Winter Cocktails Liven Up Holiday Spirits

40Days_byLouBustamante.jpg
Lou Bustamante
Holiday happiness in the 40 Days cocktail at Wo Hing
With plenty of innovative takes on spiced winter flavors, traditional classics, and celebrations of local seasonal produce, San Francisco bars have the winter cocktails to help you make the most out of what's left of the holidays. Here's some suggestions:

Eggnog is the most familiar and classic of winter drinks, but conventional doesn't have to mean heavy or boring. The Moss Room is serving the Puerto Rican variation made with coconut cream and coconut milk called a Coquito (which translates from Spanish to "little coconut"), based on general manager Rafael Jimenez Rivera's grandfather's recipe. Rickhouse, meanwhile, takes a trip to Mexico with the Feliz Navinog ($10, reposado tequila, horchata, agave, egg white, bitters) that keeps the thick texture, but takes away the heaviness of the drink.

Nothing thaws out the winter chill like a hot cocktail, especially when there's fire involved like in the Hotsy Totsy ($9, Wrey & Nephew Overproof Rum, Fundador Brandy, honey syrup, lemon juice, hot water, toasted winter spices) at the namesake bar in Albany (CA), where flaming rum is used to caramelize a sugar rim and toast the spices. 

Elixir features a nod to the traditional with a Tom & Jerry ($10), a frothy, house-made batter of eggs, sugar, nutmeg, vanilla, Zaya 12 Yr Rum, and Cognac Ferrand Ambre, stirred with hot milk and served with a stirring spoon that warms and relaxes. Slanted Door is also staying classic with a Hot Buttered Rhum Cider ($11, Barbancourt 8 year Rhum, fresh pressed apple juice, Strauss butter, winter spices), while Heaven's Dog changes things up with mezcal and bacon in the Hot Buttered Fuzz ($10, Del Maguey Vida Mezcal, house made Fuji apple cider, bacon-maple-sugar-butter). 

Dosa isn't shy with the spices in the Port of Call ($10, rum, grappa, cinnamon-infused honey, allspice dram, green cardamom tincture, lemon, star anise) designed to drink like a trip around the world.

Cold drinks can be festive, too, like Rye's Winter's Winter ($11, St. George Botanivore Gin, pear liqueur, Cocchi Americano, yellow chartreuse, cardamom bitters) served with lemon, sage, and pear frozen inside a large ice cube. The Winter Flip ($12, cinnamon-infused quebranta pisco, unfiltered apple juice, lemon, sugar, whole egg) at the Starlight Room is a holiday dancing icebreaker. At Wo Hing, the cup of cheer comes as 40 Days (aged rum, aquavit, orange, lemon, gum syrup, egg white, star anise), but also in the Napoleon's Vice, a recipe we featured here. If you're in the mood to roll your own (dreidel, that is) the guys over at Sipping Seder have created a Hanukkah cocktail called the Maca-bee garnished with a flamed lemon peel to light things up on the Festival of Lights.

Lou Bustamante tweets at @thevillagedrunk. Follow SFoodie at @sfoodie, and like us on Facebook.

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