Sugar and Spice: 10 Festive Cocktails From Chicago's Top Bartenders

Fiona Good-Sirota | December 14, 2020 | Food & Drink

Warm up with your favorite holiday cocktails—brought to you from Chicago’s beloved bars and restaurants straight to your home.


1. Tullamore D.E.W. Hot Apple DEW

Tullamore D.E.W., the distillery behind pop-ups across Chicago, puts its Hot Apple DEW front and center this holiday season. “The Hot Apple DEW is my go-to winter warmer,” says brand ambassador Gillian Murphy. “The combination of cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg partnered with the Tullamore D.E.W. [Irish whiskey] transports my taste buds to a magical winter wonderland. My top tip,” she adds, “is to prep the clove-studded lemons in advance. You can also up the recipe ratios and prepare this cocktail punch-style in a crock pot—perfect for holiday family gatherings.”


2. Dusek’s Board & Beer Hot Toddy

Dusek’s Board & Beer brings forth its seasonal hot toddy, which is included in the rotating selection of personalized cocktail kits. “For me, no cocktail is more cozy and festive than a hot toddy on a chilly December evening,” says Mark Phelan, director of beverage operations at 16’’ on Center, the hospitality group behind Dusek’s. “Heaping it full of spices like cinnamon, ginger and allspice only amplifies the holiday vibe, while peated Scotch warms the chest and offers a firm reminder that this merry fella still packs a wallop.” Cocktail kits are available for take-out. 1227 W. 18th St.

See also: 20 Virtual And Socially Distanced Events For A Very Merry Chicago Christmas

3. Yūgen The Weather Outside is Weather

Female-owned and -operated Japanese eatery Yūgen has created its own original cocktail: The Weather Outside is Weather, a decadent treat to heat up even the coldest of winter nights. Derived from rum, pomegranate liqueur, green tea, cinnamon syrup and apple shrub, this concoction combines fruity flavors with a hint of spice. “This toddy reminds me of Christmas,” says Yūgen Bar Manager Chelsea Napper. “The pomegranate with the apple and cinnamon really drive those festive flavors home. Christmas gives me the warm and fuzzies—so this is basically me trying to recreate those warm and fuzzies in the form of libation.” 652 W. Randolph St.


4. LondonHouse Chicago Sleigh Wreck

LondonHouse Chicago hotel’s rooftop bar introduces Sleigh Wreck, a holiday melody of apple pie and cinnamon flavor notes in cocktail form—served warm and topped with whipped cream and a dash of cinnamon. The drink brings holiday staples to your mug with Bulleit Rye, Baileys Apple Pie and Earl Grey bitters. “This hot cocktail served in a coffee mug is perfect for cozying up on a cold winter night, combining all the flavors of the holiday season with apple pie, cinnamon and whipped cream,” says Adam Peabody, general manager and mixologist at LH Rooftop at LondonHouse. This cozy sipper is available for take-out and pickup. 85 E. Wacker Drive

See also: The 8 Best Holiday Lights Displays in Chicago


5. Three Dots and a Dash’s Gin & Juice Spiced Cider Kit

Award-winning tiki bar Three Dots and a Dash treats cocktail lovers to its newly debuted virtual bar: Gin & Juice. The Spiced Cider kit mixes Old Forester bourbon with Klug Farms spiced apple cider to honor a true holiday classic. “We took our favorite Klug Farms apple cider that is made with a variety of heritage apples, spiced it with our favorite blend of winter spices and served it with a spicy bourbon that makes for a warm winter drink—perfect for the holidays,” says Beverage Director Kevin Beary. The kit is available for take-out and pickup only. 435 N. Clark St.

6. Travelle Snow Globe Punch

Sophisticated lounge and restaurant Travelle at The Langham, Chicago has crafted a drink reminiscent of a snow globe in a glass. “This year, Travelle will be featuring a special Christmas cocktail named Snow Globe Punch,” says lead mixologist Slava Borisov. “It is a combination of three different rums, a Christmas tea blend, fortified wine and a magical sparkly winter wonderland.” This seasonal beverage is available for take-out and pickup only. 330 N. Wabash Ave.


7. Tzuco Ponche

Mexican-French hybrid Tzuco offers its take on traditional Mexican Ponche fruit punch as a staple for celebrating this holiday. The drink is served hot and combined with guava, apple, tejocote, tamarind, cinnamon, hibiscus and cane sugar—served with or without spirits. “I prefer combining our Ponche with Charanda, a sugar cane spirit from the Michoacan region of Mexico off the pacific coast,” says Tzuco Bar Manager Andrew Bone. “It has a light vanilla note with an earthy sweet profile of sugar cane that I really enjoy.” Order the Ponce for take-out, pickup or patio dining. 720 N. State St.


8. The Violet Hour’s The Hand Warmer

The Voilet Hour, Wicker Park’s chic bar venue and, most recently, creator of ready-to-drink cocktails, boasts The Hand Warmer—a culmination of Laird’s House Barrel Apple Brandy, Campari, Angostura bitters, honey, pomegranate, lemon and nutmeg, served piping hot. “The Hand Warmer is super festive and a great option for socially distant outdoor cheersing,” says general manager Abe Vucekovich, the mind behind the beverage. “Warm apple brandy and the bouquet of baking spices from the Angostura bitters, as well as the echoes of orange from the Campari are all reminiscent of a hot and comforting holiday punch.” Snag this cocktail for take-out and pickup. 1520 N. Damen Ave.

9. I|O Godfrey Rooftop Lounge Cranberry Mule

The Godfrey Hotel Chicago’s rooftop bar and lounge, I|O Godfrey, famous for its trademark winter igloos and stunning skyline sights, presents the Cranberry Mule in time for the holidays. Grant Gedemer, corporate director of food and beverage at I|O Godfrey, says, “The Cranberry Mule is reminiscent of a holly berry scent, with a warm spiciness in its flavor that instantly puts you in the holiday spirit. The drink is lightly tart and spicy and easy to re-create in larger quantities for entertaining within your holiday bubble this year.” Ingredients include Ketel One Vodka, cranberry puree, thyme simple syrup, fresh lime juice and ginger beer. This festive take on the classic mule is on hand for take-out and pickup. 127 W. Huron St.


10. The Goddess and Grocer Fig + Balsamic Old Fashioned

The Goddess and Grocer’s Fig + Balsamic Old Fashioned mixes High West bourbon with fig and balsamic simple syrup, orange and apple. “This cocktail is my favorite take on the classic,” says mixologist Francisco Lozano. “Growing up in Mexico, my grandmother always made the most delicious fig marmalade, so this recipe is really inspired by her. I boil the fresh figs down with sugar and then mix in the balsamic, which gives the drink a rich unexpected edge.” This seasonal flavor is available in individual portions or cocktail kits for take-out and pickup only. 1127 N. State St.

Photography by: From top: Courtesy of Tullamore D.E.W.; courtesy of Dusek's Board & Beer; courtesy of LH Rooftop at LondonHouse Chicago; courtesy of Gin & Juice; courtesy of Tzuco; courtesy of Abe Vucekovich; by Emma Watson