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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.
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Urban Solace

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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.

Bankers Hill Bar & Restaurant

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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.

Sycamore Den

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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.

Polite Provisions

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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.

The Hake Kitchen & Bar

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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.

Kettner Exchange

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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).

Grant Grill

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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.

CUCINA urbana

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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.

Rare Form

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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.

Tajima Ramen House

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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.

The Blind Burro

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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.

Cafe 21

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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).

Urban Solace

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.

Bankers Hill Bar & Restaurant

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.

Sycamore Den

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.

Polite Provisions

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.

The Hake Kitchen & Bar

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.

Kettner Exchange

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).

Grant Grill

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.

CUCINA urbana

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.

Rare Form

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.

Tajima Ramen House

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.

The Blind Burro

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.

Cafe 21

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).

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