The Starling’s Fruitcake Hot Toddy
The Starling’s new twist on the traditional hot toddy is reminiscient of all of the best things about fruitcake with none of the texture issues. This toddy is served warm, in a clear glass, with lemon and a clove. The comforting potion contains macerated citrus and spices, dark rum and brandy. While this cocktail is my favorite on a cold day, my eye was also caught by the Starling’s punch bowl offerings, which serve 2 to 40. What a great way to celebrate the New Year. 19380 Highway 12
The Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn’s Adult Eggnog
Slip into the hotel’s elegant 38 Lounge and indulge in this end-of-the-year treat, served in a fittingly celebratory etched-crystal coupe. The glowing digital menu describes mixologist John Staley’s $12 per cocktail creation as “a boozy treat,” including not only cream and eggs, but Zocapa rum, Laird’s Apple Jack and Sonoma’s own Hooker House bourbon, all whipped together and “aged for three weeks.” So delish, and nothing like the stuff that comes in a carton. 100 Boyes Blvd.
El Dorado Kitchen’s Manhattan
The antidote for any dark, cold night is bourbon whiskey: golden brown, spicy, always served up. Bulleit Frontier Bourbon, if you’re feeling particular, cut with sweet vermouth and dashed with angostura bitters. The Manhattan is king of cocktails, urbane and delicious, and the best place to get one in Sonoma is EDK. The El Dorado Kitchen’s polished suavity elevates the natural chic of a well-made Manhattan, and their hot truffle fries might allow you a second. Whether it’s New Year’s Eve or just Tuesday, the EDK Bulleit Manhattan goes down right. 405 First Street West
Saddles’ Chile Sleigh Ride
Nog may have its origins in 17th century Norfolk, England, but the classic wintertime drink takes a very modern south-of-the-border turn at Saddles Restaurant. The Saddles Chile Sleigh Ride is a warming blend of Cabo Cantina tequila liqueur, Ancho Reyes Chile liqueur, Aztec mole chocolate bitters and – just in case you weren’t feeling the holiday spirit just yet – a chocolate-mint candy cane rim. The over-the-river, through-the-woods meet-up at Grandma’s comes via a sidecar of vanilla cinnamon egg nog which, our barkeep advises, is meant to be sipped prior to each mouthful of the main attraction. We’ve got sugarplum fairies dancing in our heads just thinking about it. 29 E. MacArthur
The Swiss Hotel’s Hot Buttered Rum
In the holiday spirit of overindulging, sometimes just one holiday drink isn’t enough. I couldn’t resist following suit when I saw another table ordering a hot buttered rum on a recent cold night sidled up to the bar in the cozy Swiss Hotel. The drink just screams 1970s... an era when equal parts butter and sugar gave no one pause. The bartender says that on a typical winter night, she either serves none or 20, that the order is contagious. Served in a hot, tall, clear glass, it comes with instructions to “keep stirring.” Spiced rum, with plenty of cinnamon, it goes down like a smooth snickerdoodle, with a kick. 18 West Spain St.