Molasses and spice put the merry in this classic treat that’s had a starring role at Christmas as an all-too-often inedible house with shredded wheat-thatched roofs and gumdrop shrubs. It’s a holiday favorite, for sure, especially in New England. In recent years, gingerbread has gained respect all over the country — not just in desserts but martinis and ‘nogs, too. Check out these restaurants serving gingerbread cocktails and desserts that even the most traditional of gingerbread gentlemen and ladies would approve with frosted icing smiles.
Gracie’s, Providence, Rhode Island
Baby, it’s cold outside. High fives for the Hand Warmer, a hot gingerbread-inspired cocktail that’s made with Frangelico Art of the Age ‘Snap’, steamed cinnamon-honey milk, and chai bitters. [Photo by JWessel Photography]
3800 Ocean, Palm Beach, Florida
Fudge and gingerbread go together like Rudolph and Santa — sweet shout-outs to Christmas. The Gingerbread Fudge dessert from pastry chef Brittani Szczecin is a fantasy of white chocolate chips, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and pecans.
Bar 54, New York, New York
During the holidays, the highest rooftop bar in Manhattan serves a non-alcoholic Spiced Spritzer, a gingerbread mocktail combo of ginger, cinnabark syrup, lemon juice, cranberry relish, and old-fashioned bitters (glycerin-based and non-alcoholic). The icing on the cocktail: It’s garnished with candied ginger and a cinnamon stick.
Sbraga, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The Gingerbread Macaron is pastry chef Marquessa Gesualdi’s answer to “when a gingerbread house doesn’t want to sit at the kids table anymore.” It’s made with white chocolate, amaretto cream, lemon gum drops, nutmeg dulce de leche, and blood orange curd — and it behaves quite nicely if you’re seated at the chef’s counter, too.
Level 25 at Atrio, Miami, Florida
Sip a Gingerbread Martini (Boodles Gin, simple syrup, Chambord and Canton Ginger Liqueur) in the hotel’s signature bar—views of Miami and Biscayne Bay sweeten the deal. You can also order the festive martini in the Atrio restaurant here.
Aura, Victoria, British Columbia
Gingerbread gets a wink with both a cocktail and dessert at think-outside-the-box Aura restaurant. The 4G cocktail features Ginger of the Indies, Spiced Rum, Ginger Beer, Gingerbread Syrup, and a Ginger Cookie Rim, served in a martini glass.
The Gingerbread Ice Cream Bar features gingerbread ice cream, soft chewy chocolate molasses cookie, cranberry and mandarin fluid gel (an intensely flavored reduction of these fruits that are made into gel), sea cider caramel (traditional caramel sauce made with cider replacing some of the water and then reduced down to a soft, apple-and-caramelized sugar), and caramelized white chocolate cream.
Ye Olde Union Oyster House, Boston, Massachusetts
Paul Revere slurped oysters at what is today one’s of America’s oldest restaurants, and it’s a good bet he also dug into a slice of gingerbread here, too. Housemade gingerbread graces the menu year-round, but we all know it tastes extra good this time of year. If Revere and the other Sons of Liberty visited today, they’d have the oysters and the gingerbread — and toast Samuel Adams with a Sam Adams.
The Orange Squirrel, Bloomfield, New Jersey
Remember the childhood classic dessert “dirt”? Chef Francesco Palmieri’s wife, Elaine, creates a unique layered parfait each month that comes in a flight of three flavors. December is gingerbread month, and she serves a flight made of buttercream mousse and gingerbread crumbs. In other words, dirt for adults.
Eastern Standard, Boston, Massachusetts
Think fresh batch of homemade gingerbread cookies in a glass. The Bourbon & Spice cocktail is made from Larceny bourbon infused with cinnamon, cardamom, lemon and ginger beer. It’s spicy and savory — just like its Kenmore Square location. [Photo by the Bearwalk]
Chops Steakhouse, Fajardo, Puerto Rico
The Gingerbread Delight cocktail at this modern steakhouse in the El Conquistador, a Waldorf Astoria resort, stars gingerbread syrup with a supporting cast of Sky Vodka, Baileys, and Kahlua along with a crushed gingerbread cookie rim. The gingerbread Gods are giggling — and so will you.
Laurie Bain Wilson is a Boston-based journalist, author, and essayist who writes often about travel, food, and baseball. Find her on Twitter @laurieheather.