Restaurants and bars around the city have updated their menus for the chilly season with long lists of soothing drinks made with cognac, rum, red wine and more. There is no better way to warm up this winter than with one of the capital’s finest hot cocktails.
Few bartenders manage to come up with consistently interesting season-al offers. Luckily, Dmitry Sokolov is able to find new inspiration every couple of months. His more mature project Aloha Bar serves some of the best hot cocktails in quat, sweetness from the aforementioned jam and a hint of aromatic thyme.
If you are looking for something stronger, try the Russian Red Tea with Muscat wine, orange Curacao, cinnamon, honey, raspberries, cranberry liqueur and a floral red tea. To get in the Hawaiian mood at Aloha, go for the Tropical Spicy Grog, which is made with golden rum and a fantastic blend of passion fruit and vanilla. Mint and a splash of earl grey tea tie the drink together. All of the special cocktails at Aloha Bar cost a reasonable 230 rubles.
There is something luxurious about lounging on an all-year patio in the dead of winter. While you watch as the snow falls outside, sip on one of this venue’s strong, warming cocktails. The man responsible for the mixes is Alexander Kan, known throughout the city for his innovative approach to cocktail culture. The drinks at Barbara Bar do not let customers down, providing completely new takes on traditional winter cocktails like hot toddies and grog.
The bar’s signature Barbara Tea Punch, which comes served in a large teapot, indeed packs quite a punch. The drink blends light, dark and golden rums with jasmine tea, grapefruit juice and a touch of lemonade. The 610-ruble concoction is perfect for sharing. Finishing it on your own will certainly leave you indifferent to the cold outside. The 390-ruble sea buckthorn (or oblepikha) toddy with whiskey, tea, apple juice, cinnamon and the orange Russian berry is a local twist on the Scottish classic. The ginger grog (390 rubles) that mixes dark rum with a spiced citrus tea is just one more example of what fine work the bar at Barbara does.
One might think that of the two Bontempis in Moscow, the bar on Nikitsky Bul. would have a better selection of drinks. They would be wrong. The cocktail menu at the Red October restaurant is, if not as thorough, at least equally as exciting as it is at the venue conceived as a “bar.” After being wind-whipped on the bridge the connects the Church of Christ the Savior and the old chocolate factory, you will certainly need something hot, and preferably spiked with whiskey, to warm you up.
The restaurant offers just that with their strong Irish coffee made with aromatic coffee, a generous splash of whiskey and sweetened with sugar and cream. If you aren’t looking for a caffeine hit, try the red mulled wine with a touch of clove and spice, and strawberries and apples for sugar. Both hot cock-tails are 450 rubles. Pair the mulled wine with the homemade green tortelloni with lamb, artichokes and spicy Pecorino cheese (900 rubles) and you will find yourself well on the way to winter wonderland.
No one was too upset when the short-lived Clumba Club closed its doors back in 2009. The European venue had a menu for everything, including one with dishes specially prepared for dogs. The space formerly home to Glumba is now occupied by Letto – a perfected version of the old restaurant created by the same team. The space is comfortable without sacrificing elegance, and the menu is extensive without losing its focus.
Indulge in the traditional Russian borsch with tender beef and a thick beet broth (390 rubles), but instead of pairing the soup with its most obvious alcoholic companion, vodka, go for one of Letto’s creative mulled wines. The restaurant and bar (but mostly restaurant) offers three versions of the drink, the best of which is the original made with red wine. Letto also serves a white mulled wine and a non-alcoholic cocktail where cranberry juice is used instead of the aged grape drink. Letto’s slightly stronger Evening Grog is the perfect companion to one of their rich desserts. The 380-ruble cocktail is made with rum, tea, black currant liqueur and berries of all kinds.
From the working fire-places inside to the small ice rink outside, the restaurant Mechta transforms itself into a haven of winter warmth during the chilliest months of the year. The best way to heat up in the eatery is by ordering one of Alexander Kan’s delicious hot cocktails. The highlight of the selection is the Hot Gold (350 rubles), which brings together nutty almond flavor with citrus zest.
The cocktail includes amaretto, orange juice, citrus zest and cinnamon, and has the ideal balance of sweet, bitter and sour flavors. If you want something even more exotic, go for Mechta’s mulled wine (450 rubles) . The cocktail isn’t made with any of the ingredients one might expect. Instead, the drink is based on a blend of homemade mors and grape Galpis – a slightly acidic Japanese milk-based soft drink. The alcohol in the drink comes in the form of cognac, which is brewed with cinnamon and citrus zest for spice. The mulled wine is topped with a dash of apple juice, which adds just the right amount of sugar to pull together the other elements.
Although the drink originated in England, the Swedes have taken over the term “grog” and the popular alcoholic beverage is now largely associated with Scandinavia. It is no surprise then that this Scandinavian restaurant serves some of the best grog in town.
Their combination of light rum, pomegranate syrup, apples, oranges and cinnamon is the perfect antidote to Moscow’s winter chill. The 25 mL drink costs 350 rubles, but the price is more than fair, as it is impossible to deny the healing properties of this gently sweetened hot cider.
Sometimes the simplest things are also the most satisfying. Such is the case at this restaurant and bar. The leather couches in shades of burnt orange and deep brown create a warming atmosphere that is only enhanced with a glass of their classic mulled wine (300 rubles). Full of flavor thanks to its long brewing with cloves, star anise and fruit, this mulled wine is served without all the bits and pieces often found floating in the drink.
Sip it while you indulge in a comforting slice of pear crumble with vanilla ice cream (280 rubles) and feel your mood lighten. The bar has a series of more interesting warming cocktails as well, including some made with hot sake and blended whiskey. These drinks range from 300 to 350 rubles.