If your holiday spirit is flagging a bit from the stress of card writing (some of us still do that), shopping and trying to get all your work done so that you can take a few days off, we have some spirits that will give you the liquid courage to face the holidays with a smile on your face and a song, or naughty limerick, in your heart. Whether you toast with "Cheers, Salud, Prost, Skol or L'chaim", it's time to make merry with our loved ones. And the restaurants and bars in Houston stand ready to help.
Alicia's Mexican Grille
25725 Katy Freeway
26326 Northwest Freeway
20420 Southwest Freeway
If margaritas make you merry, then Alicia's Christmas Magic Margarita will really jingle your bells. It's made with Herradura Double Barrel Reposado tequila, Presidente brandy, Cointreau, agave and freshly squeezed lime juice. It comes with a complimentary shaker for $11.
1103 S. Shepherd
Beverage Director Sean Beck has created a hot chocolate for grown ups at Hugo Ortega's quaint Montrose restaurant. The Little Green Bag is house-made hot cocoa with green Chartreuse, espresso, dark chocolate and roasted spices topped with a toasted marshmallow. Blogger Jamie Alvear of The Drunken Diva and former Houston Press writer tasted it and said, " The herbal notes of the green Chartreuse pair very well with the rich espresso laced hot chocolate."
Bosscat's Banana Bourbon Bacon Eggnog is made with Bulleit Bourbon, Banana, Bacon and Eggnog. The name pretty much speaks for itself and is fun to order for poetry professors who love alliteration.
3320 White Oak
Bar Manager Sarah Crowl has created a menu of holiday drinks to warm your cockles and the on-site garden provides some fresh herbs to keep it real and seasonal. The Amaro Nogmas ($11) is made with rye whiskey, Nitro-Amaro Blend, cream, egg and spice. For $3 more, add a floater of Nitro liqueur or Amaro blend.
That New NEW ($13) is a concoction of cacao, coffee and cardamom-infused rye plus sweet vermouth and Amaro. For something a little lighter on the wallet and the tastebuds, there's the Designated Dragon ($7) made with apple shrub, Italian marigold, cinnamon and elderflower tonic. Very genteel.
This small cafe has some seasonal cocktails and mocktails. The cocktails include Apple Vanilla Sangria ($9), Aperol Spritzer ($8) ans Lemon Peppermint Prosecco ($8). For those who want a tasty non-alcoholic beverage, there are mocktails like the Lemon Ginger Shot ($3.50), Hibiscus Honey Tea ($4), Blueberry Mint Lemonade ($4) and Italian sodas.
This restaurant/bar in The Woodlands area has a new menu of seasonal drinks that includes an Absolute Frozen Hard Cider made with Absolut apple vodka, fresh apple cider, Texas honey, lemon and cinnamon. Fielding's also has a happy hour from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday. It's a great way to escape the holiday shopping frenzy. Its signature cocktails are 50 percent off, there are $4 pours of wine and $2 off Texas craft beers during happy hour plus there are bar bites like Cauliflower Hummus served with socca ($5.50) and Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe ($9.50).
If you want to be transported back to your younger days, the Holiday Cheer at 8th Wonder should do it. It's peppermint-infused 8th Wonder vodka, simple syrup, hot chocolate and whipped cream topped with crushed peppermint. It will make you feel like a kid again, except with vodka.
Beverage Director Mohammed Rahman has created a cocktail with the classic flavors of chai for the season. The Kagareta Chai is black tea spiked with shochu, espresso liqueur and green Chartreuse.
If everyone around you has the sniffles and you are trying to avoid a Christmas cold, La Fisheria has a drink that will boost your immune system and your spirits. The La Tintorera has all the vitamin C you'll need with grapefruit soda, fresh orange, lime and lemon juice. All your winter citrus in one cocktail, plus Don Julio Blanco Tequila.
The Pecan, Pecan at Loch Bar is made with Weller Special Reserve with Bittercube cherry bark vanilla bitters and angostura bitters. We asked the reasoning behind the name and were told that it is a play on the way people say the word differently, similar to the tomato/tomahto debate. So whether you say pee-can or puh-cahn, it's all good. Okay, no it's not. It's puh-cahn, y'all.
Keep the kiddos away from Santa's Spiked Milk at Monkey's Tail. Also called the 3 Milks, the cocktail is made with Santa Theresa rum, tres leches, pineapple, cherry strawberry and nutmeg. And Monkey's Tail is open till 2 a.m. Christmas Eve, if you need to escape the relatives.
After you try the Pecan, Pecan at Loch Bar, you can walk into Ouzo Bay and try the Laconic ($16), a twist on a hot toddy. It starts with English Breakfast Tea, then it's spiked with Barr Hill and St George Terroir gin. Add some Roots Herbal, Scrappy's Celery Bitters and honey and this beverage will soothe a sore throat and a holiday-stressed mind.
All Houston Locations
The Perry Merry Mule ($12) is made with fresh strawberries muddled with lime and cranberry juices then shaken with Tito's Handmade Vodka and a splash of ginger.
The seasonal cocktails here are created by seasoned professionals. Bartender Hector Rodriguez is serving up his Hector's Horchata ($10) made with dark rum, rice milk, heavy cream, cinnamon and dulce de cocoa. You had me at dulce de cocoa, Hector.
Underbelly Spirits Director, Westin Galleymore, fresh off of being honored at the StarChefs Rising Stars Awards, has created the Ivory ($12), a drink of oolong-infused vodka, lime, oat milk and mace. And it's served frozen. It will most likely be 70 degrees next week, so that's a good thing.
Nog is a holiday theme this year at Chris Shepherd's restaurants. You can also try the Nog ($12) at his steakhouse Georgia James, which is made with cask strength Armagnac, PX sherry, whole milk, whole egg and nutmeg. Wander next door to Hay Merchant and try the Nog ($8) which is made with black strap rum, spiced stout, heavy cream, whole egg, cinnamon and vanilla. And if you find your lucky self at One Fifth Gulf Coast this yuletide, its Nog ($9) contains Creole-spiced rum, chicory oat milk, whole egg and nutmeg.