Naren Young Dante Winter Cocktail Recipe Downtown New York Cocktail Bar

Grandlife interviews

Winter Cocktails with Dante's Naren Young

back to list

The creative director of the newly-tapped “world’s best bar” shares a recipe for Calypso Coffee and his go-to spots for a cozy winter cocktail.  

There are few New York institutions with a legacy as rich as Caffe Dante’s. The century-old bar and restaurant in the Greenwich Village made a name for itself in decades past as a hangout for cultural icons like Anaïs Nin, Ernest Hemingway, Robert Mapplethorpe, Patti Smith, Bob Dylan, among many other beatniks, artists, and writers. Now a registered New York City historic landmark, Dante has most recently received attention for its “world’s best bar” accolade. So we figured, who better to tap for a winter cocktail recipe than Dante’s creative director, Naren Young. Here, Young shares a recipe for Calypso Coffee along with his go-to spots for a cozy cocktail as the weather drops below freezing.    

What ingredients do you like to work with during the cooler months when creating cocktails?

Naren Young: Like a lot of bars, we gravitate towards more warming, spicy ingredients: brown spirits, any sort of whiskey to various brandies whether its cognac, almanac, calvados; aged tequila, aged rums—and then we pair those with similar flavors like dried fruits, spices, pepper, chili, ginger, and on top of that whatever is in season. So as we move closer to December and January things get a little bit bleak in New York, but for now we’re still using things like Concord grape, pomegranates, pears, apples, pumpkins, squashes—some of which would have been fairly unusual in drinks a few years ago, but now its not unusual to see root vegetables popping up in cocktails. We use that as our framework and then we see what we can use to create a balanced menu that will get people excited at Dante. 

What are some of your go-to spots downtown for a cocktail during winter; what makes each notable and what do you order there?

NY: I really like the Library bar. NoMad can get a bit crazy so I like the solace in there. It’s secluded and bit more refined, relaxed and not too busy. It’s a great place to have a glass of champagne, a martini, or a hot drink in the winter. I like The Irving, which I think doesn’t get enough praise. It’s a really nice bar just off Union Square—beautiful venue, stunning cocktails, great staff. It’s a nice place to get out of the cold and grab a comfortable lounge. And for something a bit more down-to-earth, I really like the Swift [Hibernian Lounge], which is an Irish pub on East 4th. It’s a good place to sit at the window, especially if it’s snowing and have a Guinness or a nip of whiskey. I love going there and just chilling out.  

And how about further afield in Brooklyn—do you have a go-to spot? 

NY: I like the Grand Army, it’s a great neighborhood bar. They’ve got an open fire and a really interesting beer and wine list. They do great bar food, nice cocktails. I also like the Long Island Bar over on Atlantic. They do some great classic cocktails—it’s a nice place to have a Manhattan or an Old Fashion, and is manned by some of the great bartenders of the city. 

Naren Young’s Calypso Coffee 

1oz. Appleton

½ oz. Frangelico

½ oz. honey

3 dashes spice tincture

Preheat a toddy glass with hot water (discard)

Fill halfway with espresso coffee

Add ingredients and float vanilla cream on top

Garnish with grated cinnamon

WORDS Edwina Hagon 

PHOTOGRAPHY Steve Freihon 

You May Also Like

No Shame in Uggs: André Leon Talley on NY Fashion

No Shame in Uggs: André Leon Talley on NY Fashion

art & design
fashion
film
stories
From the archive: The celebrated fashion landmark on the inclusivity of NY style, his friendship with Anna Wintour, and the cultural draw of Harlem. 
Graham Fortgang Julian Kahlon Our House TV Broadcast Covid-19 Artists Performance

Everyone is Welcome in [Our House]

art & design
stories
We catch up with the founders of the 24/7 digital channel to talk creative expression, building the platform in a week, and the festival to mark on your calendar. 
Keegan Sanford New York illustrator art director T-shirt covid-19 robin hood relief fund

We Are New York: In Conversation with Keegan Sanford

art & design
stories
The senior art director and illustrator on the power of words, the T-shirt he created to make a difference, daily rituals and more.
Debi Mazar New York Actress Interview Richard Boch Covid GrandLife

New York Stories: Debi Mazar talks to Richard Boch

bars & nightlife
film
stories
The actress and Queens native on her early years in the city, working underage at the Mudd Club, meeting Madonna in an elevator, and her hopes for New York post-Covid.
Sarah Bassett Interview Creative Director Adidas Originals We Are New York

We Are New York: In Conversation with Sarah Bassett

art & design
stories
The creative director on supporting the people who showed us how to see the world differently, her newfound domesticity, and some words to live by.
Emmett Burke Emmett's Pizza Soho New York Chicago Deep-dish pizza

We are New York: In Conversation with Emmett Burke

food & drink
stories
The Chicago-style pizza purveyor on sustaining the community, feeding those on the front line, and the music, books, and shows he’s turning to for inspiration and positive vibes.
Remy Holwick Meal-Sharing COVID-19 artist photographer director interview New York

We Are New York: In Conversation with Remy Holwick

art & design
stories
The artist and activist on her meal-sharing initiative, making space for creative projects, and the 47-hour playlist everyone should listen to.
Craig Robinson Brooklyn Tailor Interview Masks COVID-19 Crisis pandemic

We Are New York: In Conversation with Craig Robinson

fashion
stories
For the second in our series of interviews with local vanguards, we talk with the master tailor about his mask-making initiative, the best pizza crust recipe, and more.
Best Rate Promise
Soho Grand Hotel

310 West Broadway
New York, NY 10013

(212) 965-3000
The Roxy Hotel Tribeca

2 6th Avenue
New York, NY 10013

212.519.6600