Posted December 20, 2020

Holiday Spirits: Kimpton Bartenders’ Favorite Cocktails

Eat + Drink

Sleigh bells ring. Are you listening?

Better yet, are you toasting? You will once you try these cocktail recipes from Kimpton’s head bartenders. From across the nation, they chimed in with their favorite seasonal drinks. Their promise: Soon, your bar will be a winter wonderland.

Nutty Woodford at Red Star Tavern

Nutty Woodford
from Brandon Lockman, Red Star Tavern in Portland

“Red Star Tavern has one of the biggest whiskey walls in Portland, so it inspires me to drink this during the holidays. The snifter is rested in a latte mug of hot water. It heats the drink without diluting,” says Brandon.

2 oz. Woodford reserve bourbon
½ oz. Nocello walnut liqueur

Combine ingredients into snifter and tilt into a latte mug filled with hot water. Let warm and enjoy.

Farmers’ Almanac at Fifth Floor

Farmers’ Almanac
from Brian Means, Fifth Floor in San Francisco

“This drink is perfect for winter. Maker’s Mark bourbon is a warming spirit, especially with the aromatic eucalyptus. The Almanac Winter Wit beer is made with fresh seasonal blood oranges and cara cara oranges, and we top if off with fresh aromatic nutmeg for a Christmas-y feel,” says Brian.

1 oz. Maker’s Mark bourbon
½ oz. lemon juice
¾ oz. eucalyptus syrup
2 oz. Almanac Winter Wit beer (or another similar beer, like Hoegaarden or Hitachino Wit)
Nutmeg, to taste

Shake ingredients together and strain into a coupe. Garnish with shaved nutmeg.

5th of November at Jasper’s

5th of November
from Kevin Diedrich, Jasper’s Corner Tap & Kitchen in San Francisco

“Winter is probably my favorite season when it comes to mixing cocktails. We use darker spirits and flavors like bourbon, Applejack and rye. This drink, which uses rye whiskey, has a nice spicy element along with some great bitter components that help warm the soul on those chilly days,” says Kevin.

1 ½ oz. Bulleit Rye
¾ oz. Cardamaro
½ oz. Cynar
Bar spoon Demerara syrup
1 dash Angostura

Stir ingredients and strain over a big rock in a rocks glass. Garnish with a spritz of Aveze liqueur.


from Mike Ryan, Sable Kitchen & Bar in Chicago

“My mom is German, so a lot of my holiday associations are with warm baking spices and that delicious juxtaposition of cold and hot that you get when sipping a cup of Gluhwein in the biting cold while listening to traditional German holiday music,” says Mike.

1 750-ml. bottle of medium-bodied red wine (“Don’t get crazy-fancy here, but don’t toss in Night Train either,” advises Ryan.)
2 tbsp. whole cloves
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
2 sticks true cinnamon, cracked
15-20 green cardamom pods, roughly cracked
Peel of two medium-sized oranges, taking care to eliminate any bitter white pith
¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
¼ cup loosely packed brown sugar
2 cups good plump raisins

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan, bring to a bare simmer, turn off the heat and let sit for one hour. Strain the mixture and add:

4 oz. dark rum (Coruba, for example)
4 oz. brandy (overproof cognac, like Pierre Ferrand 1840, is perfect)

Can sit up to two weeks.

To serve: Carefully reheat in a saucepan or electric kettle, taking care not to boil. Garnish with a little nutmeg, stick of cinnamon or orange peel studded with cloves.

Hip to Be Square at Lantao

Hip to Be Square
from Chad Phillips, Lantao Kitchen & Cocktails in South Beach

“I spend all day cooking for my friends and family, so by the time I sit down to eat, I want a delicious libation to enjoy with my meal. This drink is born of that moment. The bourbon restores the body after a long day in front of the stove, the Oloroso sherry has a beautiful, buttery texture that plays wonderfully with the rich holiday food, and the Cointreau and Mole Bitters add some citrus and spice to bring it all together,” says Chad.

2 oz. Wild Turkey 101
¾ oz. Dry Sack Oloroso sherry
½ oz. Cointreau
2 dashes Bitter Truth Xocolatl Mole Bitters

Stir all ingredients and strain into coupe. Garnish with an orange twist.

Golden Balls
from Jon Harris, Firefly in Washington D.C.

“This cocktail is inspired by the tradition of placing an orange or clementine in stockings. The oranges symbolize the gold balls that the real St. Nicholas was said to give to the impoverished,” says Harris.

1 oz. Mandarin Napoleon liqueur
1 dash Frankincense-infused Peychaud’s bitters
Orange paste formed into small balls

Add first three ingredients into a champagne flute. Garnish with 3 orange

To make orange balls:
Peel the skins off 4 oranges, making sure to get no white pith. In a pot, add 2 cups sugar and 1 cup of water. When sugar is dissolved, add orange peels and cook for about 25 minutes. When cooled, remove candied zest and grind in a spice grinder or food processor, adding sugar as necessary to make a firm paste similar to marzipan. Roll into small balls and reserve. If desired, blend with gold dust to give a luster to the balls.

Flip Ya the Bird at B&O American Brasserie

Flip Ya the Bird
from Brendan Door, B&O American Brasserie in Baltimore

“A flip is an eggnog-type cocktail and this has all the elements of a seasonally delicious cocktail,” says Brendan.

1 ¼ oz. Wild Turkey Bourbon
¼ oz. Nux Alpina
½ oz. lemon juice
½ oz. chamomile syrup
2 dashes orange bitters
1 whole egg

Combine all ingredients, dry shake, then shake with ice and strain into a coupe. Garnish with fresh grated nutmeg.


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