Tis the season. To drink. Seasonal cocktails are almost certainly what led Grandma to get run over by a reindeer, and Mommy only kissed Santa Claus because she was drunk. But if you can keep from over-indulging, nothing beats a holiday beverage to put a little holly-jolly in your Christmas. Here are 11 bars that feature specialty cocktails with a seasonal vibe, so you can get your drink on in festive holiday style.
Sylvain, 625 Chartres St.
If eggnog invited its drunk uncle Omar over for Christmas dinner, he would be this drink. An older relative of the nog, a flip is a similar egg-based alcoholic beverage that evolved over the generations into today's number-one holiday libation. Sylvain's version, which they call "Omar's Flip," is made with Buffalo Trace bourbon, Madeira, house-made cinnamon syrup and a whole egg. Topped with fresh ground nutmeg.
Muriel's Jackson Square, 801 Chartres St.
Like ugly sweaters and Ugg boots, pears are also in season this time of year. Muriel's Jackson Square takes advantage of this plethora of pears by mixing them into their "Pear Elixir," a cocktail consisting of bourbon, pear liqueur, a splash of lemon juice and poached pear puree. Bartender Mary Hulse poaches Bosc pears in ruby port with cinnamon sticks, cloves and sugar, and then purees the mix. Served on the rocks.
Hot Irish Coffee and Hot Buttered Rum
Erin Rose, 811 Conti St.
Home of the acclaimed Frozen Irish Coffee, Erin Rose also offers a hot version of their signature drink during the winter months. Made with Tullamore Dew Irish whiskey, simple syrup, homemade whipped cream and fresh hot coffee, it'll make you feel as warm and fuzzy as Christmas morning. They also do a hot buttered rum with Old New Orleans Cajun Spice Rum, butter, brown sugar and hot water. Both of these hot drinks are available year-round, though there aren't many takers in mid-August.
Christmas Jam Old Fashioned
Cornet, 700 Bourbon St.
The Jersey Shore offers much more than big hair and questionable reality TV. Apparently, New Jerseyans also have a real knack for seasonal preserves. Bartender Aaron Warren, a Jersey transplant, brings to New Orleans a little taste of home, with his jars of Hensley's Christmas Jam, a tasty combo of strawberry and orange flavored jellies. He muddles the jam with a fresh orange slice and tops it with Woodford Reserve bourbon and ice, for an Old Fashioned with a holiday twist.
Chartres House, 601 Chartres St.
Need an excuse to kiss the cute stranger sitting next to you when no one is dangling greenery over your head? A couple of "Mistletoe Martinis" from Chartres House are all the incentive you'll need. Created with Hendrick's gin, St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur, sloe gin, lime juice and a splash of grenadine, then garnished with rum-soaked cherries. This is what Christmas would look like if you could drink it.
Dickie Brennan's Steakhouse, 716 Iberville St.
Gear up for New Year's Eve a little early with a festive glass of bubbly. Dickie Brennan's Steakhouse mixes Pierre Ferrand cognac and Chambord with sparkling wine for a cocktail worth toasting to. Or toasting with. The drink is named after Count Louis Philippe de Roffignac, Mayor of New Orleans from 1820 to 1828. He did many great things to make the city all spruced up and sparkly, and even fought in the Battle of New Orleans. Cheers!
Palace Café, 605 Canal St.
After Mr. Bingle and Santa himself, the Gingerbread Man has got to be the coolest dude out there at Christmastime. Palace Café has a drink made in his honor, with their "Gingerbread Man'hattan." They use Benchmark bourbon, house-made gingerbread syrup and El Guapo Chicory-Pecan Bitters. As the children's jingle reminds you: you can't catch him, he's the Gingerbread Man. But at least you'll be sure to catch a good buzz.
Frozen Peppermint Bourbon Milk Punch
Bourbon House, 144 Bourbon St.
Approximately 1.76 billion candy canes are produced and eaten every year, but wouldn't you rather consume your peppermint in alcoholic form? Try the Frozen Peppermint Bourbon Milk Punch at Bourbon House, a delicious blend of Old Forester bourbon, milk, ice cream and candy canes that the bartenders melt down themselves. With nearly 2 billion candy canes out there, they can afford to sacrifice a few for a good cause.
Foster Cocktail and Spiced Manhattan
Tableau, 616 St. Peter St.
Never mind the chestnuts. Nothing says "holiday" like bananas roasting on an open fire. Come to Tableau for a "Foster Cocktail," a tribute to the New Orleans classic Bananas Foster. They combine banana and Bayou Satsuma liqueurs, heavy cream and Bittermens Elemakule Tiki Bitters (bitters infused with allspice, cinnamon and all things Christmas-flavored). The drink is served in a Turbinado sugar-rimmed glass and garnished with a flambéed banana. Or, try their Spiced Manhattan, with Woodford Reserve bourbon, sweet vermouth, bitters and a special winter spiced syrup.
Brownie with Nuts
RF's, 301 Dauphine St.
With a cocktail menu the size of a Harry Potter novel, RF's has a slew of great drinks to choose from, including an entire page devoted to "warmers"—hot drinks perfect for winter. One of the best of them is the "Brownie with Nuts," a decadent combo of crème de cacao, Frangelico hazelnut liqueur and Bailey's Irish cream, mixed with PJ's coffee and topped with whipped cream. Santa would be thrilled to find this kind of brownie among the baked goods you leave out for him on Christmas Eve.
Bar Tonique, 820 N. Rampart St.
If you thought you'd had it up to here with all the eggnog at the holidays, imagine if the nog stalked you all year long. Like love handles and your mother-in-law, it just won't go away. Then again, if you tasted the eggnog at Bar Tonique you might change your tune and be thankful that they offer their eggy concoction 365 days a year. Made with Maison Rouge VSOP Cognac, raw sugar simple syrup, egg, milk, freshly grated nutmeg and Rumchata, it tastes like you spiked the milk in the bottom of your bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch.