This time of year, classic carols pay homage to the things that make the holiday season warm and cozy. But even if you live far from glistening treetops and roasting chestnuts, festive drinks are doable in any region. Let these 10 spots serve as your guide to liquid yuletide cheer — or better yet, pay them a visit and sip for yourself.
Plunge Rooftop Bar & Lounge
A rooftop bar may not be the first place you think of for a winter hangout, but Plunge, atop Forbes Travel Guide Recommended Gansevoort Meatpacking NYC, knows how to keep things cozy with a cider bar available from noon to 10 p.m. daily through the holiday season.
Enjoy a mug of warm apple cider, locally sourced from Red Jacket Orchards in the Finger Lakes, that’s fully customizable with additions like ginger, cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, honey, mint, citrus and more. For an extra kick, spike your sip with spiced rum, bourbon or apple brandy, while taking in the 360-degree views of the Manhattan skyline and the Hudson River.
Guests braving winter at Cape Cod’s Ocean Edge Resort & Golf Club will take great delight while warming up with a winter spiced wine in the hotel’s Bayzo’s Pub, located in the lower level of the Nickerson Mansion. Chef de cuisine Brock Anderson created the warm mulled wine using bay leaves, cinnamon, cloves, mace and cardamom, and it goes down just a easily as a comforting bowl of his New England clam chowder.
Lobby Bar at MGM National Harbor
There’s plenty to do at this 23-acre resort overlooking the Potomac, from gambling at the 125,000-square-foot casino to relaxing at the D.C. property’s luxury spa and salon and feasting at restaurants from celebrity chefs like Marcus Samuelsson, José Andrés and the Voltaggio brothers.
You can even take part in a Vegas-style mixology class at the MGM National Harbor’s Lobby Bar. Learn everything from the history behind storied sips to the artistry involved in different classic cocktails.
Once all of that practice is done, you’ll leave with a Woodford Reserve barrel for batching your own handcrafted sips at home.
Reunion Resort, A Salamander Resort
This Forbes Travel Guide Recommended Orlando retreat has been pouring out the holiday spirit quite literally this season. And while we’d love to find a place on the mantel for all of its lovely libations, our heart goes pitter patter for the Candy Cane Martini, a good-looking concoction made of Tito’s vodka, vanilla vodka, peppermint schnapps and simple syrup that’s been shaken, strained and rimmed with crush candy canes. You can order it in all of the resort’s dining outlets through January 1.
The St. Regis San Francisco
This holiday season, this Five-Star spot is offering a Nutcracker edition of The Art of Tea, an afternoon tradition set in the hotel’s lobby lounge.
The festive service comes with a variety of savory sandwiches (smoked salmon brown butter éclairs) and baked treats (chocolate peppermint petit fours) plus a wide selection of fair-trade herbal blends, champagne and tea-based cocktails, like the Nutcracker hot toddy (made with a special-edition tea syrup, calvados, apple brandy and cognac).
The elegant affair is available daily through December (except Christmas) from 2 to 5 p.m. in the luxe lounge.
The Aviary NYC
Ground-breaking Chicago chef Grant Achatz brings his molecular gastronomy cocktails to the 35th-floor of Five-Star Mandarin Oriental, New York. So you can pair the amazing Central Park and skyline vistas with innovative drinks like the warming Wake and Bake. Single barrel rye whiskey, coffee and orange are infused into vermouth, and a pillow holding the scent of everything bagels is opened tableside, giving you a typical NYC breakfast: coffee, orange juice, a bagel and whiskey.
Wellness experts will tell you that ginger reduces muscle pain and treats nausea. What they might not be aware of is the fact that the spice can also serve as quite the conversation starter. Take Five-Star Montage Laguna Beach’s Ginger Nonsense, for instance.
Should you walk into your holiday gathering with this beautiful glass of Captain Morgan, Belle De Brillet Pear Liqueur, Licor 43, lime juice, ginger beer, Angostura bitters, candied ginger and lemon peels in your hand, you’ll instantly become the talk of the room.
Spencer’s By the Sea
Located on Key West’s only private natural sand beach, The Reach, A Waldorf Astoria Resort offers an unprecedented shoreline and amazing views from the balcony of every room. Celebrate the season at the Forbes Travel Guide Recommended hotel’s waterfront steakhouse, Spencer’s By the Sea, with a festive apple pie cocktail, a drink created with handcrafted cinnamon-infused vodka, muddled green apple, orange bitters and soda water. One sip will bring you home for the holidays, even if your feet are still in the sand.
Located within San Diego’s historic Four-Star The US Grant, A Luxury Collection Hotel, Grant Grill offers a special seasonal cocktail selection. Cozy up with cheerful sips like the Heat Miser, a warm concoction made with Malahat spiced rum, honey, lemon and chai tea and served in a gold-rimmed glass.
The list of libations, designed by chef de bar Cory Alberto, includes a seasonal Viking-themed section, a listing of premium “billionaire cocktails” and a collection of signature creations like a modernist Negroni, served tableside in a hot siphon, and a Japanese whisky cocktail that’s lightly carbonated and sealed in a hand-painted champagne bottle.
If you don’t fancy sweet cider, classic eggnog or hot cocoa, Geraldine’s unique holiday cocktail might be just your cup of tea.
The citrus-laced Warm & Fuzzies, offered through the end of the year at Kimpton Hotel Van Zandt restaurant, is made with Grand Marnier, fino sherry, cranberry shrub, Madagascar vanilla bean, orange zest, cranberry bitters, egg white and a spiced cookie crumble. Sip on one next to the fireplace while enjoying the Austin city skyline from the rooftop.