‘Tis the season when bars roll out their holiday menus full of seasonal cocktails that can be sugary, likely watered down, and too often unnaturally red or green in color. They’re on the menu to add cheer of course, but like a bad present from that certain aunt, it isn’t something that anybody particularly looks forward to.
A holiday cocktail should be a delightful surprise. It should be so good that when you tell a friend about it you have essentially gifted them with the knowledge of where to find a great drink. After all, they do say giving is better than receiving but in the case of these very seasonal concoctions, receiving is pretty good, indeed. Here are some holiday drinks to spread the cheer and make you just a little more merry this holiday season.
As for nogs and toddies, we assume you already know where to go.
Because Drinks are Better than Paper Chains
Rob Roy is a veritable one-stop shop for seasonal cocktails. The ever-popular advent calendar is back with 24 cheery choices, most of which are available after their release date and through the end of the month. The holiday enthusiast can even receive gift cards for drinking through 12 or all 24 of the choices. The menu is a mix of light, buck, and spritz style drinks, rather than heavier nogs or cocoas. The calendar culminates with the Chartreuse Blazer for the fourth year in a row; owner Anu Apte tells us “There is nothing like fire and a spirit distilled by monks to get you in the holiday mood!”
Mulled Wine Done Right
It wouldn’t be the holidays without mulled wine and where better to get it than at a wine bar located above a winery. At Bottlehouse, owner and sommelier Henri Schock’s recipe is based on his philosophy of keeping things classic. It's made in large batches every two days using a Bordeaux blend from the downstairs Wilridge Winery. Also on the holiday menu is a sherry shrub cocktail available on tap, it’s a mix of Spanish fino sherry and a stone fruit shrub accented with the flavor of sage.
A Hot, Buttered Tropical Getaway
If you like your holiday cocktails in a bar with a decidedly Caribbean feel, well then head to Rumba where the Hot Buttered Rum consists of housemade spiced ice cream mixed with butter, sugar, and the bar’s own tiki rum blend. Also available is a mulled rum cider with apples freshly pressed in house.
In the Mood to do the Waltz?
At Hot Cakes you can drink hot chocolate year round, and there’s always the option of spiking it with scotch and solerno. But what we are looking forward to this season is the Matilda, a cocktail made with mezcal, cinnamon, vanilla, and Rachel’s Ginger Beer. Also on the menu is hot drinking caramel and a special smokey s’mores hot chocolate, not to mention this muggle’s favorite beverage—Butterbeer.
Easier to Drink than a Wreath
Pioneer Square’s Good Bar has a cocktail that's inspired by a wreath but tastes a lot better: the Whiskey Smash. Bartender Adam Kachman says it basically looks like a Christmas tree, perhaps that is due to its powdered sugar dusting and mix of cranberry and mint flavors over a rye whiskey base.
The Best Deal in Town
If holiday cheer and a great tune to go with it is more your speed, well then Vito’s has you covered. Sip a Vov, a Venetian-inspired concoction made with rhum agricole, dry Marsala, egg yolks, milk, vanilla, and spices while a lounge act croones those holiday standards nearby. It's only $6. Also on the menu, but only for the week of Christmas, the popular Tom and Jerry, a rich blend of cognac, rum based batter, and warm milk.
And what would Christmas be without punch? The answer is of course less fun. So we suggest marking your calendars for this Thursday December 11 when Liberty hosts the Seattle chapter of the Gin Society in conjunction with the Rum Collective for the fourth annual Holiday Punch Competition. Drinks will be ladled out while toys are gathered for a good cause at this soiree for punch enthusiasts of both the gin and rum variety.