10 must-try holiday cocktails
Lean into the season with one of these locally made and oh-so-festive sippersThursday December 14, 2017 12:54 pm EST
To say 2017 has been a drag is an understatement (thanks, Trump!) and suddenly the holidays are here, bringing creepy as fuck Elf on the Shelf pictures on the daily. Mall traffic and awkward work parties are surefire ways to keep the holiday spirit away, but luckily, Atlanta bartenders have the remedy: seasonal cocktails.
No, not that store-bought eggnog that glugs out of a carton prepared slapdash with a shot of rum. Instead, think carefully crafted tipples that will have you lit as a Christmas tree (please quaff responsibly). We’ve made a list and checked it twice. Read on for some of the best seasonal beverage picks in the city.
Courtesy Miracle1. Milk Punch at C. Ellet’s
Get in touch with your inner bon vivant and raise a glass of milk punch, created by C. Ellet bartender Courtney Blalock. Straight out of New Orleans, the punch is a creamy bourbon-based blend of whole milk, vanilla extract, and nutmeg. www.c-ellets.com.
2. Bourbon Advent Calendar at Local Three
Stale chocolates in a cardboard calendar? Hard pass. A new bourbon unwrapped each day? Yes, please! Local Three has one of Atlanta’s largest whiskey collections and proudly shows it off Dec. 1-24 with their bourbon advent calendar. Each day during advent a bartender announces the featured bourbon on Local Three’s Facebook page, which is then offered at a discounted price.
3. Yippie Ki Yay Mother F****r at Miracle on Monroe
Step into the candy cane-fueled fever dream that is Miracle on Monroe, back for its second year with two locations: Midtown’s Tapa Tapa and the Shops Buckhead. Ceilings lined with Christmas lights (multi-colored, of course), a red and green LED disco ball, Christmas songs on loop, and theme-appropriate cocktails galore. If you’re feeling cheeky, order the “Yippie Ki Yay Mother F****r”, served in a Santa tush mug. A winter tiki drink, it’s made with Barbados rum, cachaca, Trinidad overproof rum, purple yam-coconut orgeat, and pineapple. www.miraclebaratlanta.com
4. Spiked Eggnog at Saltyard
Is sugar one of your four main food groups? Are you Buddy the Elf? Then book it to Saltyard where chef Nick Leahy has a suh-weet dessert and cocktail combo. Housemade gingersnaps cozy up to spiked eggnog, making your sweet tooth sing with joy. Not your Nana’s eggnog, Saltyard’s is laced with bourbon, rum, brandy, and amaretto. Merry merry, indeed! www.saltyardatlanta.com.
Courtesy Mandarin Oriental5. Seasonal shrubs and soda at Lure
If you’re getting a head start on Dry January — or booze just isn’t your thing — fret not, Lure has you covered with wintertime shrubs and soda mocktails. Made in-house, Lure’s shrubs are a blend of fruit purees, vinegars, sugar, and spices that have been cooked down into a thick syrup. This winter, they’re offering two to choose from: spiced mango and tart cherry hibiscus. www.lure-atlanta.com.
6. Coquito at 8ARM
We can’t send you to the beach this Christmas, but we can tell you about 8ARM’s seasonal beverage, coquito. A holiday drink traditionally served in Puerto Rico, coquito is everything a tropical eggnog should be: thick, creamy, and oh-so-coconutty! The cocktail whizzes in the repurposed shipping container make their coquito with gold rum, sweetened condensed milk, and spiced coconut.
7. Warm Cider at King + Duke
After slogging through the mess that is Buckhead’s holiday traffic, reward yourself with one of King + Duke’s seasonal drinks, like their warm apple cider. Made with Mercier Orchard’s locally pressed cider and pie spiced syrup, the classic cocktail can be spiked with your choice of rum, whiskey, or brandy. www.kinganddukeatl.com.
Courtesy Local Three8. Gingerbread Gin Tonic at Cooks & Soldiers
When on the Westside, do as the Spaniards do and sip on a gin tonic (no “&” here) while munching on tapas. Cooks & Soldiers’ seasonal take on the straightforward drink features a tonic made in-house with cinchona bark (once a malaria remedy), ginger, and cava. Run, run as fast you as you can to catch it before it’s gone!
9. The Three Boozy Elves at Mandarin Oriental
Why have one holiday cocktail when you can have three? The Mandarin Oriental offers a soothing respite from holiday madness with its Three Boozy Elves cocktail trio. There’s Jingle, with pomegranate and ginger liquor, cider, tequila; Snowball, with Hennessy VSOP, egg whites, sugar, and Malbec; and Crumpet, featuring coconut rum, spiced rum, cherry brandy, and 18.21 black walnut bitters. www.mandarinoriental.com/atlanta.
10. Christmas Morning at S.O.S. Tiki Bar
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas threw up in S.O.S. Tiki Bar — and all over the cocktail menu. The standout of the eight-item seasonal menu is the Christmas Morning, a blend of pisco, tequila, dark rum, orange, candy cane, lime, pimento dram, amaro, and bitters served out of Santa’s noggin. It’s worth an order just to watch your bartender go through the trouble of garnishing it with faux pine twigs, a mini candy cane, teeny jingle bells, and a blow-torched marshmallow. www.vicsandwich.com/sos