Since winters in Southern California aren't exactly optimal for sleigh rides or snowball fights, we need something other than the usual Hot Toddy and Irish Coffee to mark the season. Here are 10 festive cocktails by L.A.'s top bartenders, two of which include recipes to make your holiday parties extra cheery.

1. Hemingway's Nog at Hemingway's Lounge in Hollywood is a lighter alternative to the traditional egg nog. Made with creme fraiche instead of eggs and includes Atlantico Rum, Licor 43, Bittermens Tiki bitters and fresh ground nutmeg.

2. January Jones at Drago Centro in downtown is an ode to hot buttered rum with its mix of Appleton VX rum, brown sugar syrup, cinnamon tincture, butter and hot water.

3. Both Little Dom's in Los Feliz and Dominick's in West Hollywood present the crimson Port Flip, which is comprised of Grahams 10 year port, whole whipped egg and shaved nutmeg.

4. Can't have Christmas without a little mistletoe action. Fortunately Cecconi's in West Hollywood has a Mistletoe cocktail with rum, lime, honey syrup and prosecco.

Bloody Holiday at Waterloo & City.; Credit: Carolos Tomazos

Bloody Holiday at Waterloo & City.; Credit: Carolos Tomazos

5. Bloody Holiday at Waterloo & City in Culver City sounds morbid but looks like Christmas in a cocktail glass with its dark rum, ginger beer, cranberry puree and holiday spices.

6. The Holland Gin Punch at The Raymond's 1886 in Pasadena is an adaptation of cocktail author David Wondrich's own take of Charles Dickens' holiday punch. The original punch was served by Dickens at his parties. The version available at the small bar includes Bols Genever, demerara syrup and a spice mix of nutmeg, all spice and cloves.

7. The Accursed Fruitcake cocktail at Allston Yacht Club in Echo Park may change your mind about that infamous Christmas staple with its brandy, cider, ginger beer and “inebriated fruits.”

8. Leave it to Matt Biancaniello, bartender of The Hollywood Roosevelt's Library Bar, to come up with what is perhaps the most decadent eggnog, the Mushroom and White Truffle Eggnog. He throws together a candy cap mushroom-infused Basil Hayden's bourbon, a white truffle-infused egg, white truffle-infused cream and agave. Completing the cocktail with shave white truffle and dark chocolate on top.

9. The Drink That Shall Not Be Named

From: Zahra Bates of Providence

Makes: 1 drink

2 ounces Leblon Cachaca

1 3/4 ounces grapefruit juice

1 hachiya persimmon

1 bar spoon Averna Amaro

cinnamon sugar

1. Cut persimmon into quarters and brûlée the flesh only with cinnamon sugar.

2. Squeeze the flesh out of the skin and lightly muddle into a puree.

3. Build the rest into a Boston glass, add ice shake and fine strain.

10. Earl Grey Butter Rum

From: David Myers of Comme Ça (Los Angeles, opening December 2010 at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas)

Makes: 1 drink

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar


1 teaspoon salt

3 sticks of cinnamon

3 whole cloves

1 liter Earl Grey tea

2 ounces per guest Black Goslings rum

1. Mix all the ingredients together except the rum.

2. When everything is dissolved in the Earl Grey tea, put 2 ounces of rum in a glass then add the Earl Grey mixture, leaving a slim line at the top.

3. Garnish with a cinnamon stick.

As a special for the holidays, Comme Ca will feature a unique holiday cocktail daily for 12 days. And starting on December 11, the first cocktail is $12 with the price decreasing every day to a $1 cocktail on the last day.

LA Weekly