Wintertime need not be the sole domain of drinks associated with freezing temps and twinkling lights. With a few tweaks, any classic can happily find a home at the bar during the holidays.
Taking a cocktail from July to December can be as straightforward as putting on the bar equivalent of a winter coat—adding in some seasonal flavors, or heating things up, literally—or as inventive as completely reimagining it through the lens of the season. In New York, Fever-Tree enlisted veteran bartender Amanda Victoria to get a handful of classic cocktails cold weather-ready.
Her takes are on offer at Fever-Tree Porch, a partnership with Bryant Park in midtown Manhattan. The Porch offers a year-round full-service bar and restaurant from the mixer brand, which is currently decked out for the holiday season.
The al fresco-in-December vibe is complete with fire pits and heat lamps, and a rotating menu of hot cocktails and winterized highballs—from whiskey-spiked hot apple cider topped with ginger beer to la dolce vita on ice in Italian-influenced winter aperitivo with Fever-Tree Indian Tonic. The lineup makes the most of seasonal flavors, with warming spices like candied ginger, clove and cinnamon, along with apple cider, cranberries and bright pops of in-season citrus. They’re all good candidates for at-home holiday entertaining and, even better, they’re easy to make.
From a cold-weather Gin & Tonic to a hot Penicillin riff, here are four winterized classic cocktails to help you embrace the chill.
You won’t find the traditional red wine in this wintertime sangria, but a healthy pour of rum and a bright pop of orange-forward aperitivo bitters more than make up for its absence. “The Spiced Sangria is my quick version of a traditional sangria, without any sacrifices to quality and flavor,” says Victoria. The three types of ginger used in the Fever-Tree Spiced Orange Ginger Ale are responsible for the “fresh green, chocolatey, and earthy flavor” of this aromatic and spicy long drink.
As seasonless as the Old-Fashioned might be, it still inspires seasonal tinkering. “The idea behind the Daytime Old-Fashioned was to have a sessionable take on [the] classic,” says Victoria. While her update on the OG OF features the familiar bourbon base, it crosses over into long-drink mule territory with a healthy pour of spicy, aromatic ginger ale—which stands in for the usual bitters while bringing on the required sweetness. “It may be lighter than a classic version, but it really packs flavor … and is easy to drink from day to night,” she says.
The Gin & Tonic might seem like it’s made for summer, but with its characteristic aromatics and bracing bubbles, aficionados know it actually defies seasons. Here, Victoria makes a case for a winterized take by starting with an organic Minnesota gin and Fever-Tree Indian Tonic, then putting on the proverbial snow tires with a final float of Angostura bitters, whose warming spices of cinnamon and clove marry well with the gin’s juniper and coriander notes. In a final nod to wintertime, the classic lime wedge steps aside for a thick slice of in-season orange. This “playful G&T,” as she calls it, is “a classic Gin & Tonic made festive.”
Named for its so-called healing properties, the Penicillin—bartender Sam Ross’ smoky and spicy twist on a Whiskey Sour—has become a modern classic in the cocktail canon. Victoria presents a cold-weather update by warming it up, literally, with hot apple cider sweetened with a fragrant honey syrup. The familiar Scotch whisky of the original gets a spicy kick of ginger root from Fever-Tree Ginger Beer, and added brightness from fresh lemon. “It’s warming, with a smoky spice flavor,” she says, “and perfect for transitioning into winter.”
Fever-Tree Porch is located in Bryant Park and is serves a year-round rotating menu of Fever-Tree cocktails daily from 11am to park closing (hours are weather permitting.)