8 San Francisco Drinks That Will Warm You Up During the Holidays
Given San Francisco’s unpredictable climate, it’s good to know of a few places where you can stop in and warm your bones. Try some of these tasty treats this winter while you’re exploring the city.
Riders on the city’s famous cable cars have long stopped for an Irish Coffee at the Buena Vista Café. The first in America to serve it (according to the historical plaque), their method of aging and frothing the cream so that it floats dates back to 1952. It’s not far from PIER 39, so it’s a great place to warm up before or after festivities like the Christmas tree lighting ceremony.
Hot Buttered Rum
Smuggler’s Cove in Hayes Valley is a unique place: it’s devoted entirely to rum. And with 400 varieties in stock, there is no better place for a hot buttered rum than this internationally recognized, Caribbean-inspired bar. Be sure to get there early and to have your whole party present. With a maximum occupancy of 49, Smuggler’s Cove is a tiny treasure that can only accommodate so many swashbucklers at once.
A hot toddy is an uncomplicated drink that can be had almost anywhere; but if you want the genuine article, head to Elixir in the Mission. A staple of any neighborhood bar crawl, this neo-Victorian saloon serves more than 330 different whiskeys, meaning your basic hot toddy can take on any additional taste from vanilla notes to a serious peaty flavor.
Perhaps the most stylish way to warm up on the waterfront is afternoon tea at The Slanted Door. The James Beard Award-winning restaurant in the famous Ferry Building serves afternoon tea every day (2:30-4:30 p.m.), offering herbal blends and oolongs, black Hong Kong milk tea and Thousand Days red jasmine. An afternoon dining menu also gives you a chance to sample some of chef Charles Phan’s legendary dishes.
Loose Leaf Tea
Samovar has three tea houses in San Francisco: one at Yerba Buena Gardens, one in the Mission and one in the Castro. Each serves up a selection of organic, single origin and direct import teas. The Castro and Yerba Buena Gardens locations also feature full menus, offering a selection of items that pair exceptionally well with the tea in stock.
San Francisco’s premier shrine to caffeination remains the flagship Sightglass Coffee in SOMA. Beautiful and barn-like, this café-roastery is a temple to the mighty bean that powers all the movers and shakers in one of San Francisco’s busiest neighborhoods. With crops coming from all over the world, Sightglass offers a global experience for your taste buds.
European Hot Chocolate
If you’re looking for something a bit more indulgent, head to the nearby Boulette’s Larder for their European hot chocolate. It’s thick, fortifying and served straight out of a copper kettle. Boulette’s Larder also boasts a recently refurbished bar and is now open for dinner five nights a week.
Mexican Hot Chocolate
But since this is San Francisco, Mexican hot chocolate must not be overlooked. No taquería has the bragging rights to authenticity that La Oaxaqueña has. Until the city put a stop to it, they used to serve grasshopper tacos! The cinnamon-y Mexican hot chocolate here is a genuine treat. Made with ground almonds, it’s even better with a pinch of guajillo chili powder for that addictive burn.