Portland’s top bartenders share their favorite holiday cocktail recipes

F and B

Tis’ the season to sip something festive by the tree, Hanukkah bush or Kwanzaa candelabra. Because not just any libation will do, we asked Portland’s top mixologists to share their recipes for celebratory holiday cocktails. Enjoy out on the town, or mix these up at home with a little Bing Crosby.

Woodford F & B Eggnog

Bartender: Claire Stretch

Why? “There is a lot of bad egg nog out there,” says restaurateur Birch Shambaugh, who doctored this “Joy of Cooking” classic with a mod spin. “The devil is totally in the details.” 

4 eggs

4 oz superfine sugar

4 oz rye whiskey

2.5 oz Amontillado sherry

8 oz heavy cream

7 oz whole milk

Beat eggs until well blended, slowly beat in sugar until fully absorbed. Slowly whisk in the remaining wet ingredients until fully incorporated. Refrigerate at least 8 hours, preferably overnight.

Beat four egg whites until soft peaked and fold these whipped egg whites into the eggnog that has rested. Yields approximately 3.5 cups / five to six drinks.

Pour 4-5 oz of finished eggnog mixture and .75 oz of rye (or dark rum) into a cocktail shaker 1/3 filled with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into chilled coupe or punch glass. Grate fresh nutmeg over top of drink and serve.

hunt and A

Photo by Christopher Buerkle.

In The Pines from Portland Hunt + Alpine Club

Bartender: Christopher Buerkle

What: “In The Pines is a great holiday drink because it is deliciously piney, balanced and crisp,” said Buerkle. “It is evocative of a winter walk in the woods or a trip to pick up a Christmas tree. Think winter in a glass.”

1 oz St. George Terroir gin

1 oz Zirbenz stone pine liqueur 

1 oz Cynar

6 drops woodland bitters

Build in mixing glass, add ice, stir, strain into chilled rocks glass, add large cube, lemon twist and drop in drink.


Milk Punch from Sonny’s Restaurant

Bartender: Adam Sousa

What? “This silky milk punch can stand by itself as a lovely wintertime cocktail, with warming spices and enough heat to keep the drink interesting, and surprisingly approachable” said Sousa.

Makes about 2 liters

2 cups brandy

2 cups spiced rum

2 cups cold water

2 cups hot water steeped with 6 chai tea bags

1 oz Owl & Whale persimmon bitters

1 cup turbinado sugar

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

1/2 cup fresh orange juice

1/4 cup allspice dram

1 tbs ground cayenne pepper

5 cloves

Mix hot chai tea water (2 cup) with sugar (1 cup) to make concentrated chai tea syrup, whisk until sugar is dissolved. Add remaining ingredients to large mixing bowl.

Pour 2 cups of whole milk into separate container and slowly add punch to break the milk. Cover broken milk punch and refrigerate for 24 hours (should begin to separate within first 30 minutes).

After 24 hours, filter through chinois or other fine strainer lined with a thick nest of cheese cloth. If filtered liquid is cloudy, strain again through the same cheese cloth (do not dump the curds, these act as your fine filter). Final result should be crystal clear light straw colored punch. Serve over ice with a clove studded orange peel.


The Lion In Winter from Stroudwater Distillery

Bartender: John Myers

What? “This cocktail was inspired by a drink called the Lion’s Tail, which pits bourbon against an allspice liqueur,” said Myers. “I changed the allspice dram to a cardamom and clove syrup by Royal Rose syrup company in Brunswick and dubbed it the Lion’s Mane. All summer long I wondered how it would translate as a winter warmer and thus, the Lion in Winter was born.”

1 1/2 oz Stroudwater Distillery bourbon

3/4 oz lemon juice

1/2 oz Royal Rose cardamom-clove syrup

2 dashes Angostura bitters

Mix all ingredients in a heat proof mug and fill with hot water. Garnish with a cinnamon stick and a twist of lemon.

Kathleen Pierce

About Kathleen Pierce

A lifelong journalist with a deep curiosity for what's next. Interested in food, culture, trends and the thrill of a good scoop. BDN features reporter based in Portland since 2013.