Not that there's anything wrong with eggnog, really—after all, it's hard to find legitimate fault with something that is 100% composed of a) animal fat, b) sugar, and c) booze. But as the mixology revolution marches on, Bay Area bars are increasingly churning out festive, warming, not-too sweet drinks that won't necessarily require an immediate nap (though if you want one, by all means go for it, because IT'S CHRISTMAS and YOU DESERVE IT). Herewith, eight of our favorites:
The Fig Is Up at FarmerBrown (applewood-smoked bourbon, fig syrup, allspice dram, and lemon zest, with an adorable little fig bitlet on top): Come for the excellently punny name, stay for figgy pudding in a glass.
Krampusnacht at Hopscotch (rye, armagnac, black walnut bourbon liqueur, plus cinnamon and clove bitters): Complex and weighty and subtly nutty and kind of intense, which is sort of what you'd expect from a drink named after a demon. Also wins points for being incredibly fun to say out loud.
Mr. Toddy's Wild Ride at Zero Zero (bourbon, apple, averna, maple syrup, and lemon): Warming, not too sweet, and definitely boozy.
Santa's Suckerpunch at 15 Romolo: (bourbon, aperol, Pedro Jimenez, sherry, lemon, and bitters): Tastes like a suckerpunch from Mr. Claus. In a good way.
Gingerbread Flip at Burrit Room + Tavern (applejack, brandy, brown-sugar syrup, egg, allspice dram, ginger root, nutmeg, and cinnamon, with a truly adorable gingersnap-cookie garnish): This one has an egg in it, which brings it dangerously close to eggnog territory, but all those spices (and the applejack, and the lack of cream) keep it nicely non-milkshake-y. Besides, what's the point of eating gingerbread when you could get drunk at the same time?
Cocoa Sabina at El Techo de Lolinda: (ancho-inflused reposado tequila, chcocolate, chipotle bitters, and a mescal marshmallow): Nice and spicy. Also: MESCAL. MARSHMALLOW.
Mayan Decadence at the Ivy Room (tequila, honey-anise liqueur, mole and chocolate bitters, served with an orange peel): This one might just be worth a trip to Albany, with a richness that belies its lack of cream (plus some welcome spiciness and A LOT of booze).
Blitzen Cider at Eclipse Lounge (applejack, hot cider, and spices): Straightforwardly perfect. VERY IMPORTANT BONUS: Through December 30, the Hyatt, within which Eclipse Lounge is housed, will have REAL (not really —Ed.) snow falling (at 10:30, 2:30, 4:30, and 6:30 on weekends and 4:30 and 6:30 during the week).