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Ice is nice, but when temps are down, turn up the heat with a hot cocktail in hand at any of these Westchester haunts and hangouts.
When it’s cold outside and the usual heartwarming pour of a neat dram isn’t cutting it, you need something that may not necessarily be higher in ABV, but something that’s higher in temperature.
The oldest known — and most quintessential — of the hot cocktails is a toddy. A hot toddy is usually served with hot water and citrus (typically lemon) or tea with a healthy glug of brown liquor, usually whiskey. It may not be your usual go-to, but when the mood strikes, a classic hot toddy can be sipped locally right here in Westchester.
We’ve also got you covered with plenty of spiked coffees, boozy hot chocolate, a bourbon-cider, and a mulled wine that’ll warm you from your lips to your toes and hopefully linger in your soul.
213 Halstead Ave, Mamaroneck; 914.315.6541
After a decadent modern Italian meal at one of Westchester’s hottest restaurants, it’s only right that you balance out all the cured meats, savory appetizers, stacked sandwiches, and homemade pasta with something chocolatey and sweet.
Sticking by a seasonal bar program, Augustine’s Salumeria has Santa’s post-Christmas vacation drink in the form of a boozy hot chocolate made with Fruition Chocolate Works’ Sipping Chocolate (it’s a Dominican dark origin blend) spiked with house-infused peppermint vodka, whipped cream, and a marshmallow and crushed candy cane rim for extra minty sweetness. Pair it alongside the sweetened goat cheese-filled cannoli wrapped in a pizzelle and it’s a winning combo.
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For another sip that screams, step aside Swiss Miss, stop by La Casa Bronxville for a Mexican hot chocolate cocktail fashioned from pure Mexican chocolate, Kahlua, Bailey’s, and vanilla vodka, plus milk and whipped cream.
And just across the Metro-North tracks at Bronxville’s Park 143 Bistro, you can taste the magic that happens when Bailey’s, Kahlua, and Stoli Vanilla team up and get topped with whip. We’ll drink our dessert, thanks.
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970 Main St, Peekskill; 914.930.1880
Ahhh! Cozied up inside Birdsall House is the way to be. Throw your elbows up on the bar, put two hands around a burger or a corned beef Reuben, and obliterate it. Quench your thirst with a pint or two from the always stellar beer list. But at the end of the night, get cozier and switch over to the honey, lemon, and clove toddy that’s topped off with a few ounces of whiskey.
174 Martine Ave, White Plains; 914.607.2686
There are a few debates out there about who really invented the Irish coffee. Was it Irish-born chef Joseph Sheridan, who was said to have created it in 1943 at the then Foynes Port to put a warming jolt into American travelers? Or was it thought up in the 1950s at The Buena Vista in San Francisco? While these might be the two more popular tales, there are several others that predate both. Google it. We’ll let you figure out which you’d like to believe.
What we do know is this: A warm, caffeinated, whiskey-strong, slightly sweet, frothy, cream-topped Irish coffee really hits the spot when your lips touch a good one.
And you’ll get the finest one at The Blind Pig, where James Brennan, Daniel Cahill, and their talented team of bartenders heat fresh-brewed coffee just enough so it’s not boiling hot. It’s sweetened with house-made demerara simple syrup and boozed up with Bushmills Irish whiskey before heavy cream is fresh shaken, then delicately spooned on top. Sit at the bar and sip your warm, now spiked coffee, right through the cold cream just as was intended to be enjoyed.
524 Warburton Ave, Hastings-on-Hudson; 914.274.8501
After you devour a plate-sized portion of chicken parm and a big bowl of homemade pasta, it’s always a good idea to head downstairs to Divino’s basement speakeasy for a nightcap. Sure, you can enjoy hot cocktails in the dining room, but why not switch up the scenery?
One of the bourbon drinks might do the trick on a chilly evening, but when it’s below freezing, you might need something warmer. The “Whistle Fig” plays off the citrusy, fragrant bergamot found in Earl Grey tea by adding a touch of orange juice to enhance it, along with a shot of sweet fig-flavored Figenza Vodka.
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273 Halstead Ave, Harrison; 914.732.3333
Known as the national drink of Turkey and several regions in Greece, rakı, made from distilled grapes and anise, makes an appearance in after-dinner hot cocktails at The Greekish. Rakomelo — as named and created by owner Constantine Kalandranis — is a recipe that blends the grappa with Greek honey, cinnamon sticks, thyme, orange, and ginger.
It won’t only warm you up, since it also acts as a digestif and has health benefits for the respiratory system.
130 Hardscrabble Rd, North Salem; 914.733.6473
Cold weather hours (10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thurs. to Sun.) may be in effect at Westchester’s best-known apple orchard and cidery, but don’t let that stop you from stopping by the farm for one of two winter warmers.
Hardscrabble serves its own mulled cider — from apples grown on the premises — hardened up with a glug of bourbon made by The Spirits Lab in Newburgh. Additionally, it offers Brotherhood Winery’s holiday-edition wine heated up to further bring out the vino’s spices of clove, allspice, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
Pizza may be on hold at Hardscrabble until springtime, but the perfect carb pairing you’re searching for is a homemade apple cider donut. Who are we kidding? There’s never a bad time for a donut.
96 North Broadway, Tarrytown; 914.631.6606
At this Rivertown mainstay, you’ll find a dedicated menu of javas…all spiked, of course.
Seven different satisfying cups include Irish (with Irish whiskey), Mexican (Kahlua), Captains (Captain Morgan), Brotherhood (Frangelico), Cafe di Roma (sambuca), Cafe Almondine (amaretto), and Bailey’s Mocha (Bailey’s and chocolate) are your choices on a cold winter’s evening or as early as 11:30 a.m. to mellow out your workday. Don’t worry, we’re not judging!