America's best bartenders are mixing up impressive drinks for the holidays. Here, four bars with wonderful, wintery cocktail programs.
The Violet Hour; Chicago, Illinois
This Wicker Park speakeasy is serving a variety of holiday drinks including the Tom & Jerry, a labor-intensive combination of beaten egg yolks, sugar and whiskey, rum or cognac that's folded into stiffly-whipped egg whites, then finished with hot milk and topped with spices. Other offerings include the Cold & Delicious (walnut liqueur, apple bitters, cognac and ruby port) and shareable winter punches made with ingredients like chai-spiced Pierre Ferrand Cognac.
PDT; New York
Cinnamon, molasses and rum go into the Gingerbread Man at PDT. But the crucial component is The King's Ginger, a liqueur originally created in the early 1900s. Master mixologist Jim Meehan also makes a fantastic Silver Fizz (a frothy classic made with egg whites and gin) and a drink called the Cranberry Cobbler, a sweet-tart blend of cranberry and orange juices with rum and bitters.
Blackbird Bar; San Francisco, CA
At this Castro bar, the red-tinted La Flama Blanca gets its hue from maraschino liqueur combined with spicy cinnamon syrup, chamomile bitters and freshly grated nutmeg. The Dickens mixes cranberry-ginger puree with honey and vodka, and the barrel-aged, whiskey-based Bonnie & Clyde gets spice from baked apple bitters.
Bay Street Biergarten; Boston, MA
Mixologist Sarah Martin loves Christmas and cocktails, so she's created twelve drinks (one for each day of Christmas) to augment the beer garden's primary offerings. The Partridge in a Pear Tree combines fresh-pressed pear juice with ginger syrup, vodka and a dried-pear garnish.