The Magic of Monte – The Dish on New Drinks at the Holiday Cocktail Lounge

holidayWhat do you get when you mix a badass bartender, a historic watering hole, some Amaro Montenegro (aka “Monte”) and a dinosaur? One kickass cocktail (or maybe several).

When I walked into the Holiday Cocktail Lounge down in the East Village, I really didn’t know what to expect. By the sound of it, I thought I might walk into Santa’s village or a winter wonderland. But much to my surprise, and although the name was deceiving, this night of crafty cocktails and cool conversations was anything but disappointing.

After settling in, Danny Neff, our master mixologist (and a damn good one at that), popped up from behind, bringing us two cups of The Mulled Monte – a warm glass of pure decadence. This perfect blend of Amaro Montenegro, Cabernet and homemade framboise (raspberry) syrup, was just what I needed on a chilly New York night.

As I sipped on the tart treat, Danny began doing what he does best and planted another masterful mix in front of us. This time, one a bit more festive, having me feeling like Christmas is actually here – Monte Eggnog. This fabulous frothy concoction was part Amaro Montenegro, part Cachaça and all delicious! “Line up five more, Danny!”

For the finale, Danny set us up with the mother of all cocktails, La Vigilia. This citrus based, aromatic creation was the perfect end to the introduction of my new found love for the magic of Monte. Described to me as being inspired by the fresh, citrusy taste of ceviche (and probably paired well with it), it includes Amaro Montenegro, Red Peppercorn Orange Liqueur and of course citrus juices. Shaken and served over ice, this refreshing mix of ripe flavors was right up my alley. Oh, let’s not forget the dinosaur hanging from the rim (HCL is known for their good-fun garnishes).

Moral of the story here is, no matter how you like your Amaro Montenegro, this versatile spirit is well-paired with just about anything, and not to mention, definitely on its own. So, whether you’re at your local watering hole, or want to make your way down to the Holiday Cocktail Lounge on St. Mark’s place, make no mistake, “Monte” is a must do. And just because I love you (and Danny and his crew are so awesome), we’re sharing these recipes with you so you can make at your own swanky holiday soirees. You’re welcome!

mulled“The Mulled Monte” – Created by Danny Neff, Holiday Cocktail Lounge NYC

  • 1 ½ oz. Amaro Montenegro
  • 1 ½ oz Cabernet
  • ½ oz Cocktail & Sons Spiced Demerara syrup
  • 1 oz framboise syrup
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • 1 oz water
  • Cinnamon stick
  • Combine all ingredients in a mug and stir with the cinnamon stick. Heat and serve.

eggnog“Monte Eggnog” – Created by Danny Neff, Holiday Cocktail Lounge NYC

  • 1 oz Amaro Montenegro
  • 1 oz cachaça
  • ½ oz dark rum
  • 1 oz simple syrup
  • 1 oz heavy cream
  • 1 whole egg
  • Nutmeg
  • Separate the egg into two shakers. Combine the yolk, Amaro Montenegro and cachaça in the first, and the rest in the second and shake separately. Combine, shake again, and pour into a rocks glass. Garnish with nutmeg.

la V“La Vigilia” (pairs well with fish) – Created by Danny Neff, Holiday Cocktail Lounge NYC

  • 1 1/2 oz Amaro Montenegro
  • 3/4 oz red peppercorn infused orange liqueur
  • 3/4 oz lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz orange juice
  • Mint
  • Shake all ingredients over ice, and strain into a high ball glass with fresh ice. Garnish with a mint sprig.


For more on Monte and new ideas on how to drink the classic digestif, follow them on social media


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