by Kelly Wardle - 21 Reviews - 17 List
Crowded stores. Whirlwind parties. Travel plans that include getting up-close-and-personal with TSA agents. This time of year is stressful, but that doesn't mean you can't slow down and get in the holiday spirits (by which we mean drinks, of course). It's easy to feel festive at these L.A. bars and restaurants that are shaking up delicious holiday cocktails, from a minty-cool Candy Cane Martini at Rush Street to belly-warming hot buttered rum at Little Dom's. (Photo: The Four Seasons? White Christmas cocktail.)
Updated: January 07, 2011
Deck the halls with a handful of $5 holiday drinks from the London's After Five menu (available in the bar 5pm-7pm Monday-Friday), including the Hot Apple Punch (fresh-pressed apple essence with Xante Cognac liqueur and cinnamon), Jingle Bell Martini (Absolut vodka, Godiva, Baileys and Kaluha) and Pecan Pie Martini (Absolut Vanilla vodka, Frangelico, crushed toasted pecans). Or head to the roof and warm up with a fireside nightcap such as the Hot Buttered Apple Cider (apple cider, butter, Myers's light rum infused with cinnamon, apple and vanilla, $14) or Eggnog Hot Chocolate with bittersweet chocolate chips, eggnog, Kahlua Mocha, vanilla extract and whipped cream ($16).
Never mind sugar plums--you'll have visions of candy canes dancing in your head after sipping Rush Street's Candy Cane Martini ($12). The minty drink is made with Absolut Vanilla vodka, peppermint schnapps and Godiva white chocolate liqueur, a dollop of whipped cream, chocolate-syrup rim and mini candy cane.
Dreaming of a white Christmas? You'll find one at Windows Lounge at the Four Seasons Beverly Hills, where the White Christmas cocktail is made with Godiva white chocolate liqueur, Stoli vanilla vodka, Amaretto Disaronno and egg whites, with nutmeg and chocolate on top. At $18 it's a pricey drink, but treat yourself and take in the hotel's gorgeous holiday decorations as you sip.
Silver Lake's charming Italian eatery gets in the holiday spirit with the hot buttered rum (house-made vanilla gelato fortified with extra-creamy butter, Myers's dark rum, cinnamon, nutmeg and spices, served piping hot, $11); the Port Flip (Graham's 10-year port, whole whipped egg and shaved nutmeg, $10); and the Mezcal Old Fashioned (cardamom bitters, raw sugar and aged mezcal, $14).
Sip like the Brits with the Bloody Holiday cocktail ($10) at Culver City gastropub Waterloo & City. The festive drink is made with fresh cranberry puree, spiced black tea syrup (coriander, clover, cardamom, orange zest, fennel and cinnamon), Gosling's Black Seal rum and a ginger beer float, served in a rocks glass and garnished with a bay leaf.
Have a holly, jolly Christmas with the Downtown L.A. steakhouse's Spiced Apple Cider, made with Smirnoff vodka, Calvados apple brandy, pressed red apple juice, lime juice and simple syrup served in a martini glass with a red apple slice. Or try the warming Bourbon Nog, made with Old Crow Bourbon, house-made eggnog and a choice of cinnamon or vanilla bean simple syrup, shaken with ice and strained into a glass with shaved nutmeg on top (both drinks $6 at the bar during happy hour, $9 in the dining room).
Want to warm up after taking a spin on the ice-skating rink at L.A. Live? Try one of LA Market's $10 holiday cocktails, like the Holly Berry cocktail made with vanilla vodka, creme de menthe and peppermint schnapps garnished with a mint candy cane. Or feel your heart grow three sizes larger with the green-hued The Grinch (Midori and lemon juice garnished with a maraschino cherry).
Toast the season with hot or chilled buttered rum drinks ($10 each) at the Grill--the hot version is made with dark rum, hot water, brown sugar and a spiced rum butter float on top with a cinnamon stick garnish; the chilled version has dark rum and brown sugar cinnamon syrup and is garnished with butter rum foam (egg whites, melted butter, lemon juice and heavy cream whipped in a chilled bowl).
Is there anything better when it's cold outside than a steaming mug of hot cocoa? Yes--a steaming cup of hot cocoa with alcohol in it! Taste's ?Naughty But Nice? menu (available at the Melrose and Pacific Palisades locations) puts the Ho-Ho-Ho in hot chocolate with six ?Naughty? selections ($8.50), like the Mocha made with Godiva chocolate liqueur and Baileys Irish Cream Coffee, garnished with a dark chocolate wafer and Chantilly cream, and the Cinnamon with cinnamon schnapps, garnished with a cinnamon cookie and whipped cream. For those who want to stay on Santa's good side, the ?Nice? menu ($4) offers four alcohol-free versions in flavors like mint and coffee.