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12 Winter Cocktails to Warm Up Chilly Nights

There may be no snow on the ground, but you can still warm up with a drink.

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With the sun setting at 5 pm and the fog rolling in thick, drinking at this time of year isn't just fun: it's functional. Whether you're looking to warm up from the rain, get in a festive mood, or blot out all memories of an excruciating office holiday party, one of these winter warmers will do the trick. An over-the-top hot chocolate with your choice of booze? A cocktail that tastes like a Christmas tree? Hot buttered rum, complete with free snacks? This list has it all. 

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. 1313 Main - Restaurant and Wine Bar

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1313 Main St
Napa, CA 94559
(707) 258-1313
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1313 Main's new winter libation, the Valrhona Hot Chocolate ($12) is something of a DIY affair. Diners receive a mug of hot milk and cream, a hardened block of spiced Valrhona chocolate and a mini-flask filled with a choice of bourbon, Bailey's, cognac or other spirit. This little gem is only available at Sunday brunch from 10am-2pm. Add an accompanying two-tiered plate of sweets, like salted caramel and brioche donuts, for $12.

2. A16 Rockridge

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5356 College Ave
Oakland, CA 94618
(510) 768-8003
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It's not the Winter Solstice yet, but that's no reason not to enjoy a Solstizio cocktail at A16 Rockridge. It walks the line between fall and winter with persimmon-ginger syrup, lemon juice, and Jardesca (an SF-based aperitif), topped with Prosecco and garnished with a slice of candied persimmon.

3. Blackbird

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2124 Market St
San Francisco, CA 94114
(415) 503-0630
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Obviously, winter is coming. But at Blackbird, winter is bringing a boozy menu of Game of Thrones-themed cocktails along with it. Wrap yourself in furs and sip the Milk of the Poppy ($9), a Mexican style eggnog with cognac and cinnamon mulled wine. It's warm and cozy and most likely not poisonous.

4. Hopscotch Restaurant & Bar

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1915 San Pablo Ave
Oakland, CA 94612
(510) 788-6217
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Shop around Old Oakland, then stop into Hopscotch for a Wagonwheel, a charming little concoction of bourbon, maple syrup, hot coffee, and scotch cream that will fortify the spirits. It has enough caffeine to keep you going and just the right amount of bourbon to numb you for more mindless consumerism.

5. Lazy Bear

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3416 19th Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 874-9921
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Lazy Bear's new brick-and-mortar location in the Mission is a hot ticket. If you manage to gain admission to this magical dining experience, you'll have the unique pleasure of enjoying a Douglas Fir Negroni, made with St. George Terroir Gin, Bonal, Americano Bianco, and Clear Creek Distilleries Douglas Fir Eau de Vie. Garnished with orange-flamed pine needles, of course.

6. Presidio Social Club

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563 Ruger St
San Francisco, CA 94129
(415) 885-1888
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Presidio Social Club is located in the thick of the fog's wet embrace, making it the perfect location for a hot and spicy tequila cocktail. The Café Jalisco contains Espolon Reposado, Aleppo chili, chocolate, coffee and whipped cream, which sounds pretty deadly.

7. Tosca Cafe

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242 Columbus Ave
San Francisco, CA 94133
(415) 986-9651
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The bar at Tosca Cafe is cozy and warm, and your bloodstream will be too after consuming their take on the famed House "Cappuccino" ($12). A potent blend of Armagnac, Buffalo Trace Bourbon, Dandelion chocolate ganache and organic milk, the first sip of this frothy brown drink will certainly wake you up, even though there's no actual coffee involved.

8. Dirty Habit

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12 4th St, 5th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 348-1555
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Dirty Habit has no problem taking their high-end cocktails down a peg with the "Get Me a Juice Box!" cocktail for two ($20). Hot buttered rum in a Thermos, housemade bar nuts and two Miller pony bottles arrive in a lunch box.

9. 15 Romolo

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15 Romolo Pl
San Francisco, CA 94133
(415) 398-1359
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It's a "Sherry Christmas" at 15 Romolo. Try an Emerald Tablet from their special menu of sherry libations, a concoction of London gin, Manzanilla sherry, yellow chartreuse, rosemary honey, lemon, egg white and fennel pollen. For the purist, they also have 17 sherries available by the glass.

10. Tony’s Pizza Napoletana

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1570 Stockton St
San Francisco, CA 94133
(415) 835-9888
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During the holidays, North Beach is the most festive neighborhood in town. Keep up with all the older Italians with a hot drink so chock full of booze that you'll get lost in Washington Square Park. The Smooth Killer combines Wild Turkey rye whiskey, fresh lemon, honey, amaretto, hot infusion-siphon tea with cinnamon, vanilla, orange, jasmine, and cloves for a comforting winter elixir.

11. Trick Dog

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3010 20th St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 471-2999
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Craving 'Nog? Trick Dog applies their standard upgrade to the traditional holiday treat with the Egg Dog. Bartender Morgan Schick's creamy concoction is composed of Appleton Estate Reserve rum, brandy, Amontillado sherry, cream, egg and a dash of nutmeg. It's served in a vintage Fireking mug, which makes it even cozier.

12. Clock Bar

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335 Powell St
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 397-9222
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Check in here for a break from aggressive shopping (or whatever it is you do in Union Square). If the crowds have you feeling weak, it might be time to Grow A Pear. This cheeky cocktail is a bitter-sweet combination of SKYY Vodka, Montenegro, pear and cranberry.

1. 1313 Main - Restaurant and Wine Bar

1313 Main St, Napa, CA 94559
1313 Main's new winter libation, the Valrhona Hot Chocolate ($12) is something of a DIY affair. Diners receive a mug of hot milk and cream, a hardened block of spiced Valrhona chocolate and a mini-flask filled with a choice of bourbon, Bailey's, cognac or other spirit. This little gem is only available at Sunday brunch from 10am-2pm. Add an accompanying two-tiered plate of sweets, like salted caramel and brioche donuts, for $12.
1313 Main St
Napa, CA 94559

2. A16 Rockridge

5356 College Ave, Oakland, CA 94618
It's not the Winter Solstice yet, but that's no reason not to enjoy a Solstizio cocktail at A16 Rockridge. It walks the line between fall and winter with persimmon-ginger syrup, lemon juice, and Jardesca (an SF-based aperitif), topped with Prosecco and garnished with a slice of candied persimmon.
5356 College Ave
Oakland, CA 94618

3. Blackbird

2124 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94114
Obviously, winter is coming. But at Blackbird, winter is bringing a boozy menu of Game of Thrones-themed cocktails along with it. Wrap yourself in furs and sip the Milk of the Poppy ($9), a Mexican style eggnog with cognac and cinnamon mulled wine. It's warm and cozy and most likely not poisonous.
2124 Market St
San Francisco, CA 94114

4. Hopscotch Restaurant & Bar

1915 San Pablo Ave, Oakland, CA 94612
Shop around Old Oakland, then stop into Hopscotch for a Wagonwheel, a charming little concoction of bourbon, maple syrup, hot coffee, and scotch cream that will fortify the spirits. It has enough caffeine to keep you going and just the right amount of bourbon to numb you for more mindless consumerism.
1915 San Pablo Ave
Oakland, CA 94612

5. Lazy Bear

3416 19th Street, San Francisco, CA 94110
Lazy Bear's new brick-and-mortar location in the Mission is a hot ticket. If you manage to gain admission to this magical dining experience, you'll have the unique pleasure of enjoying a Douglas Fir Negroni, made with St. George Terroir Gin, Bonal, Americano Bianco, and Clear Creek Distilleries Douglas Fir Eau de Vie. Garnished with orange-flamed pine needles, of course.
3416 19th Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

6. Presidio Social Club

563 Ruger St, San Francisco, CA 94129
Presidio Social Club is located in the thick of the fog's wet embrace, making it the perfect location for a hot and spicy tequila cocktail. The Café Jalisco contains Espolon Reposado, Aleppo chili, chocolate, coffee and whipped cream, which sounds pretty deadly.
563 Ruger St
San Francisco, CA 94129

7. Tosca Cafe

242 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133
The bar at Tosca Cafe is cozy and warm, and your bloodstream will be too after consuming their take on the famed House "Cappuccino" ($12). A potent blend of Armagnac, Buffalo Trace Bourbon, Dandelion chocolate ganache and organic milk, the first sip of this frothy brown drink will certainly wake you up, even though there's no actual coffee involved.
242 Columbus Ave
San Francisco, CA 94133

8. Dirty Habit

12 4th St, 5th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94103
Dirty Habit has no problem taking their high-end cocktails down a peg with the "Get Me a Juice Box!" cocktail for two ($20). Hot buttered rum in a Thermos, housemade bar nuts and two Miller pony bottles arrive in a lunch box.
12 4th St, 5th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94103

9. 15 Romolo

15 Romolo Pl, San Francisco, CA 94133
It's a "Sherry Christmas" at 15 Romolo. Try an Emerald Tablet from their special menu of sherry libations, a concoction of London gin, Manzanilla sherry, yellow chartreuse, rosemary honey, lemon, egg white and fennel pollen. For the purist, they also have 17 sherries available by the glass.
15 Romolo Pl
San Francisco, CA 94133

10. Tony’s Pizza Napoletana

1570 Stockton St, San Francisco, CA 94133
During the holidays, North Beach is the most festive neighborhood in town. Keep up with all the older Italians with a hot drink so chock full of booze that you'll get lost in Washington Square Park. The Smooth Killer combines Wild Turkey rye whiskey, fresh lemon, honey, amaretto, hot infusion-siphon tea with cinnamon, vanilla, orange, jasmine, and cloves for a comforting winter elixir.
1570 Stockton St
San Francisco, CA 94133

11. Trick Dog

3010 20th St, San Francisco, CA 94110
Craving 'Nog? Trick Dog applies their standard upgrade to the traditional holiday treat with the Egg Dog. Bartender Morgan Schick's creamy concoction is composed of Appleton Estate Reserve rum, brandy, Amontillado sherry, cream, egg and a dash of nutmeg. It's served in a vintage Fireking mug, which makes it even cozier.
3010 20th St
San Francisco, CA 94110

12. Clock Bar

335 Powell St, San Francisco, CA 94102
Check in here for a break from aggressive shopping (or whatever it is you do in Union Square). If the crowds have you feeling weak, it might be time to Grow A Pear. This cheeky cocktail is a bitter-sweet combination of SKYY Vodka, Montenegro, pear and cranberry.
335 Powell St
San Francisco, CA 94102

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