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Sugar, Spice, and Everything Nice

20 Festive Drinks to Warm You Up This Season

Hot toddies, mulled wines, and espresso martinis will keep you warm all winter long.

By Shelby Stewart, Rosemary Akpan, and Anna Rajagopal

Try these boozy seasonal drinks for the holiday. 

Image: Clarkwood

COLD FRONTS ARE BECOMING MORE FREQUENT IN HOUSTON, and residents are doing their best to stay warm. While it’s tempting to stay in, crank up the heater, and snuggle up under a blanket while watching a Christmas movie, there are other ways to warm yourself up this holiday season—and by "other ways," we obviously mean by going bar hopping.

So, if you're feeling extra festive this year, consider venturing out of your well-heated hovel so you can get buzzed on the best kind of holiday spirit—by which we, of course, mean holiday spirits of the liquor variety. Who knows, after a spiked hot cocoa and a hot toddie or two, you might just find yourself feeling the  spirit enough to venture outside for a walking tour of Christmas lights in your neighborhood. Besides, those cable marathons of Christmas with the Kranks and A Christmas Story aren’t going anywhere. 

From classics like hot toddies and mulled wine to something more unique like Lei Low’s Hot Buttered Banana cocktail, here are 20 tasty winter drinks that’ll warm you up while out on the town.

High & Dry

FIRST WARD

 
 
 
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In the mood for a boozy taste of fall? Make a trip to the city's official rum bar, High & Dry, for one of their specialties: smoky fall cocktails. Order up the wagyu Japanese whisky drink, satirically named "Where's the Beef," or try the hot buttered rum with a side of pumpkin-spiced shots. 

Lei Low 

HEIGHTS

 
 
 
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If Hawai'i is not in the plans for winter vacation this year, head over to this friendly neighborhood tiki oasis on North Main Street. The tiki-inspired bar has brought back their warm and toasty seasonal Hot Buttered Banana. 

Lucille’s

MUSEUM DISTRICT

 
 
 
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Sometimes, a winter drink doesn’t have to be hot to keep you warm. At Lucille's, the lemon drop martini, using Highway Vodka's hemp-based liquor, is the way to go. If martinis aren’t your thing, then the vodka itself is great for mixing with other sweet and tangy cocktails offered at this restaurant. And if you end up buying some for the house, you can make a Highway Vodka hot cocoa or Santa Clausmopolitan.

13 Celsius

MIDTOWN

 
 
 
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Complement your charcuterie boards this December with a glass of mulled wine from 13 Celsius. Try a flavorful and fruity selection like the Gran Moraine, or a more dry and earthy red wine, like the Biondi Santi. 

8th Wonder Brewery

EAST DOWNTOWN

Houston is one of the best places to get a good brew, and 8th Wonder Brewery is one of the city’s mainstay breweries. This season, you can enjoy a brew for breakfast with their french toast breakfast beer, made with altbier, brewed with vanilla, cinnamon, and maple syrup. Or opt for their Viet-Irish Coffee brew which perfectly blends coffee, beer, and whiskey.  

Wooster’s Garden

MIDTOWN

 
 
 
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Wooster’s Garden is kicking off the holiday with their Cherry Cask; a deep red cocktail that blends Luxardo cherry, bourbon, and bitters, garnished with blueberries. 

Heights Bier Garten

HEIGHTS

 
 
 
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Heights Bier Garten is both family and pet-friendly, with a full patio bar, porch swings, and firepits. Don’t let the cold weather get you under the weather this season. Grab their Aged Eggnog to-go for a taste of dark rum and whiskey, or try their unique twist on the hot toddy—the Scotland-hailing drink used for ages to help those trying to get over a cold.

Double Trouble Caffeine & Cocktails 

MID MAIN

Coffee and cocktails? Don’t mind if we do. At Double Trouble, you don't have to choose. Stay warm and cozy with a boozy whipped drink, like the Jamaican Coffee or spice things up with their new Carajillo Espresso Martini (which is said to feel like a warm hug for the body).

Anvil Cocktail Bar

 

MONTROSE

 
 
 
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Spice your holidays up with one of Anvil’s seasonal cocktails. Their most recent addition to the fall menu is La Rosalia, an old-fashioned with kicked-up mole spices. The warm and spicy finish is the perfect recipe for cool weather days. Or go with The Roamin Holiday, an Anvil throwback stirred with bourbon, apple brandy, chinato, and cherry bitters.

Julep 

 

EAST WASHINGTON AVENUE

Julep has updated their house cocktail list to include delicious fall-inspired drinks like the Pitch of the Patch.

Out with the old and in with the new. Julep has updated their house cocktail list to include delicious fall-inspired drinks. Break out your festive boots and head to Julep to try their Pick of the Patch cocktail, featuring a rum flip made with Bacardi Cuatro, pumpkin spice, coffee liqueur, chocolate bitters, and shaken with egg whites to create a creamy, unctuous cocktail. If you want something light and bubbly, you can’t go wrong with the French 75.

Kanpai Club

HEIGHTS

 
 
 
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If pumpkins are still on the brain for you, Kanpai Club is serving up the Pumpkin Grind. The seasonal drink is made with aged rum, lemon, and pumpkin. It’s the perfect pumpkin cocktail to enjoy during the cooler temperatures. 

Clarkwood

MONTROSE

Seasonal cocktails are available at Clarkwood. 

Image: Clarkwood

Clarkwood has seasonal cocktails that'll get you corralling in no time. Try a Ginger Apple Moscow Mule or a Clarkwood Espresso Martini that’s topped with a toasted marshmallow—yum!

Present Company

MONTROSE

 
 
 
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For a vibrant set of seasonal cocktails year-round, head to Present Company. Take a shot of Milk & Cookies made with Bourbon, ginger liqueur, peppermint Schnapps, and vegan cookie dough syrup. If you order four or more you get a tray of cookies to share with your crew. Don’t forget to pose for a selfie with the Santa statue! 

The Horchata Eggnog at Monkey's Tail comes in an adorable mug. 

Image: Becca Wright

Monkey’s Tail

Northside 

Monkey’s Tail has the holiday atmosphere to compliment their holiday drink menu. Splurge on a mug of Hot & Bothered to taste the warm notes of brown butter and pumpkin, but prepare your senses for the spike of rum. While you’re sipping on the Mistletoe Marg—made with hibiscus-infused tequila—take in the 14-foot Christmas tree or warm up on the bar’s heated patio. Or, grab yourself a Horchata Eggnog, featuring Tres Generaciones Añejo, toasted rice horchata, Madeira, vanilla, cinnamon, eggs and cream, and enjoy the cute mug it comes in. 

The Shoppers Spritz at Eloise Nichols. 

Eloise Nichols

Highland Village

If you're feeling extra festive this year, then head over to Eloise Nichols for a boozy seasonal drink. While the American bistro and bar, from the family team behind Adair Kitchen, has a stacked list of holiday cocktails this year, our favorite is the Shoppers Spritz, an amber-hued marvel crafted from brut, Aperol, cranberry, orange bitters lemon, and rosemary. You also can't pass up Eloise Nichols's House Nog, which comes with spiced rum, falernum, nutmeg, and cinnamon. 

Fat Tuesday

MULTIPLE LOCATIONS

Known for their classic frozen cocktails, Fat Tuesday is now offering seasonal drinks to spice up the holidays for a limited time. From now until New Year’s Eve, you can try Fat Tuesday’s Cajun Eggnog, a frozen eggnog made with Southern Comfort and brown sugar. Not feeling like sitting around to enjoy this flavorful beverage? Take a gallon home to share with family and friends for $35.

Have you been naughty or nice this year?

The Original Ninfa’s 

East end, Uptown

Get festive with The Original Ninfa’s, but first—have you been naughty or nice? If you've been naughty, Ninfa’s offers the Naughty cocktail, crafted with tequila blanco, piloncillo, praline, allspice dram, peach bitters, angostura, lime juice, cranberry juice, and more. But if you’ve stayed in Santa’s good graces this year, go for the Nice cocktail, created using tequila blanco, piloncillo, praline, allspice dram, peach bitters, angostura, milk, and cinnamon. These cocktails won’t last though, so hurry to either Ninfa’s location before the end of the year so Saint Nick can decide if you’ve been bad or good.

 

You can't go wrong with a hot toddie at Axelrad. 

Axelrad

MIDTOWN

If Axelrad’s live music and hammocks galore don’t entice you, maybe their festive cocktails will! Indulge in an Irish Coffee for the sweet and sour flavors of Jameson Irish Whiskey and Irish cream. Hot toddy more your winter style? The Mean One is a must-try featuring Monopolowa gin,  matcha, and lemon—all blended together to perfection. Whatever your drinking preferences, Axelrad’s holiday menu has a lot to offer.

Get into the holiday spirit with Treebeards's Peppermint Mocha Martini.

Treebeards

Multiple locations

This Southern cooking restaurant is offering $10 holiday cocktails through December 24 for all of your yuletide drinking needs. Treebeards’s menu is full of holiday cheer with their signature Cranberry-Ginger Mimosa and Peppermint Mocha Martini. If you’re feeling extra Christmasy, try The Gingerbread Man, a drink made with gingerbread tea-infused bourbon.

The Santa on Acid at Betelgeuse Betelgeuse.

Betelgeuse Betelgeuse

SIXTH WARD

Throughout December, drop by Betelgeuse Betelgeuse for cleverly named holiday drinks that taste as fun as they sound. Try their drink, My Brother In Christ, Are You Drinking a Grasshopper?, made with creme de menthe, creme de cacao, vodka, and more. For something a little more daring, ask for Santa on Acid, complete with pineapple rum, Jagermeister, coconut liqueur, and other tasty ingredients. 

 

 

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