It's one of the most popular drinking days of the year: Thanksgiving Eve. So, if you're kicking it around Manhattan and keen to try some seasonal, tiki, or Japanese-flavored libations, here's where to start.
FOR A SEASONAL GROWNUP SLUSHIE
Head To: Leyenda, the newish Brooklyn addition from cocktail dream team Julie Reiner (Clover Club) and Ivy Mix (Tales of the Cocktail's Best Bartender in America, 2015), celebrates spirits and plates from Latin America.
Drink: The Headless Horseman ($12) bridges the gap from summer to fall. This fiery yet frozen take on a Painkiller swaps Cachaça for rum and adds fall flavors like pumpkin, allspice, and cinnamon to orange and coconut.
To Cure a Cold
Drink: "Ginger spice and everything nice" ($10) is indeed devised by a human named Ginger. Consider the flavors of a Penicillin, and that's what this drink echoes, yet with less booze. Perfect for the upcoming cold season, honey, ginger and lemon play nice with Byrrh, a 19th century-born, herbaceous fortified wine.
If You Like Savory Cocktails
Head To: Bar Goto, a sliver of a drinking den on the Lower East Side, channels the cramped yet cozy feel of the hundreds of minuscule bars that line Golden Gai's narrow alleys in Tokyo. In addition to a concise menu of proper Japanese-styled cocktails, expect a light food menu mostly devoted to okonomiyaki.
Drink: The Umami Mary is, as its name suggests, an umami bomb. Owner/bartender Kenta Goto infuses a potato vodka with shiitake mushrooms and, in place of Worcestershire sauce (Western umami), adds miso (Eastern umami). Tomato plus Clamato juice round out the drink, which is spiked with red chili tincture for a subtle kick.
For Drinks That Make You Think
Head To: Kat & Theo, the Flatiron's hip new Mediterranean-American restaurant, flosses a sweet list of classic cocktails and newfangled drinks that, for once, aren't too sweet. Many of the tipples call for a long list of seemingly disjunct, exotic ingredients, but together they comprise great wholes. The Coco Rosie calls for cardamom-infused rye, rum, currant liquor, coconut, and rose; meanwhile Metal & Dust mixes chile-infused reposado tequila, cacao, strawberry, vanilla, lime, and beer.
Drink: Metal & Dust is a sophisticated drink that tastes more of strawberry and vanilla than it does of tequila. The lime's acid brightens, while the lager's savory notes balance out any sweetness. Other great options here are the pineapple-vanilla-cinnamon-almond milk punch and the Jungle Bird, inspired by the tiki drink invented at Hilton Kuala Lumpur's Aviary Bar in the 70s.
For a JApanese Margarita
Head To: Sushi Seki just opened a blonde wood-bedecked, minimalist-designed sushi den on 46th Street, and with it comes several spaces in which one can imbibe. There's a devoted whiskey bar, plus a ground level bar pushing libations by Angel's Share's Shingo Gokan. Naturally, it's super Japanese, with a flurry of drinks that call for ingredients like sakura brine, matcha, and dashi tomato water.
Drink: Yuzu. Simply put, for those keen on the flavor of yuzu—the Japanese citrus that, flavor-wise, is like a cross between a Meyer lemon, a mandarin orange and a grapefruit—this is the drink for you. Inspired by the Margarita served at Tommy's, a Mexican restaurant in San Francisco, Gokan remixed the drink with a Japanese tune, incorporating barley shochu, yuzu, honey, and yukari (shiso) salt. It's crisp and refreshing, and is one of those cocktails that tastes devoid of booze. Watch out.