5 East End Drinks to Get You in the Holiday Spirit 

O come let us adore gin.

Cheers to another holiday season!

Is there a better way to usher in the holiday season than with a specialty libation? Maybe there is, but I don’t need to know about it. If you’re thinking that holiday drinks are all gloggy and noggy—with too much sugar and spice—think again.

The inventive bartenders and brewmasters of the East End are serving up some worthwhile treats this holiday season. You’ll want to cozy up to your nearest East End bar and indulge while the season is merry and bright. In other words: Get them while you can.

The Merchant Prince at the Bridgehampton Inn 

At the Bridgehampton Inn, cocktail maestro Kyle Fengler has added a new cocktail to his holiday oeuvre, just in time for the Yule. The Merchant Prince is a bourbon-based drink (Buffalo Trace, to be exact), with an infusion of cinnamon and plum tea. The drink also contains Ron Zacapa Guatemalan Dark Rum, Campari, house-made almond and vanilla syrups, lemon juice, and Kasteel Barista Chocolate Quad Belgian Ale. The spicy, dark, rich cocktail arrives garnished with nutmeg and brandied cherries. It’s the ultimate holiday cocktail, with all of the requisite brooding flavors.

The Bridgehampton Inn, 2266 Main Street, Bridgehampton, (631) 537.3660, open Wednesday through Sunday 5:30 to 10 p.m. 

The Nitro Cold Brew Coffee and Bailey’s at Swallow East

Montauk’s Swallow East serves a new twist on an old classic, and while it may not be “holiday-specific,” the drink will certainly put you in the holiday mood. It’s a Bailey’s and coffee, but the coffee is Nitro Cold Brew—a small-batch cold brewed coffee infused with nitrogen, producing a smooth, seamless coffee. As for that kick, well, creamy Bailey’s is the perfect accouterment, and one that feels just right for the holiday season. Added bonus? Coffee-based cocktails are appropriate to drink any time of day. In fact, the earlier the better.

Swallow East, 474 Westlake Drive, Montauk, (631) 668.8344, open Fridays 5 to 10 p.m., Saturdays 12 to 4 p.m. and 5 to 10 p.m., and Sundays 12 to 4 p.m. and 5 to 9 p.m. 

The Sagaponack Cider at Almond Bridgehampton

Who says that apple season begins and ends in October? Cider is the perfect antidote to the holiday blues. Blend it with a little alcohol and, poof, you’ve curated the perfect drink. At Almond, the Sagaponack Cider uses Milk Pail’s local apple cider, apple- and cardamom-infused whiskey, and sparkling wine. It’s a crisp, simple cocktail full of fall and winter flavors.

Almond Bridgehampton, 1 Ocean Road, Bridgehampton, (631) 537.5665, open Monday through Wednesday 5:30 to 10:30 p.m., Thursday and Saturday 5:30 to 11 p.m., Friday 5:30 p.m. to 12 a.m., and Sunday 5:30 to 10 p.m. 

The Rosemary Collins at the Frisky Oyster

The interior of Greenport’s Frisky Oyster always reminds me of a train car on the Orient Express. Rich, textured, red wallpaper gives way to dim lighting. With floor-to-ceiling windows facing busy Front Street, you’re two places at once. The Rosemary Collins—a blend of house-infused rosemary gin, lemon juice, and club soda—is equally transporting. The gin’s subtle juniper notes, paired with herbaceous rosemary, feels like how your Christmas tree smells. Forego the Yankee Candle and drink this instead.

The Frisky Oyster, 27 Front Street, Greenport, (631) 477.4625, open Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday 5 to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday 5 to 11 p.m. 

The Riverhead Crannie and the Riverhead Cinnamon Toast at The Riverhead Ciderhouse

Sundays are perfect for hanging by the fire with some cider. 📸 by @kryssygirl

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Available only on tap at the Riverhead Ciderhouse, these seasonal ciders are available until they’re gone—and after that, you’ll have to wait until next year. It’s hard to decide which option is more seasonally appropriate, the tart, cranberry-infused Crannie, or the Christmas morning-reminiscent Cinnamon Toast. These drinks are crisp, refreshing, and imminently quaffable. Ranging from 5 to 8 percent in alcohol content, you can probably afford to have one of each. At the very least, go with a friend and go halfsies.

The Riverhead Ciderhouse, 2711 Sound Avenue, Calverton, (631) 591.0217, open Wednesday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Thursday and Friday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. 

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Hannah Selinger

Hannah Selinger is a freelance food and wine writer and sommelier living in East Hampton. Her work has appeared in the such publications as the New York Times, the Washington Post, and RawStory.com. She is the wine columnist for the Southampton Press.