Our warm cocktail series has focused on San Francisco bars so far. But there are some options for those living in the East Bay as well.
Hotsy Totsy in Albany – A great neighborhood bar that is part dive but also, a wonderfully creative cocktail haven. The menu is filled with different drinks, from classics to the more creative. And although I didn’t try the namesake Hot Totsy (a flaming drinking), I got a chance to test a few of their winter specials.
Jessica’s Wicked Hot Cider is probably better for those who light drinks a bit sweeter. With a mix of King’s Ginger liqueur, Laird’s Bonded Applejack, Cranberry Syrup, Apple Cider and Spices, it goes down really easy – maybe a bit too easy.
I also tried the Hot Buttered Rum. This is for the boozy crowd as not just the warmth of the drink hits you; it’s got plenty of alcohol to help keep warm as well. Lemon Heart High Proof Rum, El Dorado Rum, House Made Spiced Butter Mix and Hot Water will do that for you. Hotsy Totsy is located at 601 San Pablo Avenue in Albany.
FIVE in Berkeley – We recently profiled Chef Banks White from FIVE in the Hotel Shattuck Plaza. Along with a diverse menu, for the second year, the bar is offering 12 Cocktails of Christmas for the month of December. The two warm cocktail options are the Eleven Pipers Piping Hot and Twelve Hot Chocolate Drums.
I went with the Eleven Pipers (dark rum, apple juice, clove water, cream, served hot with cinnamon). It’s a nice, warm cocktail, not super boozy, but good to beat the cold. FIVE is located at 2086 Allston Way in Berkeley.
Plum Bar in Oakland – I’ve always loved the cocktail program at Plum and Plum Bar and it was not at all different this winter. I have to say, I’ve had some wonderful winter concoctions so far this year, but I’m not sure anything beats the Tea Cozy at Plum Bar. It’s a mix of Scotch, Thyme Black Tea, Coconut Orgeat and Drambuie. Boozy, yes. But warm and delightful as well. A really balanced cocktail, especially for a tea lover like myself. Plum Bar is located at 2214 Broadway Street in Oakland.