Hotel bartenders share their holiday cocktail favorites

The holidays are always a time for celebration, and there’s nothing more celebrative than a special holiday treat. According to Chris Rivett, travel expert at HotelsCombined, “Some of our favorite trendy hotel bars are offering up more holiday cocktails than Santa’s got elves this season, so get ready to set aside your traditional gin martini, scotch on the rocks, and Moscow Mules – and belly up to the bar for some of the booziest Christmas treats you’ve ever seen.”

“The Mistletoe,” from Gaylord National Resort

Miguel Garcia Ferrer, Director of Beverage at Gaylord National Resort in National Harbor, Maryland, has outdone himself this year with his festive “Mistletoe” cocktail, and visitors can even learn how to make it themselves at the resort’s Mistletoe Mixology class. Director of Beverage Miguel Garcia Ferrer says, “We’re excited to be introducing this fun and interactive class to visitors during our Christmas on the Potomac celebration. Participants will get to make and learn some of my favorite tips and tricks to craft the perfect holiday cocktails for their next party or get-together.”

I was able to talk Miguel into sharing the Mistletoe recipe with me, and here it is:

Mistletoe Cocktail
2 oz. The Botanist gin
1 oz. pomegranate juice
2 kumquats
2 to 3 dashes Angostura bitters
.75 oz. fresh squeezed lemon juice
.75 oz. cinnamon syrup

Garnish with mint sprig and two frozen cranberries

“Five Golden Rings” from the Sable Kitchen & Bar

Inspired by the “12 Days of Christmas” carol, Sable Kitchen & Bar, located adjacent to the Kimpton Hotel Palomar Chicago in the River North neighborhood of Chicago, is presenting 12 different whimsical cocktails (one per day) from December 26–January 6 as a festive addendum to their list of original cocktails, each inspired by the famous carol. Each cocktail will be served with a greeting card that tells a small history of that day’s part of the song. Head Bartender Mike Jones has worked with his team to create intricately detailed recipes with ingredients like Chartreuse-flavored candy Christmas trees, house-made turtle dove candies, Cognac-flavored French custard, Amaro-infused candy gum drops and milk punches made with buttermilk.

“Five Golden Rings” cocktail at the Sable Kitchen & Bar in Chicago.

“Snow Day,” from the Visconti Ristorante & Bar at Hotel Granduca Austin

Texan bartenders always have a few tricks up their sleeves, and over at the Hotel Granduca in Austin, the bartender at Visconti Ristorante shared the “Snow Day” cocktail recipe. There may not be any snow in Austin, but this drink makes up for that. Here’s the recipe:

Snow Day

1 oz vanilla vodka
1 oz crème de cocoa clear
1 oz peppermint schnapps
3 oz half-and-half cream
Candy stick for garnish

Fill up a shaker with ice. Pour all ingredients and shake well. Pour into a martini glass, and garnish with a candy stick.

“Snowy Day” cocktail. Photo courtesy of Ashlee Huff.

Eggnog Slushy from Refinery Rooftop in New York

There is a world of difference between grocery store eggnog and the real thing. New York’s Refinery Rooftop is the perfect blend of creamy sweetness. The drink is part of their Give A Sip campaign, which donates proceeds from each drink  to Foundation: B+, Pediatric Cancer Research & Awareness, for the month of December. Cocktail curator Will Benedetto shared the recipe with us:

Eggnog slushy

2 large eggs
3 oz granulated sugar
½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of cinnamon
6 oz whole milk
4 oz heavy cream
3 oz Pyrat XO rum

In a bowl, whisk the eggs until smooth and creamy. Stir in granulated sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, milk, cream, and rum. Combine the ingredients slowly as you stir. Let chill overnight before serving.

Jingle Bells White Chocolate Peppermint Martini, from McCoy’s Oceanfront at the Fort Lauderdale Marriott Pompano Beach Resort & Spa

Any cocktail with Godiva liquor in it is too good to pass up. Over at the Marriott Pompano Beach Resort & Spa, they’ve come up with a Christmas miracle with the Jingle Bells White Chocolate Peppermint Martini.

Jingle Bells White Chocolate Peppermint Martini

1-1/2 oz vanilla Stoli vodka
½ oz simple syrup
½ oz peppermint schnapps
1 oz Godiva white chocolate liqueur
Dark chocolate syrup
Dark chocolate shavings

Add vodka, syrup, schnapps and Godiva to a Boston shaker and add a scoop of ice. Shake hard 20 times. Drizzle dark chocolate on the sides and bottom of a martini glass. Strain drink into the glass and sprinkle the top with chocolate shavings.

Santa’s Mule at the Gaby Bar at Sofitel, New York

Move over, Rudolph, Santa’s got a mule! This variation of the Moscow Mule from the Gaby Bar at the Sofitel in New York is a real holiday delight, using cranberries and peppermint candy for an alcoholic treat that’s just too good to be true.

Santa’s Mule

2 oz vodka
1 oz cranberry juice
1 spoon of apple puree
Splash of lime juice
Top up with ginger ale
Lime wedge
Fresh mint leaves
Peppermint candy

Shake vodka, cranberry juice, apple puree and lime juice. Pour over ice in a copper mug. Top off with ginger ale and garnish with lime wedge, fresh mint leaves and peppermint candy.


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