Gaumenkitzel is ringing in winter with delicious mulled wine and cider. Photo: Gaumenkitzel
Gaumenkitzel is ringing in winter with mulled wine and cider. Photo: Gaumenkitzel

By Arielle Gordon-Rowe

After this past week, self-care is key. One great way to decompress is to come together with loved ones, share comforting food and sip on soothing warm beverages.

You may be wondering where to look for something warm and delicious with that much-needed kick to it. Fear not — we’ve got your back. From mulled cider to Irish coffee, we’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite boozy hot drinks to keep your stomachs warm and your love ongoing. Have other favorites? Let us know in the comments.

Garam Masala Buttered Rum and Oaxacan Hot Chocolate, East Bay Spice Company

East Bay Spice Company brings a spicy flare to its hot chocolate game with its signature Oaxacan hot chocolate. Photo: East Bay Spice Company

This coming winter season, the spice-infused cocktail den is putting out a new menu of seasonally inspired drinks including several delicious spin-offs of classic hot cocktails. East Bay Spice Company’s (EBSC) garam masala buttered rum is their take on a traditional hot buttered rum. The cocktail is made with aged rum, yellow Chartreuse, garam masala butter and cinnamon syrup for a rich and delicious drink with a quirky flare. EBSC will also be offering its Oaxacan hot chocolate, which is made with Xicaru mezcal, Ancho Reyes chile liqueur, crème de cacao, cream, Caffe Moka, Aztec chocolate bitters and an espresso tincture. East Bay Spice Company is at 2134 Oxford St. (near Center St.), Berkeley. Connect with the bar on Facebook or Instagram.

Doc’s Toddy, Doc’s Refresher

Doc’s Refresher is offering a stiff and dreamy take on the classic toddy. Photo: Doc’s Refresher
Doc’s Refresher is offering a stiff and dreamy take on the classic toddy. Photo: Doc’s Refresher

Stepping into Jennifer Seidman’s Southwest Berkeley restaurant, Doc’s Refresher, brings you into a great neighborhood joint with a casual, low-key vibe. This winter season, Doc’s Refresher will be offering restaurant-goers an equally homey warm beverage: the restaurant’s signature hot toddy, Doc’s Toddy, which will be made with bourbon, Top Hat ginger syrup, lemon and Absinthe. Patrons can also chow down on comfort food such as burgers, tater tots, and mac and cheese while watching sports on one of four TVs and listening to music from the jukebox. Doc’s Refresher is at 984 University Ave. (between Eighth and Ninth streets), Berkeley. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook.

Benny n’ Hot, Townie Restaurant and Bar

Townie’s signature hot toddy, the Benny n’ Hot. Photo: Arielle Gordon-Rowe
Townie’s signature hot toddy, the Benny n’ Hot. Photo: Arielle Gordon-Rowe

Townie‘s original concoction, the Benny n’ Hot, is made with Bénédictine, lemon peel, hot water and a housemade herbal syrup that contains rosemary, sage and mint. According to Townie’s bartender, Elana Siegal, the Benny n’ Hot is a “refined herbal twist on a classic hot toddy.” While the drink’s main ingredient, Bénédictine, was not, in fact, invented by monks as the lore goes, its recipe is a highly guarded trade secret that is said to have medicinal powers. Paired with Townie’s homemade syrup, this soothing cocktail is sure to cure the sniffles. Townie Restaurant and Bar is at 1799 University Ave. (at Grant Street), Berkeley. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Mulled Wine and Mulled Cider, Gaumenkitzel

Gaumenkitzel garnishes its mulled wine and cider with a cinnamon stick and a citrus kick. Photo: Gaumenkitzel

Nothing screams fall like a mug of mulled cider or wine and some belly-warming German food. Beginning next week, Gaumenkitzel will be serving both of those drinks made with German-imported booze. For its mulled red wine, it uses Gerstacker Nürnberger Christkindl Glühwein, which is chock-full of seasonings like blueberry, anise, cardamom, mace, nutmeg, clove, orange, lemon, allspice and cinnamon. To top it all off, Gaumenkitzel adds fresh whole cinnamon sticks and orange peels.

The restaurant will also offer a “Heisser Mulled Cider” (hot mulled cider) made by the German brand Possman. It is a popular Christmas drink in Frankfurt, beloved for its rich aroma and tasty combination of apple wine, cinnamon, clove, lemon and sugar. As with its mulled wine, Gaumentkitzel adds fresh whole cinnamon sticks and organic orange peels to the cider. Both the wine and cider are available by the glass or pitcher. Gaumenkitzel is at 2121 San Pablo Ave. (at Cowper Street), Berkeley. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook and Twitter.

Suspect Device and Dutch Courage, Revival Bar and Kitchen

Revival Bar and Kitchen. Photo: Sharon Hahn Darlin/Flickr

This winter season, Revival Bar and Kitchen will be serving myriad boozy cocktails with mouthwatering combinations of liquor, coffee and spices. One is the Suspect Device, a rich warm drink with a spicy, deep flavor from a blend of Templeton Rye, Amaro Nonino, Casa Martelletti Vermouth, peanut-infused cognac, St. George coffee liqueur and a chai masala tincture. 

If you are more of an espresso fiend, take note of Revival’s Dutch Courage, which combines Van Gogh Double Espresso Vodka, Amaro Montenegro, crême de cacao Riverboat Rye and black walnut bitters. According to Revival’s Dan Mayer, the drink’s “delicious chocolate, coffee, and nut flavors [are] nicely balanced by the slightly bitter amaro. [It’s] perfect for dessert.” Revival Bar and Kitchen is at 2120 Shattuck Ave. (at Addison Street), Berkeley. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook and Twitter.

Spiked Coffee, Room 389

The spiked coffee menu in Room 389’s café. Photo: Room 389
The spiked coffee menu in Room 389’s café. Photo: Room 389

Oakland’s Room 389 is a spiked coffee aficionado’s dream. In the café portion of the bar, it offers a long list of sweet, rich, boozy espresso drinks. From an Irish cappuccino or an adult hot chocolate to a chai latte with a kick, there’s bound to be something on the menu to make your taste buds sing. We’ve also heard tell that in-house mixologists are experimenting with a spiked mint chip mocha. In addition to a long list of espresso-inspired cocktails, Room 389 is offering a hot cider based on an original recipe from manager Nick White’s grandmother. Room 389 is located at 389 Grand Ave. (between Ellita and Staten avenues), Oakland. Connect with the bar on Facebook and Instagram.

Irish Coffee, Bicycle Coffee

The exterior of Bicycle Coffee’s Uptown Café. Photo: Bicycle Coffee/ Instagram
The exterior of Bicycle Coffee’s Uptown Café. Photo: Bicycle Coffee/ Instagram

East Bay coffee roaster Bicycle Coffee is offering a hot Irish coffee for $6 and an Irish cold brew for $7 at its Uptown café. The boozy drinks are part of the café’s “Whiskey Weekends,” which also include Jameson shots, Olympia beers and breakfast burritos. The Uptown café is the second, newer location for the Jack London Square-based company that is known for roasting high-quality, sustainably sourced coffee, delivered by bicycle. Bicycle Coffee Café is at 1745 San Pablo Ave. (at 18th Street), Oakland. Connect with the coffee shop on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Oaktown Coffee, Blackwater Station

Oakwater Coffee at Blackwater Station in Temescal. Photo: Farm League Design and Management

Blackwater Station is known for being an arts and entertainment hub, in addition to offering new American food and cocktails. And this winter season, the Temescal restaurant is inviting patrons to stop by for a new reason: to gulp down a sweet and creamy Irish coffee, which they have dubbed Oaktown Coffee. Blackwater’s Oaktown coffee is made with Lairs apple brandy, Nocino liqueur, allspice dram, coffee from organic Oakland Coffee Co. and heavy cream. Blackwater Station is at 4901 Telegraph Ave. (at 49th Street), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook.

The Fanny Tellier Toddy, Hopscotch

Fanny Tellier at Hopscotch. Photo: Hopscotch

Hopscotch‘s hot toddy is named after Fanny Tellier, the subject of Picasso’s painting, Girl with a Mandolin. The Fanny Tellier Toddy is concocted with apple brandy, Suze concentrated bitters, honey and lemon. This toddy is just one of the many drinks in co-owner Jenny Schwarz’s comprehensive cocktail repertoire, so if brandy isn’t your favorite, we’re sure the bartenders could stir up something equally satisfying. Hopscotch is at 1915 San Pablo Ave. (at 19th Street), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook and Instagram

Tight Knit Sweater, The Hotsy Totsy Club

The Hotsy Totsy. Photo: Jeremy Brooks/Flickr

This winter season, The Hotsy Totsy Club is offering a scandalously delicious warm cocktail. The Tight Knit Sweater is made with Ransom Old Tom, Becherovka, créme de cassis, honey syrup, lemon juice and baked apple bitters. The Hotsy Totsy Club, Albany’s oldest running bar, has been in operation since 1939, serving as a neighborhood dive bar and a cocktail destination alike. Patrons are free to play shuffleboard, choose music from the 45 rpm jukebox and view “transgressive cinema” while indulging in Hotsy Totsy’s frequently changing menu of original cocktails. The Hotsy Totsy Club is at 601 San Pablo Ave. (at Garfield Avenue), Albany. Connect with the bar on Facebook.

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