A tree and some lights may make your space look inviting for a holiday gathering, but nothing lights up a guest like a festive seasonal cocktail. Unfortunately, making individual drinks means you spend more time with a shaker and less with friends and family.
But don't stress. A few of our favorite Bay Area mixologists offered us their recipes for holiday cocktails you can prepare before the party starts.
The list includes updates on classic cocktails as well as a few originals. To further simplify your party prep, the ingredients in each recipe are scaled to make a one-quart batch.
Kaiyō’s Steamboy Cocktail
This interpretation of a rum toddy was created by Kaiyō bar manager Carl Brown. The inclusion of miso syrup adds a rich umami note to the cocktail. It's also a nod to the restaurant’s focus on the Japanese immigrant experience in Peru.
12 ounces Plantation 5-Year Rum
6 ounces apple cinnamon shrub*
4 ounces white miso syrup*
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Optional: Allspice dram and vanilla extract to taste
*Preparation for Cinnamon Apple Shrub
3 apples, grated
2 cinnamon sticks
8 ounces apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup demerara sugar
Marinate ingredients in an air-tight container for two to 12 hours. Strain, pressing down on apples to extract all juices.
*Preparation for White Miso Syrup
8 ounces water
1 cup pure cane sugar
1/2 tablespoon white miso paste
Add water and miso to a pot and heat until the paste is dissolved. Add sugar and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Cool to room temperature.
Pour into a mug at a ratio of two-thirds cocktail mix and one-third hot water. Garnish with lemon zest, star anise, and a cinnamon stick.// Kayio, 1838 Union St. (Cow Hollow) and 701 Third St. (SoMa), kaiyosf.com
Bar Iris’ Diner Coffee
Bar manager Ilya Romanov created the perfect beverage to warm up your arriving guests or send them away with a late-night treat.
14 ounces Mr. Black Coffee Liqueur
14 ounces Santa Teresa Rum
4 ounces Green Chartreuse
Zest of 3 oranges
Pinch of salt
Fresh filter coffee
Combine the coffee liqueur, rum, and Chartreuse. Add a pinch of salt and zest of three oranges. Infuse for eight hours before straining off and discarding the solids. For each cocktail, add two parts fresh coffee to one part diner coffee mix.// Bar Iris, 2310 Polk St. (Russian Hill), bar-iris.com
(Courtesy of Maybeck's)
The boulevardier is similar to the negroni except bourbon takes the place of gin. Maybeck bartender Brian Walker created this holiday version of the timeless classic.
12 ounces bourbon
6 ounces sweet vermouth
6 ounces St. George Bruto Americano
8 ounces water
Mix all ingredients and chill. Garnish with an orange twist when ready to serve.
// Maybeck’s, 3213 Scott St. (Marina), maybecks.com
St. Regis San Francisco’s London Dry 50/50
(Courtesy of Filthy)
The 50/50 gin cocktail is a lighter version of the more familiar martini. This “halfsies” version replaces the juniper-dominant flavor of gin with the more floral notes of vermouth.
16 ounces Tanqueray 10 gin
16 ounces Carpano dry vermouth
1 teaspoon orange bitters
Stir and chill ingredients. Garnish with a Filthy Onion when ready to serve.
// St. Regis, 125 3rd St. (SOMA), stregissanfrancisco.com
Lake Chalet’s Harvest Smash
(Courtesy of Maria Pedron)
Smash cocktails often use bourbon, spices, and seasonal fruit. Lake Chalet mixologist Maria Pedron balances the bite of ginger with smooth demerara syrup, letting the bourbon shine through.
6 1/2 ounces demerara syrup
13 ounces bourbon
13 ounces ginger beer
Mix the demerara syrup and bourbon, then chill. When ready to serve, add ice and ginger beer; garnish with an apple slice and cinnamon stick.
// Lake Chalet, 1520 Lakeside Drive on Lake Merritt (Oakland), thelakechalet.com
Sammy’s Egg Nut Nog
Marin-based rock star, serial entrepreneur, and philanthropist Sammy Hagar created this dairy-free version of everyone's favorite holiday cocktail.
18 ounces of vanilla almond milk
3 ounces Sammy's Beach Bar White Rum
1 ounce Sammy's Beach Bar Kola Rum
1 ounce Gonzalez Byass Oloroso Sherry
3 ounces of honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon powdered nutmeg
1 fresh vanilla bean
1/2 teaspoon powdered cinnamon
Thoroughly blend all ingredients and chill. When ready to serve, garnish with fresh ground nutmeg and a cinnamon stick.
Local Kitchen & Wine Merchant’s Pear-Sage Gimlet
Local Kitchen mixologist Nickolas Behney uses pear and sage syrup to spice up this classic gin-based tipple.
4.5 ounces fresh lime juice
9 ounces pear-sage syrup
18 ounces Bombay London Dry Gin
Preparation for the Pear-Sage Syrup
To one cup of boiling water, add one cup sugar, three chopped Bosc pears, and a sprig of sage. Simmer for five minutes. Remove from heat and let steep for 10 minutes. Strain out solids and allow syrup to cool.
Mix all ingredients and keep chilled. Garnish with a sage leaf when ready to serve.// Local Kitchen & Wine Merchant, 330 First St., #1 (SoMa), sf-local.com
Crab House’s Pom Fizz
(Courtesy of Crab House)
Estephanya Alarcon, the general manager at Crab House, created this festive sparkler for the holidays. And fine, this one's not exactly a batched cocktail. But with just two ingredients, it's dead simple to make on the fly.
Pour one ounce of pomegranate syrup into the bottom of a Champagne flute. Fill the remainder of the flute with Prosecco.
//203 C, Pier 39 (Fisherman’s Wharf),crabhouse39.com