There's nothing like opening your iPhone temperature app and seeing Chicago at 1 degree while you are sipping iced tea in the 65-degree sunshine at a cafe. Living in San Diego has it perks. But even our balmy paradise has chilly sweater and scarf evenings. Nothing a cozy hot cocktail won't fix, and our top watering holes and mixologists are conjuring up delights to keep us warm and toasty until the sunshine hits the horizon. Here are some can't miss concoctions around town:
Hake Kitchen & Bar: If you love Earl Grey tea like me, the Te Para Julio from Beverage Curator Joan Villanueva is your ticket. Fragrant all the way to the orange peel garnish, this cocktail is made with the famous bergamot-scented tea, Pimm's, Don Julio Blanco tequila, lemon juice and honey syrup. Definitely not your grandma's tea. Unless your grandma liked a punch in the teapot.
Saltbox: The name alone, Whipped Frenchie, makes one think all kinds of sordid thoughts. This tongue-in-cheek cocktail, from bartender Vivian Darling (what a fabulous burlesque name) blends Grand Marnier, Cointreau and Baileys with coffee, and then is topped with house-made Frangelico whipped cream. Decadence, anyone?
Cucina Urbana: This hotspot also makes a hot libation called Spiced Mittens, with bourbon, mulled spices (cinnamon, orange peel, star anise, allspice, clove and almond), honey and lemon. Making me think of edible gloves, the Spiced Mittens is classic and warming, the definition of a comfort cocktail.
Altitude Sky Lounge: Like to give your coffee a happy heated kick? Try the Hot n' Spicy atop the Marriott Gaslamp, made with chili chocolate-infused tequila, Baileys Irish Cream, coffee and topped with fresh chocolate shavings.
Cusp Dining & Drinks: Want your cocktail straight and simple with a beach view? Head over to Cusp atop La Jolla Hotel for a hot toddy or Irish coffee. The toddy is no-frills traditional with Buffalo Trace bourbon, honey and lemon. Cozy up on plush seating and enjoy sweeping vistas of the Pacific. Not a bad way to spend a cool evening.
My top pick: From the Sycamore Den, Den's Milk by Eric Johnson
1.5 ounce bourbon
.25 ounce cinnamon syrup
.25 ounce cream
Add first four ingredients to a cocktail shaker and shake with no ice. Pour into a mug. Top with hot chocolate, whipped cream and grated nutmeg.
Enjoy these toasty cocktails now, spring is just around the corner. Cheers!
With 15 years in the restaurant and beverage industry and more than 700 reviews under her belt, Laurie Delk is a one-stop guide to all things craft beer, wine and spirits. You can follow Delk on Twitter @100beers30days or Instagram @sandiegobeer. Send ideas for featured drinks to email@example.com.