So far this season, Robb Report’s resident bartender Jason O’Bryan has had you covered with cocktails for your next fête. From Prohibition-era classics, to a yuletide legend to a very strange and alluring holiday cocktail, you haven’t had to look elsewhere to find holiday drinking inspiration. However, we’re doubling down on creative drinks, asking bartenders around the world for what they’re serving to their patrons this December—and they’re sharing with Robb Report readers how they can recreate the cocktails at home.
Connaught Bar, London
Crowned the World’s Best Bar for an unprecedented two years in a row earlier this month, this ritzy cocktail den within London’s storied five-star Connaught Hotel is known for its classic Martini trolley service and drinks that get precisely mixed tableside. Connaught Bar’s Agostino Perrone and Giorgio Bargiani created a fresh riff on a classic Negroni that features flavors reminiscent of traditional Italian Christmas desserts.
- 0.75 oz. (20 ml) Connaught Bar Gin (or other gin)
- 0.75 oz. (20 ml) bitters
- 0.75 oz. (20 ml) sweet vermouth
- 0.75 oz. (20 ml) aromatic water*
- 1 drop balsamic vinegar
- Orange peel for garnish
Stir all ingredients together with ice; pour into a rocks glass over a large ice cube (preferred). Garnish with an orange peel.
*For the aromatic water: Add 1.25 tsp. (5 g) cocoa nibs, 1.5 tbsp. (20 g) orange peels and 2 tbsp. (25 g) raisins to 2 c. (500 ml) hot water. Let it infuse for an hour, then strain into a bottle. Keep refrigerated.
Atlas Bar, Singapore
Hailed as the Best Bar in Asia in 2020 (and No. 16 on the World’s 50 Best Bars List 2021), Atlas is an extravagant showstopper in an opulent 7,400-square-foot space unlike any you’ve toasted in before. The centerpiece of Singapore’s Art Deco-inspired stunner—which is touted for having the best spirits collection in the world—is a 26-foot tower boasting more than 1,300 gin labels alone. This elevated take on traditional eggnog is sure to be a crowd pleaser this season.
Santa’s Rum Nog
- 0.5 oz. (15 ml) Vedrenne Sirop d’Orgeat
- 1 oz. (30 ml) cream
- 0.5 oz. (10 ml) Pedro Ximénez sherry
- 0.5 oz. (15 ml) Cointreau
- 2 oz. (45 ml) Diplomático Reserva (or another dark rum)
- 1 dash Angostura bitters
- 1 dash Montenegro bitters
- Egg white
Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice; shake vigorously. Strain into a rocks glass over a large ice cube (preferred). Top with freshly grated nutmeg.
Little Red Door, Paris
Celebrating its eighth time on the World’s 50 Best Bars list (#29 in 2021), Little Red Door is an artistic Parisian hideout that evolved its ethos during the pandemic—and now exhibits a more farm-to-glass approach to their craft. “We only work with seasonal and locally sourced produce and ingredients at Little Red Door, and Christmas season marks the start of the gold mine that is citrus season for us. We’ve paired fresh mandarin with the classic winter flavors of apple and nuts in a Christmas vegan milk punch that’ll comfortably serve 10,” bar director Alex Francis says. Whip up a batch of this delectable punch for your next holiday fête.
- 25 oz. (750 ml) Pommeau de Normandie (30&40 Double Jus brand is recommended)
- Peel and juice of four mandarins
- 8.5 oz. (250 ml) nut milk (hazelnut preferred)
- 8.5 oz. (250 ml) vodka
Peel mandarins and juice the flesh. Gently heat the nut milk. Add all ingredients, ensuring the milk is still hot, to a 2 liter container. Seal and leave in a cold place for 24-72 hours. Strain through a cheesecloth or coffee filter before serving. Note: Once bottled, the punch keeps for at least 1 month refrigerated.
Dante, New York City
Named the Best Bar in North America in 2020 and Best Bar in the World in 2019, Dante is a century-old Greenwich Village institution for expertly crafted cocktails and reimagined classics. Available during the holiday season at the original location (which was awarded the 30th spot on the World’s 50 Best Bars 2021 list) and the newer West Village offshoot, this traditional eggnog-style drink incorporates all the flavors of the classic Italian dessert: tiramisu.
- 3.5 oz. (100 ml) Seven Tails XO brandy
- 0.75 oz. (25 ml) amaretto
- 0.75 oz. (25 ml) vin santo
- 2.5 oz. (75 ml) espresso
- 3 oz. (90 ml) mascarpone
- 3 oz. (100 ml) spice syrup
- 1.5 whole eggs
- 1 egg yolk
- Valrhona chocolate for garnish
Add all ingredients to a tin and shake vigorously. Pour into a festive glass and garnish with freshly grated Valrhona chocolate.
Thunderbolt, Los Angeles
An acclaimed neighborhood bar in Los Angeles’ Echo Park, Thunderbolt utilizes a variety of innovative, tech-driven methods to deliver cocktails that appear simple and traditional, yet are packed with unexpected surprises. This celebratory beverage—created by Thunderbolt owner-operator Mike Capoferri—was inspired by the welcoming smell of a Christmas tree when you first enter your home during the holidays.
All Spruced Up
- 2 oz. Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon
- 0.5 oz. spruce tip syrup*
- 2 dashes Angostura bitters
- 1 grapefruit peel
Add bourbon, syrup and bitters to a rocks glass. Gently add ice to the glass, filling to about 3/4 full. Stir the drink for about 15 seconds. Hold a large grapefruit peel over the drink, pith side up, and squeeze to express the oils over the drink. Discard the peel.
* For the spruce tip syrup: Add 1 c. water, 1 c. granulated sugar and .25 c. fresh or frozen spruce tips to a pan and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat as soon as it simmers, stir to incorporate sugar and allow to cool for 20 minutes. Strain out the solids then bottle it; keep stored in the refrigerator.
La Factoria, Old San Juan, Puerto Rico
This legendary bar in Old San Juan (featured on the World’s 50 Best Bars list for six out of the past seven years) is a beautiful celebration of Puerto Rican culture through its energy, music and flavors. “To the Puerto Rican culture, the Coquito is an iconic beverage that carries a very powerful ritual of drinking, as it symbolizes the gathering and sharing of goods, and the joy of the Christmas spirit in its flavor,” says Carlos Irizarry, bar manager at La Factoria. This creamy, coconutty and spiced concoction, which is fortified with rum, is best made in a batch to share with family and friends in celebration of the holiday season.
- 6 oz. Don Q Cristal
- 4 oz. Don Q Reserva 7 Años
- 14 oz. sweetened condensed milk
- 12 oz. evaporated milk
- 8.5 oz. cream of coconut
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1.5 tsp. ground nutmeg
Mix all ingredients well (using a blender is suggested). Pour into an empty bottle and refrigerate for at least two hours before serving. Shake well and serve cold in a small glass. Sprinkle with ground cinnamon.
Trick Dog, San Francisco
San Francisco’s high-profile cocktail bar is celebrated for its fiercely innovative—and regularly changing—beverage menu. The pandemic provided an opportunity for the Trick Dog team to flex their creative muscles in a different way, by debuting Quik Dog—a takeout-only concept from the same owners, Bon Vivants Hospitality. The award-winning Trick Dog bar team whipped up this merry libation that tastes like Christmas, hence the name, which is available at Quik Dog (located within the Trick Dog space).
- 1.5 oz. Maker’s Mark
- 0.5 oz. Martini & Rossi Rubino Vermouth
- 0.5 oz. Leopold Bros. Cranberry Liqueur
- 0.5 oz. Averna Amaro
- 7 dashes Douglas Fir tincture
Combine all ingredients into a mixing glass, add ice and stir for 15 seconds. Serve strained into a coupe or martini glass. Garnish with cranberries.
Scarfes Bar, London
If you can’t curl up in a velvet armchair while sipping a cocktail by the fireplace at Scarfes Bar at Rosewood London, recreating this holiday tippler at home may be the next best thing. Created by head bartender Yann Bouvignies, this cheery drink was inspired by the nostalgic smells and tastes of traditional Christmas treats—including apple, vanilla and spices—along with the flavors of seasonal favorite mulled wine.
Serves up to 4 people
- 5 oz. (150 ml) Hennessy XO cognac
- 1.33 oz. (40 ml) Aquavit
- 1 oz. (30 ml) Palo Cortado sherry
- 1.33 oz. (40 ml) Becherovka liqueur
- 0.5 oz. (10 ml) Ratafia liqueur
- 1 vanilla pod
- Small pinch Piment d’Espelette
- 2 oz. (60 ml) lemon juice
- 1 oz. (35 ml) orange juice
- 0.75 oz. (25 ml) verjus
- 2.25 oz. (70 ml) Esprit de Noël (holiday flavored) tea
- 3.25 oz. (95 ml) poppy seed (or nut) milk
- 3.33 oz. (100 ml) Coeur du Breuil Calvados liqueur
- 1 baked apple*
Mix all ingredients together in a large container. Refrigerate overnight. Strain through a coffee filter and serve over ice.
*Bake an apple for one hour at 400°F.
Hidden behind a pizzeria on a quiet street in Paris is one of the city’s—and the world’s—most highly acclaimed cocktail dens. Danico, from Parisian born and raised bartender and beverage consultant, Nico de Soto (also owner of New York’s influential cocktail mecca, Mace) is a speakeasy-style sensation that showcases a hyper-focused menu of artisanal, quirky concoctions. For Snoop Noggy Nog, de Soto kicked classic eggnog up a few notches—and gave it a dope name for an extra dose of holiday merriment.
Snoop Noggy Nog
- 1 bottle brown butter cognac (Pierre Ferrand 1840 brand recommended)*
- 30 oz. (90 cl) Lustau Amontillado dry sherry
- 2 l. almond milk
- 1.5 l. cream
- 2.5 c. (500 g) sugar
- 24 eggs
- 2 tbsp. (30 g) grated nutmeg, plus more for garnish
In a blender or stand mixer on low speed, beat eggs until smooth. Slowly add nutmeg and sugar until incorporated and dissolved. Gradually add sherry, cognac, almond milk and cream. Refrigerate overnight and serve in small chilled cups. Dust with fresh nutmeg before serving. For a bigger batch, make it in a large pot and use a hand blender to combine.
*For the butter fat-washed cognac: Cook 2.25 tbsp. butter until browned. Add to a 750 ml bottle of cognac and let it infuse for one hour, shaking from time to time. Freeze for four hours; strain.
Since first opening a decade ago, Licorería Limantour has become a mainstay in Mexico City’s vibrant nightlife scene. Named the Best Bar in North America in 2021, as well as earning the #6 spot on the World’s 50 Best Bars list, this cocktail hotspot specializes in designer drinks with creativity, hospitality and innovation as the main pillars of the bar. “The inspiration for this punch comes from the iconic elements in a Christmas dinner—communion, home, love and family,” shared mixologist Yayo Nava. “And sherry has been a significant part of my career as a bartender, part of my history and my essence.”
- 2 oz. (50 ml) red wine (Cabernet Sauvignon preferred)
- 0.5 oz. (15 ml) lemon juice
- 0.75 oz. (25 ml) Tio Pepe fino sherry
- 1.33 oz. (40 ml) cider (not too dry)
- Punch syrup*
- Mint and grape for garnish
All all the ingredients (except the cider) to a shaker with ice and mix using the throwing technique (a method of pouring the cocktail from one shaker to another via a long pour) to oxygenate the mixture. Serve in a highball glass filled with ice cubes and top it off with the cider. Garnish with a mint sprig and a grape skewer.
- 3 c. (500 gr) traditional fruit mix for punch**
- 6 c. (1500 ml) water
- 9 c. sugar
Bring fruit mix to a boil with water and sugar (ratio: 1.5 parts sugar to 1 part water); boil for 15 minutes to let it infuse. Cool before adding to the cocktail.
**Suggested: three cinnamon sticks, ½ c. hibiscus flowers, 1.5 c. tejocotes, approximately 10 fresh guavas, three yellow apples (cored and cut into bite-size chunks), 1 c. pitted prunes (cut in half), 1 lb. bag frozen sugar cane sticks