Holiday Cheer in a Glass

Mistletoe Margarita at Corner Drafthouse
Mistletoe Margarita at Corner Drafthouse (courtesy photo)

Beverage directors and bartenders are mixing timeless flavors into stunning cocktails, and San Diegans are invited to enjoy their libations on the coast, as the colors of fall and winter swirl in their drinks. Here are some local spots offering holiday cheer in a glass.

Mistletoe Margarita at The Corner Drafthouse

Cozy up this holiday season at neighborhood bar Corner Drafthouse. Whether you are looking for a festive stout or a hand-crafted cocktail, you won’t be short of options as they have 72 rotating beers on draft and an ample selection of “holiday cheer.” Raise a toast to the Christmas spirit of love and try their Mistletoe Margarita made with blanco tequila, muddled cranberries, fresh lime juice, agave, a sugar rim and cranberry-rosemary garnish.

Time Killer at JRDN

This Pacific Beach beacon boasts a stunning view of San Diego’s coast. Watch wishful tourists and skateboarders pass as you sip on their Time Killer, the latest libation from JRDN at Tower 23. Mixed with three spiced rums and coconut over crushed ice, the Time Killer brings the California coast a bit closer. Grated nutmeg, amarena cherries, mint and an orange slice top this drink off. Raise a glass to the holiday season as you watch the sun dip below the horizon.

Cranberry Sauce’d at 20|Twenty

Beverage Director Stephen George mixes this cocktail with the season’s classic flavors in mind. Local Malahat Rum is the foundation of Cranberry Sauce’d with St. George’s Spiced Pear and a freshly mixed cranberry-rosemary shrub. Take in the hilltop views with a winter cocktail in hand at 20|Twenty, located in The Westin Carlsbad Resort & Spa.

Bour-bin For Apples at 7 Mile Kitchen

The autumn apple-bobbing tradition inspired Beverage Director Stephen George to create a fun-spirited cocktail for 7 Mile Kitchen, located in The Sheraton Carlsbad Resort & Spa. The Bour-bin For Apples is mixed with Maker’s Mark Bourbon and an apple spiced shrub made in-house. Let the flavors from the nutmeg, apple and star anise kick off your holiday season in San Diego.

SAN DIEGO – GBOD Hospitality Group will spread holiday cheer with new festive cocktails available at each of its four Gaslamp Quarter venues – Havana 1920, Mezé Greek Fusion, Prohibition and El Chingon – available throughout the month of December.

Havana 1920:

Havana 1920, GBOD Hospitality Group’s intimate Cuban restaurant located at 548 Fifth Ave., will offer a holly jolly cocktail to celebrate the season: the Little Rummer Boy, made with Havana Club Añejo rum, caramelized plantain purée, fresh lime, fresh-pressed sugar cane and R&D Aromatic #7 bitters. The cocktail will be priced at $12. More information and reservations are available by calling 619.369.1920 or online at

Mezé Greek Fusion:

Mezé Greek Fusion, located at 345 Sixth Ave. in the Gaslamp Quarter, will get guests into the holiday spirit by mixing up the Cup of Cheer cocktail, made with vodka, lemon, pumpkin cordial, R&D house bitters and pumpkin spice, priced at $13. More information and reservations are available by calling 619.550.1600 or online at


Prohibition, GBOD Hospitality Group’s underground speakeasy located at 548 Fifth Ave., will offer a traditional cocktail with a holiday twist – Ugly Sweater Weather. The popular speakeasy’s take on a pumpkin Old-Fashioned cocktail is a combination of house-made pumpkin cordial, R&D citrus and house bitters, priced at $14. More information about Prohibition is available by calling 619.501.1919 or online at

El Chingon:

El Chingon, GBOD Hospitality Group’s “Bad Ass” Mexican restaurant located at 560 Fifth Ave. in the Gaslamp Quarter, will bring Whoville to San Diego by offering a classic holiday character-inspired cocktail, Resting Grinch Face, made with pumpkin cordial, horchata and tequila, priced at $12. More information and reservations are available by calling 619.501.1919 or online at

10 Barrel’s ‘Beernog’ (11.9% ABV): 10 Barrel’s festive and seasonal ‘Beernog’ is a spiced winter ale aged in rum barrels. This full-bodied, winter warmer is just what you need to get out of the cold. A blend of spices and nuances of raisins, toasted oats, cocoa nibs and the use of five different malts pack this beer with a ton of flavor. Guests can enjoy the ale with delicious apps at the pub or take home a 22 oz. bomber for $12. This is a small batch release, so get ‘em while supplies last!

Bootlegger’s ‘Autumn Stroll’: Bootlegger’s festive cocktail of the month is a seasonal twist to the classic moscow mule recipe. Featuring Crown Royal Apple, the ‘Autumn Stroll’ incorporates fresh lemon, rhubarb aromatic bitters and ginger beer for a tart and refreshing cocktail that is bursting with flavor.

International Smoke’s ‘Whiskey & Weather’: When it comes to boozing at International Smoke, sharing is caring! The restaurant’s ‘Whiskey & Weather’ cocktail is served in a large punch bowl, perfect for enjoying with a small group. Crafted with Elijah Craig bourbon, spiced rum and topped with apple and cinnamon, this boozy bowl is sure to ring in the holiday season.

Although there’s no such thing as a white Christmas in Bankers Hill, the Up To Snow Good holiday cocktail at BANKERS HILL BAR + Restaurant will make you feel the spirit of the season. Created by lead bartender Corey Thomas, Up To Snow Good is a combination of Malahat Spiced rum, apple brandy, Amaro Montenegro, allspice dram, black walnut bitters, egg white and house-made apple cider reduction, garnished with grated nutmeg and fresh cranberries.

The Little Rummer Boy at Havana 1920 will have San Diegans jingling through the holiday season. The cocktail is made with Havana Club Añejo rum, caramelized plantain purée, fresh lime juice, fresh-pressed sugarcane and R&D Aromatic #7 bitters.

Mezé Greek Fusion is making spirits bright with the Cup of Cheer, a holiday cocktail made with vodka, lemon juice, pumpkin cordial, R&D house bitters and pumpkin spice.

The colder weather means it’s time to whip out the ugly Christmas sweaters at Prohibition. Ugly Sweater Weather, the featured holiday cocktail is a spin off the traditional Old Fashioned, made with house-made pumpkin cordial, R&D citrus and R&D house bitters.

El Chingon is bringing Whoville to San Diego with its Resting Grinch Face cocktail, a combination of pumpkin cordial, horchata and tequila.

Good things come in threes this holiday season at Sugar Factory American Brasserie at Theatre Box with a trio of holiday-inspired Smoking Candy Goblets. The Mistletoe Mule Smoking Candy Goblet is made with cherry vodka, ginger beer, cranberry juice, grenadine, lime juice and cherry syrup, topped with candy Christmas wreaths and candy cherries; Santa’s Snowflake Smoking Candy Goblet is a combination of coconut rum, blue raspberry Torani syrup, simple syrup and pineapple juice, garnished with gummy snowmen and candy canes; and Poinsettia Punch Smoking Candy Goblet is made with cherry vodka, triple sec, sparkling wine, grenadine, simple syrup and cranberry juice, topped with gummy Christmas trees and candy canes.