eat. shop. love. nyc.

Hot alcoholic drinks to keep you warm in the NYC cold

[tweetmeme]UPDATE! For a new list of hot alcoholic drinks, please visit More hot booze to keep you warm posted January 3, 2011.

Brrrr. It’s winter. It’s frigid outside. The wind whips through you like an open window. Fancy a hot alcoholic beverage, do you? I’ve rounded up a list of places to go for a warming drink in NYC, and how to make them at home, approximately, in case it’s so cold you can’t bring yourself to step outside. In no particular order:

Hot Obama at Joe Doe (Pictured. EVill/LES: 45 E First St. between 1st and 2nd Aves.)
Served in a glass jar with a handle, your bartender Mike will heat up the apple cider with the milk foamer on the espresso machine, then adds two shots of Rum Clement, one shot of fresh lemon juice (diluted 1 part lemon to 9 parts water), quickly refoams, then grates fresh cinnamon on top of your drink and drops the rest of the stick into your $11 Hot Obama. I don’t get the name. Obama = boozy apple cider? Why is this called a “Hot Obama?” Feel free to take a crack at it in the comments.

Grandad’s Coffee, Hot Buttered Rum, or Freemans Toddy at Freemans (LES: End of Freemans Alley between Bowery and Chrystie.)
Freemans knows there’s nothing like a warm, spiked drink to make the world right again when it’s 15 degrees outside. On the cocktail menu under “Warm and Soothing” are three (!) warm boozy drinks for $12 each. Grandad’s Coffee is coffee spiked with brandy and walnut liqueur and served with a sweet cream float. The Hot Buttered Rum is made with a dark rum, spiced butter, and hot water. Here’s Emeril Lagasse’s recipe for a Hot Buttered Rum cocktail. The Freemans Toddy is made with applejack (Jack Daniels and apple cider or juice), lemon juice, and apices (likely cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg).

Spiked Chocolat at Max Brenner (Union Square: 841 Broadway at 14th St.)
I like spiking my hot chocolates with booze. It’s so easy, and you can spike it with just about anything. I like using creme de menthe or peppermint schnapps, but have been known to use Bailey’s, Kahlua, or any kind of rum, and even whiskey if that’s what I happen to have on hand. At Max Brenner’s, they don’t use Nestle instant hot cocoa powder like I do at home. You can choose Venezuelan dark chocolat, Venezuelan milk chocolat, Trinidadian white chocolat, or Swiss whipped cream chocolat (dark, milk, or white) for $5.25. For $1 more, you can add a flavor (non-alcoholic), and for an additional charge, you can add a shot of Bailey’s, Chambord, Frangelico, or Sambuca.

Hot Toddy at Shoolbred’s (EVill: 197 Second Ave. at 12th St.)
I love Shoolbred’s. It is owned by aformer Broadway set designer who has taken upscale Scottish decor to the max: upholstered walls, lots of stained glass, Scottish prints, a fireplace, and hot bartenders wearing kilts. While I haven’t tried it myself, Jennifer H. on Yelp says, “Shoolbred’s does an excellent hot toddy made with Chivas, tea, orange juice, honey and lemon.” Yum! When making at home, simply make yourself a cup of hot tea (I use Earl Grey or plain old Lipton’s) filled 3/4 of the way. Add 1 or 2 tablespoons of honey to taste, squeeze in a teaspoon of fresh lemon juice, add a shot or 2 of whiskey, and mix well. If you want to make the Shoolbred’s version, add a dash of orange juice.

Hot Buttered Apple Cider at Clinton St. Baking Co. (LES: 4 Clinton St. at Houston)
I am a frequent CSBC-goer and I’ve never seen the Hot Buttered Apple Cider on the menu, but Sakura Y. on Yelp says that as of 1/19/10, CSBC served a Hot Buttered Apple Cider with Rum. I found an amazing recipe for the drink at Once Upon a Chef. It’s essentially hot apple cider and hot buttered rum together. Just looking at the photos makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Hot Mulled Wine at Oro Bakery and Bar (SoHo: 375 Broome Street between Mott and Mulberry)
Oro has a seasonal wine and beer cocktail menu and I don’t see mulled wine listed on it at present, but Chris M. of Yelp says, “Boy, was it delicious on a cold evening in January!”

Hot Mulled Wine at Dove Parlour (GVill: 228 Thompson Street at 3rd St.)
I love the happy hour at Dove Parlour from 4-8 pm weekdays, lounging by candlelight in a dark Victorian boudoir, nibbling on tea sandwiches whilst seated on a velvet couch. Again, I’ve never seen mulled wine on the menu, but Wendy L. of Yelp has and she seems to think it’s pretty fantastic.

You can’t really go wrong with mulled wine or cider in winter, and the general premise is the same:

  • Heat wine or apple cider on low to medium heat so that the liquid becomes hot, but not boiling.
  • Add whole cloves and cinnamon sticks to taste and let it stew for a while. For mulled wine, you may add a sliced and peeled orange for citrus flavor.
  • If the wine is not sweet enough, add some sugar (but not too much – you’ll have a killer hangover the next day).
  • Serve the mulled wine as is after stewing with spices for 20 minutes or so. Pour a shot of brandy in each mug before serving if you want to kick it up a notch.
  • For the mulled cider, pour one or two shots of rum, whiskey, or brandy in each mug and ladle in the mulled cider. Top with whipped cream and sprinkle with cinnamon. Serve immediately.

Stay warm, and merry drinking!


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