Holiday Cocktails and Recipes

Holiday Cocktails in San Diego

The holidays are in full swing and with that, the need for a stiff drink is paramount. Whether sipping to survive the in-laws or toasting with loved ones, we’ve got you covered for some delicious seasonal sips. We’ve also included cocktail recipes from Puesto and Water Grill San Diego.

The Oceanaire is inviting guests to get in the holiday spirit with its signature Spirit of St. Nick cocktail. An exclusive holiday beverage with Coppola rose sparkling wine, Passoa passionfruit liquor, cranberry juice, simple syrup, fresh lemon juice and a cranberry sugar rim garnish for sugar, spice and everything nice. 

Catania: Channeling its Sicilian roots, the bar at Catania is giving guests something familiar and comforting, while introducing them to something a bit cozier with its Italian Egg Nog. Using the first and only amaro from Sicily, Averna, Catania is serving up a chai-infused vodka sipper with cinnamon syrup, orange bitters, a whole egg and grated nutmeg on top for a festive finish. 

Charles + Dinorah: Everyone loves a family recipe and this holiday season Bar Manager TJ Majeske is pouring his grandmother’s secret Norwegian hot buttered rum to warm up guests at this poolside spot. It’s said the recipe is “Christmas in a cup” to TJ and he serves it up in a mug to keep things cozy.  

Sycamore Den: Crafted using house-made cordials and unique syrups, Sycamore Den’s new menu features a few drinks that are perfect for the holiday season ahead. The ‘Spruce Moose,’ featuring a bourbon-rum spruce infusion, cumin-vanilla and angostura bitters, is unique and boozy — capturing the intoxicating aroma of the forest. 

The Nolen: Known for their expansive views of Downtown San Diego and craft cocktail selection, The Nolen’s rooftop is the perfect place to wind down and warm up with a Hot Toddy after a long day or week. Choose from cognac, bourbon or dominican aged rum to mix with honey syrup, fresh lemon and hot water. 


Champorado Tropicale at Puesto (courtesy photo)
Champorado Tropicale at Puesto (courtesy photo)

Tequila, spiced chocolate & maíz, piloncillo, guanabana liqueur, fresh passionfruit, fresh lime

Quote: “This cocktail is super fun and delicious. I started off by making a traditional champorado: spiced hot chocolate sweetened with piloncillo and thickened with ground maize. This stuff is about as comforting and delicious as can be. I wanted to keep all those layers of flavor and build a cold cocktail on top of them. Right now my yard is teeming with fresh passionfruit, which paired with the guanabana liqueur and lime juice that built a perfect fruity bridge to join the tequila and the flavors in the champorado.”- Lucien, Beverage Director. Price: $13

Champurrado Tropicale Base Prep

  • Champurrado
  • 4 Cups water
  • 1.5 tablets Abuelita Mexican Chocolate
  • 8 oz. cone of piloncillo
  • 1, 4-inch stick of canela (Mexican cinnamon) 6 pieces cloves 6 pieces star anise
  • 1 cup harina de maize
  • 1/2 cup granulated white sugar

Combine all ingredients in a medium pot. Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally until piloncillo is completely dissolved. Strain through fine mesh strainer. Cool, label, and store.
Yield: 1 qt.

Cocktail Recipe

  • 1 oz Luna Azul
  • 1 oz Huana
  • 0.5
  • oz Lime juice
  • 0.5 oz Passionfruit
  • 2 oz Champurrado

Shake and strain into rocks glass over fresh ice. Garnish with two lime wheels cut thin laid on side.

Rompope Oaxaquena Cocktail at Puesto
Rompope Oaxaquena Cocktail at Puesto

Mezcal añejo, housemade eggnog, roasted corn & cinnamon

Quote: “Scratch eggnog, or rompope, is undeniably delicious. I added a little pinole (a Mexican beverage made from roast corn and cinnamon) that provides just a touch more structure. We are using Yuu Baal Añejo mezcal for its smooth honeyed profile.”- Lucien, Beverage Director. Price: $13.

Rompope Oaxaqueña

  • Rompope Base Prep
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup granulated white sugar
  • 8 oz cone piloncillo
  • 4″ stick canela
  • 1 clove of fresh nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup pinole

Separate eggs. Combine yolks and granulated sugar in a mixing bowl, whisk together until the mixture is a creamy light yellow.

Combine the piloncillo, milk, cream, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a medium pan & simmer over lowheat stirring until the piloncillo is completely dissolved. Strain through a fine mesh strainer. Allow the strained mixture to cool for 5 minutes. Slowly combine the milk and cream mixture with the egg yolks, slowly adding it as you whisk the yolks.

In a new mixing bowl, whip egg whites until they hold a soft peak. Gently fold into warm egg yolk, milk and cream mixture. Whisk in pinole.

Yield: 1 cocktail

Rompope Oaxaqueña Cocktail

  • 2 oz Yuu Baal Anejo Mezcal
  • 2 oz Rompope
  • Shake and strain into a cocktail coupe
  • Dust with fresh nutmeg
Gin and Mezcal and Juice at Puesto
Gin and Mezcal and Juice at Puesto

Mezcal, gin, chamomile, fresh lemon, egg white

Quote: “Gin and Mezcal share a great many things in the flavor department. I was originally thinking of this cocktail in a sort of tongue-in-cheek sort of way as a New Year’s resolution: drink slightly less mezcal. The two spirits harmonize really well with the chamomile, an omnipresent herb/flavor in Mexico, and the egg whites give it body and a sense of celebration that comes from peaked white foam.” – Lucien, Beverage Director. Price: $13.

Gin and Mezcal and Juice

  • Chamomile Syrup Base Prep
  • 3 bags chamomile tea
  • 2 2/3 cups steaming hot water
  • 2 2/3 cups sugar

Combine all ingredients. Whisk until sugar is completely dissolved, then allow tea to steepfor an additional 15 minutes before removing tea bags. Cool, label/date and store.

Yield: 1 quart

Gin and Mezcal and Juice Cocktail

  • 0.75 oz Vida Mezcal
  • 0.75 oz Dry Gin
  • 0.75 oz lemon juice
  • 0.75 oz egg whites
  • 0.75 oz chamomile syrup

Combine all ingredients in a shaker without ice, shake for 20 seconds. Add ice and shake for 20 more seconds, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Add club soda to the dirty tin/ice; a heavy foam should appear, scoop out four heaping barspoons of foam to top the cocktail.

The Poinsettia at Water Grill San Diego

London dry gin, fresh lime, and cranberry-spice syrup with orange zest. Price: $14.

The Poinsettia Courtesy of Water Grill


  • 1.5 oz City of London gin
  • 1 oz cranberry syrup (see recipe below)
  • .75 oz lime juice
  • .5 oz simple syrup
  • Garnish: grated nutmeg and orange twist

Yield: 1 drink


Add all ingredients to a mixing glass. Add ice, shake, and fine strain into chilled coupe. Lightly grate fresh nutmeg overtop (only a few passes on the grater), express the oils froman orange twist over the drink and place on the rim.

Ingredients for Cranberry Syrup

  • 2 bags cranberries (12oz)
  • 32 oz simple syrup
  • .5 teaspoon whole allspice
  • .25 teaspoon ground clove
  • Zest from 1 orange. No pith, only the orange zest/pull the twists very thin

Method for Cranberry Syrup

Add all ingredients to Vitamix blender, gradually bring up the speed to high, then blend on high speed for two minutes. Transfer to quart containers, label and store in the cooler.