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San Francisco's 15 Must-Try New Winter Cocktails

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Slowly but surely, it's getting colder out there, and restaurants and bars across San Francisco have started to roll out winter cocktail lists, just in time. From creamy shaken egg nog, to melted hot buttered rums, to brandy-spiked this, and nutmeg-dusted that: here, now, the best new winter cocktails to keep you warm from the inside-out this season.


—Eva Frye

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. 15 Romolo's Elf On The Shelf

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15 Romolo Place
San Francisco, CA 94133
(415) 398-1359
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15 Romolo is celebrating their Basque roots with a "Sherry Christmas" beverage menu, filled with sherry-spiked everything. Bartender Ian Adams says, "We all secretly love sherry and wanted to find a way to make it approachable... It's not just something that crazy Spanish grandmothers drink." Try an Elf on the Shelf (fino sherry, meletti ammaro, benedictine, blended scotch, bitters), which drinks like a Manhattan: full bodied, rich, semi-sweet with a touch of bitterness.

2. Lion Pub's Santa's DUI

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2062 Divisadero St
San Francisco, CA 94115
(415) 567-6565
If shots are your idea of festive, over in Pac heights you should get a Santa's DUI at Lion Pub. Bartenders shake up Fireball whiskey, sour apple schnapps, and cranberry for a spicy, tart, and ever-so-sweet shooter.

3. Maven's Fireside Cocktail

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598 Haight St
San Francisco, CA
(415) 829-7982
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Kate Bolton combines Rittenhouse rye, apple, chestnut, her own winter spice blend, lemon and egg white. It shakes up to a spicy, cidery, frothy finished product.

4. Absinthe's Flaming Spanish Coffee

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398 Hayes St.
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 551-1590
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A hot Spanish Coffee is served aflame with 151-proof rum, ground cinnamon, hot coffee, Kahlúa, brandy, and whipped cream. Just remember to blow it out before sipping.

5. Bar Agricole's Made-To-Order Eggnog

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355 11th St.
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 355-9400
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Try the made-to-order eggnog at Bar Agricole, shaken with Strauss cream and County Line Harvest eggs, Marian Farms brandy, El Dorado rum, and finished with fresh grated nutmeg. They're also serving Glühwein, a German mulled red wine punch served warm with brandy and spices.

6. Locanda's Bad Seed

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557 Valencia St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 863-6800
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Bartender Gabe Lowe suggests the Bad Seed (applejack, Mezcal, grenadine, lemon) which tastes like a smokey apple pie. Or, go for the Chocolate Bourbon Flip (which isn't on the menu): Bourbon, Meletti Cioccolato ("an amazing chocolate liqueur made with unsweetened dutch cocoa"), and whole egg are shaken till it's rich and "frothy as hell," and served up with a grated nutmeg dusting.

7. Elixir's Hot Butt Rum

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3200 16th St.
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 552-1633
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The Hott Butt rum includes brown sugar, butter, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cardamom, all mixed with vanilla ice cream that's melted down with hot water or cider and the increasingly rare Scarlet Ibis rum. It is rich and creamy. And it is fun to order too.

8. Starlight Room's Jack Holland Flip

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450 Powell St.
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 395-8595
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Bols Genever, apple brandy, lemon, nutmeg-infused honey syrup, are shaken with a whole egg and grated cinnamon on top. Nothing like sipping this guy atop Union Square, just get there before 9 p.m. when the riff raff starts.

9. Jardinière's tequila hot chocolate with churros

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300 Grove St.
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 861-5555
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Get the cayenne hot chocolate served with churros and dulce de leche on the side for dipping. Casa Noble Reposado gives it a south of the border boozy twist, or order it virgin.

10. Bar 888's Daily Press

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888 Howard St.
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 616-6633
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Bar 888 in the Intercontinental has a hard nog, and a "Grinch Punch," but try the Daily Press: Bulleit, fresh apple cider, a cinnamon stick and coffee beans, served on the rocks. It normally goes for $12 or so, but you can score one for $8.88 during happy hour, which lasts until 8 p.m., weekdays.

11. Chambers Eat + Drink's Whisky Cider Flip

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601 Eddy St
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 829-2316
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Drink # 14 is a nice compromise between eggnog and spiked cider. Bar Manager Richard Woodruff makes a Whiskey Cider Flip with house-made cider, citrus, egg, and nutmeg.

12. Reed And Greenough's rum flip

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3251 Scott St.
San Francisco, CA 94123
Run to Reed & Greenough for a rum flip: honey infused rum, scotch, cream, egg, and simple syrup, shaken and served frothy topped in cinnamon.

13. Top of the Mark's 12 Drummers Martini

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1 Nob Hill
San Francisco, CA 94108
(415) 616-6916
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Top of the Mark has several appropriately coined special cocktails right now, like the Twelve Drummers Martini (Godiva liqueur, vodka and peppermint schnapps), the 11 Pipers Piping Martini (scotch, Grand Marnier, honey, and a cinnamon stick, served hot), or 9 Ladies (Dancing) Martini (vanilla vodka, Frangelico, butterscotch schnapps, ginger beer, and dark rum). Drink one up with the city view.

14. Five's Three French Hen-nessey

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2086 Allston Way
Berkeley, CA 94704
(510) 225-6034
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Check out the Twelve Cocktails of Christmas in Berkeley at Five. Served all Decmember long, their list of 12 festive beverages range from items like the Pear Tree (pear vodka, ginger syrup, calamansi juice, lemon) to the aptly dubbed Three French Hen-nessey (Hennessey, crème de cassis, lemon).

15. Rich Table's Carthusian Hot Chocolate

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199 Gough Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 355-9085
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Jason LoGrasso's new cocktail menu is ON in more ways than one: take this rich hot chocolate drink spiked with creme de menthe and chartreuse, then served with melty pineapple marshmallows.

1. 15 Romolo's Elf On The Shelf

15 Romolo Place, San Francisco, CA 94133
15 Romolo is celebrating their Basque roots with a "Sherry Christmas" beverage menu, filled with sherry-spiked everything. Bartender Ian Adams says, "We all secretly love sherry and wanted to find a way to make it approachable... It's not just something that crazy Spanish grandmothers drink." Try an Elf on the Shelf (fino sherry, meletti ammaro, benedictine, blended scotch, bitters), which drinks like a Manhattan: full bodied, rich, semi-sweet with a touch of bitterness.
15 Romolo Place
San Francisco, CA 94133

2. Lion Pub's Santa's DUI

2062 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94115
If shots are your idea of festive, over in Pac heights you should get a Santa's DUI at Lion Pub. Bartenders shake up Fireball whiskey, sour apple schnapps, and cranberry for a spicy, tart, and ever-so-sweet shooter.
2062 Divisadero St
San Francisco, CA 94115

3. Maven's Fireside Cocktail

598 Haight St, San Francisco, CA
Kate Bolton combines Rittenhouse rye, apple, chestnut, her own winter spice blend, lemon and egg white. It shakes up to a spicy, cidery, frothy finished product.
598 Haight St
San Francisco, CA

4. Absinthe's Flaming Spanish Coffee

398 Hayes St., San Francisco, CA 94102
A hot Spanish Coffee is served aflame with 151-proof rum, ground cinnamon, hot coffee, Kahlúa, brandy, and whipped cream. Just remember to blow it out before sipping.
398 Hayes St.
San Francisco, CA 94102

5. Bar Agricole's Made-To-Order Eggnog

355 11th St., San Francisco, CA 94103
Try the made-to-order eggnog at Bar Agricole, shaken with Strauss cream and County Line Harvest eggs, Marian Farms brandy, El Dorado rum, and finished with fresh grated nutmeg. They're also serving Glühwein, a German mulled red wine punch served warm with brandy and spices.
355 11th St.
San Francisco, CA 94103

6. Locanda's Bad Seed

557 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110
Bartender Gabe Lowe suggests the Bad Seed (applejack, Mezcal, grenadine, lemon) which tastes like a smokey apple pie. Or, go for the Chocolate Bourbon Flip (which isn't on the menu): Bourbon, Meletti Cioccolato ("an amazing chocolate liqueur made with unsweetened dutch cocoa"), and whole egg are shaken till it's rich and "frothy as hell," and served up with a grated nutmeg dusting.
557 Valencia St
San Francisco, CA 94110

7. Elixir's Hot Butt Rum

3200 16th St., San Francisco, CA 94103
The Hott Butt rum includes brown sugar, butter, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cardamom, all mixed with vanilla ice cream that's melted down with hot water or cider and the increasingly rare Scarlet Ibis rum. It is rich and creamy. And it is fun to order too.
3200 16th St.
San Francisco, CA 94103

8. Starlight Room's Jack Holland Flip

450 Powell St., San Francisco, CA 94102
Bols Genever, apple brandy, lemon, nutmeg-infused honey syrup, are shaken with a whole egg and grated cinnamon on top. Nothing like sipping this guy atop Union Square, just get there before 9 p.m. when the riff raff starts.
450 Powell St.
San Francisco, CA 94102

9. Jardinière's tequila hot chocolate with churros

300 Grove St., San Francisco, CA 94102
Get the cayenne hot chocolate served with churros and dulce de leche on the side for dipping. Casa Noble Reposado gives it a south of the border boozy twist, or order it virgin.
300 Grove St.
San Francisco, CA 94102

10. Bar 888's Daily Press

888 Howard St., San Francisco, CA 94103
Bar 888 in the Intercontinental has a hard nog, and a "Grinch Punch," but try the Daily Press: Bulleit, fresh apple cider, a cinnamon stick and coffee beans, served on the rocks. It normally goes for $12 or so, but you can score one for $8.88 during happy hour, which lasts until 8 p.m., weekdays.
888 Howard St.
San Francisco, CA 94103

11. Chambers Eat + Drink's Whisky Cider Flip

601 Eddy St, San Francisco, CA 94102
Drink # 14 is a nice compromise between eggnog and spiked cider. Bar Manager Richard Woodruff makes a Whiskey Cider Flip with house-made cider, citrus, egg, and nutmeg.
601 Eddy St
San Francisco, CA 94102

12. Reed And Greenough's rum flip

3251 Scott St., San Francisco, CA 94123
Run to Reed & Greenough for a rum flip: honey infused rum, scotch, cream, egg, and simple syrup, shaken and served frothy topped in cinnamon.
3251 Scott St.
San Francisco, CA 94123

13. Top of the Mark's 12 Drummers Martini

1 Nob Hill, San Francisco, CA 94108
Top of the Mark has several appropriately coined special cocktails right now, like the Twelve Drummers Martini (Godiva liqueur, vodka and peppermint schnapps), the 11 Pipers Piping Martini (scotch, Grand Marnier, honey, and a cinnamon stick, served hot), or 9 Ladies (Dancing) Martini (vanilla vodka, Frangelico, butterscotch schnapps, ginger beer, and dark rum). Drink one up with the city view.
1 Nob Hill
San Francisco, CA 94108

14. Five's Three French Hen-nessey

2086 Allston Way, Berkeley, CA 94704
Check out the Twelve Cocktails of Christmas in Berkeley at Five. Served all Decmember long, their list of 12 festive beverages range from items like the Pear Tree (pear vodka, ginger syrup, calamansi juice, lemon) to the aptly dubbed Three French Hen-nessey (Hennessey, crème de cassis, lemon).
2086 Allston Way
Berkeley, CA 94704

15. Rich Table's Carthusian Hot Chocolate

199 Gough Street, San Francisco, CA 94102
Jason LoGrasso's new cocktail menu is ON in more ways than one: take this rich hot chocolate drink spiked with creme de menthe and chartreuse, then served with melty pineapple marshmallows.
199 Gough Street
San Francisco, CA 94102

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