(credit: Randy Yagi)
The holidays are in full swing, and what better way to celebrate with your friends than with a festive cocktail? While some of the best, most flavorful drinks can be served for any occasion, others such as a classic eggnog recipe with your favorite spirit is better enjoyed during this most wonderful time of year. Here are five of the best eggnog cocktails in the San Francisco Bay Area, including two from local bars that are considered among the best in the world.
Lucy Restaurant and Bar
6528 Yount St.
Yountville, CA 94599
Although it doesn’t appear on Lucy Restaurant and Bar’s cocktail menu, the Eggnog Martini is certain to be made available again this year over the holidays. Located within the nationally acclaimed Bardesonno Hotel, the restaurant and bar offers a sizable collection of alcoholic beverages including an Wine Spectator Award-winning wine list and artisanal cocktails. Several other phenomenal drinks to sample from craftologist Jan Russell include Lucy in the Rye, with rye, orangecello, lemon and honey, and the classic Vesper, with gin, vodka and Lillet blanc. The Bardesonno Hotel is a five-star luxury hotel once named the most romantic hotel in the U.S.
Barrel Aged Eggnog
1001 Westside Road
Healdsburg, CA 95448
In the past few years, Pamela Bushling, bartender for the Michelin-starred Madrona Manor, has included her wonderfully delicious Barrel Aged Eggnog over the holidays. Due to the tremendous response from leading media outlets like Food and Wine, her marvelous creation is expected to make another appearance this year. With a base that consists of bourbon, rum, cognac, eggs, sugar and salt and aged in American oak barrels, the process takes over two months before the drink is served at Madrona Manor’s many Dickens Dinners in December. Guests can also order other house specialties from the enticing cocktail menu such as a Padrón Me, featuring Tiburón rum, egg white and padrón pepper, or perhaps a selection from the extensive wine list, featuring several outstanding items from the California Wine County with particular strengths in traditional favorites like cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay.
3010 20th St.
San Francisco, CA 94110
What’s better than having an eggnog cocktail at one of the world’s 50 best bars? In San Francisco, there are three such bars that hold that distinction, including perennial favorite Trick Dog. Located in the Mission District, this celebrated bar offered the Egg Dog last December, with ingredients like Appleton Estate Reserve rum, brandy and eggnog. But because Trick Dog changes its unique menu bi-annually, a uniquely crafted creation may be announced for the holidays. The current cocktail menu features a 2016 doggie calendar, with an inventive drink for each month that can be ordered by simply stating “I’ll have an October” or “I’ll have the December” and so on. The current selection for December is a George Dickel rye, with coconut, coffee bean and sandalwood.
347 14th St.
Oakland, CA 94612
It should be quite easy for guests to get into the holiday spirit at Oakland’s newest tiki rum bar. Holiday lights and palm trees adorned with festive ornaments will be practically be a given, as will strategically placed mistletoe. And one exceptional holiday creation from owner-mixologist Suzanne Long that’s expected to be on this year’s cocktail menu is her Pumpkin Eggnog. Featuring dark rum, cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin and eggs, that delightfully inventive drink was previously served at the Forbidden Island Tiki Bar in Alameda, a popular bar consistently mentioned as one of the best in the Bay Area and once named among the 10 best tiki bars in America. But Long moved on earlier in the year to open her own tiki bar in downtown Oakland, along with a host of perfectly crafted new cocktails, such as the Farmer’s Martini, Navy Grog and the Black Orchid.
650 Gough St.
San Francisco, CA 94102
This multi-award winning tiki bar just west of the War Memorial building was the highest ranked of amongst three San Francisco bars that made the list of the world’s 50 best bars. Smuggler’s Cove, led by celebrated owner-bartender-rum expert Martin Cate, features more than 400 rare rums and a fabulous drink menu. The festive décor seems to come straight out of a pirate movie and delighted visitors can order a variety of drinks for the holidays, such as the Hot Buttered Rum and a Rum Flip with a private reserve rum and nutmeg. While eggnog can easily be added as an added ingredient, patrons may also be able to savor a Yuletide Wave, a flavorful creation from Cate based upon a family eggnog recipe. More than 70 other cocktails can be found on the menu, from classic libations and contemporary rum cocktails to exotic cocktails from famous tiki bars and even some amazing cocktails without rum.
Randy Yagi is an award-winning freelance writer covering all things San Francisco. In 2012, he received a Media Fellowship from Stanford University.