For some of us, winter means simply throwing on a light jacket. For others, it’s three months of snow storms and below-freezing conditions. Either way, taking off the chilly edge with a Hot Toddy is a favorite winter respite. From Dallas to New York, head out to these 10 bars/restaurants for inventive warm cocktails worth drinking now.
Can't make it to any of the bars serving these great warm drinks this month? Try making Harvest Time from this list at home.
DOSA has been a San Francisco pioneer for modern South Indian cuisine since opening its first location in 2005. DOSA on Fillmore recently brought on new chef Arun Gupta, cooking inspired dishes like arctic char in persimmon curry, spicy pear dosas or honeynut squash chaat. On the drinks side, the bar plays with the likes of house-made curried nectar and basmati rice syrup in its cocktails. The Bombay Nights is a Hot Toddy of Singani 63 (Bolivian muscat brandy) and Italian Amaro Montenegro, given a touch of winter spice from crème de gingembre (ginger cream liqueur) and spiced agave.
Spacious and tropical, Cane Rhum Bar brings a slice of the Caribbean to Charleston, S.C., brightening up the winter with palm fronds and palm lamps. Colorful accents of teal and orange bring life to the multiroom space, as does owner-chef Paul Yellin’s Caribbean bites, like Jamaican beef patties and Haitian pork griot. Yellin also imparts a touch of the islands with his Sorrel Punch, a warming mix of Plantation 3 Stars and O.F.T.D. rums, dried sorrel, water, raw sugar, cinnamon, fresh ginger and salt.
The sister bar to The Garret in the West Village, The Garret East is an apartment-like, retro-hip haven of whitewashed brick walls and local artwork. Beverage director Grant Wheeler plays with ingredients from mustard seeds to NorCal’s Geijer glögg liqueur. At brunch, the Mexican Hot Chocolate is laced with cayenne, sea salt and cinnamon, enlivening a blend of tequila, cacao and coconut milk, and served in quirky raccoon vessel with cups for two.
Sharing a kitchen with neighboring Little Fatty in LA’s Mar Vista, Accomplice shakes up playful twists on classics and delivers a beauty of traditional Swedish glögg. It arrives hot, taking the usual mulled red wine of allspice-steeped aquavit, tropical accents of falernum and pineapple with a bright kick from pink peppercorn.
In Dallas’ Deep Ellum neighborhood, Hide’s creative cocktails continue to entice with their unusual combinations. Molinillo staves off the winter chill, featuring reposado tequila warmed with black tea, almond, coconut and dark chocolate. The lush, dark drink gains complexity from touches of cayenne, piloncillo cane sugar, Aztec chocolate bitters, sarsaparilla bitters and 80 percent dark cacao. Partnering the warm drink (which also can be served cold) is a coconut cinnamon cookie.
At Michelin-starred Mourad, Joshua-Peter (J.P.) Smith draws people in for unique cocktails. Hailing from Colorado with mountains and skiing in his blood, J.P. knows his way around a hot cocktail. His house blend of aged and agricole rhums, plus Lepanto Brandy de Jerez, is mixed with Becherovka and banana liqueurs. Smith goes full-on après-ski with a lush batter of butter, vanilla bean ice cream, chai and orgeat goat’s milk, carob tree syrup, brown sugar, mace, ginger, turmeric, cardamom, allspice, long pepper, sarsaparilla, chile de arbol, star anise, cocoa nib and ground espresso, given a touch of Morocco with cinnamon and turmeric. It’s served hot in a mug with a pinch of spices and smoked sea salt.
Bakery Bar’s earthy-creamy Cold-Brew Martini or irresistable Grasshopper cocktails are an ideal pairing with desserts from the Debbie Does Doberge team behind this New Orleans bar and café. As a warm alternative, bar manager/co-owner Jeff Schwartz employs two of his beloved spirits—cognac and Pedro Ximénez sherry—with hot water and lemon in the restorative Self Care, a simple but nurturing drink, ideally sipped in Bakery Bar’s cozy, woodlined space with a slice of layered doberge cake.
At LA’s fantastic new Rossoblu, Italian wines go side-by-side with bar manager Brynn Smith’s crafts cocktails focused on Italian spirits. Try her simple but warming Rossoblu Terme, a play off a standard bourbon, honey, lemon Hot Toddy with added herbaceous, bitter notes from Meletti amaro.
Both locations of RedFarm are local NYC go-tos for hip dim sum and a red-and-white-checkered farmhouse vibe. During these cold winter days, Shawn Chen serves the warming Harvest Time. BenRiach scotch’s smoky campfire notes are given tart, bitter and spiced balance from warm apple cider, a touch of Campari liqueur, house-made ginger syrup and fresh yuzu citrus.
The Snug is a comfortable cocktail and craft beer bar that serves killer bar food from chef Brian Shin (whose resume includes Alinea, Benu and In Situ). Bar manager Jacob Racusin’s cocktails are easy-drinking yet thoughtful. His Hot Brown Buttered Bourbon cocktail goes in a different direction with a house-made chestnut liqueur that includes sage and shaved roasted chestnuts, topped with an Amaro Averna cream balanced by volcanic sea salt. It’s sweet-savory and lush perfection.
Mixing your cocktail