If ever there were a time to drink, it's the holiday season. Whether it's your family pushing you to the brink of insanity or the never-ending lines at Macy's, these drinks will help take the edge off without (completely) draining your wallet.
Narut's Nog at David Burke's Primehouse
Narut's Nog offers an antidote to the winter blues.
Sous chef Nolan Narut arrives to work at 6 a.m. every morning just to make a fresh batch of his famous egg nog. Affectionately named after Narut himself, the traditional treat combines brandy, 10 Cane Rum and lots of "Nolan love." The texture is just what you'd expect from a classic egg nog, except this one gets an upscale twist when it's served in a snifter glass, $9. Narut's nog is sweet enough on its own, but is exceptionally decadent when paired with Executive Pastry Chef Jove Hubbard's warm chocolate beignets. David Burke's Primehouse is also offering a warm concoction with sommelier Rachael Johnson's cider, which is spiced with star anise, whole cloves, cinnamon and black pepper, $9. Try it with Hubbard's Apple Cheddar Pie and salted caramel ice cream.
Cantique de Noel at Graham Elliot
Sometime in the mid-1800s, Frenchman Adolphe Adam composed the popular Christmas carol, "Cantique de Noel" ("Oh Holy Night"). A couple centuries later, mixologist Lynne House is composing a carol of her own, one that's guaranteed to make guests sing with glee. House's version of the Cantique de Noel combines crème de menthe, bourbon, cream rum and half and half. The drink is served up in a classic cocktail glass and garnished with a candied mint leaf, $11. Pair the lyrical libation with Graham Elliot's reconstructed Snickers bar for a sweet duet.
Ginger Smash at In Fine Spirits Lounge
The understated, yet upscale In Fine Spirits has added a notable list of holiday tipples to its well-crafted cocktail menu. The regular lineup here boasts rye and absinthe-tinged classics, while the lounge's limited holiday selections turn traditional ingredients into playful libations. The Ginger Smash, for one, is a palatable marriage of tart and sweet with its mix of gin, Pommeau, fresh ginger and in-house candied cranberries, $11. And then there's the Pomegranate Royale, which puts plain-old champagne to shame with its addition of pomegranate reduction and orange liqueur. Chef Marianne Sundquist is also offering a limited menu of winter-inspired treats like stout-braised beef brisket and crispy flatbread pizza with thyme, truffle and spiced-apple preserves.
The Guild Meeting at The Drawing Room
The Guild Meeting is great for groups.
Master mixologist Charles Joly is bringing people together for the holidays with a drink meant for sharing. The Guild Meeting, modeled after classic punch service (we're talking early 1800s) is built entirely in the bowl in which it's served. Sticking with the punch's five-basic-ingredient rule (the word punch derives from the Hindi word for "five," paunch) this one consists of Canton Ginger Liqueur, vanilla sugar, orange oolong tea, 42 Below Manuka Honey and a heavy dose (five ounces) of Rittenhouse 100 Rye. Joly serves the drink in vintage punch bowls that he found while scouring antique stores and other resale shops. The Guild Meeting is $34 and serves four, or two very thirsty rye-lovers.
The Flippin' Holidays at Sepia
You've almost got to say this one with force. And you've certainly got to drink it with gusto. Crafted by mixologist Peter Vestinos, this modern take on the classic flip features walnut liqueur and dark rum, $10. The addition of sugar and spices helps round out the drink's rough edges, while egg adds texture and seamlessly pulls everything together. Garnished with grated nutmeg, the end result is strikingly similar to egg nog without cream.
Chai Toddy at Le Colonial
You'll start early for the Chai Toddy.
Instead of waiting out in the cold for an empty taxi, pop into Le Colonial and warm up with a hot chai toddy. The restaurant's steamy mix of Captain Morgan Spiced Rum, Peppermint Schnapps, fresh-squeezed lemon juice, honey and hot chai tea will wash away any seasonally induced blues, $12. And because it's never too early to start drinking (ahem, celebrating), Le Colonial's upstairs bar will open at 3 p.m. every weekend in December for holiday shoppers in need of a merry little break.
Warm Banana Pumpkin Pie at Fulton's on the River
If you haven't already had your fill of pumpkin pie this season, you can get it in liquid form at Fulton's on the River. Served warm in a coffee flute, the dessert-inspired cocktail consists of pumpkin pie filling, banana liqueur, rum and steamed milk, topped with a cloud of fresh whipped cream and sprinkled with brown sugar, $8.95. The pumpkin pie filling brings in a thick consistency to the drink's otherwise smooth texture and the subtle banana flavor adds a unique twist.