Marin Living feature:

Toast the Holidays with the Barfly’s Jeff Burkhart’s At-Home Cocktail Recipes

Dry Mezcal Negroni


  • 1 ounce Santo Spirit Mezquila
  • 1 ounce Luxardo Bitter Bianco
  • 1 ounce Lo-Fi Aperitifs dry vermouth or Vya Whisper Dry
  • 1 blood orange wheel


Combine the first three ingredients in a mixing beaker with ice. Stir and strain over a large-format ice cube in a rocks glass and garnish with an orange wheel. Make a nonalcoholic version by substituting Free Spirits “Spirit of Tequila” (for the Santo Spirit Mezquila), Free Spirits “Spirit of Amaro” (for the Luxardo Bitter Bianco) and Fever-Tree tonic (for the dry vermouth).

“Holiday entertaining is about style, and if James Bond could change every ingredient in his martini and still call it a martini, then we can do the same with a negroni. Easy to make (and easy to batch), this cocktail is sure to up the ante at any gathering. Smoky, clear and less bitter, but not sweet — one wonders why it took us so long to get here.”

a chocolate espresso manhattan
Cherry Chocolate Espresso Manhattan

Cherry Chocolate Espresso Manhattan


  • ½ ounces Hanson of Sonoma Double Barrel Whiskey (or Moylan’s)
  • ¾ ounce Hanson of Sonoma Espresso Vodka
  • 2 dashes King Floyd’s Cherry Cacao Bitters
  • 1 Tillen Farms Bada Bing stemmed all-natural cherry


Combine first three ingredients in a beaker with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with the cherry.

“Using seasonal ingredients like Hanson Espresso Vodka certainly amounts to more than just holiday seasoning. The holidays are always about just a little bit more. If they weren’t, they would just be ‘days.’ This combination of coffee and whiskey will make even the Irish green with envy. With the proverbial cherry on top!”

Deep Blue Something 75 cocktail
Deep Blue Something 75

Deep Blue Something 75


  • ½ ounce Alamere Spirits “makrut lime and lemongrass” gin
  • ½ ounce dried pea flower tendrils
  • ¼ ounce simple syrup (50 percent water/50 percent dissolved sugar)
  • ½ ounce fresh squeezed Meyer lemon juice
  • 3 ounces chilled Domaine Carneros Ultra Brut sparkling wine
  • 1 blue edible flower


Place pea tendrils in a mixing glass and add gin. When the gin has reached the desired shade of blue, strain into a mixing glass. Add simple syrup and stir. Pour into the bottom of a champagne flute. Add lemon juice, being careful not to mix. Slowly top with sparkling wine to create a multilayered look. Garnish with edible flower.

“Bright and refreshing as it is lovely, this regal take on a French 75 literally puts the violet in any violet hour (dusk, or as we in the bar business like to say: Happy Hour). Making a nonalcoholic version is as easy as substituting Free Spirits “Spirit of Gin,” upping the simple syrup to half an ounce and topping with sparkling water. Use berry flavored sparkling water if you are feeling adventurous.”

Jeff Burkhart is both an award-winning journalist and an award-winning bartender. He has been voted “best bartender” seven times in the North Bay. His two books, Twenty Years Behind Bars: The Spirited Adventures of a Real Bartender and its sequel, Twenty Years Behind Bars Volume 2: Parole Denied, have both been bestsellers. He is also the host of the popular Barfly Podcast. Otherwise, he can be found still manning the stick at a popular Marin County restaurant or online at

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