If you enjoyed to-go cocktails from bars and restaurants during the warmer months, you’re in luck. Many of them continue to offer drinks for takeout even as temperatures have dropped.
For now, businesses are still open for indoor and outdoor drinking. But in case the rules change, we went ahead and asked bartenders for some recipes to carry us through the rest of winter.
Each of these recipes also fits conveniently in your favorite to-go cup or flask. You can make them at home or order from the bars, which appreciate the business and will send you home with necessary accoutrements.
When a tipple of whiskey or schnapps just won’t do, American Elm bar manager Jesse Torres recommends making your own take on an Old Fashioned.
“An Old Fashioned is my go-to because it’s always adaptable, customizable and actually enjoys the unregulated temperature changes in your flask,” Torres says. “You can put your whole flask in the freezer and have an ice-cold drink at the ready, or you can keep it next to your body for a warming sip on the slopes.”
And he says the possible alcohol combinations for Old Fashioneds are “endless,” with a version for every occasion.
“You can use whiskey, rum, mezcal, tequila, or whatever spirit you want. It can be as sweet, dry, bitter, or as fun as you’d like it be. Try using a liqueur in place of the syrup (something like Marble Distilling’s Midnight Expresso is perfect for a rich daytime sipper), and try switching up the bitters,” Torres says.
“This version is a solid base to start.”
4 oz of your spirit of choice (Torres goes for a higher proof bourbon like A.D. Laws 6-year Bottled in Bond.)
1 oz water
1/2 oz rich simple syrup (recipe below), or any other liqueur or syrup
6 dashes of bitters, like Angostura
4 orange peels
In a container, combine the spirit, water, syrup and bitters. Express the oils of the orange peels over the cocktail and discard. Give it all a good stir to combine. Finally, pour the cocktail into the flask using a funnel.
“This cocktail can be imbibed as is, or it can be chilled in the freezer ahead of time,” Torres says. “Don’t worry, it won’t freeze!”
To make rich simple syrup, combine two cups of sugar (white granulated or my favorite, Demerara) with one cup of water in a saucepan. Heat and stir until it is all combined into a clear syrup. Remove from the heat, let it cool completely and bottle. This syrup doesn’t have to be refrigerated and is good for up to two weeks (or up to two months refrigerated). (Makes 12 ounces.)
Brass Tacks co-owner Stuart Jensen suggests trying the Brooklyn, a cooler version of the Manhattan, when you’re trekking to the mountains and need a warming drink.
Like its better known neighbor cocktail, the Brooklyn is made with rye whiskey and dry vermouth, but it also adds maraschino liqueur and Amer Picon (made in-house at Brass Tacks) to the mix.
For those who haven’t been introduced, Amer Picon is an herbaceous liqueur filled with orange zest and spices — perfect for fall and winter but impossible to find anywhere in the U.S. (It can’t be exported here from France.)
You should try making it at home, or you can pick up a ready-made and bottled Brooklyn from the bar just before heading out of town.
2 oz Old Overholt Bonded Rye
1 oz Dolin Dry Vermouth
1/2 oz Amer Picon
1/4 oz Leopold Bros. Maraschino Liqueur
2 dashes Regan’s Orange Bitters
Combine all ingredients, stir and strain into a flask.
And Steven Waters of Run for the Roses (closed for now) says an Albertine or Boulevardier should warm you right up slope-side. Both are boozy classics, but the first can be added to hot cocoa: “Powdered is fine. Steal some hot water from the peak’s coffee maker and call it a day,” Waters says. And the second is “like a Negroni, but for those people that say ‘I only like whiskey.’ Plus 2 ounces of 100-proof whiskey will always get you going,” he adds.
These recipes are strong and straightforward: “You’re not carrying around ice and garnishes and need to pack that buzz into a small package.”
1/4 oz Luxardo Maraschino
1/4 oz Yellow Chartreuse
3/4 oz Cointreau
11/2 oz Schladerer Kirschwasser
2 dashes Regan’s Orange Bitters
1 oz Carpano Antica
1 oz Campari
2 oz Mellow Corn Whiskey
For both, shake well with ice and strain into your flask.