Seasonal Spirits: Cocktails and Festive Drinks

When temperatures start to fall, nothing warms you up like a cup of good cheer. Thankfully, Alexandria is practically overflowing with holiday spirit(s)! From special brews to festive cocktails, mulled wine and artisan cider, Alexandria restaurants and pubs are concocting and pouring yummy holiday drinks that will keep you toasty and toasting all the way to New Year’s and beyond.

Don’t want to be left out in the cold? Read on for our list of the top seasonal spirits in Alexandria! And of course, please drink responsibly (remember, too much eggnog got Grandma run over by a reindeer!).

New this Holiday Season: Magnolia’s on King

Jeanne Griffin Magnolia's Cocktail

Image Credit: Jeanne Griffin of Jeanne Griffin Interior Design

The Palm Lounge at newcomer Magnolia’s on King is the perfect spot to enjoy cozy sips by the fireplace with a group of friends. Start off with a fresh twist on a classic, says Alexandria resident Jeanne Griffin of Jeanne Griffin Interior Design, and enjoy “Christmas in July” from Spirits Curator Zachary W. Faden. According to Jeanne, “The holidays wouldn’t be complete without eggnog…‘Christmas in July’ showcases Faden’s house aged eggnog with rye and cognac which is then topped with grated nutmeg.”

Best Beer: Port City Tidings Holiday Ale

Port City Tidings Alexandria Facebook

Image credit: Port City Brewing Co. Facebook

2015 was the year of Alexandria brewery Port City Brewing Co., named the Best Small Brewery in America at the 2015 Great American Beer Festival. Their limited production holiday ale gives you a taste of summer in the bleak midwinter, starring local Maryland wildflower honey and Virginia wheat spiced with coriander, cardamom, fresh ginger and grains of paradise (making a truly heavenly aroma!). Sip on it with friends and family and toast to a great year.

Secretive Sips: PX and Captain Gregory’s

Captain Gregorys Cocktails Alexandria VA

Image Credit: Captain Gregory’soriginal_Captain-Gregorysoriginal_Captain-Gregorys (1)

Sip in style at one of Alexandria’s speakeasies. Captain Gregory’s has new cocktails daily, but Jeanne says cocktail ‘Relax, Jeremy, Cocktails Aren’t Rocket Science’, “is a warm and woody cocktail featuring apple wood smoke, rye and burnt sugar yellow chartreuse. It is ‘snuggling in a heavy blanket by a fireplace in a glass’.”

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Image Credit: Ken Wyner

Todd Thrasher, mixologist for Restaurant Eve and speakeasy PX, is responsible for some of the most creative and memorable cocktails in the DC region. I’ve actually heard people on the street talking about his mouth-watering Moscow mule, mixed with homemade ginger ale with fresh ginger and Serrano peppers.

Classics at Vermilion

Vermilion COURTESY KYLE MARTELL (3) (3)

Image Credit: Kyle Martell

The lounge downstairs at Vermilion is the perfect place to celebrate the holidays with friends and family. Their cocktail menu offers all the classics with creative ‘twists’ and changes seasonally. “Be sure to try ‘It’s a Rainy Day’ and ‘Type Slowly’,” says Jeanne, “salted honey syrup and basil will be sure to warm your spirits during the cold winter months.”

Beer enthusiasts rejoice—Vermilion has an extensive list of regional draft and bottled beer.

Drink Like a Local at Chadwicks

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Chadwicks, also known as “Old Town’s Favorite”, has been the gathering spot for locals since 1979. Their Happy Hour is hard to beat, but it’s the friendly service and comfortable atmosphere that keep people coming back year after year.

Little known fact, you may just meet your future husband or wife over a drink at Chadwicks. At the very least you’ll make a new friend.

Bonus Drink: Cioccolata & Cioccolata Fiorentina

For a rich alcohol-free take on holiday cheer, head to Carluccio’s for their Cioccolata, or Italian hot chocolate. Disclaimer: once you’ve tried it, you might not be able to go back to the regular stuff. And if you try their Cioccolata Fiorentina, a thick Florentine drinking chocolate served in an espresso cup, there’s no going back. Chocolate-lovers, I’m talking to you. And for anyone looking to do some last-minute holiday shopping, their market has something for everyone.

For more information about holiday dining in Alexandria, click here.

A very special thank you to Jeanne Griffin, whose input for this blog post was invaluable.

Header Image by Captain Gregory’s