While the holiday season is mostly a cheerful time, the stress of shopping, in-law-mingling and cooking may have you reaching for a drink. Fortunately, December is also a month with plenty of themed cocktails for cheerful, 100% condoned imbibing. Here are seven drinks to get you into the holiday spirit.
This West Village wine bar is ultra-cozy, bedecked with miniscule date tables and black leather booths. Both the white mulled wine and house-spiced cider are perfectly seasonable, but it's the Brooklyn hot toddy (shown above) that won our heart. Made with NY Distilling Rock & Rye, St. Agrestis amaro, lemon and honey, this bad boy may actually live up to its cold-curing reputation.
34 Eighth Ave.; 212-518-2722
Miracle On 9th Street
Returning for a second year of holiday debauchery, this kitschy holiday pop-up concept located in the Mace Bar space is open through December 24. They have 12 themed cocktails on the menu (one for each day of Christmas) including the Bad Santa (pictured at top) made with hot clarified milk punch with Jamaican rum, Trinidad Overproof rum, Batavia Arrack, pineapple juice, lemon juice, milk, eight spices, coconut water and coconut oil. It's potent!
Black Tree BK
You may notice a familiar friend adorning the "Wood & Fire" cocktail (shown above). Bacon garnishes this Van Brunt Stillhouse whiskey–based drink, which also features an egg, chocolate bitters and kumquat. Visit Black Tree on the Lower East Side or in Williamsburg for some bacon-fueled holiday cheer.
Sippin' Santa's Surf Shack
The other holiday-themed East Village cocktail bar located in the Boilermaker space has a slightly more tropical theme than its competition on Ninth Street. But it also has some seriously potent beer and shot combos including the Jingle Bell Wipe Out: Bell’s Christmas Ale paired with a cinnamon shot. If you want to go a bit more gently into the good night, go for the namesake drink, Sippin' Santa, made with bourbon, crème de menthe, crème de cacao, egg white, wormwood bitters and nutmeg. The pop-up bar is open until Christmas Eve.
Replete with roaring fireplaces and oversized armchairs, this other-era bar is the perfect stop post-gift shopping in Midtown. And while 21 Club offers a number of holiday cocktails — including the cinnamon- and caraway-fueled Autumn in New York — their classic eggnog (shown below) is the clear standout. Drop by for this velvety indulgence, but don't miss the truffle oil potato chips.
21 W. 52nd St.; 212-582-7200
Andrew Carmellini's grand, French-inspired bistro is serving up a special themed cocktail this season called the Épice & Pomme. It's a sweetly spicy mix of Four Roses bourbon, Calvados and Aperol; allspice gives the drink a final holiday-flavored finish.
380 Lafayette St.; 212-533-3000
Eli's Night Shift
At Eli Zabar's latest craft-beer and cocktail bar, their milk punch starts with a base of three alcohols: Geijer Glogg, W.L. reserve bourbon and Corsair vanilla bean vodka. It's mixed with cinnamon, allspice and clove, then topped with chai tea, pumpkin and milk. Doesn't get much more festive than that.
189 E. 79th St.; 212-879-7160