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12 Places To Drink Holiday Cocktails Around San Diego

Festive tipples to enjoy throughout December.

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With seasonal flavors like hot buttered rum, cinnamon, allspice (and even pine!), these festive cocktails and drink specials will be sure to brighten up your spirits if you've got any semblance of the winter blues. Here are a dozen spots where you can sip the holidays in a glass.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Cafe 21

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2736 Adams Ave
San Diego, CA 92116
(619) 640-2121
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This popular eatery and lounge added three holiday-themed cocktails to their menu this season. Highlights include the dairy-free Coconut Milk Eggnog ($10), paired with a Nut Rum, powdered sugar, coconut milk, egg, and pumpkin spices, which brings the essence of the Holiday season. For a light and refreshing cocktail made with dry gin, dissolved powdered sugar, fresh cranberry juice, and a splash of soda, try The Cranberry Cobbler ($10).

2. Urban Solace

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3823 30th St
San Diego, CA 92104
(619) 295-6464
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North Park’s cozy hangout is featuring seasonal flavors like rosemary and grapefruit in its For the Love of Rosemary ($10.50) holiday cocktail. A tasty and not-too-sweet updated take on a holiday Greyhound, it combines vodka with housemade rosemary syrup topped with grapefruit juice and would pair nicely with their roasted Jidori chicken or quinoa-sweet potato loaf entrées.

3. Bankers Hill Bar & Restaurant

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2202 4th Ave
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 231-0222
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Terryl Gavre and Carl Schroeder’s industrial-chic spot is serving up several holiday tipples including the Top Gun ($12), named because of its potent blend of white rum, Taylor’s Velvet Falernum, 151 Rum, pineapple, lime, Tahitian vanilla, and Angostura Mist. Or why not try the Apple Of My Chai ($11), which is made with Cafe Moto Chai infused bourbon and amaro, lemon, honey and topped with apple cider.

4. Sycamore Den

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3391 Adams Ave
San Diego, CA 92116
(619) 563-9019
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Sarah Ellis and her team have introduced eight new cocktails to their winter menu, featuring trademark holiday flavors that fit perfectly with the season: cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, apple and pine. Highlights include Chapman's Fix by Nick Messina made with Applejack, rye, lemon, honey, cinnamon and crushed ice dusted with cinnamon; and Ellis’ Pitys And Pears -- a pear brandy-based cocktail that serves up just the right dose of wintery pine, sure to remind you of your favorite camping trip.

5. The Blind Burro

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639 J St
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 795-7880
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Say ‘Feliz Navida’” at The Blind Burro with their appropriately Mexican-themed Christmas cocktail. Made with coffee-flavored Patrón XO, Ketel One vodka, housemade horchata and cinnamon stick garnish, the ¿Que Paso Dude? ($10) should pair nicely with a plate of Mexican chocolate brownies for dessert.

6. Polite Provisions

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4693 30th St
San Diego, CA 92116
(619) 677-3784
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Bartender Aaron Zieske has created a Christmas cocktail perfect for Scotch lovers. Built in a double Old Fashioned glass and garnished with an orange twist, the Sorcerer's Apprentice comprises Islay Scotch, Famous Grouse, Oloroso Sherry, Nocello (an Italian walnut and hazelnut-flavored liqueur), and two dashes of Dale Degroff's Pimiento Bitters. Or, you can always try Erick Castro’s Blind Date - made with infused demerara rum, heavy cream, and brown sugar syrup it’s served on the rocks in a double old fashioned glass, garnished with grated nutmeg.

7. Tajima Ramen House

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4681 Convoy St
San Diego, CA 92111
(619) 269-5050
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One of San Diego’s popular ramen houses will be bringing the heat with their Ho-Ho-Hot Sake ($6) this holiday season. Made with hot sake, dried chili, and Shichimi - an intense, seven-spice chili powder - it’s sure to bring a fiery zing to the chilliest San Diego evening throughout December. Enjoy with a bowl of hot steaming ramen for a real winter-warmer.

8. Rare Form

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793 J St
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 255-6507
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Made with Evan Williams Bourbon, Clear Creek Apple Brandy, cinnamon bark syrup, wildflower honey syrup and fresh lemon juice, bar manager Brian Eastman’s Pike County Toddy is a quintessential Christmas drink. Built in a snifter, it’s topped with hot water and garnished with a clove-spiked orange zest. Or head upstairs for one of Ken Lindstrom’s Ugg Boots (Malahat Spiced Rum, Old Harbor Barrel Flag Navy Strength Rum, lime juice, simple syrup, dash of angostura/allspice bitters). Shaken hard over ice it’s served neat in a sour glass and finished with a lime garnish.

9. The Hake Kitchen & Bar

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1250 Prospect St Ste B10
San Diego, CA 92037
(858) 454-1637
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Beverage curator Joan Villanueva and his team just added five winter sippers to the menu at this buzzy La Jolla bistro. Topped with a candied rose petal, the Black Rose is a velvety smooth union of Antica Carpano, Vermouth, Amador Double Black Bourbon, and red wine; while One for Miko, (rye whiskey, Ancho Reyes Chili Liqueur, maple soy syrup, lemon juice), delivers a spicy kick of not-too-sweet heat. Made with Malahat Spiced Rum, kalamansi juice, ginger-honey syrup passion fruit bitters, and finished with a berbere rim, the Spice Embargo tastes as exotic as it sounds.

10. Grant Grill

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326 Broadway
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 744-2077
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Known for shaking up some of the nation's best cocktails, Grant Grill at THE US GRANT is offering the Fall in New England cocktail throughout December. Just in time for the holidays, this apple and cinnamon-infused cocktail is composed of Johnnie Walker Red, fresh cold-smoked apple, sapling Vermont maple liquor, Don Ciccio Walnut Amaro, and cinnamon bitters.

11. Kettner Exchange

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2001 Kettner Blvd
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 255-2001
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Bar manager Steven Tuttle and the team have added four winter cocktails to the menu at this Little Italy showpiece. Only available for December, the KEX Nog is a balanced blend of aged rum, egg, cream, demerara, biscotti, nutmeg, and black walnut bitters. Scotch lovers will enjoy St Nick's Kick (Scotch, Irish, biscotti, lemon, orgeat, black walnut bitters), or the Scottish Coffee (Scotch, coffee liquor, cinnamon, mole bitters). Those seeking something dry, fruity, yet floral should try the Alaskan Rose (Gin, Cocchi Rosa, grapefruit bitters).

12. CUCINA urbana

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505 Laurel St
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 239-2222
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Suitably seasonal cocktails at Tracy Borkum’s popular Bankers Hill spot include the bubbly I Never Mint to Fall in Love ($10) apple cider, Fernet Branca, Dry Curaçao and Prosecco; and Velvet Winter (Persimmon Gin, Génépi, apple cider, lemon, egg white). Post a picture of yourself on social media using #cucinaselfie, and tag the restaurant to receive your first 'home grown cocktail' for just $1. Made with apple bourbon, lemon juice, honey, and apple bitters the ‘homegrown’ Honey Crisp is perfect for the holidays.

1. Cafe 21

2736 Adams Ave, San Diego, CA 92116
This popular eatery and lounge added three holiday-themed cocktails to their menu this season. Highlights include the dairy-free Coconut Milk Eggnog ($10), paired with a Nut Rum, powdered sugar, coconut milk, egg, and pumpkin spices, which brings the essence of the Holiday season. For a light and refreshing cocktail made with dry gin, dissolved powdered sugar, fresh cranberry juice, and a splash of soda, try The Cranberry Cobbler ($10).
2736 Adams Ave
San Diego, CA 92116

2. Urban Solace

3823 30th St, San Diego, CA 92104
North Park’s cozy hangout is featuring seasonal flavors like rosemary and grapefruit in its For the Love of Rosemary ($10.50) holiday cocktail. A tasty and not-too-sweet updated take on a holiday Greyhound, it combines vodka with housemade rosemary syrup topped with grapefruit juice and would pair nicely with their roasted Jidori chicken or quinoa-sweet potato loaf entrées.
3823 30th St
San Diego, CA 92104

3. Bankers Hill Bar & Restaurant

2202 4th Ave, San Diego, CA 92101
Terryl Gavre and Carl Schroeder’s industrial-chic spot is serving up several holiday tipples including the Top Gun ($12), named because of its potent blend of white rum, Taylor’s Velvet Falernum, 151 Rum, pineapple, lime, Tahitian vanilla, and Angostura Mist. Or why not try the Apple Of My Chai ($11), which is made with Cafe Moto Chai infused bourbon and amaro, lemon, honey and topped with apple cider.
2202 4th Ave
San Diego, CA 92101

4. Sycamore Den

3391 Adams Ave, San Diego, CA 92116
Sarah Ellis and her team have introduced eight new cocktails to their winter menu, featuring trademark holiday flavors that fit perfectly with the season: cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, apple and pine. Highlights include Chapman's Fix by Nick Messina made with Applejack, rye, lemon, honey, cinnamon and crushed ice dusted with cinnamon; and Ellis’ Pitys And Pears -- a pear brandy-based cocktail that serves up just the right dose of wintery pine, sure to remind you of your favorite camping trip.
3391 Adams Ave
San Diego, CA 92116

5. The Blind Burro

639 J St, San Diego, CA 92101
Say ‘Feliz Navida’” at The Blind Burro with their appropriately Mexican-themed Christmas cocktail. Made with coffee-flavored Patrón XO, Ketel One vodka, housemade horchata and cinnamon stick garnish, the ¿Que Paso Dude? ($10) should pair nicely with a plate of Mexican chocolate brownies for dessert.
639 J St
San Diego, CA 92101

6. Polite Provisions

4693 30th St, San Diego, CA 92116
Bartender Aaron Zieske has created a Christmas cocktail perfect for Scotch lovers. Built in a double Old Fashioned glass and garnished with an orange twist, the Sorcerer's Apprentice comprises Islay Scotch, Famous Grouse, Oloroso Sherry, Nocello (an Italian walnut and hazelnut-flavored liqueur), and two dashes of Dale Degroff's Pimiento Bitters. Or, you can always try Erick Castro’s Blind Date - made with infused demerara rum, heavy cream, and brown sugar syrup it’s served on the rocks in a double old fashioned glass, garnished with grated nutmeg.
4693 30th St
San Diego, CA 92116

7. Tajima Ramen House

4681 Convoy St, San Diego, CA 92111
One of San Diego’s popular ramen houses will be bringing the heat with their Ho-Ho-Hot Sake ($6) this holiday season. Made with hot sake, dried chili, and Shichimi - an intense, seven-spice chili powder - it’s sure to bring a fiery zing to the chilliest San Diego evening throughout December. Enjoy with a bowl of hot steaming ramen for a real winter-warmer.
4681 Convoy St
San Diego, CA 92111

8. Rare Form

793 J St, San Diego, CA 92101
Made with Evan Williams Bourbon, Clear Creek Apple Brandy, cinnamon bark syrup, wildflower honey syrup and fresh lemon juice, bar manager Brian Eastman’s Pike County Toddy is a quintessential Christmas drink. Built in a snifter, it’s topped with hot water and garnished with a clove-spiked orange zest. Or head upstairs for one of Ken Lindstrom’s Ugg Boots (Malahat Spiced Rum, Old Harbor Barrel Flag Navy Strength Rum, lime juice, simple syrup, dash of angostura/allspice bitters). Shaken hard over ice it’s served neat in a sour glass and finished with a lime garnish.
793 J St
San Diego, CA 92101

9. The Hake Kitchen & Bar

1250 Prospect St Ste B10, San Diego, CA 92037
Beverage curator Joan Villanueva and his team just added five winter sippers to the menu at this buzzy La Jolla bistro. Topped with a candied rose petal, the Black Rose is a velvety smooth union of Antica Carpano, Vermouth, Amador Double Black Bourbon, and red wine; while One for Miko, (rye whiskey, Ancho Reyes Chili Liqueur, maple soy syrup, lemon juice), delivers a spicy kick of not-too-sweet heat. Made with Malahat Spiced Rum, kalamansi juice, ginger-honey syrup passion fruit bitters, and finished with a berbere rim, the Spice Embargo tastes as exotic as it sounds.
1250 Prospect St Ste B10
San Diego, CA 92037

10. Grant Grill

326 Broadway, San Diego, CA 92101
Known for shaking up some of the nation's best cocktails, Grant Grill at THE US GRANT is offering the Fall in New England cocktail throughout December. Just in time for the holidays, this apple and cinnamon-infused cocktail is composed of Johnnie Walker Red, fresh cold-smoked apple, sapling Vermont maple liquor, Don Ciccio Walnut Amaro, and cinnamon bitters.
326 Broadway
San Diego, CA 92101

11. Kettner Exchange

2001 Kettner Blvd, San Diego, CA 92101
Bar manager Steven Tuttle and the team have added four winter cocktails to the menu at this Little Italy showpiece. Only available for December, the KEX Nog is a balanced blend of aged rum, egg, cream, demerara, biscotti, nutmeg, and black walnut bitters. Scotch lovers will enjoy St Nick's Kick (Scotch, Irish, biscotti, lemon, orgeat, black walnut bitters), or the Scottish Coffee (Scotch, coffee liquor, cinnamon, mole bitters). Those seeking something dry, fruity, yet floral should try the Alaskan Rose (Gin, Cocchi Rosa, grapefruit bitters).
2001 Kettner Blvd
San Diego, CA 92101

12. CUCINA urbana

505 Laurel St, San Diego, CA 92101
Suitably seasonal cocktails at Tracy Borkum’s popular Bankers Hill spot include the bubbly I Never Mint to Fall in Love ($10) apple cider, Fernet Branca, Dry Curaçao and Prosecco; and Velvet Winter (Persimmon Gin, Génépi, apple cider, lemon, egg white). Post a picture of yourself on social media using #cucinaselfie, and tag the restaurant to receive your first 'home grown cocktail' for just $1. Made with apple bourbon, lemon juice, honey, and apple bitters the ‘homegrown’ Honey Crisp is perfect for the holidays.
505 Laurel St
San Diego, CA 92101

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