As we approach the coldest months of the year, there are so many wonderful activities to look forward to–winter sports, relaxing by the fireplace, and breaking out your fuzziest PJs. Braving the Arctic tundra to socialize in a pandemic-altered outdoor dining space, however, isn’t exactly one of them. Hot cocktails are a great way to warm your spirits both literally (and figuratively) while you dine this season. Whether you are looking to enjoy some classics, expand your drink palate or simply alleviate the winter chill, this compilation of hot cocktails in New Jersey has something for everyone. Stay safe, stay cozy and drink responsibly!
1. Mulled Wine at Barbès
Mulled wine is a hot cocktail that has been served at European celebrations for centuries. Though its recipe varies across each region, the mulling process typically includes the infusion of various fruits and spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and vanilla. Named after the notable North-African neighborhood in Paris, Barbès bistro in Hoboken strives to serve food at the intersection of the two cultures. The result of this is a fragrant mulled wine that is truly unique, and the ideal way to toast a snowy winter gathering.
2. Cider…I Knew Her Well at Alto Rooftop
The only rooftop bar in town, Alto offers stunning views of Montclair’s landscape in addition to the New York skyline. With glamorous pink decor and a kitchen staff fresh off an appearance on “Hell’s Kitchen,” this bar is the place to go if you are looking to indulge for an evening. Their menu is currently offering this cheeky-titled libation, a cocktail composed of Misunderstood Whiskey, apple cider, cinnamon syrup, nutmeg and whipped cream. Sweet and rich–but with a kick–this drink will only enhance your sky-high experience.
3. Cinnamon Hot Toddy at Carpe Diem
Initially, Hoboken’s Carpe Diem may just seem like any regular Irish pub. However, upon entering you will discover walls donned with hundreds of famous figures. Not only does this setting form a welcoming atmosphere that you can instantly feel at home in, but it also provides an overt nod to the past. This makes Carpe Diem one of the most fitting place to consume a Cinnamon Hot Toddy, their soothing Irish drink of Fireball, water, honey and spices. Traditionally used to prevent illness, a hot toddy at Carpe Diem will bring you back to simpler times in more ways than one.
4. Hot Mai Tai at The Archer
The Mai Tai is a quintessential tiki cocktail involving Jamaican rum, Curacao, Orangeat and lime juice. The Archer, a hunting-themed cocktail bar in Jersey City, has put their own take on this classic drink. Typically served on the rocks, they have substituted this staple for hot water. One of many innovative options on the menu, this adapted version feels on par with their rustic yet chic atmosphere. Come as well for their Americana-style and ZAGAT-approved dishes!
5. O’Talian Coffee at Union Hall
Union Hall restaurant in Hoboken prides itself in bringing worldly influences together to enhance their American cuisine. With this in mind, they have created the coffee lover’s dream, a brew embellished with Irish Whiskey, Italian Amaro, and Demerara syrup. Topping it all off is Union Hall’s hand-made whipped cream and a set of festive Italian sprinkles guaranteed to brighten your mood. Take your hot cocktail outside to admire Union Hall’s picturesque waterfront and views of New York City.
6. Thank You Very Matcha at 690 Park
This Cliffside Park lounge and restaurant specializes in upscale American cuisine. With a focus on elegance and sophistication, it is no surprise that they have opted to use matcha in their cocktail creations. Along with its incorporation of Japanese whiskey, green tea and ceremonial grade matcha, you can choose to have this drink served with hot water or cold oat milk. Whether you come to enjoy 690 Park’s many live performances or just catch up with friends, this drink will provide a calming balance to your night out (not to mention, it will also look pretty cool on your Instagram).
7. Cafe Con Coquito at Cocina Candela
Only at Cocina Candela in Montclair will you find this twist on Coquito, the Puerto Rican drink essential to any Christmas celebration. Literally translated to “little coconut,” this eggnog-like beverage is usually a mixture of coconut milk, cream of coconut, sweet condensed milk, additional spices of choice and white rum. Like many of the other Puerto Rican-influenced dishes at Cocina Candela, this unique coffee will provide a tasty and much-needed island flair to your diet.
8. Mad Hatter Tea at The Kitchen Step
Jersey City’s The Kitchen Step is known for their approach to American cuisine, offering creative reworkings of classic dishes and cocktails. Among these includes the Mad Hatter Tea, a surprising combination of gin, Earl Grey tea, lemon and “Wonderland” bitters. If you are an avid tea fan or simply a Lewis Carrol enthusiast, this complex seasonal drink is sure to excite the senses. Given the circumstances of the past year, who says happy hour and afternoon tea can’t happen at the same time?
9. Bonita Apple Bum at Hamilton Pork
From tacos and brisket to wings and sandwiches, this quaint Jersey City joint has everything a meat lover could want. The next time you go to satisfy a carnivorous craving, definitely give this Hamilton Pork special a try. Consisting of apples, honey, hard cider and cinnamon sugar, this creation will surely complement the zesty flavors of a Southern meal. Appropriately titled “Bonita Apple Bum,” this cocktail is as smooth and fun as the hip-hop song it was named after.
10. Hot Sazerac at Low Fidelity Bar
Be warned, this Hot Sazerac recipe offered at Low Fidelity Bar in Jersey City is not for the faint of heart…or stomach. Containing multiple layers of alcohol in every sip, this stiff drink contains rye, cognac, Absinthe, Demerara syrup, as well as Peychaud’s. With a heat to combat its bittersweet bite, this New-Orleans derived cocktail will help to take the edge off a harsh winter’s day. Make sure to pair it with one of Low Fidelity’s delicious Detroit-style pizzas!
11. Pumpkin Spice Hot Toddy at Sorellina
Just because fall is over does not mean pumpkin-spiced everything has to end! Sorellina Italian Kitchen in Hoboken seems to agree, offering a trendy rendition of the classic cocktail. Crafted with bourbon, pumpkin spice and lemon, this flavorful yet light drink is a great way to start a brunch or end of a night of carbo-loading. Between the multitude of mouth-watering selections on their menu, there’s no way you’ll be able to choose just one.
12. Shake Your Glögg Thing at Marcus at NoHu Rooftop
Named after its internationally-acclaimed chef and television personality Marcus Samuelsson, this Weehawken bar brings culture and refinement to its mainly American fare. Samuelsson incorporates his own background in this Glögg, the Norwegian version of a mulled wine. Complete with red wine, Amontillado sherry, orange, vanilla, almonds and other spices, this treat is typically equipped with spoons to fish out the juice-soaked additives. Try your best to multitask while you take in NoHu’s breathtaking panoramic views of Manhattan.
13. Mexican Hot Chocolate at Frankie
A list of hot cocktails in New Jersey must include this drink from Frankie, an Australian-inspired restaurant in Jersey City. In accordance with Frankie’s finely-cultivated beach aesthetic by owners Rowen McDermott and Rebecca Johnson, this drink is another example of the restaurant’s creativity put into every detail. Infused with Mijenta tequila and various Mexican spices, the Mexican Hot Chocolate combines the best of both worlds: dessert and drink, sweet and savory and the illusion of sand and sun on a cold winter’s day.
14. Coco Colada at Bourré
If Mexican Hot Chocolate isn’t your scene, then try this tamer yet equally exciting hot chocolate at Atlantic City’s Bourré. Combining Pina Colada puree, hot chocolate, Bacardi coconut rum and whipped cream, the sweet and refreshing Coco Colada evokes summer on even the chilliest of days. In addition to festive libations, this Cajun pub offers live performances, boardwalk views and a courtyard to be enjoyed all year round, making for a guaranteed night of fun!
15. Fireside Chat at Pet Shop
This Jersey City locale is the quintessential hipster hangout, boasting brick walls, eclectic furniture arrangements and starry string lights throughout. Furthermore, their cozy animal-friendly aesthetic and ample board game selection makes this the perfect spot to unwind with friends. New to their menu is the Fireside Chat, a subtly-sweet drink of Cachaca, allspice, lime, cinnamon and hard cider. Though their menu is almost entirely vegan, Pet Shop’s creative substitutes and mastery of flavor will blow anyone away.
Bonus: Hot Mulled Cider at Low Fidelity
Which of these hot cocktails in New Jersey will you try first? Let us know in the comments below.