Omaha bartenders are celebrating the season with lots of special drinks.
At spots all over town, revelers can find homemade nogs, seasonal brews and cocktails with a festive spike.
We made the rounds on your behalf — sampling at least a few — to present a list of 10 destinations where you can celebrate the season.
1. Indian Oven
At the Indian Oven, craft bartender Binoy Fernandez is mixing up two seasonal drinks: The St. Nick Sour, which includes rye, fresh lemon juice and Demerara syrup topped with a St. Nick float made with a brandy and cranberry liqueur mix; and the Chai Toddy, which includes becherovka Czech liqueur, spiced honey syrup and chai. He said the Czech liquor tastes similar to green chartreuse but is less complex, with hints of spice and herb. The Chai Toddy is on the winter cocktail menu, and the sour will be available until Fernandez is out of ingredients for the float.
2. French Bulldog
Bartender Chris Engles is mixing two holiday-centric drinks at the French Bulldog in Dundee. The Holiday Party is a spicy-sweet rye-based drink, and the Gibson is a new martini garnished with a cocktail onion pickled on-site and a piece of house-made salami — perfect for a restaurant that specializes in charcuterie.
3. Cantina Laredo
Cantina Laredo in Midtown Crossing is making two rather unusual seasonal drinks, at least because they're cocktails not usually associated with winter. The Pomegranate Rosemary Margarita is a tasty combination of Avion Silver Tequila, Cointreau Orange Liqueur and pomegranate puree, and the Snowfall Sangria is made with Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur, red wine, orange juice and fresh fruit. “You rarely see a sangria outside of summer,” said Gordon Wilkinson, the restaurant's general manager. “But the blood orange is so seasonal, it really works.” He said the scent of rosemary permeates the seasonal margarita and makes it another unusual wintertime fit. Cantina Laredo is serving the drinks through January.
4. Grey Plume
Bartender Phil Cacciatore and chef Clayton Chapman at the Grey Plume in Midtown Crossing are making cocktails with housemade eggnog and Irish cream. Chapman said he's making the Irish cream with condensed milk in the restaurant's kitchen using a pressure cooker. The nog includes cream, egg yolk, whiskey, nutmeg and vanilla. Cacciatore is taking the homemade holiday beverages and turning them into cocktails.
5. Blue Sushi
At Blue Sushi locations, holiday revelers can find the Winter Wonderland Martini, a mix of white chocolate liqueur, crème de menthe and toasted marshmallow vodka. The creamy treat is available through the end of December.
6. House of Loom
Bartenders at House of Loom, 1012 S. 10th St., are serving a drink they call New World Eggnog, a combination of Bacardi Oakheart rum, cinnamon, cloves, vanilla bean and egg. According to Loom co-owner Brent Crampton, eggnog was first made in Europe, with brandy, sugar, cream and eggs. All of these ingredients were pricey, so it was a drink for the rich. When the drink made its way to America, though, the brandy was swapped out for more affordable rum, making it a drink for the common man.
7. Liv Lounge
Liv Lounge, 2285 S. 67th St., is offering an entire menu of warm seasonal drinks, including hot chocolate with banana liqueur and apple cider complete with cinnamon sticks and nutmeg. The bar always puts together a special winter drink menu, said general manager Kyle Mahoney. But new (and especially popular) this year is the American Hot Shot, which is a combination of apple cider and American Harvest Vodka infused with apples and cinnamon sticks.
8. Krug Park
Krug Park, 6205 Maple St., has introduced a Bloody Mary fit for the season. The Sage Bloody includes sage liqueur, tomato juice, horseradish, Worcestershire, bay seasoning, Tabasco hot pepper sauce, celery salt, onion, garlic, cracked pepper, pickle spear and the classic celery stalk.
Across the street at Jake's, bartenders are serving up a variety of seasonal drinks, said manager Alex Diimig. But the most special is the Pear Royal, which is made from brandy infused with pear, vanilla and spices and aged in a bourbon barrel, served with Champagne. “The pear works very well with the evanescence of the champagne,” he said. Jake's is at 6206 Maple St.
10. Crescent Moon Ale House
And if hard liquor isn't your thing, there are plenty of holiday beers to choose from, which generally include both seasonal spices and high alcohol contents, said Chris Bettini, a bartender at Crescent Moon Ale House. “This is one of my favorite seasons to drink beer,” he said. “They're exciting. They're big. They're bold.” Among his favorites this year: Hibernation Ale from the Great Divide Brewery, Goose Christmas Ale from the Goose Island Brewery, He'Brew Jewbelation from the Schmaltz Brewing Co., and Anchor Christmas Ale from Anchor Brewing. All have rich, complex flavors, he said, and thus, many fans. And, as they're brewed in relatively small batches, Bettini recommends buying enough now to enjoy through the rest of the winter. “This is the time to stock up on those,” he said.
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