It might not be quite the same as bellying up to the bar at your favorite neighborhood restaurant for a glass of cheer, but festive cocktails can still help to raise spirits at home. SF bars have had a rough ride this year, with tougher restrictions than restaurants. Still, if there was one silver lining to 2020, it was the easing up of cocktails to go, with creative drinks for takeout and delivery. So, to take the edge off the holidays in lockdown, let’s talk glogs, nogs, and toddies. Here are a dozen festive cocktails available this holiday season in San Francisco.
Brown buttered coffee at the Snug
It would be nicer to cozy up in the snug at the Snug, but the modern cocktail bar in Pac Heights still has strong options to go, including this hot buttered coffee that’s steaming with bourbon, coffee, brown butter, and chestnut, and topped off with a dollop of amaro cream.
Holiday cocktail trio from Macondray
That lush new cocktail bar on Polk Street still has spicy margs to go, but will also be offering three cozy cocktails for the holiday season, either boxed together or sold separately. There’s a mulled cider with apple, citrus, black tea, cinnamon, and cloves; a “cranberry pop-a-911” with cranberry and pear; and a pumpkin boulevardier with bourbon, vermouth, amaro, and pie spices. The first two are nonalcoholic, or you can add your own spirits, and the third is a kit. Keep an eye on the site for upcoming pickup dates.
Miracle pop-up at Pacific Cocktail Haven
It’s too hard to pick just one holiday drink at Miracle, that over-the-top pop-up that sets up shop at Pacific Cocktail Haven. While reservations may be cancelled, it’s still possible to step up to the takeout window for a full list of festive cocktails, from “Buddy’s nog” to the “Yippie Ki Yay Mother F****R!”, served in novelty mugs.
Holiday bottled cocktail trio from Novela
This library-themed bar in SoMa is known for party punches, especially this time of year. They have a holiday package of three bottles: A hot toddy with whiskey, fig, yuzu, cloves, and lemon; the “Kris Kringle” with tequila, passionfruit, pineapple, orange, and lime; and the “Jack Frost” with gin, cranberry, orange, lemon, and spice.
Breakfast punch from Horsefeather
Milk punch is a tried-and-trusted way to get through Christmas morning, which should only prove more necessary this year on Zoom. And Horsefeather neighborhood bar in NoPa has a throwback edition: They’re infusing the milk in Cinnamon Toast Crunch, before lacing it with corn whiskey, Jamaican rums (plural), citrus, and spice.
Irish hot chocolate from Blackbird
Blackbird neighborhood bar in the Castro is getting cozy with four toddies at the top of the menu: A classic hot toddy, a brandywine toddy, a hot buttered rum, and an Irish hot cocoa, complete with whiskey and whipped cream on top.
“Pump up the Cran” from True Laurel
The Mission cocktail authority is jamming with a bright red cranberry cocktail, filled with cranberry liqueur, amontillado, rum, and sage and pumpkin seed oil. But there’s also a nonalcoholic option, the “spice and everything nice,” featuring soothing chamomile and pink peppercorns.
Hot toddy kit from Casements
As featured in the Eater SF holiday gift guide, Casements Irish bar is going hard on hampers, giving the gift of belly-warming whiskey. The hot toddy kit is a treat, featuring Redbreast whiskey, infused honey, and dried citrus slices.
“Beach blanket” from White Cap
The Sunset bar with a warm hearth specializes in drinks that can revive surfers and beach goers. This year, they’ve got a hot coconut cocktail brimming with Scotch, rum, sherry, almond orgeat, and chai spices, and topped with whipped cream.
Mulled wine kit from Lord Stanley
The star restaurant in Nob Hill is still open for takeout business from the hot-pink pickup window, and in addition to the rotation of family meals, is offering a mulled wine kit complete with red wine, juice, spices, and orange slices studded with cloves. Check out the holiday shop for more festive bottles.
Vintage egg nog from Scoma’s
But for those who really crave the classic, Scoma’s, the seafood restaurant in Fishermen’s Wharf, is coming through with old-school eggnog. Made with rum, cognac, sherry, creme anglaise, vanilla, cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg, they say it’s aged for a year.