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Best Holiday Drink Ideas From OC Mixologists

hilton header
(credit: Hilton)

With the approach of the holidays, restaurants and bars are coming up with delicious drinks for the season. Whether hot or cold, out on the town for a night of fun or mixing up a few cocktails to entertain, finding the right cocktail is key. Orange County's mixologists came together to provide recipes for delicious options perfect for any palate this holiday season.

andrei's conscious cuisine
(credit: Andrei's Conscious Cuisine & Cocktails)

Andreis Conscious Cuisine & Cocktails

2607 Main St.
Irvine, CA 92614
(949) 387-8887

Natalie Ostensen opened Andrei's Conscious Cuisine & Cocktails in 2009 in memory of her brother, who was committed to the use of natural and organic foods, which she carried over into the bar. For the holidays she says she uses apples in many of her drinks to amp up the holiday feel.

Apple Crush Cocktail
1 shot Crop organic vodka
apple nectar
muddled red grapes
splash of champagne

This drink is one of Ostensen's favorites. Combine all of the ingredients and pour into a champagne glass. Garnish with grapes or a slice of red apple, and enjoy.

Related: The Best Pumpkin Cocktails In The O.C.

Anne Watson Sol Cocina
(credit: Anne Watson Photography)

Sol Cocina

251 East Coast Highway
Newport Beach, CA 92660
(949) 675-9800

Mixologist Colin Pflugradt has worked at Sol Cocina since 2009, but has been bartending since the age of 19. He brings a contemporary approach to traditional Mexican drinks, fresh-fruit margaritas, cocktails and mezcals that compliment the dining experience.

Pumpkin Spice Margarita
2 oz Don Julio tequila blanco
1/2 oz agave nectar
1 oz fresh lime juice
1 oz fresh roasted pumpkin puree
pumpkin spice

Combine all ingredients in a shaker. Shake with ice, then strain into a glass and top with a few dashes of cinnamon. Pflugradt says this drink is not too sweet and just a little spicy.

1921 Tea
warm English tea
1 part Grand Mariner
1 part 1921 creme Tequila

This drink is served in a snifter, perfect for fall and winter. Combine liquors to taste, and pour warm English tea to mix gently. Sip slowly.

Related: Southern California's Best Holiday Teas

david valiante
(credit: David Valiante)

Surfin Cowboy

34235 Doheny Park Road
Capistrano Beach, CA 92624
(949) 272-5957

David Valiante has 17 years experience in the food and beverage industry and was the lead mixologist at the Matador Cantina in historic downtown Fullerton for more than three years where he mixed up fresh ideas for its signature and seasonal cocktail menus. Valiante said he likes to create high-quality cocktails with fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs, tinctures, syrups, mists and a variety of bitters. He is preparing to open his own bar, The Surfin Cowboy, in Capistrano Beach.

Autumn Breeze
1.5 oz Makers Mark
5 oz Tuaca
1 dash of Fee Brothers old fashion bitters
2.5 oz pumpkin spice syrup
2 oz cold apple cider

Stir all ingredients in a mixing glass, strain over fresh ice into a bucket glass, then garnish with fresh nutmeg.

(credit: Hilton Waterfront Resort)

Hilton Waterfront Resort

21100 Pacific Coast Highway
Huntington Beach, CA 92648
(714) 845-8000

Spicy Mary
1 part triple pepper-infused Sky Vodka
tomato juice
house spices

Mixologist Jessie Riley blends all of the ingredients together, then garnishes the drink with celery, applewood smoked bacon and stuffed point reyes, bleu-cheese olives. The drink is served at the Shades Restaurant & Bar at the Hilton Waterfront Beach Resort.

matador cantina
(credit: Matador Cantina)

Matador Cantina

111 N. Harbor Blvd
Fullerton, CA 92832
(714) 871-8226

Mixologist Jimmy Valanzuela has been bartending since 1999 at the Matador Cantina in Fullerton. He was ambassador for the Flair Bartenders Association of Southern California in 2005 and 2011.

Matador Margarita
2 oz Hornitos tequila
1 oz  Triple Sec
1 oz Grand Marnier
homemade sweet and sour

Valanzuela recommends you use the finest liquors and fresh-squeezed fruits in his cocktails for the best results. Blend all ingredients and serve on the rocks.

Related: Best Restaurants For Margaritas In O.C.

Mona Graham is a freelance writer, writing for Mona has lived in Orange County since 1958 and has a great familiarity with the area. Her hobbies are traveling, writing and photography. Her work can be found at

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