Operators are revving up beverage menus with an abundance of new winter warmers. Some of the offerings are dressed to the nines in their holiday best, while others sport seasonal flavors or warm liquids to beat the chill. And several are extending their run through Jan. 31, like these cookie-flavored cocktails at the Fairmont Chicago, Millennium Park Hotel. Here’s what customers can sip—both with and without an alcohol buzz.
1. Cookie cocktails
Omni Hotels debuted six cocktails inspired by its chefs’ family holiday cookie recipes. There’s a Sugar Cookie cocktail made with spiced rum, amaretto and vanilla in a martini glass rimmed with colored sugar; the Chocolate Crinkle, made with whiskey, chocolate and toasted almond mocha syrup; and a Cinnamon Churro with tequila, cinnamon and vanilla. Some of the cocktails contain a splash of milk to better wash down the cookies served on the side.
2. Santa’s favorites
Dunkin’ also jumped on the holiday cookie connection, with two coffees themed to two baked favorites. There’s an Iced Snickerdoodle Cookie Latte and a warm Sugar Cookie Latte. For those who prefer candy flavors, Dunkin’ is serving up Iced Peppermint Mocha Coffee.
3. Veggie shots
Vol. 39, the library-themed bar in The Kimpton Gray Hotel in Chicago, has crafted a selection of winter cocktails to lure guests in from the cold. Customers can get a shot of veggies if they order up an I Think Therefore I Yam (pictured), which uses cognac as a base and takes flavor notes from sweet potatoes and apples. The bartender then blends in an egg for richness—a modern take on eggnog. Also on offer is Getting Figgy with It, a cocktail made with fresh figs that are soaked in rye whiskey. The sweetness is balanced by bitters and the drink is presented with fresh sage leaves and a bruleed fig.
4. Best-dressed coffees
Coffee seems to be an active category for LTOs this holiday season. In addition to Dunkin’s lineup and Starbucks’ Juniper Latte, It’s A Grind also debuted four new drinks—only one of which is hot. The warm one is the White Candy Cane Latte, a blend of espresso, steamed milk, peppermint syrup and chocolate powder, topped with whipped cream and crushed peppermints. The other three are icy beverages, including a cold version of the candy cane latte, the Almond Tart Iced Blended and a Winter Blend Cold Brew made with the chain’s holiday whole beans.
5. A spirited celebration
A seasonal cocktail list showcasing an array of spirits is available at Firebirds Wood Fired Grill through January. Bourbon fans may want to indulge in the Tipsy Pig, where the brown spirit is mixed with vermouth, bitters and homemade bacon brown sugar syrup, while vodka lovers can try the Pretty Bird, made with clementine vodka, aperol and ginger liqueur. For customers who want a jolt of caffeine with their booze, there’s Cinnamon Roast, a blend of rum, cinnamon whiskey, Irish cream liqueur and cold brew coffee.
6. A toast to NOLA
Winter in New Orleans is a nod to the season by Edison’s Espresso and Tea Bar at Pythian Market, a bustling food hall in downtown New Orleans. Since this Southern city doesn’t get much wintry weather, the cocktail is served on the rocks but features warm spices and flavors, including apple cider, bourbon, dark roast coffee and honey. Across town at the Bywater American Bistro, customers can imbibe the Wanderlust, a sparkling vodka cocktail flavored with mulled wine syrup, bitters, lime and rosemary,
7. Holiday happy hour
Buffalo Wings and Rings revamped and upgraded its beverage menu in an effort to boost happy hour traffic and take advantage of holiday shoppers out and about, said a spokesperson for the chain. Several of the cocktails give classics a twist, using items from the food side of the menu. There’s the Ring-a-Rita, for example, a margarita garnished with an onion ring, and a Chocolate Bacon Manhattan, topped with a slice of bacon. To tempt nondrinkers, there’s the Pop Rocking Lemonade made with Pop Rocks candies, and a coconut cooler.
8. Miami spice
When the temperature dips in South Florida, Northerners still consider it warm. But visitors and residents alike may want to get into the holiday spirit with a drink named The Flannel. Served at Lightkeepers at the Ritz-Carlton Biscayne, the festive cocktail features spiced rum, allspice dram, chocolate bitters, whipped cream and chocolate shavings.
9. Coffee time is family time
Gloria Jean’s Coffees launched a line of family-friendly winter drinks. The whimsically named beverages include the Jack Frost Un-Coffee chiller and hot latte, flavored with cookie dough, almond and cinnamon, and the Sleigh Ride Cookie chiller and hot mocha. All are available in decaf versions more appropriate for kids and decorated with colorful edible garnishes.
10. Citrus season
The Blood Orange Sage Kick Ass Margarita is Velvet Taco’s contribution to the holiday season. Available until Jan. 6, the drink is a riff on the fast casual’s original margarita. This cocktail starts with that as a base, but it’s topped with a blood orange and sage puree that’s made in-house and garnished with a fried sage leaf.