Legal Sea Foods
There is something comforting about knowing that no matter where you are, the food and drink will consistently and reliably be the same; it’s part of the allure of the chain restaurant concept. During the holiday season, when folks are straining under the pressures and obligations of shopping, present-giving, entertaining, and office party-going, the familiar or predictable can be welcome.
If you are one of those who turns his or her nose up at the thought of chain restaurants, we have only this to say, it’s your loss, especially when it comes to beverages. World-class imbibers know this to be true: “Just enjoy splendid drinks; it doesn’t matter where they are served.”
Our lineup of Christmas cocktails is proof positive good drinks can be found at popular chain restaurants this holiday season. If you’re looking for a way to bring the holidays straight to your glass, take a trip to one or more of these 10 restaurants.
(getinmymouf.com) Photo courtesy of Earls
Cameron Bogue, beverage director and bar product development chief at Earl’s Kitchen & Bar, is a cocktail wizard with an endless imagination. His Cabin Fever cocktail takes center stage this Christmas season at all 66 Earl’s restaurants and yes, it will cure cabin fever, but oh, do so much more, too. A spicy, smoky whiskey sour riff made with ginger syrup, fresh pineapple and lemon juices, Taylor Fladgate 10-Year -Old Tawny Port, Crown Royal, a few dashes of Bittered Sling Moondog Bitters, and just a bit of soda water, this tangy dram comes with a resinous, peaty whiff thanks to an aerosol spray of Bowmore 12 Scotch and garnish of mint and pine cone.
Dave & Buster’s is known for their playful menus, adult games, and now a fun candy-flavored holiday drink called Candy Shop. It’s made with DeKuyper Sour Apple Pucker, Smirnoff Watermelon vodka, Sprite, and cranberry juice and garnished with fresh lime and a cherry — seems visions of sugar plum just got a little boozy.
Cuba Restaurant & Rum Bar
If the boozy, eggy allure of eggnog evades you, try the sweet, rich, creamy El Coquito cocktail from Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar instead; it's silky and creamy but without any of the egg. Made with cinnamon, vanilla, coconut milk, and coconut rum, with a toasted coconut rim, it's like a Cuban twist on Christmas eggnog and will get you in a sunny, Caribbean mood.
Photo courtesy of Blockheads
Blockheads Burritos is a fast-casual restaurant chain that serves San Francisco-style Mexican food. Their Frozen Candy Cane Margarita’s blend of tequila, cranberry purée, and peppermint schnapps makes it a mouth-tingling cool twist on the classic lime-flavored version of the cocktail, and it’s perfect for Christmas cocktail parties.
For a sweet, creamy, tasty bit of Christmas in a glass, Outback Steakhouse has it goin’ on with their ever-popular Gingerbread Martini. It’s made with vodka, Kahlúa, Bailey’s Irish Cream, gingerbread syrup (usually Monin’s version), and vanilla ice cream, with a graham cracker rim and garnish of a gingerbread cookie.
Bourbon Steak / Facebook
Acclaimed chef Michael Mina’s collection of upscale Bourbon Steak restaurants are tempting holiday-makers with a Christmas drink called Green Chaud (chaud means "hot). This winter warmer’s pale green hue is packed with flavor from green Chartreuse, white hot chocolate, and a tempting whipped cream garnish.
Photo Modified: Flickr / Geoff Sloan / CC BY 4.0
Rather than focus merely on spirits-based cocktails, P.F. Chang’s has come up with a holiday-themed garnet-colored sangria made with Absolut Mandarin, merlot, fresh squeezed orange juice, and cranberry juice, blended with plenty of ice and garnished with sliced strawberries and slices of orange. Served in chilled, stemless wine glasses, this drink looks like a thirst-quenching Christmas ball.
The Massachusetts Met Bethesda, chain, part of the Metropolitan Restaurant Group, has a Hot Chocolate Experience that features a one-of-a-kind hot chocolate flight allowing guests to sample a quartet of four-ounce glasses of hot chocolate in four distinct flavors, including a Classic Hot Chocolate that’s a nostalgic version from childhood made with Taza vanilla chocolate and mini toasted marshmallows; Mexican Hot Chocolate prepared with Taza cinnamon chocolate topped with grated Taza guajillo chile chocolate; Salted Almond Hot Chocolate with Taza salted almond chocolate garnished with an almond biscotti; and Peppermint Hot Chocolate with Taza cacao puro chocolate, peppermint, and a candy cane. They all come garnished with whipped cream and for an adult, boozy version, each can be made with a choice of Bailey’s White Chocolate, XO Patrón, amaretto, or white crème de menthe.
Legal Sea Foods
Legal Sea Foods is known for their raw oysters, New England clam chowder, fresh fish of many kinds, and now seasonal cocktails for Christmas. Take the Plymouth Cocktail. The name might make you think that this is a gin-based drink (as in Plymouth Gin) but instead it’s named for Plymouth, Massachusetts, the historic town founded by the Pilgrims who came to America on the Mayflower. Could it be a nod to the state’s fame as a place for cranberry bogs? Its bright red and green colors from muddled cranberries and lime certainly make it a festive drink, thanks to the high-octane addition of Square One Bergamot Vodka, fresh ginger, and various botanicals. It’s a sweet-tart drink for holiday tables whether you're eating seafood or just about anything else.
The Prime Rib Steakhouse
Prime Rib Steakhouses serve only the best premium aged beef and have award-winning bars that make everything from classic cocktails to signature holiday drinks. One of the latter is their Pumpkin Spice Martini, which is being showcased at Maryland Live! Casino. This spicy drink is made with vanilla vodka, Bailey’s Irish Cream, pumpkin liqueur (Hiram Walker’s), cinnamon, and nutmeg. Sounds like a sure bet.