The festive season is here… almost.
The only problem? It still seems like a lifetime until you can set your out-of-office response for a few days. This, dear friends, is an indication that you should spend some quality time with your nearest and dearest.
We’re talking about treating yourself to a night out filled with holiday cocktails that are crafted with your city in mind. Deck the halls, order the fanciest appetizers on the menu, and embrace the most social season of the year— without having to pay for expensive flights.
To inspire your well-deserved R&R this winter, here are the best holiday cocktails to drink, based on where you live in Canada.
Best for Victoria: Ruby Red and Rosemary Honey
If you live in Victoria, you know about the crisp sea air and the rich local produce that abounds. Your ideal afternoon includes a stroll around the harbour or even a bracing paddleboard in Oak Bay, so for you, we recommend the tangy fresh citrus squeeze and sweet, herbal combinations of the Ruby Red and Rosemary Honey cocktail at Bartholomew’s Pub. It reflects the royal elegance of Victoria-made-modern, with ruby red grapefruit juice and some top-secret ingredients!
Best for Whistler: Old Fashioned Swedish Glogg
Whistler residents are familiar with the always beautiful mystical mountain vistas, and during winter, scenes get even better with a dusting of snow. You’re passionate about where you live; in fact, you may have even relocated to winter to spend your free time on the ski slopes. Après-ski is a massive part of Whister culture, and for that, we suggest trying the Old Fashioned Swedish Glogg cocktail at the Cinnamon Bear Bar. It’s the perfect match for a chilly day with red wine, cardamom pods, and cinnamon. Pro tip: this drink is available all winter but the best time to try it is during the weekly Swedish après ski party.
Best for Calgary: Moscow Mule
Winter in Calgary just gives residents another reason to fall in love with the city all over again. Chances are you’ve been shopping for holiday gifts amid the bustle on 8 Avenue Southwest, cheering on the Flames, and embracing snowy walks through Prince’s Island Park this season. The next time you go out, wind down with the ginger beer–infused Moscow Mule at The Garden Grille & Bar — a cocktail that represents the city’s unique style and power to trudge on even when snowstorms shake things up.
Best for Edmonton: French Martini
Whether you’re a recent transplant to Edmonton or someone who has lived in the city for their entire life, you can’t get enough of the effortlessly cool things to do here. It doesn’t matter how cold it is outside because you live in a thriving city that’s home to incredible fusion cuisines and grassroots events. Catching up with friends over the holidays? We suggest heading over to Stages Kitchen & Bar for a French Martini. Like Edmonton, it’s effortless, a little bit sweet, and offers a taste of different cultures all in one place.
Best for Toronto: Caramel Apple Moscow Mule
People from The Six are proud of their roots, and they know the holiday season isn’t complete without exploring the Christmas Market in the Distillery District and taking a bunch of cute Instagram photos at Nathan Phillips Square. Toronto is the city for rooftop bars during the summer months, but in the winter, it’s all about relaxing in chic cocktail bars — Tundra, more specifically. We recommend ordering the Caramel Apple Moscow Mule (because what Torontonian doesn’t like to put their own spin on a classic?).
Best for Mississauga: Smoked Maple Old Fashioned
Mississauga locals appreciate beautiful lakefront walks at any stage of the year, but during winter, views are even more picturesque with the snow-dusted lighthouse in the distance. We’re all about celebrating the festivities this season, and for that reason, it’s worth ordering the Smoked Maple Old Fashioned cocktail at Mosaic Kitchen Bar & Lounge. It takes that nearby Big Smoke energy and transforms into this classic, laid-back drink with sweet maple syrup.
Best for Ottawa: The Vegas
If you’re from Canada’s capital city, you’re accustomed to seeing stunning Victorian architecture with landmarks like the National Gallery of Canada located beyond your doorstep. During winter, it’s easy to see why the love for your hometown grows stronger as you take in snowy city vistas from the Plaza Bridge near Parliament Hill. Ottawa is home to many aspiring politicians and journalists, which gives it a clean-cut image, but anyone who lives here knows the city has a wild side. Unleash yours by sipping on The Vegas cocktail, available in the Casino Lac-Leamy connected to the Hilton Lac Leamy.
Best for Montreal: Montreal Mule
Montreal has an effortless old-world aura with cobblestone streets and charming architecture. But living in the city during winter is like being in the heart of a playground for adults with the option to go ice fishing at Pêche Vieux-Montreal or travel through Mont-Royal Park on a horse-drawn sleigh ride. Whatever you do, we suggest adding SIX Resto Lounge to your list and trying the Montreal Mule. The city is known for blending cultures and traditions, and this cocktail does the same. Think blackberry liquor (Chambord, which is not typical in this cocktail), with fresh blackberries and mint for the garnish.
Best for Quebec City: All Gin Everything
No matter how long you’ve been living in Quebec City, it’s hard to tire of its distinctive European feel. Iconic winter activities include snapping photos of snow-lined streets in Vieux-Quebec, not to mention snacking on maple taffy at La Petite Cabane à Sucre de Québec. We’re also big fans of the creative gin combinations at Allegro, where there’s something to suit every Quebecois. This icy drink experience captures the feeling of winter joy in all its glory in a Canadian destination with one of the most enchanting cityscapes.
Best for Halifax: Dark n’ Stormy
Some people might complain about the weather in Halifax, but locals will tell you this is what gives the coastal city its incomparable charm. During the holiday season, we enjoy visiting the city’s bustling Christmas market and attempting to pro ice skate over at the Emera Oval. In the evenings, warmly lit bars are where to find festive holiday cheer. Halifax is right on the coast of the Atlantic and high coastal tides are the norm, so it makes sense to try the Dark n’ Stormy with Gosling’s Black Seal rum and stormy ginger beer at FAX Bar. Put on your wellies and weather the storm — from the window seat of this cozy bar, with a drink in hand.
Best for Moncton: Gahan Beer
Like all cities in Canada, Moncton gives locals the chance to be a tourist in their backyard by visiting Magnetic Hill, browsing vendor stalls at the vibrant Moncton Market, as well as marvelling at the tidal bore at the Bay of Fundy. This southeastern city of New Brunswick is a place like no other — its located in the only truly bilingual province in Canada, after all! That’s why we suggest trying a drink that celebrates local flavour just like Moncton does: Gahan beer. The best place to order it is at Gahan House Hub City. Take off your hat and enjoy each refreshing sip in one of the most quaint spots in the country.
No matter where you live in Canada, there’s sure to be a cozy or vibrant bar — and the ideal accommodation to match nearby. You’ll be spoiled for choice with Hilton hotels in Canada, and your stay even comes with some perks based on your city.
This means free breakfast and free evening reception (complimentary drinks and appetizers) when you stay at Embassy Suites by Hilton, amazing bars to unwind with evening cocktails at Hilton Garden Inn, and the option to have a winter BBQ or toast some marshmallows over a fire pit on your own private patio at Home2 Suites.
At Hampton Inn by Hilton and Homewood Suites by Hilton, you’ll get free breakfast. Meanwhile, world-class chefs will be preparing your delectable dishes at DoubleTree by Hilton hotels.
Start planning your staycation now and prepare to taste some of the best holiday cocktails in the country.