Movable Feast: Drink options for the miserable winter months.

Winter is no time for a margarita. That much we know. Pina Coladas aren’t great February fare either, and Corona, we’re quite certain, is not suitable for drinking when the temperature is sub-freezing.

But what exactly should you be drinking during these miserable winter months? That’s what we decided to find out.

And, surprisingly, from chocolatey thick winter brews to piping hot cider drinks, we found plenty of winter drink options right here in University City. Maybe this quick guide will tide you over until spring which is, by the way, only 38 days away.

Weyerbacher Winter Ale
White Dog Café, 3420 Sansom Street, 215-386-9224

It seems the beer market is overflowing with supposed “winter brews,”and sometimes its hard to tell exactly what makes any of these concoctions at all wintry. That’s not the case with Weyerbacher’s Winter Ale, a dark, chocolatey brew that is hefty without being heavy, and incredibly tasty. Coffee, hops and chocolate are the predominant flavors in this beer, produced by the brewing masters at Easton, Pa.’s Weyerbacher brewery. At 6.1 percent alcohol by volume, it’s no lightweight.

Caramel apple martini
MarBar, 40th and Walnut streets, 215-222-0800

We admit, the recent trend of flavoring martinis with everything from bananas to hazelnuts sometimes seems excessive. After all, do you really want an alcohol-laden concoction that tastes like the cotton candy you ate when you were a kid? In a word—yes. You might especially want to hop on the bandwagon to try MarBar’s $7 caramel apple martini, a combination of vodka, Buttershots and sour apple liqueur topped off with a cherry. It’s served in a traditional martini glass, a grown-up touch that almost offsets the fact that you’re drinking a lip-smackingly sweet beverage. MarBar’s list of flavored martinis also includes Almond Joy—a mixture of vodka, hazelnuts, crème de cacao and coconut syrup. Or, if drinking’s not your bag, swing by on a Tuesday night for the bar’s “Eastern Lounge,” featuring “the ancient pleasure of hookah pipes.”

Guinness drinks
New Deck Tavern, 3408 Sansom Street, 215-386-4600

Nothing quite says “winter” like a perfectly poured pint of Guinness, the one-of-a-kind stout from Ireland. But while some folks can’t get enough of the uniquely robust Guinness experience, others find the stout a tad too, well, thick. Those in the latter group may want to stop by the New Deck Tavern, where authentically Irish bartenders (who actually use words like “laddy”) not only pour a proper Guinness pint, but also offer a variety of Guinness-based drinks thinned out with other spirits—perfect for those who enjoy the stout’s taste but are put off by its denseness. The Half-And-Half is a half pint of Guinness topped off with Smithwick’s Ale, a fine beer in its own right, while the Black-And-Tan pairs Guinness with the always impressive Harp lager. Another unique option is the Black Velvet, which combines the chocolate-and-molasses taste of Guinness with the powerful kick of Strongbow Cider.

Originally published on February 10, 2005