Where to find the most festive cocktails in Vancouver this holiday season

Let's toast to the most delicious time of year!

'Tis the season to sip on special holiday cocktails, now pouring all around Vancouver, including at Tableau Bar Bistro | Leila Kwok/courtesy Tableau Bar Bistro

It's time to raise a glass to the most wonderful time of year – especially for food and drink lovers. That's because there are some distinct and often nostalgia-fuelled flavours of the season that you can enjoy to the max (and responsibly) thanks to holiday cocktail specials all around Vancouver. 

From winter warmers to take the chill off another rainy Vancouver evening to decadent spiked egg nogs, boozy coffees, and plenty more, the spotlight is on festive libations that will take your holiday cheer to the next level. 

H Tasting Lounge

Christmas movies are part of the modern holiday tradition, and while there are hundreds to help you feel warm and bright, one Vancouver cocktail bar narrowed it down to a dozen classics and came up with the absolutely perfect drinks to match each one, all for your spirited sipping this festive season. This inventive roster is called the "12 Cocktails of Christmas Movies" and it's focused predominantly on the holiday flicks you love from the 80s and 90s (and Rudolph). You can cozy up by the H Tasting Lounge fireplace and drink boozy tributes to movies like Love Actually, Scrooged, and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. 

Reflections: The Winter Terrace

There are few better spots in Vancouver that really define the holiday spirit quite like at the elegant rooftop patio bar-restaurant Reflections at the Rosewood Hotel Georgia which in recent years has decked its halls and gotten into the spirit of the season with a festive wintry pop-up. Reflections: The Winter Terrace has returned for 2021, featuring holiday decor, cozy vibes, and a heated and covered outdoor bar and lounge setting perfect for festive lunches, post-work drinks, and date nights out. Reflections' winter drinks menu features festive libations like the Christmas Mule served in a red copper cup, the Little Helper, served in a Santa-faced mug or the Yule Nog On Log, served in a glass with a tree trunk base holder. Warm drinks like The Little Rummer Boy (the bar's take on a hot buttered rum) will keep you cozy from the inside out, and Christmas-themed shots can keep the party humming. Classic cocktails, beer, and wines by the glass or bottle are also available, along with pricey rare pours like Louis XIII cognac ($660 for two ounces) for spendy Santas.

Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar

Boulevard Bar Manager Peter Johanson presents two festive creations that are equal parts creative and delicious. Johanson mixes Creme de Cacao, Gautier VS Cognac, Chambord and oat milk to create his Raspberry Ripple Martini, which is deliciously dessert-like yet vegan and not too heavy. A serving of the Kranberry Kringle is bursting with holiday cheer; this smooth sipper features Narrative Grape Vodka, house made cranberry liqueur balanced by lightly-spiced and fruit-forward Lillet Rouge. The holiday cocktails are available until Dec. 25.

Vancouver Christmas Market

Vancouver Christmas Market
Mulled wine is a tradition at the Vancouver Christmas Market | Vancouver Christmas Market / Facebook

Stroll the picturesque vendor stalls of the annual market that will transport you from Jack Poole Plaza in Coal Harbour to a wintry German village, all while sipping on the event's signature libation of Glühweinn - mulled wine - available in commemorative mugs. You'll find the Glühwein at the market's central "Christmas Pyramid" but the festive event also has other beer, wine, and spirit vendors on site. 

Pourhouse 

Spice up the stocking or shop for the cocktail enthusiast with bottled cocktails from Pourhouse including classics like the Negroni and Old Fashioned. Prefer to enjoy your festive cheer on site? Drop into Pourhouse for a list of seasonal libations that features house-made eggnog, mulled wine and a hot toddy that warms even on the wettest of Vancouver nights.

Chupito

Warm up with some wintry libations that will transport you south of the border. The cocktail bar behind the original La Taqueria on Hastings has its own identity as Chupito, and it's all set up to keep you out of the elements and thinking hot - and sometimes spicy - thoughts. Once at your table you're greeted with a chupito - a little sip - and this time of year it's a warm one to get you going. 

Maxine's Cafe & Bar

Coffee Maxines
Boozy coffees at Maxine's include the Harwood, with flavours of chocolate and orange | Leila Kwok / courtesy Maxine's Cafe & Bar

Looking for some egg nog that's not out of the carton and a fresh spot for French-inspired fare? Start your holiday off with Auntie Maxine’s Spiked Eggnog (homemade) or a Hot Apple Cider from Maxine's, which opened earlier this year. They're serving up dinner Thursdays through Sundays (look for some special seasonal features) so you can pair their bistro-style eats with your festive sips, or you can pop in for brunch and try one of their festive boozy coffees, like the Harwood, which pairs up the Christmassy flavours of chocolate and orange. 

Capo & The Spritz

Capo & The Spritz has an exciting fresh list of festive libations. New winter creations include the Sebenico Spritz, a mix of black fig-infused Martini dry, and Havana 7-year rum, topped with bubbles; or The Town of Sarrano, a blend of vodka, Amaretto, cranberry, lime and apple bitters. While there, enjoy your festive sips as a prelude to Chef Evan Morgan’s flavour-forward Italian fare.

Glowbal

Glowbal cocktail
Downtown's Glowbal has decked the halls to create a wintertime patio escape with special seasonal sips | Glowbal

The seasonal celebration is underway this December as the restaurant has transformed its outdoor patio into an elegant holiday winter wonderland in the heart of the city, offering guests the opportunity to gather with friends, family and coworkers for parties and get-togethers, take seasonal selfies among holiday backdrops and sip festive-friendly libations. Glowba's holiday cocktails include Mulled Wine, Gingerbread Eggnog (Havana 7 yr rum, homemade eggnog, whipped cream and gingerbread, nutmeg) and Jingle Juice (vodka, lime, ginger syrup and beer, soda, cranberry, mint, dehydrated fruit).

Homer Street Café and Bar 

Warm up with this Yaletown mainstay's cozy seasonal sips like Hot Apple Cider and Homer Street’s House-made Spiked Eggnog. Pair those drinks with eats like  features on weeknight and weekend night Special Menus with features such as Porchetta, Prime Rib (Fridays and Saturdays evening), Rotisserie Turkey with traditional fixings, and the return of Homer’s much-loved assortment of Christmas Cookies. 

Opus Hotel

Here's where the experience is what's truly festive: Guests staying overnight at the recently re-opened Opus in Yaletown can enjoy the hotel's exclusive holiday Beverage Butler service to help kick off the festivities. You're one dial on the in-room phone away from handcrafted cocktails delivered within five minutes. Skip the basic bottle of wine and clink glasses instead with cocktails from The Spritz. Try an Opus 75, a sparkling mix of bubbles, orange brandy, and lemon; a cheeky Sox and Slippers, made with Havana 7-year rum, Strega, lemon and cranberry; or go full-sparkle with bottles of Veuve Clicquot. Sure, you'll have to check in to check this out, but that doesn't sound like a terrible idea, does it?

Tinseltown - Christmas-themed bar pop-up

Tinseltown popup
Tinseltown is a pop-up Christmas-themed bar experience in downtown Vancouver | Tinseltown

One more for the get-it-while-you-can events file is this Christmas-themed ticketed bar pop-up in downtown Vancouver. In Tinseltown it's Christmas Day, every single damn day.  Their bar is decked out in all the festive glory from trees to tinsel galore. Expect Christmas tunes, Christmas drinks and of course more Christmas fun than you can shake a stick at. Running through the end of the year, it looks like right now there remains just the option to book a private daytime session, unless you're lucky enough to know someone with a ticket to spare. 19+ only.

Tableau Bar Bistro

The holiday cocktails at Tableau - the cozy bistro at the Loden Hotel - are a nod to French holiday indulgence. Beat winter’s chill with the Betty Lou Who, a Hennessey-spiked, homemade eggnog; a Dubonnet Mulled Wine; or a warming cup of Chartreuse Chocolat. 

Chickadee - Take home cocktail kits

The Chickadee Room, Juke Fried Chicken’s contact-free cocktail bar, is once again offering a selection of take-home, expertly-curated cocktail kits. Impress your dinner guests with your home bartending skills, or give the gift of a stocked home bar with the kits, which each come with all the supplies you need to mix together 12 cocktails, from three new, unique recipes developed by Chickadee Bar Manager Sabrine Dhaliwal. There are four fresh new kits that have been released this year, allowing Vancouverites to choose their preferred base spirit: gin, vodka, bourbon or rum. Kits are available to order for pick-up (offered on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays) on the Chickadee website.