There is perhaps no better season to imbibe than the Hanukkah/Christmas/New Year’s season. Between battling with fellow shoppers for the perfect electronic to in-laws that would make a saint guzzle, this time of year is a stress-fueled rollercoaster.
The good news is San Diego bartenders have relief on the way with a variety of holiday-themed cocktails to take the edge off. So dust off your Santa hat and ugly sweater and go quaffing with these holiday delights.
Duck Dive, Pacific Beach
Mixing up two perfectly monikered cocktails, the P.B. locale presents all of the favorite flavors of the holidays with Buddy the Elf and The Naughty List. Buddy isn’t just any milkshake made with vanilla ice cream, this one contains Nocino (an Italian walnut liqueur), Absolut Vanilla, gingerbread, cinnamon and toasted marshmallow. The Naughty List, a twist on an old fashioned, is crafted with Woodford Rye, chocolate bitters, orange brown sugar rosemary syrup, and garnished with singed rosemary and orange chocolate wedges. Don’t forget to stop by the Crystal Pier Christmas tree and shoot a few selfies before heading home.
4650 Mission Blvd., 858.273.3825, theduckdive.com
Tidal, Mission Bay
Combining two of the most popular drinks on the market, bourbon and prosecco, the Let’s Jingle cocktail rings all the right bells. Lounge by the fire pits on the outdoor patio and sip on this holiday mix of Larceny bourbon, allspice liqueur, cranberry ginger, infused honey syrup, fresh lemon and prosecco.
1404 Vacation Rd., 858.490.6363, paradisepoint.com
JSix, East Village
Get in on the 25 Days of JSixmas, a holiday-themed event with specialty cocktails, appetizers, festive music, and a photo wall for Insta shots and Snapchat stories. Don’t miss the Christmas in San Diego cocktail crafted with Henebery Whiskey, Malahat Spiced Rum, St. George Nola Coffee Liqueur, bartender’s house made Irish cream, apple clove cinnamon syrup and fresh nutmeg.
616 J St., 619.531.8744, jsixrestaurant.com
Grant Grill, downtown
Cozy up in the stylish lobby and enjoy a signature drink from the US Grant’s holiday-themed cocktail cart. Try the Rudolph the Red Nosed Cocktail crafted with gin, cranberry concentrate, holiday spice, walnut liquor and pine cone ice.
326 Broadway, 619.744.2077, grantgrill.com
Puesto, Seaport Village and La Jolla
Just in time to say Feliz Navidad, December’s margarita of the month is a cultural twist on the veteran Mai Tai cocktail. The Mexican Tiki Christmas is made with Casamigos añejo tequila, Bruxo No. 1 (an artisinal mezcal made from 100% Espadin agave), pepita orgeat, Pierre Ferrand dry curaçao and lime juice.
The Headquarters: 789 W Harbor Dr., 619.233.8880; and 1026 Wall St., 858.454.1260, eatpuesto.com
Veranda Fireside Lounge & Restaurant, Rancho Bernardo
Head up the road apiece and chill fireside with two festive cocktails to get the holiday spirit flowing. The Peppermint Pattie Martini combines peppermint schnapps and Godiva dark cocoa liqueur topped with a peppermint bite on the rim, while the Gingerbread Martini is a sweet after-dinner treat with vanilla vodka, Kahlua, Bailey's, housemade ginger sauce, topped with gingerbread cookie crumbles on the rim.
Rancho Bernardo Inn, 17550 Bernardo Oaks Dr., 888.993.1856 ranchobernardoinn.com