One of the things I love best about hotels during the holidays is the exaggerated decor and ubiquitous cheer, right down to the plastered smiles and pervasive Christmas carols that seem to seep from the ceiling cracks. From colorful mock presents the size of boulders to the towering glitter adorned tree that transforms a hotel lobby into a cozy hearth, hotels go all out to swaddle guests in the warmth and imagination of the season. For kids, the scene is magical, but adults deserve a little Christmas enchantment too, non? Well step right up and into the hotel bar, where mixologists have also caught the holiday spirit. While classics like eggnog and mulled wine can be found everywhere, some bartenders have figured out that, for many of us, the magic of Christmas rests in our collective memory of frosty winter nights huddled by a fire and the exhilarating anticipation of Santa sliding down the chimney. Here are five hotels where the season’s signature beverage puts an adult-only twist on a childhood favorite. ‘Tis the season!
Hot Chocolate : Four Seasons Whistler have come up with the perfect cocktail using the famous Four Seasons Hot Chocolate. The “I Heart Whistler” will impress the most sophisticated taste buds and take chocolate drinking to a whole new level. Adding Godiva Hot Chocolate Liqueur to a favorite childhood drink and making it even better with a splash of peppermint schnapps, this cocktail makes a decadent yet refreshing liquid dessert. The resort and surrounding European style village are full of seasonal glee, with glistening lights, ice skating, and maybe even a santa sighting, adding more magic to the season. Check prices online at Priceline or Hotels.com.
Apple Cider : Concocted by Park Hyatt Beaver Creek, in Colorado, the “South of the Border” may seem like an odd name for this Rocky Mountain location, but sip on this signature drink and you’ll see why. The delicious hot apple cider kids remember is taken to new (Rocky Mountain) heights with one exotic addition: tequila. And not just any tequila, but the Herradura Reposado- aged for 11 years. Olé! Sweeten it with some agave nectar and add a twist of lemon and the joys of Christmas past will be the real present. Check prices online at Hotels.com or Priceline.
Coffee : For some, winter means escaping the cold, and the Sandos Caracol Eco-Resort & Spa, located in the heart of the Mayan Empire, is the perfect escape. But no matter where you go, you still need your coffee. Thankfully the folks behind the bar keep this in mind when they serve a Mayan Coffee cocktail that will provide a taste of winter relief with a touch of culture. This twist on Irish Coffee uses Xtabentun, a liqueur made from anise seed, fermented honey and rum, and is popular in the Yucatan. The word Xtabentun means “vines growing on stone” and refers specifically to the Christmas Vine—appropriate for this winter warmer. Again, check Priceline or Hotels.comfor prices.
Spiced Chai Tea: When a hotel has “Libation Engineers,” you know the bar is the place to be. And Cascades Whiskey Bar at the
Stanley Hotel in Colorado is jus such a place. Order The Whiskey Spiced Chai Latte, which combines Canadian Bourbon with the rich, spicy warmth of chai, adding subtle Christmas spices such as nutmeg and cinnamon that awaken the holidays senses. The hotel itself is full of history and lore, so sit back and listen to a bedtime story or two, Christmas or otherwise. Book online at Hotels.com.
Ornamental Pecan: You’ll definitely want seconds of this liquid dessert. At Calgary’s Hotel Arts, a trendy boutique hotel famous for its summer time pool parties, the award winning bartender of Raw Bar gives good reason to drop by during winter too. Belly up with Colin Tait (always a contender in the city’s annual cocktail competition) and let him shake up Belvedere raspberry flavored vodka and pecan syrup for a tasty tipple that will make your thoughts of blizzards and cold melt away. Check prices online at Hotels.com or Priceline.
Kimberley Lovato is a freelance writer based in San Francisco. When she grows up, she want to be a Libation Engineer. Until then, she’s just a practitioner.