Things we love about the holidays: days off from work, Christmas lights galore and all the holiday cocktails our boozy hearts could desire. Thankfully, the best cocktail bars in Austin (and a few of the best restaurants, too!) are offering festive drinks throughout the holiday season. Bourbon-laced eggnog? Yup. Drinks named "Bad Santa" and "Yippie Ki Yay Mother F****r!"? We'll tell you where to find ’em all with our guide to Austin's best holiday cocktails this winter.
Best holiday cocktails
The Eleanor, an upscale event space attached to downtown cocktail haven The Roosevelt Room, has transformed into holiday pop-up Miracle on 5th for the entire month of December. Everything on their cocktail menu is geared towards holiday fanatics, but we're especially fond of the Bad Santa: mulled red wine, Taylor 10 yr tawny port, Grand Marnier, spices and golden raisins. It's a perfect drink for those who have been way more naughty than nice.
Photo: Melissa Hom
Holy Roller has been killing the comfort food game since it opened this past summer (French fries with soft serve? Yes, please.). This winter, their cocktails are just as soul-soothing. Try the Holiday in Oaxaca, which you can ask for hot or cold: a smooth libation that features Kimo Sabe mescal, Chairman’s Reserve spiced rum, Liber & Co fiery ginger syrup, Chameleon Cold Brew and cream. Then order the trash fries, because YOLO.
Photo: Courtesy Holy Roller
Southern-inspired fare dominates the kitchen at Fixe, but winter is taking over its cocktail menu. The festive eggnog is a chilled punch that uses Mill King heavy cream, Basil Hayden, Frangelico liqueur and simply syrup. Topped with a dash of cinnamon, it's a refreshing drink that says, "Yes, it's winter, but it's also 75 degrees outside. Embrace it."
Photo: Courtesy Cultivate
Named after a miniscule New York City bar with a focus on bitters, Olamaie's Amor y Amago is a boozy anecdote to a cold winter's night. Barrel aged gin, rye, Averna, chicory and sweet vermouth make up this expertly concocted holiday cocktail, which also carries notes of dark cherry, chocolate and chicory.
Photo: Courtesy Olamaie
Head to Visconti Ristorante at Hotel Granduca for a holiday cocktail that caters to those with a serious sweet tooth. The Snow Day includes vanilla vodka, crème de cocoa, peppermint schnapps and half and half, making for a creamy, saccharine treat.
Photo: Ashlee Huff
We already love AFS Cinema for the films and events they expertly curate, but the fact that we can enjoy seasonal cocktails with our movie? That's a serious plus. The Bickle is made with Old Grand Dad bourbon, Laird's Apple Jack, apple pie syrup, lemon and Angostura bitters—basically, it's like taking a big ol’ bite of apple pie, and we're totally fine with that.
Photo: Courtesy Austin Film Society
The W's Living Room Bar is where you start off classy before the night gets turnt (good thing there are hotel beds you can faceplant onto just a few floors away). Grab a pre-dinner cocktail here with a holiday twist, like the ultra-boozy Freedom Fighter with Ben Milam rye whiskey, pecan syrup (made by the W's drink specialist, Dustin Courtright), cayenne and orgeat.
Photo: Courtesy the W
After a 13-month renovation, Green Pastures reopened with a new restaurant dubbed Mattie's, a nickname stemming from original owner Martha "Mattie" Faulk Koock. Though the 1965 Milk Punch, a beloved recipe from Koock, has been on the menu since it re-opened, it makes for a great holiday beverage as well. The smooth drink uses sweet vanilla cream, aged Kentucky bourbon, VSOP cognac, Jamaican rum and nutmeg for a fragrant finish.
Photo: Nick Simonite
Not that we need another reason to love Whisler's, but the East Side watering hole is crafting seasonal cocktails for a cause this winter. A portion of the proceeds from three drinks—Oaxacan hot chocolate, Smooth Criminal and Whisler's egg nog—will go towards the charity organization Toys for Tots. Meaning that while you're sipping on the egg nog—which uses a 100-year-old family recipe—you can feel really, really good about getting tipsy.
Photo: Mark Weatherford
West Sixth’s Ranch 616 serves cuisine inspired by flavors from the Gulf of Mexico to Texas’ border towns—and, right now, drinks inspired by the North Pole. Look no further than the St. Patio, a drink made with Deep Eddy vodka, ginger syrup puree and Aperol topped with crushed candy cane. Of course, we wouldn't judge you if you paired it with chips and queso.
South Austin's growing development The Yard officially gained a new tenant with Still Austin Whiskey Co.—the first distillery in Austin proper since Prohibition. In addition to the distillery tours they offer, Still has a robust cocktail menu that includes the winter-y fig old-fashioned. The drink uses cinnamon- and fig-infused Signature New Make whiskey, along with Angostura bitters and honey simple syrup; it's garnished with a fig and a lemon wheel.
Photo: Courtesy Still Austin Whiskey Co.
For the first time since opening in 2012, Midnight Cowboy is revamping their menu. New general manager Tacy Rowland has added some real beauties to this downtown speakeasy, including the festive A Proper Introduction. Made with apricot eau-de-vie, caperitif, honey, lemon, ricotta, jam and sparkling wine, it's perfect for a NYE toast (or, let's be honest, just about any night).
Photo: Scott Robertson
This is the first time this East Austin neighborhood bar has changed its menu since opening over the summer, and we're all about it. Included in this switcharoo is the Clyde Common Egg Nog, a take on the classic eggnog that counts Suerte Anejo tequila, Lustau Amontillado sherry, egg and cream among its ingredients. Bottoms up!
Photo: Hunter Townsend