10 Warm Cocktails To Help You Survive a Long Weekend With Loved Ones

Hinoki & The Bird - H 2015
Courtesy of Wagstaff Worldwide

From L.A.’s best bartenders to your family reunion.

There's really nothing sweeter than spending a holiday with family — that is "holiday" in the singular, as in, just one day.

But if you've found yourself in a position to be surrounded by your favorite relatives — aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, etc. — for an extended stay, the going can get tough. No matter how much you love them, every family has its hiccups.

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To help you survive the long weekend, we've curated a list of ten warm cocktails from a handful of L.A.'s top restaurants that you can bust out when that uncle mentions Donald Trump, or when your sister asks about the sweater you borrowed and may or may not have ruined. You're welcome.

Hot Johnny (pictured above) from Hinoki & The Bird.

"As the holidays approach, it's key to have a strong seasonal cocktail ready in the wings," said Hinoki & The Bird bartender Feisser Stone. "Nothing says fall like warm apple cider, but this drink is kicked up into high gear with spiced rum and rye whiskey. It will pack a punch to get you through all those family gatherings.”

How to make it: 

  • 1 oz Rye
  • 1 oz Spiced Rum
  • 2 oz Housemade Apple Cider Concentrate
  • 6 oz hot water
  • 1 whole lemon
  • Cinnamon for garnish

Combine all ingredients and serve warm. 

Grapes of Wreath by head bartender Gia St. George of Estrella

Perfect for your aunt that loves a good glass of wine, this cocktail packs the perfect punch. 

How to make it: 

  • 1 bottle of red wine (preferably a cabernet or similar)
  • 32 oz cranberry juice
  • 1/2 cup PAMA Liquor
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 1 whole star anise

Put all ingredients in a slow cooker on low settings for 3-4 hours. Serve hot/cold (good both ways) with slices of orange and pomegranate seeds

Toddy Appleseed by lead bartender Darwin Pornel of Faith & Flower

"This crisp variation of the classic hot toddy is a great cocktail for the holidays," says lead bartender Darwin Pornel. "The apple brandy adds a beautiful bright quality that works well with the richness of honey and the aromas of English breakfast tea and cinnamon."

How to make it: 

  • 3/4 oz lemon
  • 3/4 oz honey syrup
  • 1 oz Laird’s straight apple brandy
  • 3/4 oz rye whiskey
  • 2 oz English breakfast tea

Keep all ingredients aside from the English breakfast tea at room temperature. Combine all ingredients in a shaking tin, add hot English breakfast tea and shake without ice. Dump contents into a heated glass or mug and garnish with grated cinnamon and an apple slice.
Honey syrup:  Measure 300 ml of honey and combine with 100 ml warm water.  Whisk until incorporated. 

Mr. Menotti’s Hot Buttered Coffee by head bartender Ryan Wainwright at Terrine

Only three ingredients in this warm drink: coffee, rum and butter. “I was making my winter drink menu for Terrine, and I thought, what would happen if you combined a hot buttered rum and an Irish coffee?" said head bartender Ryan Wainwright. "It was insanely delicious. For me, hot buttered rum is good, but it’s missing a certain depth that everyone tries to overcompensate for with a super dark rum, but coffee makes up for that with those deep, chocolatey notes to enhance the flavors of the rum. Super simple, super delicious.”

How to make it:

  • 7 oz hot French pressed coffee (at Terrine we use Four Barrel)
  • 1.5 oz Hamilton Guyana Rum (an English-style demerara rum)
  • 1 tbsp. butter batter*

In a charged glass, put 1 heaping tablespoon of butter batter. Add hot French pressed coffee, followed by Hamilton Guyana Rum. Stir and serve with spoon in glass.

*Butter batter is a mixture of butter, brown sugar, nutmeg, cloves, and salt.

Spiked Hot Chocolate from The Restaurant at Mr. C and Lobby Lounge Bar at Mr. C Beverly Hills

This hot chocolate with green chartreuse and orange peel puts an adult twist on your childhood favorite. 

How to make it: 

  • 2 oz green chartreuse
  • 6 oz hot chocolate

Top with steamed foam made with whole milk, 2 dash Angostura bitters and a squeeze of orange. Garnish with orange peel.

Irish Coffee from Tom Bergin’s Public House

"Original owner Tom Bergin received a copy of the first-ever recipe from famous San Francisco columnist Stanton Delaplane after he brought it over from Shannon Airport in Ireland, where the original Irish Coffee was created by chef Joe Sheridan in 1938," reads a description from the historic restaurant. "A staple on Tom Bergin’s menu ever since, their signature Irish Coffee features Tullamore DEW Irish Whiskey, dark roast coffee, simple syrup and heavy cream."

How to make it: 

  • 0.25 oz simple syrup (or substitute one sugar cube)
  • 1.5 oz Tullamore Dew Irish whiskey
  • Dark roast coffee
  • Chilled heavy cream

Warm a toddy glass by filling it with hot water. Never build an Irish Coffee in a cold glass. Once the glass is warm, dump out the water. Add your simple syrup and Tullamore Dew whiskey. Fill with dark roast coffee (Tom Bergin’s use a proprietary house blend — Tom Bergin’s House Blend — from Picacho Coffee Roasters) leaving about a quarter inch of room at the top. Whip the heavy cream until it is just thick enough to stick to an overturned finger. Gently float the cream on top.

The Little Door Hot Toddy from The Little Door

Warm up with the classic, Hot Toddy, made with fresh herbs, aromatics, and cognac.

How to make it: 

  • 2 slices thin ginger (or freshly grated ginger to taste)
  • The juice of a 1/4-1/2 of a fresh lemon, to taste
  • Mint leaves from 3-4 sprigs of fresh month
  • Heaping tablespoon of good honey
  • 2 1/2 oz cognac (substitute with any spirit you like!)

Build in a teapot or large cup. Add hot water, steep for 3 minutes, garnish with a cinnamon stick and sip.

Quentão from Fogo de Chao.

Quentão is a Brazilian mulled wine with aromatics and citrus from fresh, juicy seasonal oranges. Brazilian Steakhouse Fogo de Chão will be serving this warm and cozy beverage on Christmas Day at all of their locations, including Downtown L.A. and Beverly Hills.

How to make it: 

(Makes four drinks)

  • 2 cups dry red wine (Malbec is recommended)
  • 1 cup Water*
  • 1 Orange
  • 1 Lime
  • 1 slice Ginger (peeled)
  • 3 Cloves (whole)
  • 2 Cinnamon (whole sticks)
  • 2 Allspice (whole)
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • Optional Garnish:  4 Star Anise (whole), 4 cinnamon sticks, half inch horizontally sliced oranges

Place wine and water into medium sized saucepan. Slice one orange and lime in half and add to pan. Peel fresh ginger, cut into half inch slice, and add to pan.  Save remaining ginger for another use. Add remaining ingredients to pan. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly until sugar has dissolved (about 3 minutes). Reduce heat and let boil for an additional 10 minutes.

Serving Instructions:

Allow the Quentão to cool to ~100 degrees. Garnish with one whole star anise, one cinnamon stick and one slice of orange. Serve hot, and enjoy!

*Note: for a stronger grog, omit the water and instead prepare recipe as instructed with a 750 ml bottle of red wine

Orchard Toddy from Ray’s and Stark Bar at LACMA

This warming cocktail takes it cues from the Classic Hot Toddy, but Evan Charest, beverage manager for Patina Restaurant Group, adds apple brandy and apple cider for a fruity twist.

  • 2 parts rwe Whiskey
  • 1 part Laird's Apple Brandy
  • 1 part apple cider
  • 1 part lemon
  • 1 part brown sugar syrup

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Carefully pour into a carafe or punch bowl. Garnish each drink with some grated cinnamon and a cinnamon stick.

Baba Budhans Breakfast by mixologist Clare Ward at Sambar

Shake up your morning with a savory breakfast cocktail. 

How to make it: 

  • 2 oz scotch
  • 0.5 oz Branca Menta
  • 0.5 oz Creme de cacao
  • 2 oz coffee

Stir and top with a dollop of milk foam if desired. Cold brew coffee can substitute for hot coffee.