Cheer in a Glass: Delicious Holiday Cocktails to Get You in the Spirit of the Season

Tired of the same old eggnog? Bartenders are, too, and in this season of giving, they’ve have shaken up and shared top picks from their drink menus to boost holiday outings beyond the basics. From the warmth of whiskey to sweet plum wine and spicy gingerbread liqueur, here are out-of-the-box holiday cocktails to pack some punch into your seasonal gatherings.

Founding Farmers, Washington, D.C.
Health and wellness are a priority at Founding Farmers, so it’s no surprise that the winter beverage menu (offered through the end of February) spotlights fresh-pressed juices. Beverage Director John Arroyo’s Winter Pie features cold-pressed apple juice, vodka, lemon, and cinnamon syrup, garnished with fruit.

Holiday cocktails Founding Farmers

Crudo, Phoenix, Arizona
Serving anything in a Champagne flute emphasizes a celebratory spirit, but garnishing it with an orange peel bow makes it extra-special for the gift-giving season. In the Crudo Cran Royale, sparkling wine and bright lemon are given some added depth with housemade spiced cranberry syrup featuring clove, star anise, cardamom, and cinnamon.

Holiday cocktails Crudo

Proof on Main, Louisville, Kentucky
The pepper and oak notes of US*1 Rye mix perfectly with the orange, anise, and clove of the China-China liqueur in the Valley Forge Flip, but the splendor of this perfect pairing is only matched by the cocktail’s historical origins. The name pays homage to the Michter’s namesake rye that warmed Revolutionary troops when George Washington purchased 200 barrels for the brave men spending winter on the battlefield. The contemporary tipple gets an upgrade with a dash of nutmeg and indulgent Aztec chocolate bitters.

Holiday cocktails Proof on Main

SUSHISAMBA, New York, New York
There’s no need to head to the ballet for visions of sugar plums this season if you toast the season with a Smoked Plum Negroni. SUSHISAMBA’s Head of Spirit and Cocktail Development, Richard Woods, refreshed the signature list this December with unique, handcrafted cocktails. This one reinvents a classic aperitif with smoky Hakushu whiskey, umeshu (sweet/sour plum wine), vermouth, and citrus, that’s guaranteed to loosen up your own dancing feet.

Holiday cocktails sushisamba

Taj, Boston, Massachusetts
The Gaelic version of “cheers,” the blessing slainte toasts to good health — and this cocktail from Taj Boston bar manager Gabriela Garcia has a few medicinal benefits if you ask those who purport local honey can help allergy sufferers (the Taj Boston has its own rooftop hives). The Slainte’s warm whiskey notes are enhanced with a cinnamon stick, clove-studded lemon wheel, and hot water for a drink befitting the winter’s cold fingers.

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August Restaurant Weeks: Where to Dine for Less

Blog August Restaurant Weeks Casa Lever copyAugust is almost upon us — bringing with it even more summer restaurant weeks. We’ve rounded up where to dine for less in the coming month!

* Baltimore Restaurant Week lets you dine out more in B’more with $15 lunches and $20 + $30 dinners through August 2. Book a table.

* Howard County Restaurant Week has local flavor at fabulous prix-fixe prices through August 3. Book a table.

* New York City Restaurant Week has $25 lunches + $38 dinners at more than 300 restaurants, including Casa Lever (which will be offering its red beet tortelli with ricotta, spring English peas, Pecorino fondue, and raspberry-pickled red pearl onion, pictured), through August 14. Book a table.

* Hudson Restaurant Week brings $13 and up lunches + $25 and up dinners through August 7. Book a table.

* Baltimore County Restaurant Week is cooking up $15.15, $25.15, $35.15 lunches + dinners, July 31-August 15. Book a table.

* COOLinary New Orleans has delicious two- or three-course lunches for $20 or less, three-course dinners for $39 or less, and all-new $39 or less prix-fixe brunches, August 1-31. Book a table.

* Houston Restaurant Weeks stretch for five delicious weeks of $20 lunches, $25 brunches, and $35 + $45 dinners, from August 1-September 7. Book a table.

* Miami Spice has sweet dining deals with $23 lunches + $39 dinners, August 1-September 30. Book a table.

* Center City District Restaurant Week in Philadelphia starts soon. Don’t miss $20 lunches + $35 dinners, August 2-14. Book a table.

* Downtown St. Louis Restaurant Week is your gateway to $25 dinners, August 3-9. Book a table.

* Pittsburgh Restaurant Week invites you to dine on three-course prix-fixe meals + $20.15 specialties, August 10-16. Book a table.Continue Reading

Winter Restaurant Weeks 2014: Save in Your City!

CRWThe holidays were fun, but they probably left all our wallets feeling a little bit lighter. Never fear, however, because winter restaurant week season is here. Get ready for three months of discounted dining madness, during which you can enjoy big savings on delicious dishes! As always, we recommend you book your tables early and often as prime reservations fill up early. Happy restaurant weeking, diners!

* Napa Valley Restaurant Month is on! Don’t miss a month of dining deals in Wine Country in the new year.

* Eat Well Week Santa Monica starts Sunday. Reserve today for discounted prix-fixe menus and new healthy menu options, January 5-12.

* Get charmed by Charleston Restaurant Week. Order up $20, $30 + $40 three-course dinners, January 8-19.

* Baltimore County Restaurant Week begins in one week. Book now for $15.14, $25.14, $35.14 lunches and dinners, January 10-26.

* Indian Festive Food Week comes to the Big Apple this weekend. $15 + $25 lunches and $25 + $40 dinners, January 11-19.

* Baltimore’s Howard County Savor It! Restaurant Week kicks off on January 13. Make a reservation for special prix-fixe menus from $10.14 to $40.14 through January 27.

* Restaurant Week Baton Rouge begins soon. Take a bite out of $15 to $35 three-course meals, January 13-18.

* Pittsburgh Restaurant Week is heading your way. Enjoy $20.14 to $35.14 lunches + dinners at Steel Town’s best restaurants, January 13-19.

* Washington, D.C. Restaurant Week arrives in mid-January. Book your tables for $20.14 lunches and $35.14 dinners, January 13-19.

* Get ready to Dine About Town in San Francisco. Make a booking for two- or three-course lunches for $18.95 and $36.95 three-course dinners, January 15-31.

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On Our Plate: 100 Best Restaurants in the US; Baking to Benefit No Kid Hungry; Washington DC Restaurant Week, Dine About Town SF + More

DC-Restaurant-Week-Winter-14Happenings on and around OpenTable…

* Cheers to the 2013 Diners’ Choice Award winners for Top 100 Best Restaurants in America. Find out if your fave made the list.

* OpenTable held a bake sale to benefit No Kid Hungry. Thanks to everyone who scarfed down sweet treats to benefit this amazing campaign.

* Speaking of No Kid Hungry: Dine out in December to help end childhood hunger in America. Find out more here.

* Trending on recent OpenTable restaurant reviews? Sunchokes.

* Give the gift of fine dining this holiday season. Check out OpenTable Gifts to purchase dining certificates for your favorite foodies in just a few clicks!

* The holidays are almost upon us. Book a table for Christmas Eve, Christmas, or New Year’s Eve now.

* Napa Valley Restaurant Month is just around the corner. Don’t miss a month of dining deals in Wine Country in the new year.

* Pittsburgh Restaurant Week is heading your way. Enjoy $20.14 to $35.14 lunches + dinners at Steel Town’s best restaurants, January 13-19.

* Washington, D.C. Restaurant Week arrives in mid-January. Book your tables for $20.14 lunches and $25.14 dinners, January 13-19.

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