Holiday cocktails present themselves in many different ways and with many different spirits--dark rum, scotch, bourbon and more. The goal is to keep you warm, and perhaps a little bubbly, on chilly L.A. winter nights. Take a seat at one of the bars to sip one of their specialty cocktails for the season.
Keeping things spicy has always been the perfect recipe for excitement. Chef Mark Peel's Tar Pit does not disappoint with its holiday-appropriate drink, "Spice is Nice." The dark and stormy mix offers a combination of navy proof rum, sambuca, allspice dram and egg will have you singing seasons greetings.
The sleek and elegant Raymond's 1886 Bar is now peddling an entire menu of winter cocktails. It may be hard to choose from the list, but if you are open to specialized revamps of classic drinks, give the "Oak Knoll Manhattan" a try. It is a mix of bonded bourbon, dry vermouth and a mulled vermouth with various spices and botanicals. The cocktail is a taste of New York in Pasadena.
Justin Pike is the genius behind The Tasting Kitchen's "Beginner's Luck." He was just named Los Angeles' Best Bartender of 2011 by Table 20, so have no doubt he knows his stuff. "Beginner's Luck" combines Becherovka Herbal Liqueur, ginger, honey, a housemade allspice blend and a dainty garnish of orange peel.
Chaya Venice is now offering the "Hot Teddy" during the holidays. The drink features Bushmills Black Bush Irish Whiskey, honey, and fresh lemon juice. The name may evoke images of lingerie, but it is indeed the calling card for a unique twist on a Hot Toddy. The name is also dedicated to mixologist Ted Thompson who has been the 20 year long driving force behind cocktail creation at the restaurant.
Located inside LACMA, Ray's & Stark Bar was recently named one of Esquire's Best New Restaurants of 2011. For that reason alone, an afternoon admiring exhibitions deserves an evening with the season's special. Order the "Bobbin' for Bourbon," which includes apple-infused bourbon, raspberry rooibos tea, fresh lemon juice, spiced simple syrup and a topping of freshly whipped cream and grated cinnamon.
Chrystal Baker is a the co-editor of The Duo Dishes and a freelance food and events contributor.
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