Return of the Christmas Cocktail Crawl: A Nutritious Noel

Photo: Sonu Purhar

By Sonu Purhar

Every reveller down in Van-ville liked Christmas a lot
But the city’s many health fiends … sadly, some did not.
All that food was delicious, but those calories? a fright!
And come January 1, everyone’s clothes were too tight.

But then local bartenders stepped up and said, “Quiet!
Christmas is for celebrating, not worrying about diets.
For years and years we’ve put up with it now
We MUST put liquid cheer back in Yuletide – but how?”

Then – an idea. A BRILLIANT idea!
Those bartenders came up with a BRILLIANT idea!
“We’ll make Christmas cocktails that are healthy and light
With nutmeg and ginger and dragon fruit – that’s right!”

And so all you Van-villers, exhale and read on
Then rush to these venues before the brews are all gone.
And next time you throw back a flip or a rum
Enjoy it – you deserve it. Merry Christmas, everyone!

Stop 1: 1927

Don your flapper dresses and cummerbunds before sauntering into Rosewood Hotel Georgia’s ‘20s-style lounge. While the speakeasy-like ambiance is pure Gatsby, the seasonal flip is light enough for even dainty Daisy Buchanan.

Cocktail Ginger Flip d’Hiver (Winter Flip)

Bartender Collaboration of Miles Caine and Rosewood Hotel Georgia staff past and present

Good-for-you ingredients Pear nectar, whole organic egg, raisin-infused rum, ginger and nutmeg

Tastes like… Frothy, whipped-like consistency with a lingering flavour of bitters

Health-boosting benefits Raisins are rich in iron and eggs are protein all-stars. Add in the antioxidant-rich seasonal spices, and you’ve got a nutritious powerhouse.

Stop 2: Wildebeest

Look left and admire the rustic wood wall, then venture down to the underground wine room – a dimly lit Aladdin’s cave. Balance your meat-centric meal with this wholesome concoction that goes down all too easy: your arteries will thank you.

Cocktail I’ll Have Another

Bartender Josh Pape

Good-for-you Ingredients Coconut water, violet liquor and pear garnish

Tastes like… Light, refreshing and aromatic, with a subtle floral infusion.

Health-boosting Benefits Coconut water promotes weight loss, boosts energy and replenishes electrolytes, making this cocktail the perfect post-exercise pick-me-up – or sweet relief the morning after a boozy bender.

Stop 3: Chambar

Crimson and brick walls, leather seats and dancing candlelight combine for a sultry vibe that whispers indulgence – ideal for intimate conversation over this festive favourite.

Cocktail Island Nog

Bartender Yacine Sylla

Good-for-you Ingredients Coconut milk, Angostura bitters, nutmeg and orange peel garnish

Tastes like… Velvety and full-bodied, finishing with a hint of chocolate on the palate. Double your pleasure and ask for it warm.

Health-boosting Benefits Coconut milk replaces heavy cream for a seasonal brew without the sin. Half the calories of traditional eggnog, this better-for-you cocktail is double the flavour.

Stop 4: The Keefer

Reminiscent of a Shakespearan apothecary’s den, the dimly lit interior showcases multi-hued brews purported to soothe ailments and restore vitality. With ingredients sourced from Chinese herbalists and combined with housemade tinctures and teas, the “spoonful of sugar” in these cocktails really does make the medicine go down.

Cocktail The Dragon Fly

Bartender Dani Tatarin

Good-for-you Ingredients Fresh lemon juice, magnolia bark tincture and dragon fruit-infused gin

Tastes like… Perfect balance of sweet and tart, ending in a spicy kick.

Health-boosting Benefits Gin was traditionally used to cure stomach ailments, and ginger and magnolia bark aid digestion and re-harmonize the body’s digestive Qi, or chakras. Ginger is also high in antioxidants, fights cancer and prevents scurvy. Pirates, take note.

Stop 5: The Refinery

Creamy risotto, short ribs and gnocchi headline the menu at this trendy tavern, but a light cocktail gives you the green-light to indulge.

Cocktail Fourth Gift

Bartender Graham Racich

Good-for-you Ingredients Housemade vermouth, market spice tea-infused syrup and dark chocolate-roasted nutmeg

Tastes like… Toasty and slightly sweet, with hints of chocolate and orange.

Health-boosting Benefits Dark chocolate and tea are packed with antioxidants and oranges are high in vitamin C. Best enjoyed in front of a fire – with a cigar, of course. Seasonal carols optional.

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