During the holidays, there are some obvious go-to drinks for the season — hot toddys, spiced cider and, of course, boozy eggnog.
Los Angeles bartenders have created both traditional and unexpected twists on the classic for their menus this year, using everything from Cognac to cream liqueur to mezcal (yes, you heard that right). Below are three local standouts that will help put a little ho-ho-ho into your holidays (or just put some alcohol in your nog).
1886 Spiked Eggnog at The Raymond
1886 Bar at the Raymond is known for some pretty experimental concoctions, but this eggnog goes the traditional route. Just Cognac, simple syrup, heavy cream and one whole egg. This has been on 1886's menu since its early days and it has never left. Sometimes you just don't change a classic.
Not Your Madre's Eggnog at Gracias Madre (as seen above)
Count on innovative beverage director Jason Eisner of Gracias Madre,whose focus is on vegan cuisine, to create a vegan eggnog. Instead of egg and cream, he uses coconut milk and a vegan caramel syrup for texture and richness. Add to that mezcal, for a twist on the standard rum or brandy, as well as masala chai spice blend and housemade chocolate bitters. One sip and you will be merry indeed.
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Dat Dere Eggnog at Three Clubs
Michael Neff of Three Clubs in Hollywood collaborated with his brother, Danny Neff of the Bar Room in New York, for this Wisconsin-inspired eggnog. The pronunciation of "Dat Dere" is how they say it in Wisconsin, where the rum-and-cream Kringle Cream Liquor is produced. The kringle for which the spirit is named is Wisconsin's official state pastry, made from hand-rolled dough, then filled with fruits and nuts. The recipe includes Kringle Cream, Old Overholt rye whiskey, Appleton Estate VX Rum, vanilla, brown sugar and a nutmeg garnish.
Lesley blogs at 12 Bottle Bar, tweets at @12BottleBar and is the author of the book Gin: A Global History. Her book The 12 Bottle Bar, co-written with David Solmonson, was released July 29. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Want more Squid Ink? Follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook.