After everything that has happened this year, it’s almost impossible to believe the holiday season is finally upon us. We know there’s a lot going on (oftentimes too much), but take a moment to shake up these festive cocktails from some of our favorite bars. Then toast the ones you love and count your blessings because that’s what this time of year is really all about.
Paul Williams / Beverage Program Director
1201 Wilson Blvd., Suite G113, Arlington
Christmas in Jalisco
Start to finish: 10 minutes
There’s a tropical tilt to this Mexican-inspired sipper. Laced with coconut, orange and lime, it packs a punch thanks to a backbone of blanco tequila. Close your eyes, savor the flavors, and imagine you’re on a beach in Puerto Vallarta.
1 tablespoon coconut flakes
1 teaspoon salt
1 ounce Coco López cream of coconut
2 ounces blanco tequila
3/4 ounce orange liqueur
3/4 ounce lime juice
1/2 ounce heavy cream
1 rosemary sprig
On a plate, combine coconut flakes and salt. Shake cream of coconut, and pour onto a second plate. Dip a rocks glass into cream of coconut; roll rim in coconut flake mixture. Fill rocks glass with ice, and set aside.
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add tequila, orange liqueur, lime juice and heavy cream; cover and shake vigorously for 30 seconds. Strain cocktail into prepared rocks glass. Garnish with rosemary sprig.
Bob Vanlancker / Distillery and Beverage Manager
1904 Reston Metro Plaza Drive, Reston
Start to finish: 1 hour, 5 minutes
There’s a festive complexity to this gin-powered seasonal smash. Tart cranberries and perky lemon juice find balance with sweetly herbaceous rosemary simple syrup. The results are refreshing and revitalizing—just the pick-me-up you need at this time of year.
Rosemary Simple Syrup
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup water
2 rosemary sprigs
9 fresh cranberries, divided
3/4 ounce lemon juice
2 ounces dry gin
1 ounce Rosemary Simple Syrup
Make the rosemary simple syrup: In a small saucepan, combine granulated sugar and water, and bring to a boil. Add rosemary sprigs, and remove from heat. Cover and let steep for 45 minutes. Strain syrup; discard rosemary sprigs. Set aside 1 ounce rosemary simple syrup; pour remaining syrup into a storage container for another use.
Make the cranberry smash: Muddle 6 cranberries and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker. Add gin, reserved 1 ounce rosemary simple syrup and ice; cover and shake vigorously. Strain into a double old-fashioned glass filled with cubed ice. Top with a splash of club soda and stir. Garnish with rosemary sprig and remaining 3 cranberries.
Nick Farrell / Spirits Director
8298 Glass Alley, Fairfax
2020 Was Nuts … I Need a Drink
Start to finish: 5 minutes
Big, bold and boozy, this cocktail doesn’t hold back. It’s an over-the-top drink for an over-the-top year. After enjoying a couple, you just might momentarily forget 2020 even happened. Wouldn’t that be the best gift ever?
1 ounce mezcal
1 ounce bourbon
1/4 ounce Lustau Vermut Rojo
1/4 ounce Don Ciccio & Figli Nocino
2 dashes Bittermens Xocolatl Mole Bitters
Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice; stir for 30 seconds. Strain cocktail into a rocks glass. Light the cinnamon stick on fire, extinguish it, and use as a garnish.