Celebrate with festive holiday cocktails recipes from top Orlando Restaurants
Holiday food gets center stage this time of year. All the attention goes to the turkey, stuffing, casseroles, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pies. Yes, I know they are all delicious. However, every good meal deserves a good cocktail pairing. Especially this time of year!
These Orlando restaurants have come up with some fun adult beverages to celebrate the season that do not disappoint. They were gracious to share the recipes with Go Epicurista for Easy Entertaining at home. If you don’t feel like doing all the work, and prefer to GO out on the town, just stop by and let their bartenders do what they do best. These Holiday Cocktails Recipes will make your holidays just a bit more cheerful. GO celebrate with friends!
1. American Gymkhana: American Harvest Sour
** Sadly, this restaurant was closed in 2015. We have great memories and this fantastic cocktail recipe.
The newest addition to Restaurant Row, American Gymkhana, features an inspired craft cocktail program with homemade syrups and fresh ingredients, created by award-winning mixologist Hemant Pathak. The bartenders are quite skilled and the bar is beautiful to lounge in. To say I was wowed is an understatement. The food, described as modern Indian, shows chef Aarthi Sampath’s passion for food with just one bite – and you will want more of that bold fusion of flavors. As an ode to the traditional flavors of Thanksgiving and the fall season, the American Harvest Sour cocktail pairs perfectly with their holiday menu specials like Thanksgiving Chaat, Masala Stuffed Pousin and Pumpkin Samosa available 11/27-11/30. Located at 7559 W. Sand Lake Road, Orlando 32819. 407-985-2900
- 2 Oz Kentucky Bourbon
- 1 Oz Apple Cider
- 3/4 Oz Lemon Juice
- 1/2 Oz homemade Cinnamon syrup
- – Shake all ingredients and serve on the rocks
- – Garnish with Apple slice
2. American Q: Smoked Sage and Pumpkin Manhattan
*This restaurant was revamped in 2018 to American Kitchen Bar & Grill
B Resort & Spa’s American Q is quickly becoming known not just for their mouth-watering parade of smoked BBQ meats and their extensive buffet served from the back of a vintage pick-up truck, but also for their creative cocktails. They are on the Top 9 Foodie Happy Hours in Orlando List for many reasons. Their Cherry Bacon infused Manhattan is one. Through the end of November, the Smoked Sage and Pumpkin Manhattan cocktail is reason #2. If you’re a fan of autumn flavors, this cocktail will leave you wishing fall was year-round. Located at 1905 Hotel Plaza Blvd, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830. 407-827-3080.
- 3 pecan smoked sage leaves
- 4 strips orange peel
- 3 T pumpkin puree
- 2 oz Knob Creek Bourbon
- 1 oz Ancho chili infused sweet vermouth
- 1 dash Orange bitters
- – Muddle 2 sage leaves and orange peel with the chili infused vermouth
- – Add pumpkin puree, bourbon, bitters and ice
- – Shake well and serve in rocks glass
- – Garnish with smoked sage and an orange peel
3. American Q: Bourbon & Bacon Hot Chocolate
I told you American Q had a killer cocktail menu, right? Well, here is another good reason why it’s one of my favorite happy hour spots. Who can resist bacon infused anything? Add the warm smoky goodness of Bourbon and the decadence of chocolate and you get a sinful treat! You can make this grown-up hot chocolate at home with this recipe or just GO to American Q and let them make one for you. That swine candy is worth the drive!
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup water
- 2 cups milk
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 3 oz bacon fat
- 4 oz bourbon
- 4 pcs American Q Swine Candy
- Whipped cream for garnish
- – Heat all ingredients except for bourbon and bacon fat in a saucepan, do not boil. Whisk until incorporated.
- – Once mixed well, remove from heat and whisk in bacon fat until frothy.
- – Add bourbon and serve in mugs with a dollop of whipped cream, crumbled swine candy and a garnish of ½ piece of swine candy.
Swine Candy Recipe
- 1 lb thick cut bacon
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp Chinese five spice
- 1 tsp Cayenne
- 1 tsp chipotle powder
- – Mix all dry ingredients well.
- – Coat bacon on both sides with the dry mix
- – Cook on backing rack at 300 degrees until caramelized and crispy
4. Cocina 214: Caliente Casamigos Rocks Margarita
The award-winning Tex-Mex Cocina 214 has some fun margaritas on their menu and introduces new creations often. I just recently sampled George Clooney’s Casamigos Tequila – House of Friends – and can say that although he’s known for being “muy caliente” with the ladies – collective ‘sigh’, he’s married now – the man sure knows his tequila. In one word, smooth. This spicy hot Caliente Margarita number can surely warm up the cool nights of the season. Located at 151 E Welbourne Ave, Winter Park, FL, 32789. 407-790-7997
Caliente Casamigos Rocks Margarita
- 1.5 Oz Casamigos Blanco Tequila
- 2 Slices Serrano Chili
- 1/2 oz Orange juice
- 3/4 oz Lime Juice
- 1/2 oz Cranberry Juice
- 3/4 oz Sweet & Sour Mix
- – Muddle serrano chilies and shake into a cocktail mixer.
- – Mix in other ingredients.
- – Strain into a glass and serve on the rocks
5. Duffy’s: Cotton Candy Cosmopolitan
Lake Worth based Duffy’s Sports Grill recently opened its first Orlando eatery near Mall of Millenia, and although the chain is known for their BBQ ribs and Certified Angus burgers, I suspect their all-day, everyday, 2 for 1 Happy Hour will soon be a local favorite! You may wonder why a cotton candy cocktail is part of this holiday cocktails roundup? December 7th is National Cotton Candy Day. Why not celebrate? This tasty carnival-inspired cocktail is served with real cotton candy and that can make any day a holiday celebration! Located at 4158 Conroy Road, Orlando, FL 32839. 407-930-2960
Cotton Candy Cosmopolitan Recipe
- 2 oz Pinnacle County Fair Cotton Candy Vodka
- 1 oz Cranberry juice
- Dash of fresh lime juice
- Handful of cotton candy
- – Add all ingredients, except cotton candy, to a cocktail shaker with ice
- – Shake well & strain into martini glass
- – Top with cotton candy
6. Outriggers Tiki Bar & Grille: Bid Time Bloody Mary
Soon to be celebrating their one year anniversary, Outriggers Tiki Bar & Grille’s Bid Time Bloody Mary is perfect for holiday brunches and morning-after holiday party recovery. It is practically a meal and I love how it uses Bloody Mary ice cubes. Guaranteed to provide a zesty wake-up call to your taste buds. We have the luxury in Florida of enjoying the best weather during holidays. This lovely spot by the water at the New Smyrna Marina will make you forget the snow storms elsewhere. I love Florida! Located at 200 Boatyard St, New Smyrna Beach, FL 32169. 386-428-6888.
Bid Time Bloody Mary Recipe
- 2 oz house infused Tito’s Vodka
- 1 strip candied black pepper bacon
- 1 cocktail shrimp
- Blackening seasoning and merlot salt mixture
- Bloody Mary mix ice cubes
- – Rim glass with blackening seasoning and merlot salt mixture.
- – Add Bloody Mary mix ice cubes and pour Tito’s Vodka over ice cubes.
- – Garnish with candied bacon and cocktail shrimp.
- – Add olives if you wish
7. RA Sushi: Spiced Mule
*This restaurant closed in 2018
RA Sushi at Pointe Orlando offers a great selection of sushi creations in a modern hip Las Vegas style atmosphere. It’s a great spot for happy hour with friends and was featured in the Go Epicurista Top 9 Foodie Happy Hours in Orlando List. This Black Friday, escape the hustle and bustle of the crowds and enjoy a special happy hour from 11am-7pm with over 25 sushi and appetizer options, beers, wine and cocktails specials. That is what I call retail therapy. Happy
hour day indeed! Through January 31st, in honor of the holiday season, they have given the traditional Moscow Mule a holiday twist. As a bonus, purchase the signature copper mug so you can make this refreshing concoction at home year-round. Located at 9101 International Drive, suite 1008, Orlando FL 32819. 407-454-5600.
Spiced Mule Recipe
- 1.5 oz Russian Standard Vodka
- 1.5 oz Gosling’s Ginger Beer
- 1/2 oz Sour Mix
- 1 oz Apple Cider
- – Mix all ingredients together, shake, pour over ice and serve
8. Taverna Opa Orlando: Brandy Baklava
Taverna Opa is a local favorite for their delicious Greek food and fun atmosphere. Where else can you enjoy belly dancing while devouring homemade hummus, spanakopita, roasted lamb and baklava? For Thanksgiving they are hosting a non-turkey celebration with their mouth-watering roasted lamb instead. The Brandy Baklava Cocktail is the perfect dessert in a glass. Opa! Located at 9101 International Drive, Orlando, FL. 407-351-8660
Taverna Opa Orlando’s Brandy Baklava Recipe
3 oz half-and-half
1 Tablespoon honey
3/4 oz hazelnut liqueur
1 oz brandy
3 or 4 drops orange water
1 pinch cinnamon, additional for garnish honey
1 Tablespoon crushed pistachios (for rim)
– On a small saucer, drizzle a thin layer of honey, spread the crushed nuts on a second saucer
– Turning the cocktail glass upside down into the saucer with honey, lightly coat the rim
– Dip the honey-rimmed glass into the nuts to coat the edge of the glass. Set aside.
– Fill a shaker with ice, add the first 6 ingredients and shake vigorously to chill and combine thoroughly. Strain the drink into cocktail glass and sprinkle a pinch of cinnamon on top.
9. Teak Neighborhood Grill Lemon Berry Fizz
Teak is the home of the best burgers in Orlando, with 27 crazy creations on their menu plus a secret menu with 10+ and more added on a monthly basis. It is truly what you consider a neighborhood bar. Great food, a rotation of craft beers and fun cocktails. I recently tried their Lemon Berry Fizz and the colors reminded me of the holidays. It is available after the holidays so if you ever need a reminder of this fun time of year, sit back, sip and enjoy! Located at 6400 Time Square Ave, Suite A, Orlando, FL. 407-313-5111.
Lemon Berry Fizz Recipe
- 1 1/4 oz New Amsterdam Gin
- 2 teaspoons strawberry jam
- 2 squeezed lemons
- 2 mint leaves
- 1/4 oz Agave Nectar
- – Muddle the ingredients and shake well
- – Top with soda
- – Garnish with lemon wedge
Which cocktail will you be making this holiday season?
Did your favorites make the list?
Whether at home or out on the town, take the time and GO celebrate the holidays with friends!