When it comes to cities really knowing how to do the winter season right, New York’s a tough town to beat. Between the shop windows on Fifth Avenue, the Rockefeller Center Tree, and the street carts hawking roasted chestnuts, NYC comes even more alive than usual during the winter, and that theme certainly extends to the city’s drinking culture. Bars and restaurants use this festive time as an opportunity to literally “deck their halls” with themed decor, and bartenders get to have fun with new thematic cocktails. Many include classic “winter liquors” like sherry and aquavit, but clever beverage directors also know how to get into the winter spirit with rum. These 10 NYC drinkeries offer beautiful, seasonally appropriate rum cocktails with plenty of cheer to go around.Read More
NYC’s Most Festive Spots for the Winter
‘Tis the season for a rum cocktail in the Big Apple.
1. Saxon + Parole
Recently named the Best American Restaurant Bar by Tales of the Cocktail, Saxon + Parole isn’t a tough sell under any circumstances, but particularly when chilly weather comes back in earnest. For that reason, the restaurant goes all-in on the winter season, with prix-fixe, free-range Thanksgiving meals, a take-out pie shop offering precocious twists on seasonal classics like a Pumpkin Mousse Cheesecake Pie, and au courant cocktails like the Spiced Pumpkin Fizz with rum, Rakomelo, pumpkin, maple, IPA, and a vegan-foam topping.
A sleek, effortlessly elegant fine dining space in Chelsea, Junoon offers guests an upscale version of traditional Indian cuisine with global influences and a distinctly NYC sensibility. During the winter, Junoon works tirelessly to bring South Asian tastes to seasonal meals, creating plates highlighting produce grown during North Indian winters and using classic American ingredients like apple butter in harmony with Indian spices, which results in excellent seasonal flavor fusion. Rum drinkers can also get in on the fun with cool-weather cocktails like the Coffee and Banana with Indian rum, Ethiopian cold-brew coffee, roasted chicory, and almond-banana foam and the Game of Thrones-inspired Lannister cocktail with aged rum, raspberry dark chocolate puree, and orange essence.
3. The Seville
A very “Old New York” cocktail lounge located in a relatively new NYC hotel, The Seville at The James NoMad offers a charming “professor’s library” aesthetic, but also brings youthful energy with regular live music sets, DJ nights, creative drinks, and an eager embrace of the winter season and major NYC events. But above all else, these bartenders know how to execute the old standbys in unexpected ways. For a new twist on a Manhattan rife with seasonal flavors, try the Classic Riff Manhattan with black Mission fig-infused BACARDÍ 8 and spicy clove.
4. Refinery Rooftop
It’s easy to associate rooftop drinking with warm weather, but NYC also features plenty of year-round roof bars equipped with cozy features to keep everyone warm and comfortable. One prime example can be found at Refinery Rooftop, a Midtown West lounge with stunning Empire State Building views and a signature cocktail list featuring fresh, all-natural ingredients. Refinery Rooftop transforms into a perfect refuge from the chilly weather and the Midtown shopping crowds, thanks to its ski chalet-esque decor, open fireplace, assortment of decorated wreaths, and its premier seasonal cocktail special: the Frozen Eggnog, featuring house-made nog blended with BACARDÍ, frozen and served with a dusting of nutmeg.
5. The Rum House
As its name suggests, The Rum House in Midtown’s Hotel Edison counts among New York’s top drinking venues for rum enthusiasts. The handsome bar, outfitted with crimson leather booths, dark-wood accents, and an antique piano, offers traditional rum tipples (and Ernest Hemingway favorites) like the daiquiri and the Old Cuban. But for the season, they’re introducing a limited-edition cocktail to celebrate the Most Wonderful Time of the Year. The North Woods contains two types of rum, banana liqueur, rye, cacao liqueur, and orange bitters.
6. Dutch Fred's
The Hell’s Kitchen tavern known as Dutch Fred’s is a reliable spot for comfort eats, both inventive and classic craft cocktails, and charming, vintage-inspired environs inspired by Prohibition-era speakeasies. When the temperatures start to plummet and the Midtown lampposts and awnings become festooned with twinkle lights, Dutch Fred’s’ dim lighting, soft leather booths, and winter-perfect cocktails grow even more appealing. This year’s cool-weather drink list includes selections seemingly designed specifically for taking the edge off of a cold day. For example, there’s the Sleepy Hollow, a coupe cocktail with applejack, pumpkin puree, passion fruit, Falernum, vanilla, and cinnamon.
7. Pop & Pour
Uptowners can enjoy one of Inwood’s most impressive Champagne selections, flavorful Latin-American fare, spirited live music, and wintery rum cocktails at Pop + Pour. This boîte’s red velvet banquettes and polished-wood bar pair perfectly with seasonal poinsettias and pine branches, and Pop + Pour’s bar team cleverly channels cool-weather flavors into balanced rum cocktails like the Hey Mama with BACARDÍ, coffee syrup, chocolate bitters, and Angostura bitters and the It Was All A Dream with BACARDÍ 8, passion fruit, condensed milk, Averna, and allspice.
8. The Williamsburg Hotel
Located just steps from the East River and very close to the major North Brooklyn corridor of Bedford Avenue, The Williamsburg Hotel offers a chic and modern boutique experience for well-heeled visitors eager to see what this enduringly hip neighborhood is all about. Both travelers and NYC locals can enjoy the hotel’s beautiful first-floor bar, complete with velvet couches, plenty of exposed brick, and a cocktail list intricately designed by beverage director Rael Petit. During the winter, The Williamsburg Hotel Bar will add decorative touches like pine garlands and pine cones, and Petit will introduce new beverages making full use of seasonal ingredients, such as the tiki-inspired Message in a Bottle with rum, clarified milk punch, spirulina-infused pineapple, and dark cinnamon bark.
9. The Hoxton, Williamsburg
Another Williamsburg hotel worth adding to the seasona destinations list can be found in The Hoxton, a UK import just south of The Williamsburg Hotel. This luxe lodging combines understated European elegance with the indie, DIY vibe that made Williamsburg famous, and this blend of styles extends to its bars and restaurants. The hotel also eagerly anticipates the winter season, because they have some very festive activities and initiatives in mind, like a “drink trolley” in the lobby serving oat milk eggnog and CBD-infused cocktails, hot chocolate service in the courtyard, and several season-specific specialty cocktails at Klein’s, The Hoxton’s New American eatery. Rum aficionados will particularly enjoy The Summerhill, a new beverage made with pineapple rum, apricot liqueur, allspice dram, tiki bitters, and yuzu.
10. Havana Café
Nesteld in a quiet section of the Bronx, Café Havana is where homesick Cubans have been going for dishes like pastelón, mofongo, and pollo al mojo for years. The expansive and festive restaurant also has an entire menu devoted to BACARDÍ mojitos, including a creamy take on a cojito with BACARDÍ Superior and coconut cream. But no winter is complete without lechón, a sumptuous pork dish that takes on complex citrus flavors from marinating in orange-based mojo for hours before slow roasting. Café Havana’s version is served with coconut rice and will complete up any noche buena—or any other noche for that matter.