Tonight households all over America will be descended upon by legions of children in costumes demanding treats … or else. In Mexico, Hallowed Eve takes on a different character. The date there is part of the celebration known as Día de Los Muertos, or “Day of the Dead,” which lasts a full month, beginning on Oct. 4 and culminating on Nov. 6. The day is set aside for remembering the departed, but it’s also a celebration of life, mediated — as are so many such customs around the globe — through food and drink.
Happily, you don’t need to travel far to take part in a Day of the Dead celebration. Here are a few possibilities right here in your own backyard.
Richard Sandoval’s Upper East Side restaurant Maya is hosting a DoD bash that includes festive drinks (the Passion Fruit & Aloe Santo combines Patrón silver tequila, Chareau Aloe liqueur, absinthe, lime, and passion fruit) and spirited food (the Mole Coloradito Enchiladas are stuffed with pork picadillo, plantains, almonds, onions, and radishes, the savory bundles drizzled with crema fresca and chili oil, sprinkled with fresh chopped cilantro). Maya, 1191 First Avenue (bet. 64th and 65th Sts.), 212-585-1818.
On Nov. 1 from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., La Barca Cantina, New York City’s only floating Mexican restaurant and bar, will fête the Day of the Dead with a holiday-themed cruise on the Hudson. Festivities will include traditional Mexican dance performances and traditional sugar skull face paintings. For your sipping pleasure, Day of the Dead-themed cocktails will be offered along with Mexican-inspired bites. Tickets for the cruise, begin at $25. La Barca Cantina, Pier 81, West 41st Street (at 12th Ave).
Back on dry land, The Garret Coctelería in Nolita, will help get you in the DoD spirit with gravestone cutouts on the walls and sculpted gravestones and hanging marigolds on the ceiling. (Marigolds are known in Mexico as “flowers of the dead” — flor de muerto). Special holiday cocktails include Certified Sad Boy (Reposado Tequila, pineapple, tamarind, and hibiscus) and Weeping In Queens (white rum, orange bell pepper, pumpkin, and five spice). The food includes assorted tacos, including a Taco Tower ($70) designed to feed 4 to 5 and consisting of tacos, shrimp ceviche, tuna tartar, chips and guacamole, and hot sauces. The Garret Coctelería, 349 Broome Street (bet. Elizabeth St and Bowery), 917-398-3044.
Raise a glass to the dearly departed at Darling Rooftop, on the 47th floor of the Park Lane New York Hotel on Central Park South. The restaurant and bar will ply celebrants with specialty mezcal cocktails while they chow down on Mexican cuisine. The website promises “surprise entertainment throughout the evening.” The celebration begins at 7 p.m. on Nov. 1. Tickets, which can be purchased here, are $45.92 per person. Darling Rooftop, 36 Central Park South, 212-371-4000.
Madeline Price contributed to this report.