Barcha's new cocktail menu includes the Istanbul, pictured here. (Barcha)

5 Reasons to Drink: Hot Austrian Punsch, Vertical Barleywine Tasting, and No Corkage Fee


It's beginning to look a lot like cocktails.

Get Hot Austrian Punsch at Bluestem
We know you feel like punching someone after the election, but we don't condone violence. Instead, we recommend a belt of Aunt Chrystl's Hot Austrian Punsch, which returns to Bluestem Brasserie on Black Friday to help you through the holidays. Served warm, the cozy seasonal favorite features house-made stroh rum, red wine, orange juice and seasonal spices. It's guaranteed to fuel your holiday shopping marathon, even if it lasts until Christmas Eve. // One Yerba Buena Lane (Mid-Market);

Drink Wine on Wednesdays at Shakewell
Like bringing your own wine to dinner but don't like paying someone else to serve it? Shakewell is where you want to be on "We Drink Wine" Wednesdays, when the East-bay eatery waives the corkage fee and offers 20 percent off the entire wine list. If you arrive during happy hour (4pm to 6pm, Tuesday through Thursday), you can also order off the bar menu for half-price. Think fried chicken, bacon-wrapped dates, and bacalao croquetas. // 3407 Lakeshore Ave. (Oakland);

Breeze Through Barcha's New Cocktail Menu
You can almost feel the Mediterranean breeze when you order from Barcha's new cocktail menu, featuring more than half-a-dozen drinks with influences from Turkey, Tunisia, Spain and beyond. We're partial to the Istanbul, made with house-infused medjool date bourbon and angostura and orange bitters. We also have a crush on Saint Tropez, a refreshingly fruity concoction of vodka, strawberry puree, lime juice, and basil. Try them all for $12 each, but not in one sitting. // 28 Fremont Street (SOMA);

Try the Vertical Tasting at ThirstyBear
For those of us who neglected to cellar ThirstyBear's Barley Wines for the past few years, an upcoming vertical tasting will provide sweet relief from our shortcomings. Per tradition, the organic brewery will release its Cellar Series: Barleywine the day after Thanksgiving. This year's seasonal strong ale weighs in at 10.3% ABV and 65 IBUs. Compare it to previous vintages by ordering a flight of 5-ounce pours of the 2013, 2014 and 2015 versions for $15. A limited number of 2013 bottles will be available for $25/bottle, while supplies last. // 661 Howard St. (SOMA);

Warm Up With Magnolia's Winter Warmer Ale
As long as we're talking about holiday traditions, we should mention the annual release of Magnolia's Winter Warmer Ale, which debuts today at Magnolia Pub and Magnolia Smokestack. Expect six different iterations of the English strong ale over the course of the holiday season, including 2016's cask and draft brews, 2015's vintage ale, and three more batches aged in wooden barrels. Brewmaster/founder Dave McLean has been brewing this ale every fall for nearly two decades, and it just gets better every year. // 1398 Haight St. (Haight);