While we may not have blizzards and sub-zero wind chills here in San Diego, lower temps and chilly breezes off of the Pacific waters do cause a sun-loving local to have the shivers.
Whether you are pulling on a Patagonia pullover or wrapping up in a plaid blanket scarf, the operative word becomes “cozy.” And what better way to stave off the chillbumps than with a locally crafted hot cocktail?
PACIFIC sought out the coziest concoctions from hot toddies and coffee cocktails to hot chocolate and buttered rum to warm both your heart and your fingers and toes.
For anyone wanting to test their cocktail-making chops, try the Build Your Own Hot Toddy for a warm winter delight. Guests select one item out of each of three categories: spirit, sweetener, and citrus/fruit. To take the drink to the next level, choose from Elijah Craig Bourbon, 1776 Rye Whiskey, El Dorado 8YR Rum, and Del Maguey Vida Mezcal. Sweeten the pot with either pecan wood smoked maple syrup, Giffard Peach, or pure local honey. Then finish off the masterpiece with a citrus/fruit including lemon, lime, pineapple and grapefruit.
4622 Park Blvd., University Heights, 619.269.6566, madisononpark.com
Head to Balboa Park during the winter months for smaller crowds and cozy trips to the museums. Finish the day off with The Prado’s own Campfire Hot Chocolate, crafted with Patron XO, Los Javis mezcal, and spicy hot chocolate. You’ll want to snuggle up in their bar all afternoon.
1549 El Prado, Balboa Park, 619.557.9441, cohnrestaurants.com/theprado
Bartender Stephen Kurpinsky takes it old school with the Hundred Proof Hot Toddy with good ol’ Wild Turkey, ginger, honey, lime and black tea.
4130 Park Blvd., University Heights, 619.501.6404, hundredproofsd.com
Jeune et Jolie
Take on the winter New Orleans-style with the Café Brûlot, which involves the act of pouring coffee into a preheated bowl with brandy, orange liqueur, a clove-studded orange peel, cinnamon, sugar and lemon zest.
2659 State St., Carlsbad, 760.637.5266, jeune-jolie.com
Death By Tequila
For a caffeinated shot to the system (and possibly the arteries), try the Mexican Bullet Coffee, a traditional Mexicali recipe with coffee, salt, butter and agave whirled together in a blender until frothy, then dosed with a shot of reposado tequila. So the question is, which is the bullet, the tequila or the butter?
569 S. Coast Hwy. 101, Encinitas, 760.782.2240, deathbytequila.com
For a twist on the traditional Irish coffee, take on the No Guts No Glory with courage. This cocktail is crafted with bourbon, house cold-smoked demerara sugar, Steady State coffee, and hand shaken cream.
2725 State St., Carlsbad, 760.637.5121, thisiscampfire.com
Charles + Dinorah
Bar Manager TJ Majeske keeps his grandmother’s recipe top secret with his Norwegian hot buttered rum. Served in a mug, it’s a nod to traditions and the comfort of family and friends.
1410 Rosecrans St., Point Loma, 619.226.6100, thepearlsd.com/dining
Provisional Kitchen at Pendry San Diego
For those who love all things hazelnut (yes, I’m looking at you Nutella fanatics), stop into the Pendry for a warm Caffe Nocciole, made with hot coffee, toasted hazelnut syrup and Frangelico liqueur. If you work downtown, this makes for a perfect cold afternoon pick me up.
425 Fifth Ave., downtown, 619.738.7300, pendryhotels.com/san-diego/dining/provisional
Veranda Fireside Lounge & Restaurant
Golf fans will enjoy grabbing a Chip Shot coffee cocktail at the Rancho Bernardo Inn after a round. No fancy-schmanzy ingredients here, just hot coffee, Bailey’s and Tuaca topped with whipped cream.
17550 Bernardo Oaks Dr., Rancho Bernardo, 888.281.7938, ranchobernardoinn.com/dine/veranda-fireside-lounge
Warming up the traditional winter drink with a Sicilian twist, this ocean-view restaurant serves up an Italian Egg Nog. Using chai-infused vodka, Averna (the first and only amaro from Sicily), cinnamon syrup, orange bitters, a whole egg, and topped with grated nutmeg, it’s a beautiful wintry way to look out over the Pacific.
7863 Girard Ave. #301, La Jolla, 858.551.5105, cataniasd.com