World Best Bar
Jan 04, 2018
26 November 2020
I started with the newly launched winter beverage menu at Measure Bar, located in the Langham Place Fifth Avenue. The spacious hotel bar sets the scene with live jazz and a sleek, modern setting that’s less cozy cabin and more glitzy Aspen ski lodge. The hotel has a top-notch tea menu (with flavors provided by trendy maker In Pursuit of Tea), and for their take on a toddy the bartenders combined chai-syrup with syrah wine and cranberry liqueur. Dubbed the Que Sarah Syrah (after the bartender that conceived it), the warm beverage is served with a cinnamon stick – it was a bitterly cold day when I stopped in, and speaking from personal experience, this is a hard one to drink. Not because it’s bad – because it smells so good that you’ll just want to hold it under your nose and let the hot, fragrant steam drift up until winter has come and past.
Spoiler alert: once the tea-infused wine did cool, the beverage was quickly consumed. It was time to go back into the cold and move onward to another Midtown favorite (note: if you want to see the holiday decorations and the famous Rockefeller Tree, opt for a quick detour up Fifth Avenue). I headed toward the heart of Times Square to Rum House, an iconic-old school dive bar that’s been refashioned with classy cocktail and stellar service. The spot has a dingy charm – this is where you’d want to hole up with the locals to drink away a winter storm while enjoying top-notch cocktails. During winter there’s a rotating selection of hot cocktails on the menu. On my visit I scored a classic hot buttered rum, which coated my insides with warmth. It’s easy to see why this libation is only served a few months every year. While it destroys the cold, if you drink too many of them, they will do the same to your diet.
After the rum, I got really brave, and decided it was time to drink on a roof. Yep – locals know that the good majority of NYC’s penthouse bars are still open during winter. Like The Roof, located in the Viceroy Hotel, these venues come prepared to help you stay warm (and good, because this spot’s views of Central Park are breathtaking all year round). Here I was greeted with a warm wool blanket and a glowing orange heater, but there’s also a fully enclosed, wood-paneled room where you can camp out if it’s just too chilly. This venue has an extensive menu of piping hot potables, ranging from the Snowday (Vanilla vodka and hot chocolate) to the Lauren in the Winter (cognac, tea and honey). I opted a Rooftop Toddy, a mix of spiced rum and apple cider. Sipping that cocktail while snuggled under a blanket, it barely even registered that the drink would likely freeze if it wasn’t steaming up the glass.
Instead of sitting down for a long winter’s nap, I decided it was time for one more (I had to stay warm!). I headed to Nomad Bar, a sizzlin’ hot cocktail lounge that is the place to be for spirits lovers these days. On Sundays, the venue offers brunch service til 9 PM, and the menu happens to feature the best selection of warm beverages in all of Manhattan. There are coffee drinks galore, and while you’ll find other standards like hot buttered rum and spiked ciders, but the real fun here is in adventurous concoctions like the Spiced Carrot Colada, a mix of bitters, rum, carrots and toasted coconut milk. This beverage along with a cozy, clubhouse-like vibe was enough to make me wish that it was winter all year long. Well, almost…
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