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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Cold Comfort: S.F.'s Best Holiday Cocktails

Posted By on Thu, Dec 23, 2010 at 1:36 PM

Hot drinks ― especially the ones on SFoodie's list for the Heat Misers of the world ― are excellent during the holidays, but you can't celebrate on hot drinks alone. Behold our guide to cold-weather cocktails for San Francisco's Snow Misers:


The king of cold holiday cocktails.

click to enlarge Elixir's seasons-spanning Kentucky Pilgrim, a spiced bourbon drink.
  • Elixir's seasons-spanning Kentucky Pilgrim, a spiced bourbon drink.
The crew at Heaven's Dog is creating a decadent version to order using a whole egg, milk, cream, sugar, nutmeg, Armagnac, and navy strength Jamaican rum. Frothy and spiced, it's a glass of cheer.

Pumpkin cocktails

You can't drink the 'nog all night (trust us, the hangover is gruesome), but pumpkin cocktails make for lighter and equally zesty drinks aimed directly at your pie hole. The Alembic is featuring Pumpkin v.3.14 ― raw pumpkin juice mixed with saba (grape syrup), walnut liqueur, and freshly grated nutmeg. Over at the Burritt Room, the gourds are working in the Great Pumpkin fizz: aged rum, velvet falernum, cream, maple, pumpkin butter, bitters, and nutmeg. Not to be left behind, Seasons Bar in the Four Seasons has a tasty pumpkin martini made with spiced pumpkin mix, brandy, cream, and Frangelico.


Orson is proving that chocolate drinks don't have to be hot with the Ancho Villa, an energizing blend of reposado tequila, espresso, ancho chile-chocolate syrup, fortified cream, and cayenne that makes Montezuma's 50-cups-a-day diet seem reasonable.

Other cold-weather coolers

Not all great holiday drinks follow tradition. At Beretta they're putting a holiday twist on the Pisco Sour by infusing quince into pisco brandy, then topping it with aged bitters to create the splendid Membrillo Sour. Rickhouse's Wall Street cocktail, part of the new winter menu, mixes up bourbon with walnut liqueur, allspice, molé bitters, and sweet vermouth that fits like a cozy blanket. Elixir's Kentucky Pilgrim ($10) transitions smoothly from Thanksgiving to Christmas with a cinnamon-cardamom kick. Bourbon with cardamom, cinnamon, and dried cranberry mingle with maraschino, lemon, and demerara syrup to thaw December's chill.

Lou Bustamante tweets at @thevillagedrunk. Follow SFoodie at @sfoodie.

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