How many reminders do you need that the winter holiday season is here? The dropping temperatures? The Christmas music the stores are prematurely starting to play? Another reminder, and definitely a good one, is the changing menus at area restaurants, particularly when it comes to specialty seasonal cocktails. Here's a few delicious examples around the city:
- Martini Park (151 W. Erie) is offering two new holiday cocktails. The Sugar Plum ($10) martini is a mix of Pearl Plum Vodka, Goldschlager, plum juice and garnished with shiny rock candy. The Ginger Snap ($10) is a sweet combination of Snow Queen vodka, Absolut Vanilla, Monin gingerbread syrup, cream and sprinkled with cinnamon. www.martinipark.com
- Le Colonial (937 N. Rush) offers winter warm ups such as the Alexandre ($12) which combines Hennessy VS, dark creme de cacao, heavy cream and nutmeg. The Chai Toddy ($12) mixes Captain Morgan Spiced Rum, a dash of Peppermint Schnapps, fresh-squeezed lemon juice, honey and hot chai tea. The Colonel ($12) is Le Colonial's take on Kentucky's Colonel Sanders with Jim Beam, Benedictine, and a dash of Angostura bitters. Every weekend in December, Le Colonial's upstairs bar will open at 3 p.m. for holiday shoppers looking for a break. (www.lecolonialchicago.com)
- Check out sola (3868 N. Lincoln) for the Hot Potato Toddy ($10), a mix of sweet potato with Captain Morgan’s spiced rum and vanilla whipped cream. www.sola-restaurant.com
- Drop by Fulton's on the River (315 N. LaSalle) for a Home for the Holidays martini, a red raspberry-inspired cocktail mixed with fresh rosemary and gin. The Fruit Cake has all the elements of the traditional fruit cake, but this isn't an item you'll want to re-gift. It incorporates seedless grapes and fresh-cubed pineapple mixed with vanilla and hazelnut liquor.
- J Bar, located inside the James hotel (610 N. Rush) offers the Pumpkin Spice ($11). It's Absolut Vanilla, Godiva White, pumpkin spice and whipped cream. The Nutty Angel ($11) is a mix of Ketel One, Frangelico, Bailey's Coffee and cinnamon.