The cocktail programs in Lake Charles are top-tier, but Southwest Louisiana’s mixologists like to shake things up around the holidays. From martinis to mocktails and more, I’ve scoped out some of the best Christmas-themed cocktails in the area that are sure to make this season merry and magical for all libation lovers. As a self-proclaimed cocktail connoisseur, I conjured up the following seasonal must-sips along this Lake Charles Holiday Cocktail Tour:
BLOOD MOON AT CRYING EAGLE BREWING COMPANY
The Blood Moon cocktail at Crying Eagle Brewing Company is the winter sangria we all need. It’s served over ice with a blend of citrus, spices, and wine, but the aroma is compelling enough to transcend you into Louisiana's winter wonderland. You’ll taste every ingredient in each sip: Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur, spiced chai syrup, cabernet, orange juice, fresh lemon, and cinnamon. Mulled wine lovers are sure to fall in love with this cocktail, but be sure to browse their popular selections of brews too.
BUFFALO ROSE AT THE JAMES 710
The Buffalo Rose at The James 710 reminds me of a minimalist Christmas. The crisp flavor of lemon sour, muddled strawberries with Buffalo Trace Bourbon Whiskey, and the toasted rosemary embellishment taste like an evergreen forest in the depths of winter. The ingredients are perfectly layered in the margarite glass like snowfall, beginning with a bed of strawberries at the bottom. The bold green and bright red hues serve all the Christmas vibes we crave from year to year.
FRAGILE MARTINI AT BODEGA WINE DIVE
The Fragile Martini is an exclusive holiday cocktail at Bodega Wine Dive. With its clever and cute presentation, this cocktail is likely to be the most Instagrammable of them all. You’ll love the blend of PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur, Tito’s Vodka, lime juice, and simple syrup because it’s festive and refreshing, but it gets better. The bartenders will serve you a martini glass with ice cubes and a glass Christmas ornament filled with the fragile cocktail– hence the name fragile. You’ll remove the cap from the ornament and pour its contents over the ice and into the glass to enjoy. This hands-on cocktail is only offered the week before Christmas, Dec. 18-24. Mocktail versions of the Fragile Martini will also be available.
THE GRINCH MARTINI AT COUSIN'S LEBANESE CUISINE
The Grinch Martini is green, tart, and subtly sweet just like the sarcastic, snub-nosed, fictional creature in the classic Christmas story, “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” The cocktail is made with melon liqueur, lemon juice, and simple syrup. The rim of the martini glass is speckled with sugar and green glitter. It’s sour to taste at first, and the sweetness sinks in as an aftertaste – just like the Grinch’s cynical yet tender personality. This cocktail is bound to be a seasonal favorite for sure, so be sure to try some authentic bites at Cousin's Lebanese Cuisine while you're there. Mocktail versions of The Grinch Martini are also available.
MISTLETOE MARTELL AT THE VILLA HARLEQUIN
From the flavorful sensations of Martell Blue Swift Cognac, the torched cinnamon stick, and the velvety Jim Beam Bourbon Cream to the subtle hint of vanilla, coffee, and hazelnut, this concoction tastes like a cozy Christmas morning. When the bartender scorches the orange peel, quick flickers of fire sparked my nostalgic memories of my grandma’s fireplace. Those small, significant techniques make a bartender’s craftsmanship both experiential and tasty. With that being said, this Cocktail Christmas List is incomplete without the Mistletoe Martel from The Villa Harlequin in downtown Lake Charles.
OSO Y LECHES AT THE JAMES 710
Osos y Leche means “bears and milk” in Spanish. The rim of the glass is coated in Teddy Graham crumbs, and the whipped, milky presentation comes from a dash of whole milk. The mixologists at The James 710 added Madagascar Vanilla Liqueur and Rye whisky to the drink and garnished the top layer with fresh nutmeg and a cinnamon stick. This cocktail was designed with Santa Claus in mind. After a long evening of climbing chimneys, soaring the skies, and hauling gifts around the world, this is the ideal drink that will help Santa unwind. You can’t convince me otherwise.
PAPA NOEL BEER AT CRYING EAGLE BREWING COMPANY
If there’s a reason to celebrate, Crying Eagle Brewing Company will craft a beer for you to cheer! With an ever-evolving menu, this local brewery is stacked with flagship and festive beers for all to enjoy. For Christmas, they introduced the Papa Noel beer, which is a bubbly imperial dark Belgian Saison with clove and molasses and usually has low to moderate alcohol levels. The cloves' aromatic spices and the molasses' soft sweetness are sure to win over beer lovers everywhere. With an 8.9 percent ABV, this beer is likely to dominate the taproom over the holidays. ‘Tis the Saison to be bubbly, y'all!