Latest Best of LA

Best Winter Holiday Cocktails In Los Angeles

November 19, 2015 5:58 AM

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(credit: Joy Bitonio)

(credit: Joy Bitonio)


It’s getting pretty brisk outside. We’ve got a few libations just waiting to give you a big bear hug that will warm you up from the inside out for the holiday season!
(credit: Katie Boink Photography)

(credit: Katie Boink Photography)


Old Fashioned
The Normandie Club
3612 W 6th St
Los Angeles, CA 90020
(213) 263-2709
www.thenormandieclub.com

Once you step inside this Koreatown club you’ll get drenched in its dark and sexy vibes. The Normandie Club’s take on the Old Fashioned for the season is made with coconut bourbon, apple brandy, spiced almond demerara, and angostura bitters, available in a single serving, or 17 if you want to go for a bottle. Says Devon Tarby (Proprietors LLC), “The rich mouthfeel and spice elements make this drink perfect for fall. We wanted to explore the more savory side of coconut with this drink, taking advantage of its fat content and nuttiness for the Bourbon infusion.”

(credit: Luke Gibson/wutzwhat)

(credit: Luke Gibson/wutzwhat)


Barrio Sour
Harlowe
7321 Santa Monica Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90046
(323) 876-5839
www.harlowela.com

Dipsomaniacs love to come here to get immersed in the warm glow of Hollywood’s golden age as they enjoy a few well-crafted drinks. Delivered here is the Barrio Sour, made with Tequila Cabeza, El Silencio Black mezcal, fresh lemon juice, Demerara syrup, egg white, and a spiced Cabernet float. “I wanted to create a riff on the New York sour for LA,” says Head Barman Chris Amirault. “The name Barrio is Spanish for neighborhood and since LA has a lot of Hispanic roots it only made sense to sub out the whiskey for tequila and mezcal. Instead of floating port, I spiced a Napa Cabernet with cloves, cinnamon, and fresh strawberries. It gives the cocktail some fruit and spice to complement the smoke and body from the mezcal and egg white.” Amirault thinks fall is about apples, pears, and aromatic baking spices, so you’ll see these elements in his seasonal selections. Think warming, spirit driven cocktails as well as refreshing cocktails that are reminiscent of summer past. Fancy something fancy? There’s a homemade sherry eggnog with your name on it.

(credit: The Fiscal Agent)

(credit: The Fiscal Agent)


That’s My Jam
The Fiscal Agent
11801 Ventura Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 91604
(818) 623-8088
www.thefiscalagent.com

In the valley, the hills have their eyes on this intimate cocktail den by LA’s own cocktail whisperer, Julian Cox. It’s the perfect date place to enjoy in a thoughtful space that is meant for enjoying some authentic face to face time over beautiful cocktails. Says Julian, the “That’s My Jam” cocktail is our take on a tricked out version of a ‘Fix’, which is one of the classic cocktails that blends lemon juice, a spirit, whatever simple syrup, and crushed ice. It’s the perfect drink for fall thanks to its balance of fresh and highly seasonal ingredients. You have the black mission figs that come straight from the farmers market, and we use to make a house-made fig jam, plus the lemon verbena, which is only available in early to mid fall and serves as a complementary aromatic. When you combine these ingredients with Amaro CioCiaro, Buffalo Trace bourbon, and crushed ice, it makes for a nicely balanced and fun yet sophisticated cocktail.”

(credit: Magnolia House)

(credit: Magnolia House)


Various Cocktails
Magnolia House
492 S Lake Ave
Pasadena, CA 91101
(626) 584-1126
www.themaghouse.com

Come cozy up to the new winter cocktail menu at Pasadena’s Magnolia House! Tucked away in Pasadena, this craftsman house with history is a great hideaway offering terrific cocktails this winter. Boasting a lineup of wintry cocktails for the cold-weather season, bar manager Brian Klemm delivers with crafty libations that range in flavor and balance from delicate spice-infused delights to rich bourbon, mulled wine and Cognac based sippers. Five new house cocktails will join the list including the “Roger That,” a drink crafted with gin, lemon, honey-apple shrub and maple ginger syrup served over ice. Their “Nonino Worry About It” is another delicious option. Shaken with cognac, Panamanian rum, Amaro Nonino, apple & decanter bitters and cinnamon and topped off with tongue-tingling acid phosphate, it’s one of the best options. Or, try their “Oaxacan Blood Winter,” a smoky libation shaken up with mezcal, egg white, lemon, house mulled wine and L’Authentique Genepi with a seasonally-inspired floating garnish of star anise.

(credit: Viviane Restaurant)

(credit: Viviane Restaurant)


Manhattan Flight
Viviane
9400 West Olympic Blvd
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
(310) 407-7791
www.vivianerestaurant.com

At Viviane, guests can get cozy in a poolside cabana at this quintessential LA locale, found at the iconic Avalon Hotel. Says Bar Manager Ryan Wainwright, “I chose to do a flight of Manhattans because I wanted to get people trying new classic variations on the classic. There is nothing more perfect for around this time than a Manhattan. I just love the classic surroundings of the Avalon and I thought there was nothing better to warm your bones than trying a sampling of amazing boozy, yet elegant versions. My main thought was that no one was giving people the opportunity to try different types. You always see the classic one, but what about all the others; why not make it a fun sampling?” We couldn’t agree more.

(credit: Bestia DTLA)

(credit: Bestia DTLA)


The Autumn Bomb
Bestia LA
2121 E 7th Pl
Los Angeles, CA 90021
(213) 514-5724
www.bestiala.com

Known famously around LA for their delicious Italian fare, Bestia LA is also holding up their end with their great cocktails. On tap this winter, try their “Autumn Bomb” drink featuring rum, apple cider, ginger syrup, lemon juice and angostura bitters. It’ll have you feeling very wintery.

(credit: Frank Ishman)

(credit: Frank Ishman)


Moulin Rouge
Pour Vous
5574 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90038
(323) 871-8699
www.pourvousla.com

For Angelenos, Pour Vous is the next best thing to a getaway in Paris with its unassuming exterior unfolding into a magical place where glittery bird caged performers fall like confetti from the heavens. Bar Manager Francois Vera offers an array of Parisian-style adult beverages to satisfy the most discerning of Francophiles. For the best combination, find a spot near the fireplace and order a Moulin Rouge which is a sparkling cocktail made with Grey Goose vodka, Aperol, Peychaud’s bitters, orgeat, lemon juice, lime juice, fresh strawberry purée, and champagne. To finish, a strawberry kiss and champagne bubbles top it off. Just like the entertainment overhead, this cocktail was designed for seduction.

(credit: The Church Key)

(credit: The Church Key)


Going Down Under
The Church Key
8730 Sunset Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90069
(424) 249-3700
www.thechurchkeyla.com

The Sunset Boulevard star known as The Church Key has made a name for themselves across LA, providing you with the perfect excuse to raise a glass in celebration. A civilized cocktail with rum, eucalyptus syrup, passionfruit puree and yellow chartreuse, the “Going Down Under” is a perfect cocktail for winter.

(credit: 1886)

(credit: 1886)


Maggie The Cat & More
Bar 1886
1250 S Fair Oaks Ave
Pasadena, CA 91105
(626) 441-3136
www.theraymond.com

To celebrate their 5 year anniversary, Pasadena’s 1886 bar will be kicking off their new fall and winter cocktail menu with some tasty drinks. “Maggie The Cat,” a cocktail created by bartenders Bartenders Casey Levental and Ned Kirby is inspired by the character Margaret in “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” by Tennessee Williams. This creation packs a punch combining gin, house-made Curaçao, Becherovka, Amaro Nonino, grapefruit, orange and lemon juices with a cherry dropped into the center. Or, try the “Robinson Crusoe,” which includes Archer IPA, El Dorado 12-year aged rum, Hamilton 151 Overproof Demerara rum, lime juice, pineapple juice, grenadine, lime syrup and Angostura bitters. Another terrific option is their “La Divina Comedia” cocktail, which is a variation of an Old Fashioned with Angostura and orange bitters, brown sugar cube, Nocino, Elijah Craig 12, Balvenie 12, Black Hamilton rum, and 151 Hamilton rum.

(credit: Faith & Flower)

(credit: Faith & Flower)


Spanish Milk Punch
Faith & Flower
705 W 9th St
Los Angeles, CA 90015
(213) 239-0642
www.faithandflowerla.com

Known for its seductive glamour, Faith & Flower is a downtown destination known as a sexy place to grab a sip. The Spanish Milk Punch captures the winter vibe with cozy herbs and spices like anise, cinnamon, and thyme mingled with warm spirits. Says Lead Mixologist Edwin Osegueda, “This drink was inspired by Jerry Thomas’ English Milk Punch which has been a great hit year round.” The spirits in this version exude the characteristics of season. Edwin continues, “Mezcal is spicy, tequila is vegetal, cachaca is grassy, and rhum agricole is warm. We throw in some anise-forward absinthe and a light ginger liqueur. Next, pineapple gets macerated with the rinds of oranges, fresh lime juice gets thrown in the mix, and finally, this concoction gets put through a curdling process which eventually clarifies the drink, leaving behind a velvety texture.”

(credit: SĀMBĀR)

(credit: SĀMBĀR)


Smuggling Monk
SĀMBĀR
9531 Culver Blvd
Culver City, CA 90232
(310) 558-8800
www.sambarcc.com

Exotic spices are all the rage at Chef Akasha Richmond’s new Indian restaurant, and that extends all the way to the cocktail menu. The Smuggling Monk envelopes you in a warm swath of coffee infused scotch, carpano antica, coconut liqueur, chocolate and angostura bitters. Resident mixologist Clare Ward says the drink came about with the simple idea of coffee and liquor. Says Clare, “I immediately went to scotch because I like the sweet earthy smokiness it provides. The smooth Kalani coconut liqueur functions as the cream and Carpano Antica functions as the sugar without making the drink overly sweet. Throw in a couple dashes of chocolate bitters to tie the flavors together and voila!” Who wouldn’t want to steal a few sips of this?

(credit: Harlowe Bar)

(credit: Harlowe Bar)


Fernaiquiri Swizzle
Harlowe Bar
7321 Santa Monica Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90046
(323) 876-5839
www.harlowebar.com

This season, find your cure for the blustery Hollywood blues in the Fernaiquiri Swizzle. It’s part of the Apothecary menu as a soothing take on a daiquiri that incorporates Fernet Branca and Amaro di Angostura. It’s an ideal digestif that gives you a second wind when enjoyed after a hearty meal.

(credit: The Chestnut Club)

(credit: The Chestnut Club)


Bullocks Wilshire
The Chestnut Club
1348 14th St
Santa Monica, CA 90405
(310) 393-1348
www.thechestnutclubsm.com

The westside’s favorite cocktail den takes a decidedly more masculine approach to spice and everything nice that is common in holiday drinks. We can all appreciate a stiff drink that can grow a little hair on your chest, and the Bullocks Wilshire is just that. It’s simplistic yet substantial, made with bourbon, aged rum, Cynar, maraschino, and served on a block of ice. It pairs well with cold evenings, braised meats, and pecan pie.

(credit: Estrella Sunset)

(credit: Estrella Sunset)


Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll
Estrella Sunset
8800 Sunset Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90069
(310) 652-6613
www.estrellasunset.com

The vibe here feels like hanging out in a friends understated, yet glamorous, amber glow filled gathering place that makes for an ideal meeting place for lovers or groups of friends alike. We couldn’t think of a more aptly named drink for this Sunset Boulevard spot than the Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll. Says mixologist Gia St. George, “I love Penicillins, especially during this time of the year. I wanted to do a riff on that classic cocktail and make it fun and enjoyable. Instead of using scotch, I used a combination of tequila and mezcal which made a perfect match with the rosemary infused honey, fresh ginger, and grated nutmeg. Its looks and feels like Christmas in a glass!”

(credit: Eveleigh)

(credit: Eveleigh)


Pumpkin Spice Latte
Eveleigh
8752 W Sunset Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90069
(424) 239-1630
www.theeveleigh.com

Endlessly romantic Eveleigh offers a drink paying homage to the seasonal obsession of the season: pumpkin. They make an adult version of the Pumpkin Spice Latte. Says Garrett Mikell, “It starts as a cocktail that is spirit forward-espresso infused dark rum-strained into a martini glass, but with the addition of foam, it takes on a refreshing and savory quality. The five spice is reminiscent of something cozy; I almost think mulling spice would have hit too close to home–I wanted people to perhaps remember the fireplace, but not the passive aggressive family feud going on in front of it.”

(credit: Playa Provisions)

(credit: Playa Provisions)


Fall Fashioned
Grain (inside Playa Provisions)
119 Culver Blvd
Playa Del Rey, CA 90293
(310) 683-5019
www.playaprovisions.com

Upon entering Playa Provisions, hang a right and head straight to Grain, a wonderful escape that is tucked away from the buzz of the dining room. Order up a Fall Fashioned, made with Buffalo Trace, Lairds Apple Brandy, St. Elizabeth’s All-Spice Dram, some cinnamon brown sugar simple syrup, and a dash of Angostura Bitters, served over ice. Chef/Owner Brooke Williamson notes, “ Fall flavors in particular make for spectacular combinations in cocktails because they bring a sense of nostalgia into the hands of our guests and bring back memories of childhood for a lot of people. The Fall Fashioned is the perfect fall tipple because it sets the mood for the holidays and the season change, reminding people of tastes they are familiar with.”

(credit: Thirsty Crow)

(credit: Thirsty Crow)


Compared To What
Thirsty Crow
2939 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026
(323) 661-6007
www.thirstycrowbar.com

Silver Lake Saloon is a crowd favorite for eastside locals when thirsts need to be quenched with something proper. The Compared to What is a pisco based tipple that is crisp like an evening stroll in the city,. It features Becherovka Clove Liqueur, ginger, lemon, and pear flavors to highlight the season.

Joy Bitonio has the phrase “Joie de Vivre” tattooed on her shoulder, a reminder to enjoy life every single day. She has a voracious appetite for fun, adventure, food, good cocktails and works out like a madwoman to keep it all together. Check out what else she recommends around Los Angeles in the links below.
 
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