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Holiday drinks: Long Island bars, restaurants serving seasonal cocktails

The arrival of the holidays and the first snowstorm often hastens the advent of mulled wine and eggnog — as well as the appearance of winter cocktail menus at some of the island’s bars and restaurants. Talented barkeeps are interpreting the season in ways that go beyond clove-studded oranges and dustings of nutmeg. From a drink blended with fir-tree liqueur to a brandy-infused milkshake, we’ve gathered a handful of less literal, more imaginative winter drinks to counter the weather and channel the season. 

Douglas Firr at Verde Wine Bar & Ristorante

At Verde Wine Bar, they serve a "Douglas
Photo Credit: Bruce Gilbert

Douglas Firr at Verde Wine Bar & Ristorante (450 Commack Rd., Deer Park): Can one actually drink a fir tree? That’s a rhetorical question these days, as distillers and bartenders have figured out how to bottle and pour practically every flavor. For the Douglas Firr, bartender Ryan Kearns juices fresh pears, then combines them with Douglas fir liqueur, honey-based Barr Hill gin, and lemon juice for an elegant, citrusy cocktail that transports you to a snowy forest somewhere in the Adirondacks. (Oh, and they have mulled wine here, too). More info: 631-242-8902. eatdrinkverde.com

Warmer Upper at North Fork Table & Inn

At North Fork Table & Inn in Southold,
Photo Credit: Jeremy Bales

Warmer Upper at North Fork Table & Inn (57225 Main Rd, Southold): North Fork Table & Inn offers a thoughtful mocktail menu for those who choose to abstain — and for the imbibers, this herbal aperitif, the Warmer Upper, is an elegant way to kick off a meal. Dry vermouth, Contratto Bitter and mint liqueur (called Giffard Menthe-Pastille) are decanted into a martini glass, then garnished with orange peel. More info: 631-765-0177, northforktableandinn.com

The Norwegian Devil Has No Wife at Blackbird Kitchen & Cocktails

The Norweigian Devil Has No Wife, prepared with
Photo Credit: Daniel Brennan

The Norwegian Devil Has No Wife at Blackbird Kitchen & Cocktails (3026 Merrick Rd., Wantagh):  Blackbird bartender Jonathan Gonzalez is a cocktail dervish, and his award-winning drinks sometimes have back stories and eclectic ingredients. Gonzalez has themed his winter drinks around the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway (he was partly inspired by the release of the film “I, Tonya,” about skater Tonya Harding). Accordingly, Nordic touches are rife. This twist on a flip, named for a Norwegian folk tale, combines aged rum, anise-scented aquavit, honeyed egg whites and whey, Champagne acids (in place of citrus) and an aromatic sprig of vanilla-scented dill. More info:  516-654-9200. blackbirdli.com

Midnight Mass at The Rust & Gold

At The Rust & Gold, they serve a
Photo Credit: Bruce Gilbert

Midnight Mass at The Rust & Gold (70 Gerard St., Huntington): This copper-hued drink brings together bourbon, apple brandy, bittersweet Averna, a rosemary cider reduction and citric acid, which are then shaken, poured over pearl ice and topped with bruleed cinnamon. Its moody flavors bridge both late fall and early winter, and it’s one of the newest recipes from owner and bartender Frank Antonetti. More info: 631-629-4431, therustandgold.com

Snow Monkey at Lost At Sea

The Snow Monkey is made with Chai infused
Photo Credit: Daniel Brennan

Snow Monkey at Lost At Sea (888 Beech St., Long Beach): This tiny Long Beach restaurant is as notable for its cocktails as its seafood plates, and co-owner (and bartender) Steve Magliano has a whimsical sensibility. The Snow Monkey blends smoky, chai-infused Japanese whiskey with banana liqueur and a hint of pistachio orgeat, served over rocks in a Collins glass. Magliano calls it “a kind of Yuletide tiki drink.” More info: 516-632-5263 

Sour Puss or Memory Lane at Flo’s Luncheonette

At Flo's in Patchogue, bartenders make a variety
Photo Credit: Jeremy Bales

Memory Lane or Sour Puss at Flo’s Luncheonette (38 W. Main St., Patchogue): The boozy ice-cream shakes at this funky Patchogue luncheonette blend childhood nostalgia and adult drinking in ornate ways. For Memory Lane, strawberry ice cream is gussied up with Godiva chocolate liqueur and cake-flavored vodka, then showered with pastel candy; the Sour Puss features vanilla ice cream laced with cherry brandy, its surface bursting with sour gummy bears, Nerds and assorted candies. More info: 888-356-7864, flosfamous.com

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