in the Columbia Waterfront District. And while you’re not likely to find this yuzu-accented twist on the Hot Toddy on the streets of Hanoi or Bangkok, it’s just the thing to get us through a cold ass night in Brooklyn.
127 Columbia St, (718) 923-9322
Dram’s Rough Trade
Hot buttered rum may sound like sort of a sissy drink, but this Chinese five-space flavored version doesn’t pull any punches. Better keep your wits about you after trying one of these fiery, amber-colored cocktails, made with two different alcohols (Coruba Jamaican and Plantation Trinidad Overproof), and a double dose of bitters (the earthy Amargo Angostura Vallet and citrusy Jerry Thomas).
177 S 4th St, (718) 486-3726
Fort Defiance’s Koffie Van Brunt
Thank goodness this Red Hook cocktail bar/café is on the rebound, so we don’t have to miss out on any of their delicious, cold-weather friendly libations. This intoxicating coffee owes nothing to the Irish and everything to master mixologist (and Fort Defiance owner) St. John Frizell, who combines chilled heavy whipping cream, aged dark rum, fresh orange, brown sugar, and cherry heering liqueur.
Suck it, Sandy indeed!
365 Van Brunt St, (347) 453-6672
The Shanty’s The Last Waltz
Talk about a perfectly named nightcap. Head bartender Nathan Dumas has recalibrated the Negroni to suit sub-zero temperatures, creating a warm brew of Perry’s Tot navy strength gin, Carpano Antica vermouth, Pierre Ferrand curaçao, and Branca Menta, topped with a cinnamon stick.
79 Richardson St, (718) 412-0874