NYC’s Best Winter Cocktails

Gillian Osswald

Need an antidote to the season’s less-than-balmy temperatures? Ditch the rocks glass and reach for a cozy winter cocktail instead. These creative plays on toddies, ciders and more toasty classics are served piping hot—and guaranteed to soothe your soul and cure your seasonal affective disorder. So pull up a stool to get a taste of the best, and booziest, hot cocktails NYC has to offer.

Bear Trap, Dutch Kills. Photo: Natalie Jacob

Bear Trap

Where to Get It: Dutch Kills
Hot apple cider cranks up the heat in this creamy drink, which gets an added kick from bourbon along with some depth from honey, spiced butter and cinnamon. The cocktail itself will warm you from the inside out, and the glass coffee mug it’s served in doubles as a handy hand-warmer.

Order when: You’re channeling your inner lumberjack.

Hot Buttered Rum, Olmsted. Photo: June Burton

Hot Buttered Rum

Where to Get It: Olmsted
If “hot” and “buttered” weren’t tempting enough to draw you in, imagine sipping this dark rum libation in Olmsted’s rustic, string-light-adorned back patio on a cool evening. Did we mention it’s also topped with whipped cinnamon butter?

Order when: You’re craving dessert.

Japanese Hot Toddy

Where to Get It: ROKC
Ramen is the specialty at this Japenese kitchen in Hamilton Heights (it puts the R in ROKC). The perfect complement to that soothing broth is an equally comforting and complex toddy. Riffing on the traditional toddy, the citrus component here comes from yuzu and the boozy element from Japanese whiskey.

Order when: You feel a cold coming on, and hot liquids are your new best friend.

Kentucky Nightcap

Where to Get It: Fort Defiance
Though Irish coffee is a favorite at this laid-back bar named for a Revolutionary War army outpost, its menu of “hot helpers” has even more to offer. This bourbon-based number with vanilla and steamed milk (but no coffee) will expand your warm-beverage repertoire while ensuring your night ends on a sweet note.

Order when: You’re in the mood for something a little bit latte and a little bit rock-and-roll.

Love With Da Cocoa

Where to Get It: Extra Fancy
Head to Williamsburg to sample an upgraded (read: boozy) interpretation of Mexican hot chocolate. The chocolate gets a boost of flavor from cinnamon and guajillo chile while blending with coconut milk and mezcal, which gives the drink an extra dose of smoky heat.

Order when: You need to steel yourself for an over-air-conditioned L train ride.

Mackin Scotch, Kobrick Coffee. Photo: Brittany Herbert

Mackin Scotch

Where to Get It: Kobrick Coffee
Scotch makes an admirable base for a hot cocktail. At Kobrick, a coffee shop by day and bar by night, scotch meets hot apple cider, lime and aromatic bitters to create this potent devil in a coup glass.

Order when: You could use a healthy snack. (It’s garnished with cinnamon-sprinkled apple slices.)

Sleep No More, Gallow Green. Photo: Noah Fecks

Sleep No More

Where to Get It: Gallow Green
Year-round rooftop bars and hot cocktails are a formidable pair. Gallow Green, perched on the roof of the McKittrick Hotel, offers this herbal option. The drink is named for the venue’s immersive theater production and is just about as intense, incorporating bourbon, amaro and cider with dashes of fresh ginger, cinnamon and cranberries.

Order when: You opted not to wear a jacket, and need to be filled with warmth instead of regret.


Tunisian Toddy. Courtesy, Bo Peep

Tunisian Toddy

Where to Get It: Bo Peep
Served in a posh, gold-rimmed glass mug (in a speakeasy-style bar inside a converted clothing factory), the piping hot Tunisian is not your average toddy. It’s crafted with Moroccan spice, lime and mint tea to diversify its flavor profile, plus a one-two punch of bourbon and rye.

Order when: You want to drink with Prohibition-inspired abandon.

Vin Brulé. Courtesy, Eataly

Vin Brulé

Where to Get It: Baita
The inclusion of brandy takes the Vin Brulé, served at Eataly’s ski lodge-esque rooftop bar, out of the mulled wine category and places it firmly in the cocktail realm. Star anise, cinnamon, cardamom and clove spice things up for a smooth but complex sip, inspired by an ancient Roman recipe.

Order when: You’re somewhere between pre-nightclub and aprés-ski.