Was there ever a year when liquid cheer was more welcome? Well, perhaps somewhere in the depths of time, but this year’s exit seems to cry out for cozy sweaters by a crackling fire, and equally comforting libations in a round of toasts—virtually or in person—with the ones you cherish. Many hotel bars (if they are open again) have defaulted to the timeless classics. The martini, daquiri, highball, corpse reviver, cosmopolitan, old fashioned and the like. Yet even in a year where no further gasps of surprise are needed, three cheers for mixologists who have been more, well, spirited. Herewith, a sampler.
The Venetian Resort, Las Vegas
The Dorsey Cocktail Bar was voted best in Vegas by Conde Nast Traveler, and it’s easy to see why. Only fresh and top-shelf ingredients are used. Imagine yourself in a snowed-in mountain chalet and sunny tropical isle at the same time by ordering a Coconut White Russian. It’s built with vodka, coconut and coffee liqueur, topped by a float of faux snow, aka hand-whipped cream.
Kimpton Hotel Van Zandt, Austin, Texas
At Geraldine’s in this boutique property that wears its “rough around the edges” sophistication proudly, a seasonal cocktail bears the name of Southern Waffle. What could be more joyous with a heap of holiday fried chicken? But there’s no waffle. It’s yummy concoction of bourbon and maple-pecan syrup topped by sparkling wine, a lemon swath and cinnamon stick.
The St. Regis New York, New York City
In a legendary hotel, a legendary bar is like a high-society club. At press time, you couldn’t sit at the gleaming, burnished-wood bar of King Cole Bar. But at cocktail rounds, you can sip an iconic Red Snapper, which was invented right there. Its vivid red with green garnish lends a festive guise; elsewhere, it goes by Bloody Mary.
Mandarin Oriental Miami, Florida
This citadel of bespoke elegance in Brickell Key features one of Miami’s most glamorous watering holes, MO Bar + Lounge. The holidays call for gingerbready spicing, and The Made and The Born scratches that itch. A pinch of nutmeg joins house-blended gin, bourbon syrup, Florida citrus and bitters. Served with skyline and water views.