Holiday cocktails to get you into the spirit
There’s nothing like a holiday cocktail to get you in the mood to celebrate, even in difficult years like this one. While we aren’t able to gather or travel like normal years, we can still find the holiday cheer in unexpected places, like local restaurants and their holiday offerings. So raise a glass and let’s toast to forgetting 2020.
Here’s a roundup of favorite holiday cocktail specials in San Diego. Please note, these specials have all been verified to be offered to-go, due to Covid-19 regulations.
Snooze, an A.M. Eatery, Hillcrest, Del Mar and La Jolla
The funky breakfast joint doesn’t disappoint when it comes to holiday cocktail offerings. Check out the Celebration Cider, made with hot mulled cider, white rum, Aperol and garnished with a lemon wheel; the Spiked Cocoa with Snooze hot chocolate, tequila, coffee liqueur, peppermint, vanilla, whipped cream and crushed candy canes; and the Cosmopolitan Mimosa with vodka, orange liqueur, cranberry juice, Snooze Sparkling and a lime wheel.
Civico by the Park, Bankers Hill
Civico by the Park is putting an Italian twist on holiday cocktails with its Cocktails di Natale special: four takeout cocktails are available with instructions and festive packaging. Offerings include the Espresso Martini, with Drake’s Organic vodka, Lucano Caffe Cordial, Aiello espresso, house-made vanilla bean syrup and cinnamon and nutmeg garnish; Christmas Negroni, with Hendricks Gin, Barathier’s 7 Alpine Herbs and Flowers, Giffard Cassis Noir de Bourgogne and a sprig of rosemary; Holiday in Manhattan, with Michter’s Single Barrel Kentucky Rye Whiskey, Luxardo Maraschino liqueur, Punt e Mes Aperitivo, black walnut bitters and a cherry garnish; and the Spiced Pear Spritz with Aperol, St. George’s Spiced Pear Liqueur, house made prosecco syrup and Yzaguirre Dry Vermouth, garnished with dried oranges. Cocktails are priced at $15 for two.
Mille Fleurs, Rancho Santa Fe and Mister A’s, Bankers Hill
Both classic spots are delivering a classic Christmas cocktail: the Burnt Orange Old Fashioned consists of house-bottled rye, charred orange and a duo of bitters. Serves four, $45.
Jeune et Jolie and Campfire, Carlsbad
These beloved North County spots are offering two holiday drinks to-go: Grizzly Folk, with bourbon, mulled cider, tamarind and lemon; and the Sangria, with red wine, Amontillado sherry, Cointreau, orange, lemon and cinnamon. $48, serves four.
Nolita Hall, Little Italy
The Little Italy hotspot’s seasonal cocktails take a playful spin with the Certify for Benefits, made with Blanco Tequila, Julian Apple Cider, blonde ale, ginger, lemon and cinnamon; the Russian Collusion, with Uncle Ed’s Damn Good Vodka, Tempus Fugit Creme de Cacao, hot cocoa, and Cafe Moto coffee garnished with mini-marshmallows; and the Melting Giuliani, with Butternut Squash Eggnog, rum and Malahat Spiced Rum. All are available in single ($10) and double ($16) sizes for online or walk-up to-go orders. The Melting Giuliani is available in a “for the house party” size of $45 for six servings.
You & Yours Distilling Co., East Village
Known for their inventive cocktails, the East Village mainstay is offering several holiday specials to-go: Merry & Bright, with London Dry Gin, hibiscus and peppermint tea, blood orange and mint; and Old Fashioned Christmas, with Provisional Gin, Old Tom Gin, cranberry, honey, orange, cinnamon sugar and a salt rim. Other specials are available in-house, depending on COVID-19 regulation enforcement.
Booze by Bear
Dedicated foodies will be well familiar with Cow by Bear, the “dinner party experience experiment” out of downtown San Diego wherein a gourmet meal is cooked by, well, a bear — Chef Bear, to be exact. This year, Chef Bear is releasing Booze by Bear, a holiday cocktail recipe book with 25 different recipes to be made at home. The 72-page book fits in the palm of your hand and contains recipes, full color photos and a few surprises along the way. $10.
Mr. Trustee Creamery, Mission Hills
The talented mixologists from Trust Restaurant Group are offering several seasonal sips out of their ice cream shop, Mr. Trustee Creamery, that can be enjoyed spiked or alcohol-free: Apple Cider spiked with Basil Hayden’s Dark Rye; Candy Cane Hot Chocolate spiked with Bailey’s; and Marshmallow Hot Chocolate, spiked with Maker’s Mark. $6 each.
Bub’s at the Beach, Pacific Beach
The classic PB spot is offering a Christmas coffee with a kick: the StarBub’s Latte, made with 8 Ball Chocolate Whiskey, café de oro, a RumChata float and a toasted coconut rim. $7.
Pacific Beach AleHouse, Pacific Beach
More offerings from Pacific Beach, where they definitely know how to get the party started: Clockwork Orange, which combines Ilegal Mezcal, orgeat, pistachio, lemon, orange juice and orange bitters, served on the rocks and garnished with a pistachio orange peel. $12.
Point Loma Fish Shop, Point Loma
This year’s gift from Point Loma Fish Shop? The Holiday Peanut Butter Old Fashioned, made with Skrewball Whiskey, Templeton Rye and a dash of bitters, with a cherry garnish.
Eureka!, SDSU and La Jolla
This year, Eureka! is rolling out the gingerbread dough for their perfectly crafted Gingerbread Man Old Fashioned, made with Old Overholt Rye Whiskey, house-made gingerbread syrup, Douglas Fir Liqueur, chocolate bitters, herbal bitters and garnished with a candied ginger. $30 for the Gingerbread Man Cocktail Kit, which serves four.
Polite Provisions, North Park
The uber popular North Park bar is shut down due to Covid regulations, but its Christmas cocktails are available for pick-up at Fortunate Son next door. Among the offerings: Christmapolitan, made with vodka, absinthe, cranberry, pomegranate, lime and orange zest; Don’t Be Such a Grinch, with Islay Dry Gin, aquavit, genepy, Cocchi Americano, grapefruit cordial and lemon; Pineapple Upside Down Eggnog, with brown butter cognac, Pedro Ximenez Sherry, Madeira, roasted pineapple, cream and egg; Kris Kringle Slide, made with bourbon, bourbon cream, dates, coffee liqueur, cream and espresso dust; Coronado Luau Christmas Special, with white rum, Barbados rum, Demerara, Calvados, orange liqueur, spiced orgeat and lemon; Jingle Juice, Pear and Apple Blanco Tequila, gingerbread, apricot liqueur, lemon, sparkling wine, toasted pecan and sour cherry bitters; and Peppermint Butler Shot, Creme De Menthe, Creme De Cacao and cream. Cocktail prices range from $14 to $15; Jingle Juice is $50 (serves three or more) and shots are $10.
Madison on Park, University Heights
Make the season bright with Madison on Park’s holiday cocktail offerings, including the Carajillo, made with Licor 43, espresso and orange peel; and the Madison Old Fashioned with 1776 Rye Bourbon, pecan wood smoked maple syrup and cherry bark vanilla bitters.
J & Tony’s Discount Cured Meats And Negroni Warehouse, East Village
Definitely on the nice list? J & Tony’s Discount Cured Meats And Negroni Warehouse’s Hot Buttered Rum, made with a variety of spices including cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves, along with butter, molasses, brown sugar and vanilla extract. Also available is the Amaro Eggnog, served in 10 oz. cans. The Hot Buttered Rum is available in a mix to make at home and serves three to six people for $39.99 (a non-alcoholic version is also available for $21.99). The Amaro Eggnog cans serve two and are $14.99.
Greenfinch Holiday Pop-Up Bar at Estancia La Jolla, La Jolla
The Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa is going green with their Greenfinch Holiday Pop-Up Bar on Fridays and Saturdays in December. Enjoy festive creations like the Santa Smokes Cigars made with local distilled Malahat Rum, Amaro Nonino, Benedictine, drops of scotch spiced cranberry and mole bitters; the Mrs. Claus Cosmo, with You & Yours Vodka, Cointreau, cranberry sauce, agave and St. George Absinthe Verte; the I’m Dreaming of a White Negroni, made with Botanist Gin, Calvados brandy, Carpano Bianco, cinnamon and orange bitters; the Maui Christmas, made with Zaya Aged Rum, allspice dram, orgeat, pineapple, ginger beer, nutmeg and tiki bitters; the Oaxacan Around the Christmas Tree, made with Herradura Reposado, mezcal, cold brew, demerara, orange and mole bitters; the Kiss Under the Mistletoe, made with Buffalo Trace Bourbon, demerara, egg whites and mulled wine; and Walkin’ in a Whiskey Wonderdram, made with Woodford Reserve, allspice dram, cinnamon syrup and bitters. All cocktails are $16.
Putting an Italian spin on the holidays, Rusticucina’s specialty cocktail is the Holiday Martini, a cranberry martini with smoked rosemary ($12). They’ll also offer Sparkling House Rosé for $9 a glass and Three Pines, a California Cabernet for $10 a glass or $30 for the bottle.
What could be better than ice cream? How about boozy ice cream pints from this Gaslamp bar and restaurant? Their holiday series flavors include Nog N’ Balls, made with spiced rum eggnog and chocolate rum balls; the Randy Cane, made with Rumple Minze, Bailey’s and peppermint pretzels, Kisses and M&Ms; Santa’s Milk N’ Cookies, made with vanilla-infused Misadventure Vodka, holiday sugar cookies, chocolate chip and peanut butter cookies; the Pumpkin Spice Slut, made with cognac and pumpkin spice cookies, cake and pie; the Bourbon Pecan Pie, made with Maker’s Mark, salted caramel and pecan pie; the Chocolate Rye N’ Cherry Pie, made with High West Double Rye, chocolate and cherry pie chunks; and the Whiskey Apple Spice Cake, made with High West Double Rye, apple spice cake and salted caramel. Mini pints are $10; gift packs available for $50 and includes five mini pints and a bonus pint.
ReBru Spirits, Barrio Logan
The sustainable Barrio Logan distillery has the perfect gift for the whiskey lover in your life: they’ve unveiled a limited-edition holiday SweetCane Peppermint Whiskey, which is made from overstock and out-of-code craft beer. Pair this spirit with holiday treats for a taste of Christmas with a boozy kick. Available for local-pickup and online ordering. $25.
The Pendry San Diego’s chic eatery is pulling out all the stops for to-go holiday cocktails this year. Their lineup includes the Fallen Apple, made with Hennessey, apple brandy, Liquid Alchemist Apple Spice Syrup and lemon; the Cranberry Margarita with Azunia Blanco, agave, lime and cranberry juice; Mulled Wine with Ferrari Carano Merlot, orange, honey, ginger and assorted spices; Eggnog with Evan Williams Eggnog (ready to serve); Not Your Lady in Red, made with Absolut Elyx, Velvet Falernum, Shrub & Co’s Cranberry & Douglas Fir Shrub, ginger, lime, cranberry Red Bull and a cranberry on a lime wheel garnish; and the Winter Negroni with You & Yours Winter Gin, Cocchi di Torino and Campari with an orange peel garnish.
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