The holiday season means carols and cookies, all the festivities, and, if you're so inclined, plenty of cocktails. And while there's nothing wrong with the classic eggnog and mulled wine, bars and restaurants across the country are getting much more creative with their drinks.
Here are a few favorites of ours from across the nation: from Santa-inspired cocktails to warming "Cuba in Christmas" libations.
Some are holiday drinks are as festive as you can imagine, like the brilliantly named "Dad Ate The Cookies" at San Diego’s BANKERS HILL BAR + Restaurant -- with rye, lemon juice, almond orgeat and fruity cassis, with whipped cream and cookie crumbles. The "Jingle Bell Julep" from the at the Willard InterContinental in Washington, D.C., brings together classic Maker's Mark bourbon and mint, but with fruity notes of orange and raspberry.
Looking for something even more sophisticated? "The Mistletoe" at Wm. Mulherin's Sons, in Philadelphia, PA, is an elegant concoction of Pineau des Charantes, rye, VSOP cognac and Luxardo Amaro Abano -- with a showstopping edible "Mistletoe" garnish of orange, cherry, and mint.
A bit lighter and more refreshing, "Sweater Weather" from The Fat Radish, in New York, brings together blended Scotch, grapefruit and lime, and plenty of mint.
Down in Asheville, NC, the "Brown Butter & Clove" at the restaurant Rhubarb is rich and irresistible, with brown butter-washed bourbon and a spiced clove syrup. (Best served by the fire." And at Havana 1920, in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter, it's a Cuban Christmas, with the "Buena Noche": warm flavors of rum and spice mixing together with Havana Club Anejo rum, caramelized plantain purée, lime, sugar cane, and aromatic bitters.
[Photo: Havana 1920]