Top of the Strand Mixologists Share Three Seasonal Cocktail Recipes

There’s nothing quite like cozying up by the fire with a warming cocktail in hand. Toast to winter with these recipes from the expert mixologists at Top of the Strand at Marriott Vacation Club Pulse℠, New York City.

As much as I love beach days and backyard rosé, I have a soft spot in my heart for winter, the coziest of seasons. It’s the perfect time to snuggle up at home under a blanket — or throw on a blanket scarf and some boots and settle in at a heated rooftop bar with a winter-warmer cocktail.

In New York City, Midtown Manhattan’s Top of the Strand is the place to do just that. The intimate urban lounge is set like a jewel on the 21st floor of Marriott Vacation Club Pulse, New York City, and its retractable glass roof shows off the surrounding skyline year-round. Locals and tourists alike flock here for a classy and cozy winter night out, thanks to the friendly atmosphere, dazzling views, well-made drinks and tasty light fare.

If you’re not in New York (or you want to crank up the fireplace at home instead), you can still enjoy drinks crafted by the Top of the Strand’s expert mixologists. Below, the bar’s staff provides recipes and tasting notes for three favorite concoctions that are perfect for a holiday party or a low-key Friday night in.

Winter Mule

Sure, winter can be dreary. But, in New York City, it can also be elegant: Fifth Avenue shops adorned with twinkling lights, sparkling holiday parties and commuters dressed in the most stylish of winter coats. The Winter Mule, from Top of the Strand mixologists, takes the refreshing lightness of a Moscow Mule and adds a few surprises, transforming it from a summer sipper to a winter-in-NYC treat: “This twist on a Moscow Mule uses lemon juice, rosemary and a cranberry, as an invitation for you to enjoy, with an elegant and festive look — a smooth transition from your summer cocktails to autumn and winter delights.”

  • 2 oz. Citron vodka
  • .5 oz. lemon juice
  • 1 oz. ginger beer
  • rosemary and a cranberry for garnish
  • served in a rocks glass

Add the vodka, lemon juice and ginger beer to a shaker and roll (do not shake). Salt the rim of a rocks glass and pour over ice. Garnish with rosemary and cranberry.


In the dead of winter, the streets of New York may not be the most inviting place, but a warm cocktail certainly makes it easier to brave the weather. In fact, the Misunderstood, courtesy of Top of the Strand mixologists, is the perfect antidote to bone-chilling temperatures: “This is the warm winter cocktail that you’ll always crave — a mix to create a spicy cream that’s perfect for lounging on the couch and gazing at the Empire State Building.”

  • 1 oz. Rumchata
  • 1.5 oz. Captain Morgan Rum
  • .25 oz. Laphroaig
  • .5 oz. amaro
  • .5 oz. amaretto
  • .5 oz. simple syrup
  • amaretto cookie crumbles for garnish
  • served in a coupe or martini glass

Add all ingredients and shake with ice to chill. Pour into a martini glass or coupe and top with the amaretto cookie crumbles.

Walnut Manhattan

Stories vary about where exactly the original Manhattan cocktail was created — some point to a bar on Broadway, others to a banquet at the Manhattan Club. But one thing’s certain: the drink is as local to New York City as bodegas and pizza slices. The origin of the Walnut Manhattan is much less contested: Our NYC-based mixologists at Top of the Strand created this updated seasonal twist on the classic: “Nocello, a walnut liqueur, adds the flavor of winter to a classic cocktail. This will be your new go-to bourbon cocktail.”

  • 2 oz. Maker’s Mark Whisky
  • .75 oz. Nocello
  • .5 oz. sweet vermouth
  • 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
  • 1 cherry
  • Served in a rocks glass

Add all ingredients to a mixing glass and fill with ice. Stir to chill (do not shake). Strain into a rocks glass. Garnish with a cherry.

Quick Tip:

Pair these winter cocktails with an easy cheese-and-cracker platter and some warm spinach dip.

Where to Stay:

Marriott Vacation Club Pulse, New York City

Emma W. is a travel writer and editor based in Chicago.