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20 unique winter cocktails for the naughty and the nice

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The key to making spirits bright during the holiday season is to indulge in some spirits. But what comes to mind when one hears the words "winter cocktail?" Probably a few drinks that aren't very exciting to most people: namely, hot toddies, Irish coffees, and white Russians (groan). But certainly, there is more out there. Much more. Bartenders around the country have been hard at work trying to change the common conception of winter cocktails as heavy, overly sweet, boring, or just plain undrinkable. Here are 20 recipes from some of the best bartenders in New York City and afar, aimed squarely at the winter cocktail skeptic. And don't worry: There's not one hot toddy in sight. These cocktails are imaginative, well crafted, and yes, beautiful to look at.

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Below are the recipes, conveniently categorized by spirit. Highlights include a hit seasonal gingery gin cocktail form New York City's highly acclaimed Employees Only bar; a moonshine-based cocktail from Jeremy LeBlanc, head bartender at Altitude in San Diego, named one of the best rooftop bars by Conde Nast; and a fantastic, wintry twist on the classic gin martini from SuperNova, located in Novotel Times Square, a bar with a view to kill. Happy holidays, and try not to get into too much trouble.

Vodka

Tequila

Bourbon, Whiskey, and Rye

Gin

Applejack

Hard cider

Rum

Moonshine

Scotch

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