5 Top Mixologists Share What They Are Sipping For The Holidays

Elixir
Elixir

Photo Credit: Jonathan Fong

Whether you’re opening a bottle of Kosta Browne Pinot Noir to enjoy with Christmas Eve dinner, stirring up mezcal old-fashioneds for a Hanukkah cocktail party, or toasting with Dom Perignon on New Year’s Eve, the holidays are all about imbibing. However, knowing what to pour can be tricky. Plus, selecting the perfect spirit to impress your scotch-loving brother-in-law on Christmas can be overwhelming. Luckily, there are plenty of beverage professionals in San Francisco. We’ve turned to some of our favorite mixologists from iconic establishments like the Mission’s 15-year old watering hole Elixir to get the 411 on what you should be drinking this holiday season. Here’s what the mixologists recommend.

Trevin Hutchins
Trevin Hutchins

Photo Credit: One65

Trevin Hutchins
Job title: Beverage Director for the soon-to-be-opened One65 Bar & Lounge
Favorite holiday beverage: Holidays in my house are about pulling out the unique recipes that you only do once or twice a year. This year I’m making Café Brûlot Diabolique; it’s a classic New Orleans cocktail from Antione’s Restaurant in the French Quarter. The cocktail involves flambéing warming spices like cloves and cinnamon and citrus peels with cognac and then finishing it with black coffee. It’s a spectacle. Please don’t burn your house down if you’re trying it at home.

A rendering of the bar at One65
A rendering of the bar at One65

Photo Credit: One65
Hostess gift recommendation: Forgoing the ubiquitous bottle of whiskey, my go-to liquor gifting is rum. For the bottle to impress, I’m bringing Appleton Joy 25 Year blend. It’s a special edition rum from master blender Joy Spence to commemorate her 20th anniversary. She was the world’s first female master blender; that’s something to celebrate. However, if I’m feeling cheeky, I’ll bring a bottle of Baileys. I’ll deny this in the future but Baileys is my guilty pleasure, and if someone says they don’t like it, they’re lying because it’s delicious.
On his wishlist: Vintage Chartreuse, please!
Happening for the holidays: I’m offering our version of the Café Brûlot Diabolique as an off-menu cocktail served in the One65 lounge and O’. It will feature a blend of Plantation Rum and Pierre Ferrand Cognac with chicory coffee. We even have the vintage-style mugs that it was served in at Antione’s.

Scott Beattie
Scott Beattie

Photo Credit: Meadowood Napa Valley

Scott Beattie
Job title: Beverage director of Estate Events at Meadowood Napa Valley
Favorite holiday beverage: Billecart-Salmon Brut Rose
Hostess gift recommendation: I bring bottled-conditioned Manhattans to my family Christmas.
On his wishlist: Cru Beaujolais and Calvados would be just fine.
Happening for the holidays: We do lots of local citrus-focused drinks at Meadowood because that’s what’s in season during the holidays. Look for Meyer lemon, rangpur lime, and blood orange in our cocktail menus for Estate Events and at The Grill.

H. Joseph Ehrmann
H. Joseph Ehrmann

Photo Credit: Allison Weber

H. Joseph Ehrmann
Job title: Owner of Elixir
Favorite holiday beverage: I’m an eggnog freak. I love its versatility, and we make so much of it at the bar (fresh batches every day) that I am always trying new combinations of spirits. A classic blend of Jamaican rum and cognac is my favorite. There are so many more Jamaican rums available now than there used to be. Try Plantation Xaymaca and Bache Gabrielsen American Oak and garnish with a flamed orange twist.

Elixir's egg nog
Elixir’s egg nog

Photo Credit: Jonathan Fong

Hostess gift recommendation: One of my Elixir Private Selection barrels of bourbon. I currently have six different private barrels in stock, and we have a new barrel of Maker’s Mark Private Selection launching at our 15th Anniversary Party, so that will be the spirit of the season for me. It has amazing chocolate and coffee notes.
On his wishlist: Compass Box Flaming Heart 6th Edition (blended single malt Scotch whisky) is launching now, and I can’t wait to taste it.  The Flaming Heart series has been my favorite whiskies for years, and I’m looking forward to the newest blend.
Happening for the holidays: We’ll be running our fall cocktail menu right through the holidays, but we’ll have our traditional house-made eggnog, hot buttered rum, and spiced cider throughout December. And we’ll be doing fresh Tom and Jerry batter daily from the 10th through Christmas Day.

Nicolas Torres
Nicolas Torres

Photo Credit: Wes Rowe Photography

Nicolas Torres
Job title: Bar director at True Laurel
Favorite holiday beverage: I can only drink one cup, but I do enjoy making eggnog for the family. Last year I made Rompope—a Mexican style eggnog—Viva!
Hostess gift recommendation: Wine. Always wine, something vintage to share.
On his wishlist: There’s plenty of booze in my life, but if anyone has a mid-70s unopened bottle of Cynar that would be rad because my cats broke mine.
Happening for the holidays: Our one year anniversary at True Laurel is very close to the holidays, we are bound to stir something up.

Jackie Patterson Brenner and her baby boy, Beau
Jackie Patterson Brenner and her baby boy, Beau

Photo Credit: Julia Lorraine Peterson

Jackie Patterson
Job title: Director of marketing at Maison Corbeaux
Favorite holiday beverage: Pitchers of Negroni Sbagliato! For me, the perfect holiday cocktail has got to sparkle, has plenty to share, and is easy to make. This lower octane and decidedly more festive version of a Negroni is an Italian aperitivo classic along the lines of the Aperol Spritz and Americano. Choose your prettiest vintage glass pitcher and add equal parts chilled Lo-Fi Aperitif Sweet Vermouth and Campari up to half of the pitcher. Fill the remaining half with chilled dry sparkling wine like Prosecco. Gently stir to combine and then pour immediately over ice in goblets in the waiting hands of your thirsty guests! Jazz it up with orange slices and pomegranate seeds. You can mix the vermouth and Campari days in advance and keep it chilling in the fridge and then charge it with bubbles at the last moment.

Maison Corbeaux
Maison Corbeaux

Photo Credit: Scott Brio

Hostess gift recommendation: When you work for one of the best bottle shops in San Francisco, it’s too easy to grab a bottle and present it as a gift. My friends know my background in mixology and expect more than just an awesome bottle, so I like to get creative with a bottled cocktail. I choose something spirit forward so that it will be shelf stable and mix a large batch and bottle it in cute, small swing top bottles I get from the Container Store. I write the name of the cocktail, ingredients, and any instructions on hang tags that I tie with pretty ribbon around the neck.
On her wishlist: Truth be told, I haven’t been much of a drinker the past few years, and now that I have a six-month-old son, it’s even less! But one thing that motherhood and specifically lactation, has awakened in me is craving for dark beer. I’m loving black lagers like Death & Taxes from Moonlight Brewing Co. or the insanely delicious and unique Oyster Stout from Henhouse Brewing—it’s brewed with actual oysters for a briney complexity.
Happening for the holidays: We’re currently brewing up our holiday plans at Maison Corbeaux which will include our regular free tastings on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from 5-7 pm with the addition of Saturday afternoon tastings from 3-5 pm. We’ll be collaborating with our in-house butcher and deli, Avedano’s, for fun events like whole animal butchery classes and food pairings with our tastings.


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