The 9 Best Holiday Cocktails in America

From a legendary Spanish coffee to a whiskey slushy garnished with a mini apple pie, here's where you'll find the season's best cocktails.

Laura Ratliff
On Friday, December 8, 2017 - 09:55
Best Holiday Cocktails in America

The holidays are upon us and what better way to celebrate the season than with a festive libation? From traditional favorites to innovative drinks created by top bartenders, bars and restaurants are coming up with new ways to spread some holiday cheer.

We rounded up nine of the best holiday cocktails across the country, from a (literally) flaming classic in Oregon to an apple pie slushy in a small town in New York. Cheers! 

1. Rosemary’s 2nd Baby at Cardinal Spirits (Bloomington, IN)

Rosemarys baby drink

This local distillery has a whole trio of holiday cocktails, all made with their spirits and cordials. Our favorite is Rosemary’s 2nd Baby, a woodsy blend of Cardinal Spirits’ Terra Botanical Gin, pear, lemon, and rosemary.

2. Vices at the French Room (Dallas, TX)

Vices Cocktail

Photo courtesy Sarah Webb

Anna Pereda, the beverage manager at Dallas’s historic Adolphus Hotel, has created Vices, a very nice (with a touch of naughty!) cocktail for the holidays. This warming wintry mix of Fernet Branca and green Chartreuse is topped with flakes of gold leaf.

3. Spanish Coffee at Huber’s (Portland, OR)

Hubers Spanish Coffee

Portland’s oldest restaurant (and also one of its most beautiful) is home to a unique drink you won’t find elsewhere. A Spanish Coffee at Huber’s, made from Bacardi 151 rum, triple sec, Kahlua and coffee, and then artfully lit on fire tableside, is a real holiday treat. Thanks to their signature drink, Huber’s now uses more Kahlua than any other independent restaurant in the country. Try it iced for a surprisingly refreshing twist on a classic.

4. Milk Punch at Sea Island Resort (Sea Island, GA)

Milk Punch

Sea Island’s holiday milk punch is a favorite tradition—and with good reason. The chilled sweet libation is made with Sea Island’s unique Woodford Reserve Bourbon, cream, milk, powdered sugar and vanilla bean, topped with a grating of aromatic fresh nutmeg, perfect for sipping beside a crackling fireplace.

5. Winter Negroni at Tavernonna Italian Kitchen (Kansas City, MO)

Winter Negroni

Negronis are a classic any time of year, but Nicholas Boden, the bartender at Tavernonna, has given a holiday spin on an old favorite by adding Cappelletti Amaro Sfumato Rabarbaro, a warming rhubarb-based bitter, to his Winter Negroni.

6. Flannel Season at Yebo Ski Haus (Atlanta, GA)

Flannel Season

Each year, from December through February, trendy South African restaurant Yebo Beach Haus transforms into a rustic-chic ski lodge, with drinks to match. This year, Yebo Ski Haus is mixing up their version of a mulled wine: the Flannel Season, a blend of Bordeaux, cognac, clove, cinnamon, cardamom and almond.

7. Apple Pie Slushy at The Cookery (Dobbs Ferry, NY)

Apple Pie Slushy

Nothing is more American than… an apple pie slushy? Chef David DiBari is whipping up a frozen blend of cider, whiskey, maple syrup and spices to create this unique drink, garnished with a mini apple pie.

8. Aurora Borealis at FireLake Grill House & Cocktail Bar (Bloomington, MN)

Aurora Borealis

FireLake’s signature winter cocktail, the Aurora Borealis, features L’etoile Vodka, Marie Brizard raspberry liqueur, orange juice, agave nectar and Finnegans Irish Amber.

9. Red Rogue at Smallman Galley (Pittsburgh, PA)

Red Rouge

A tropical take on a quintessential holiday eggnog, Smallman Galley’s Red Rogue has a Coco Lopez coconut cream base paired with Corralejo reposado tequila and locally-made Maggie’s Farm coffee liqueur. It’s topped off with cinnamon-hibiscus syrup and a dusting of nutmeg, cinnamon and coffee shavings.

More great drinks in more great places:


Laura is a writer and photographer based in New York.