Although traditional eggnog certainly has its place at our winter table (especially when spiked with bourbon), ’tis time you made a fresh round of cold-weather cocktails part of your holiday traditions. We asked local bartenders to reveal the best not-nog concoctions on their menus. The picks all have one thing in common: While they begin with simple flavors like maple syrup, ginger, and apple, a dash of inventiveness creates surprising (and festive) results. Whether you’re looking to inject some joyful spirit into Scrooge-y guests or simply stay warm, these libations are sure to stir up some holiday cheer.

Punch In The Mouth

Connor Green, Steuben’s

1. Combine 1 ½ ounces gin (Steuben’s uses Leopold Bros. American Small Batch, but feel free to use vodka instead of gin), ½ ounces lime juice, ½ ounces simple syrup, ¾ ounce ginger liqueur (such as Domaine de Canton), and five mint leaves in a cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously.

2. Add ¾ ounce of Leopold Bros. cranberry liqueur to a double old fashioned glass, then fill halfway with crushed ice.

3. Double-strain the shaken cocktail mixture over the ice and top with a small splash of soda water. Garnish with a mint sprig.

Winter Sangria

Dave Canino, Atticus

1. Combine 1 ounce of apple brandy, 3 ounces of chilled white wine (we suggest Chardonnay) and 3 ounces of hard apple cider (Atticus uses Crispin Cider) in a cocktail shaker. Shake.

2. Pour into a coupe glass, and add about cup of seasonal fruit such as chopped apples, pears, or oranges.

You’ll Shoot Your Rye Out

McLain Hedges, RiNo Yacht Club

1. Combine 1 ½ ounces Rittenhouse Rye, 1 ounce St. George Spiced Pear Liqueur, ½ ounce Cynar, ½ teaspoon maple syrup, and 2 dashes Brooklyn Hemispherical Sriracha Bitters in a chilled mixing glass over ice.

2. Stir 15 to 30 seconds, and then strain over a large rock of ice in an old fashioned glass. Express an orange peel over drink, and place in glass.

Carthusian Cocoa With Citrus Medica Bitters Whipped Cream

Shae Whitney, Dram Apothecary

1. Make the whipped cream: Combine 1 cup heavy whipping cream, 2 tablespoons Dram Citrus Medica bitters, and ¼ cup sugar in a chilled bowl. Beat on high using a hand mixer until thickened to your desired texture. Serve right away, or cover and store in the fridge for up to a week.

2. Warm 3 ounces of your preferred hot cocoa mix. (Dram’s Shae Whitney likes Equal Exchange’s organic hot chocolate.

3. Combine warmed hot chocolate and 1½ ounces of yellow Chartreuse in a drinking mug. Top with a big dollop of the whipped cream and chocolate shavings.

Sailin’ On

Sean Kenyon, Occidental

1. Make pineapple syrup: Combine a 1-to-1 ratio of unsweetened pineapple juice and sugar. (12 ounces of each should make enough for 20 drinks.) Stir.

2. Combine 2 ounces Appleton Estate Reserve rum, ¾ ounce fresh lemon juice, ¾ ounce pineapple syrup, and ¼ ounce Angostura bitters in a cocktail shaker. Shake and then serve over ice in a double old fashioned glass garnished with a cherry.

This article was originally published in 5280 December 2015.
Callie Sumlin
Callie Sumlin
Callie Sumlin is a writer living in Westminster, and has been covering food and sustainability in the Centennial State for more than five years.