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Beat the Cold: Where to Score a Hot Holiday Cocktail

Incessant Christmas music, lines at the toy store, and cold weather got you feeling scroug-y? Drown your holiday blues in a warming cocktail. LA bartenders have really come through this year with a bevy of new blends that highlight the season without any cloying sweetness or over-used candy canes. Hot toddys abound, but there are also hot buttered rums, tea- and cider-based beverages to keep you warm from tongue to toes. We're skipping the eggnog circuit this time around and focusing on clear spirits and new combinations. Have a new winter favorite? Feel free to chime in with your recommendation in the comments, below.

1) Palate Food & Wine. Mulled wine is alive and well in LA, especially this month. Palate is now offering a rosy version, lightly spiced, that goes just as well with cheese and charcuterie. ($10)

2) City Tavern. At this newish Culver City pub, Assistant GM Jeremy Back recently created a cheeky tea-based cocktail, the Chai Wallah. With Bluecoat gin, chai tea, cocoa powder with a hint of chili, and freshly grated nutmeg, it's Bombay summer in a glass. ($12)

3) The Tasting Kitchen. Justin Pike fans will like this one: a Hot Toddy copy made better with rye. The Beginner's Luck also features Becherovka Herbal Liqueur (Czech Bitters with a sweet clove essence), ginger, honey, and a house-made spice blend. ($12)

4) 1886 Bar. Aidan Demarest is working his magic with hot cider these days, and sometimes simple is best. Try the Hot Cider Toddy with Apple Brandy, maple syrup, and fresh apple cider. ($12)

5) Ray's and Stark Bar. Bobbin' for Bourbon has both house-made Apple-infused bourbon as well as Raspberry Red Rooibos tea as a base. Lemon juice, a house-made winter spice mix and a whipped cream topping keep it fresh and mellow. ($12)

6) The Churchill. The scene at West Third Street's newest restaurant is keeping bartender John Rankin busy. Fortunately, The Chesterfield is an easy drink to make and an easier drink to like. House-made chamomile rye is combined with honey, lemon and hot cider making this one a solid cold remedy too. ($11)

7) Takami. Rarely will anyone want to drink hot sake; the convention is mostly myth. An exception is the Hot Ginger Sake from Takami's Leonard Matsumoto. Lemon and Shiso leaves are muddled and a glass and topped with hot sake, Canton and St-Germain. Garnished with Shiso leaves, it's floral and earthy. ($14)

8) Vu. Marina del Rey dwellers have a spicy warm tea concoction to keep them warm. Vu's Ginger Snap is made with hot green tea, Canton ginger liqueur, Hendricks Gin, agave syrup, lemon juice and fresh grated ginger. ($12)

9) Mezze. You may feel like a hobbit when you order Grog, but that's what Mediterranean sensation Mezze will offer you if you're cold and thirsty. Made with dark rum, cider, vanilla, cinnamon, and clove, the drink is also topped with almond froth before it's served. ($14)

10) The Varnish. Bar man Eric Alperin created this version of the slightly spiced, slightly sweet browned butter beverage last year. Lucky for us, his Hot Buttered Rum is still available by request. The Brugal añejo rum keeps this one out of dessert territory. ($14)

City Tavern

9739 Culver Boulevard, Culver City, CA 90232 310 838 9739

Mezze @mezze_la

401 N La Cienega Boulevard, West Hollywood, CA 90048-1906 310 657 4103

The Tasting Kitchen

1633 Abbot Kinney Boulevard, , CA 90291 (310) 392-6644 Visit Website

The Churchill

901 North 1st Street, , AZ 85004 Visit Website