Holiday Cocktails in LA

Holiday Cocktails in LA

Oh, the holidays. Such a joyous time of year when we’re all reminded that it’s better to give than to receive and that family and friends are truly the most important part of life. But for all the beauty and spiritual significance of the season, the holidays can be a time of serious stress. (Pepper spray delirium at WalMart, what?!) So let’s all take a deep breath, remember the immortal words of Willy Wonka–“Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker”–and get our drink on. Here are 30 places for scrumptious holiday cocktails in Los Angeles and Orange County.

FREDDY SMALLS  Pine Bough CocktailPine Bough @ Freddy Smalls
This brand-new West LA gastropub has a cool NYC vibe and lots of holiday cheer with the Pine Bough created by David Fleisher (formerly of Seven Grand). Made with Scarlet Ibis rum, Stone Pine liqueur, cranberry juice and a dash of orange bitters, it’s shaken with ice and garnished with lemon peel and a sprig of rosemary for a Christmas touch. Price: $12

MB POST Charlie Brown Xmas Tree CocktailCharlie Brown’s X-Mas Tree @ MB Post
It wouldn’t be Christmas without Charlie Brown and now you can toast the poor sap at MB Post in Manhattan Beach with this off-menu cocktail. (Order it and you’ll seem really cool.) Barsol pisco, Douglas Fir Eau du Vie, egg white, chestnut honey and angostura bitters create a distinct taste that may have you pining for more. (Get it?) Oh, brother. Price: $12

CHAYA VENICE - Candy Cane MartiniCandy Cane Martini @ Chaya Brasserie
For a sweet and minty holiday cocktail, try the Candy Cane Martini at this brasserie right off the main shopping drag of Robertson. Made with Absolut Raspberry vodka, Godiva white chocolate liqueur, peppermint schnapps and half & half, the drink is served in a chilled martini glass rimmed with crushed candy canes. Price: $13

VILLAINS TAVERN - Cacophony CocktailThe Cacophony @ Villains Tavern
The malls, the parties, the traffic. The deafening noise of the holidays isn’t much of a treat, but Villains Tavern is doing its damndest to add a little relief with the Cacophony, a spicy-sweet symphony of Russels Rye, Cardamaro liqueur (made from cardoon, a relative of the artichoke!) honey, Swedish bitters and basil. Price: $12

OLIVERIO - The GravensteinThe Gravenstein @ Oliverio
It’s named after an apple native to Denmark, but the Gravenstein at Oliverio restaurant inside the ultra-chic Avalon Hotel is the sole creation of Ian Porter. A blend of Captain Morgan spiced rum, brandy and apple juice, the crisp cocktail is finished with a Myers’s Rum float and slice of apple. Price: $12

PELIGROSO Cranberry MargaritaPeligroso Cranberry Margarita @ Angels & Kings
Its name means danger, but the Peligroso Cranberry Margarita is a safe bet when it comes to tasty holiday cocktails. Served at Angels & Kings bar and lounge, the festive-looking margarita is made with smooth Peligroso silver tequila, Cointreau, fresh squeezed lime, cranberry juice and agave nectar. Price: $8

YXTA Rompope MartiniRompope Martini @ Yxta Cocina Mexicana
For a very feliz navidad, do yourself a favor and order the Rompope Martini at Yxta restaurant in Downtown LA. Made with Rompope (eggnog) vanilla liqueur, Bacardi rum, and a dash of Kahlua, the drink is served in a martini glass garnished with a cinnamon stick. It’s creamy, smooth and perfectly spicy. Price: $8

CITY TAVERN 7 Year Harvest7 Year Harvest @ City Tavern
For a clear, crisp sip of the season, you can’t go wrong with the 7-Year Harvest at City Tavern in Culver City. A combination of 7 year Flor de Cana rum, Mathilde Pear liqueur, lime juice, fig gastrique and a ginger beer float, the gorgeous drink is served in a bucket with a fig garnish. Price: $13

ROSA MEXICANO Eggless EggnogNieve en Inverno @ Rosa Mexicano
Eggnog without the eggs? Si! A new take on the traditional drink, Rosa Mexicano has crafted the Nieve en Inverno (Winter Snow), a combination of tequila, heavy cream and house-made almond syrup, which takes the place of eggs. Garnished with cinnamon and freshly grated dark chocolate, the drink is full and rich without being too sweet. Price: $12

FLEMINGS Sparkling Star CocktailSparkling Star @ Fleming’s Steakhouse
If you enjoy a bright wintery chill you’ll love the Sparkling Star at Fleming’s made with Cointreau, chilled pomegranate juice and icy cold Chandon Etoile Brut garnished with curly lime twists. Available at Fleming’s locations in El Segundo, LA Live, Woodland Hills, Newport Beach and Rancho Cucamonga. Price: $10.95

THE RAYMOND Malted MuleMalted Mule @ 1886 Bar at The Raymond
Teaming up with the Raymond’s pastry chef Jeff Haines, 1886 bar mistress Lacey Murillo has created the Malted Mule with homemade gingersnap ice cream spiked with Lemon Hart 151, Mt. Gay Eclipse aged rum and homemade barley malt syrup topped with ginger ale. The concoction is finished with a little ice cream on the edge of the glass. Price: $14

25 DEGREES Redhead in BedRed Head in Bed @ 25 Degrees
Leave it to this 24-hour hangout at the Hollywood Roosevelt to add a little sass to the season. For the holidays, 25 Degrees has revived the original Red Head in Bed, a champagne cocktail made with Ketel Citroen, strawberry puree and lemon juice that’s shaken and garnished with a strawberry. Price: $14

HATFIELD'S Uncle Jerrys Log CabinUncle Jerry’s Log Cabin @ Hatfield’s

You might not have an uncle named Jerry, but the thought of a log cabin rustles up cozy holiday-ish thoughts, don’t you think? And so does this made-for-the-season cocktail at Hatfield’s on Melrose. Uncle Jerry’s Log Cabin is a bold mix of Earl grey-infused rye, Antica vermouth, lemon and maple. Price: $12

PALOMINO Espresso MartiniEspresso Martini @ Palomino
For a sweet and simple sip of the season, stop by this Westwood mainstay (it’s famous for its hopping happy hour scene) and order the Espresso Martini, a mix of Stoli Vanilla with a shot of dark roasted espresso, Kahlua and a float of Godiva chocolate liquor served up in a frosted martini glass. Price: $8

KITCHEN 24 Candy GurlCandy Gurl @ Kitchen 24
Gurrrl! Sweeten things up after a little shopping at Space 15 Twenty just up the street at this 24-hour eatery that happens to be the only restaurant in LA serving Hard Luck Candy vodka. A decidedly femme-friendly cocktail, Candy Gurl is made with Hard Luck Candy Orange Dream and fresh pineapple juice that’s topped with whipped cream. Price: $7

TASTING KITCHEN Beginner's LuckBeginner’s Luck @ The Tasting Kitchen
The market-driven bar at this Abbot Kinney spot is whipping up tasty seasonal cocktails like Beginner’s Luck. A take on the classic Hot Toddy from mixologist Justin Pike, the rye-based version features Becherovka herbal liqueur (Czech bitters with sweet clove essence), a dash of ginger, honey, allspice and an orange peel garnish. Price: $12

FIG & OLIVE Pear Blanche CocktailPear Blanche @ Fig & Olive
This Melrose Place hot spot is adding a subtly sweet touch to holiday cocktailing with the Pear Blanche, a refreshing mix of gin, St.Germain elderflower liqueur, Bartlett pear and clove syrup, egg white and fresh citrus. It’s garnished with mint and a pinch of black peppercorn that adds a little spice that’s oh so nice. Price: $14

MIXING ROOM Eggnog & Sparkling PomegranateEggnog Martini & Sparkling Pomegranate Snowflake @ The Mixing Room
After ice skating at LA Live, head over to the adjacent Mixing Room at the JW Marriott and take your pick from holiday drinks like the Eggnog Martini or Virgin Sparkling Pomegranate Snowflake made with pom juice, sparkling cider, lemon and bitters. Price: $14; $7 for non-alcoholic

BROADWAY Hot Buttered RumHot Buttered Cider @ Broadway by Amar Santana
For a yummy buttery drink that will warm you up from the inside, try the Hot Buttered Cider at this Laguna Beach restaurant. Made with Don Q Cristal rum, Cio Ciaro Italian liqueur, Yellow Chartreuse and spiced, unfiltered apple cider, the cold-weather drink is topped with a homemade cinnamon compound butter and cinnamon stick. Price: $10

VICEROY Bees KissBees Kiss @ Viceroy Santa Monica
You don’t have to get under the mistletoe for this liquid kiss. A spicy twist on the Prohibition-era Bees Knees cocktail, the Viceroy’s Bees Kiss is a blend of gin, pink peppercorn-infused house-made honey and a touch of heavy cream garnished with crushed pink peppercorn skins. It’s buttery, creamy and spiced just right. Price: $12

BORDER GRILL CranhattanCranhattan @ Border Grill Downtown LA
If you want to get into the holiday spirit there’s plenty to choose from at the Cantina at Border Grill. Try the Cranhattan made with Herradura anejo tequila, fresh cranberry puree, house-made cranberry syrup and brandied cranberries or the Sloe Sugarplum Fizz made with Sloe gin, holiday plum, lemon and a splash of soda. Price: $13

CHAYA VENICE Hot TeddyHot Teddy @ Chaya Venice
You’ve heard of a Hot Toddy, but how about a Hot Teddy? Adding a twist to the classic drink, this Chaya Venice creation comes courtesy of Ted Thompson who’s been concocting drinks here for 20+ years. Made with Bushmills Black Bush Irish whiskey, honey and lemon juice, the drink will warm you up and maybe even shoo away the flu. Price: $12

COMME CA Cool LouieCool Louie @ Comme Ca
If you want to keep your cool this holiday season, there are a couple of cocktails at Comme Ca that might do the trick. Cool Louie is a concoction of potato vodka, cucumber, basil, lime and black pepper while the Doe Eyed is a mix of cognac, Aperol, lemon and egg white served in a Collins glass and topped with champagne. Price: $12

DAILY GRILL Holiday DrinksToasted Pecan Kiss & Cranberry Spice Wassail @ Grill on the Alley
This power spot is toasting the holidays with the Toasted Pecan Kiss (Absolut Vanilla, Irish cream and Frangelico with spiced pecans) and Cranberry Spice Wassail made from spiced dark rum, Tuaca vanilla citrus liqueur, cranberry juice, Sprite, cinnamon and nutmeg. Price: $10 & $12

MI CASA Mistletoe MartiniPatron XO Misteltoe Martini @ Mi Casa
This restaurant in Costa Mesa is convinced that all you’ll want for Christmas is the Patron XO Misteltoe Martini, a mix of holiday cinnamon coupled with the smooth taste of coffee-infused Patron tequila. And if you really like coffee, there’s also an Espresso Martini, which is like Starbucks for adults (if only Starbuck could make it this good). Price: $9.50

L' ERMITAGE Reindeer GamesReindeer Games @ The Lounge at L’Ermitage Beverly Hills
Rudolph might’ve been the odd man out, but you’ll have a much better experience with this sparkly and playful homage to the holidays. Reindeer Games at the Lounge at L’Ermitage is a bright blend of citrus vodka, pomegranate, lemon, Peychaud’s bitters and sparkling rose. Price: $10

LUCCA Egg  NogEggnog Shot @ Lucca
For an Italian spin on the classic holiday drink, you might want to try the Eggnog Shot at Lucca, a Euro-style bistro, cheese shop and wine bar in Irvine. Served alongside chef Cathy’s house-made virgin eggnog is a shot of Ben Rye Passito (a dessert wine from Sicily), creating a sweet drink with real kick.

FEDERAL BAR Blue BamBlue Bam @ Federal Bar
If you’re feeling blue this holiday season (or like the hues of Hanukkah), you may as well go literal and order up the Blue Bam at the Federal Bar in NoHo. Simple yet strong, it’s just Blue Angel vodka and a dash of Blue Angel curacao shaken then strained into a chilled martini glass and garnished with a sheet of edible silver foil. Price: $5 (that’ll cheer you up)

LOLA'S Hotel GeorgiaHotel Georgia @ Lola’s on Fairfax
You don’t need to book a room to check out the Hotel Georgia served up at Lola’s on Fairfax. A mix of Plymouth gin, egg white, lemon juice, orgeat syrup (made from almonds, sugar and rose water) and a sprinkle of nutmeg, it’s a smooth, somewhat fragrant sensation that tastes right for the season. Price: $15

THE BAZAAR Grape TourGrape Tour @ The Bazaar
No need to head to Wine Country this holiday season. The Bazaar, Jose Andres’ temple to molecular gastronomy at the SLS Hotel, is where you can pluck yourself a ripe glass of the Grape Tour, a mix of fresh grapes, eau de vie merlot and a red wine float. It’s a vino lover’s cup of cheer. Price: $16


Pop culture & lifestyle expert Mar Yvette is on a mission to find the best places to eat, drink, shop and have fun. You can see her every Thursday morning hosting the “Weekend Roundup” on Good Day LA, featuring everything from the hottest restaurants, live music and celebrities to travel, fashion, spa and fitness. Mar also co-hosts “Love It, Buy It” on E! News with Giuliana Rancic.
There are 6 comments for this article
  1. aram at 1:23 pm

    The drinks at the new Freddy Smalls are worth the trip alone, not to mention the food is really good… did not get to try that Pine Bough up above, but I am guessing it is mucho perfecto!

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