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Big Bar's 67 & Still Sunnie holiday cocktail.
Big Bar's 67 & Still Sunnie holiday cocktail.
eugeneshoots

Where To Drink the Holidays Away

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Big Bar's 67 & Still Sunnie holiday cocktail.
| eugeneshoots

The winter holidays in L.A. don't resemble any traditional song. No snowy winter wonderland or one-horse open sleigh. Our outdoor ice skating rinks are swarming with people gliding around in their T-shirts and shorts.

Besides, rich and fatty nog are a no-no for the health-conscious, and our 60-degree winters don't really put us in the mood for hot cocktails. Fortunately this season our local bartenders are getting in the spirit with fun, new takes on Christmas classics. Take a liquid break from shopping chaos and too much family time with the likes of peppermint cocoa fizzes, minty grasshopper egg nogs, banana nut old fashioneds, and even cranberry-pomeganate moscow mules.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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1886 Bar at The Raymond

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That little old bar in Pasadena is celebrating the holidays with unique toddy variations like "Netflix and Chill" mulled wine-toddy hybrid and Johnny Appleseed with apple brandy, cider, apple butter, served with a side of apple chips. But The Improvement by bartender Cameron Masden is the most intriguing with its mix of Japanese whisky, matcha green tea, and a rich layer of condensed milk cream and honey. Cozy!

accomplice bar

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For those who've longed for a Mexican coffee egg nog, there's now bartender Sam Houston's Cafe de Olla at Accomplice in Mar Vista. A mix of cognac, creme de cacao, ristretto, Galliano, cream, Grand Marnier, whole egg, nutmeg, and orange zest, its super approachable flavors and aromas will inspire anyone to break out into a rendition of "Feliz Navidad."

AR Cucina

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For the warm fuzzies, sip on bartender Clare Ward's Buon Natale ($14) at AR Cucina. Inspired by a childhood Christmas memory of gingerbread house competitions, her holiday concoction features gingercello, rosemary, allspice, and an American whiskey with a touch of pineapple and lime. "The amaro brings a really unexpected bitter, earthy background to round out the spice and add an extra Italian zing," she says.

Big Bar

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The Big Bar crew lead by Cari Hah wanted to invoke the holiday spirit with their 15-drink holiday menu which goes live on December 12. Feel the holiday stress melt away with the Nog Actually, a tequila-whiskey-rum-cognac egg nog, or the refreshing 67 & (Still) Sunnie pomegranate-cranberry Moscow Mule variation. But that Peppermint Cocoa Fizz, think mint mocha meets fizz, is a real treat. The vanilla notes of bourbon complement the cocoa, while the mint liqueur is balanced out by the bitter Fernet Branca.

Leave it to bartender Gabriella Mlynarczyk to take classic cocktails way outside the box. For the holidays she's created a "gussied-up cran and vodka" with chai spices for warmth as well as an Old Fashioned using pie ingredients. But her "006" cocktail is where egg nog meets a Grasshopper with brandy, creme de menthe, cacao, cream, and a whole egg. "I wanted to do a candy cane egg nog but the chocolate gave it more depth," she says.

Cafe Birdie

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At Cafe Birdie they're doing up an egg nog shandy from December 15th through the 31st. Dr. Khopkar's Miracle Egg Nog ($16) is a traditional nog with dark beer added to it for something light and frothy. And according to barman Nicholas Krok the most unique part of the cocktail is the process of making it. "While most folks just throw everything together and blend it, Rahul Khopkar (chef of Ramenhood) and I developed a top secret blending process to ensure the most enjoyable egg nog in terms of texture and flavor balance. It's light and airy while keeping a full flavor and creamy texture.”

Citizen

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Starting December 12, Citizen in Beverly Hills is doing 12 Days of Cocktails. Every day the restaurant will introduce a new holiday cocktail. From classics like a hot buttered rum to a truly festive Trader Vic's Cranberry Christmas Punch (vodka, cranberry cordial, lime), Rodeo Drive shoppers will have plenty of motivation to stop in and knock several back.

The Corner Door

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The Corner Door has been making its Christmas Milk egg nog every holiday season for the past three years. And it's made from scratch a la minute with brandy, rum, Jelinek Fernet, whole egg, cream, sugar, and nutmeg. "Instead of a thick, milkshake-like texture, our fresh nog is very light and frothy with boozy rum and brandy notes. The Fernet adds more baking spice flavor that helps anyone fall directly into the holiday spirit," says head bartender Beau du Bois.

Estrella

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Egg nog is bartender Heriberto Lausell Jr.'s least favorite cocktail. So for the holidays, he chose to go with a Coquito variation as a hat tip to his Puerto Rican roots. Made with white whiskey, white rum, and a chilled coconut mixture, his Dream State cocktail makes one want to enjoy Christmas on the beach.

Faith & Flower

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Yes, Faith & Flower's new Sweater Weather cocktail by Bombet Hospitality's Ryan Wainwright and lead bartender Darwin Pornel is another take on the egg nog. But none you've ever had thanks to absinthe and creme de cacao. The absinthe lends it more complexity while the creme de cacao works with spiced rum for a decadent quality.

Good Housekeeping

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Not a fan of chilly nights? From December 15 to 31, Good Housekeeping will be warming patrons with its Hot Toddy made with black tea infused bourbon and an herb infused honey, served in a holiday mug.

Gracias Madre

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This month, barman Jason Eisner holiday drinks will inspire naughtiness. Whether it's with the bourbon and mezcal Bad Santa banana Old Fashioned variation or Candy Cane Kush sour (peppermint tea infused gin, tequila blanco, lemon, honey, and candy cane aqua faba). But indulge in Eisner's Warm Milk and Cookies. Made with vanilla-Infused reposado, homemade creme de cacao, orange flower water, horchata, brut champagne, and Mexican wedding cookie foam, it's a well-balanced creamy, dreamy cocktail.

Harvard & Stone

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Harvard & Stone bar manager Aaron Polsky has always loved Slivovitz plum brandy and milk in holiday punches. For his Sugarplum Larry holiday punch he bolstered the mixture with an unaged white whiskey and aquavit. "It tasted like crystalline sugarplum with a bit of spice and fruitcake added," says Polsky.

Hungry Cat

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The Hungry Cat has been serving up Big Dave's egg nog, by Chef David Lentz's dad, for years. And even though it's derived from a secret family recipe — with "the right amount of booze and holiday spice — it's become a must-have every Christmas season to be enjoyed at the restaurant ($12.50/glass) or taken home ($40/1-liter bottle).

Petit Trois

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Toast the holidays with Petit Trois' stylishly decked out Gnome Sayin' cocktail. This mix of vodka, cinnamon, lemon, and maraschino will inspire holiday cheer in all who see it and drink from it thanks to the Absolut Elyx copper gnome drink vessel.

No, you can't have a fur coat made out of Dalmatian puppies, but this holiday season you can snuggle up to this 101 Dalmatian-inspired gin sour aptly called Cruella De Vil. It's a simple gin sour with polka dots of activated charcoal aromatic bitters.

The Spare Room

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The Spare Room has several holiday offerings that will be available starting this Wednesday the 7th, including a festive punch bowl and a banana nut Old Fashioned chalkboard special. But if you were ever a fan of those 1970s stop motion animated TV Christmas specials, you'll love bartender Eric Bugosh's Mr. Icicle, inspired by The Year Without a Santa Claus. It's a minty boozy milkshake of gin, crème de menthe, allspice, vanilla, milk, and topped with candy cane dust.

The Walker Inn

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Walker Inn's Scoundrel cocktail menu, which will be served in the lounge, showcases drinks inspired by those famous scoundrels who made the holidays interesting. Toast the dark side of Christmas with The Grinch's cranberry "wine," Bad Santa's peppermint bark vodka, or Hans Gruber's rummy toasted pecan and maple cream. And the bar crew is still nailing down the finishing touches of the last menu of 2016 but they said it "will honor the intangible things that make the holidays special for all of us, no matter where we come from or what we believe."

Westbound

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Arts District's Westbound is going all out with the holiday spirit thanks to a partnership with barware boutique Cocktail Kingdom. Through December 31, it's a "Miracle on Santa Fe" complete with carolers, falling snow, Manischewitz punch pong, and even Sugarplum dancers. But what's really bringing joy to the world is their 16-drink menu, with each cocktail served in a fun Cocktail Kingdom holiday glassware. A standout is bartender Dee Quinones' hot cocktail, Santa's Ponche, made with tequila, persimmons, apple, and piloncillo. Served in a Santa bottoms mug it's just what you want to curl up with while you await the big guy's arrival.

Genghis Cohen

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In honor of Chanukah, the festival of lights, bartender Yael Vengroff created a hot, blue Mai Tai. "I turned the drink blue because well there's nothing like burning hot blue liquid coming out of a tea kettle," she says. And why a hot Mai Tai for the holidays? It was a way to appeal to the "old school" crowd at Genghis Cohen while introducing them to new flavors and ideas. For this Mai Tai, Vengroff says it's still the traditional recipe but with a temperature difference, no citrus, and a generous mint cream float.

Belcampo Meat Co.

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At Belcampo Meat Co. in Santa Monica, they don't do figgy pudding but they do do Fig Pimpin', one of barman Josh Goldman's new winter cocktails. The warming flavor of cachaca, mezcal, and fig & cinnamon shrub mirrors its flaming fig garnish.

1886 Bar at The Raymond

That little old bar in Pasadena is celebrating the holidays with unique toddy variations like "Netflix and Chill" mulled wine-toddy hybrid and Johnny Appleseed with apple brandy, cider, apple butter, served with a side of apple chips. But The Improvement by bartender Cameron Masden is the most intriguing with its mix of Japanese whisky, matcha green tea, and a rich layer of condensed milk cream and honey. Cozy!

accomplice bar

For those who've longed for a Mexican coffee egg nog, there's now bartender Sam Houston's Cafe de Olla at Accomplice in Mar Vista. A mix of cognac, creme de cacao, ristretto, Galliano, cream, Grand Marnier, whole egg, nutmeg, and orange zest, its super approachable flavors and aromas will inspire anyone to break out into a rendition of "Feliz Navidad."

AR Cucina

For the warm fuzzies, sip on bartender Clare Ward's Buon Natale ($14) at AR Cucina. Inspired by a childhood Christmas memory of gingerbread house competitions, her holiday concoction features gingercello, rosemary, allspice, and an American whiskey with a touch of pineapple and lime. "The amaro brings a really unexpected bitter, earthy background to round out the spice and add an extra Italian zing," she says.

Big Bar

The Big Bar crew lead by Cari Hah wanted to invoke the holiday spirit with their 15-drink holiday menu which goes live on December 12. Feel the holiday stress melt away with the Nog Actually, a tequila-whiskey-rum-cognac egg nog, or the refreshing 67 & (Still) Sunnie pomegranate-cranberry Moscow Mule variation. But that Peppermint Cocoa Fizz, think mint mocha meets fizz, is a real treat. The vanilla notes of bourbon complement the cocoa, while the mint liqueur is balanced out by the bitter Fernet Branca.

Birch

Leave it to bartender Gabriella Mlynarczyk to take classic cocktails way outside the box. For the holidays she's created a "gussied-up cran and vodka" with chai spices for warmth as well as an Old Fashioned using pie ingredients. But her "006" cocktail is where egg nog meets a Grasshopper with brandy, creme de menthe, cacao, cream, and a whole egg. "I wanted to do a candy cane egg nog but the chocolate gave it more depth," she says.

Cafe Birdie

At Cafe Birdie they're doing up an egg nog shandy from December 15th through the 31st. Dr. Khopkar's Miracle Egg Nog ($16) is a traditional nog with dark beer added to it for something light and frothy. And according to barman Nicholas Krok the most unique part of the cocktail is the process of making it. "While most folks just throw everything together and blend it, Rahul Khopkar (chef of Ramenhood) and I developed a top secret blending process to ensure the most enjoyable egg nog in terms of texture and flavor balance. It's light and airy while keeping a full flavor and creamy texture.”

Citizen

Starting December 12, Citizen in Beverly Hills is doing 12 Days of Cocktails. Every day the restaurant will introduce a new holiday cocktail. From classics like a hot buttered rum to a truly festive Trader Vic's Cranberry Christmas Punch (vodka, cranberry cordial, lime), Rodeo Drive shoppers will have plenty of motivation to stop in and knock several back.

The Corner Door

The Corner Door has been making its Christmas Milk egg nog every holiday season for the past three years. And it's made from scratch a la minute with brandy, rum, Jelinek Fernet, whole egg, cream, sugar, and nutmeg. "Instead of a thick, milkshake-like texture, our fresh nog is very light and frothy with boozy rum and brandy notes. The Fernet adds more baking spice flavor that helps anyone fall directly into the holiday spirit," says head bartender Beau du Bois.