I hate to break it, but 2017’s days of relaxing in patio shade with an ice cold pint are behind us. The year is hurtling toward holiday season, and it looks like it’ll soon be leaving blustery snow and chilly air in its wake. It’s hard to believe it’s November.
And while this new month, to many, is a call to wrap ourselves in blankets, start up the fireplace and cozy up with a book or a TV show to binge, I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way. You can – and should! – still go out for a drink with coworkers after a long day or even bear the icy night to hit the town on a weekend. All you need is a good winter coat and, of course, to know where to find the right seasonal drink.
See, you might still crave a lemon-sliced hefeweizen or a refreshing mint julep (and no one’s stopping you from having a hot toddy in July), but there’s no better time to embrace the cold season and order a spicy, warm, smoky or dark beverage at one of the following local haunts – some of the best, in my opinion, for warming up in the chill. As the weather turns, bundle up and seek out some of these specialty drinks.
There must be no Reno cocktail bar list that doesn’t include Death & Taxes. The low-lit, Victorian-themed lounge is just as at home during Halloween season as it is in the depths of winter, and its drinks are to die for. To combat the cold, you’ll need something like the Spanish Diplomat, a dark and spicy swirl of Diplomatico Reserva rum, zucca (Italian for pumpkin), vermouth, Pierre Ferrund dry curacao (a spiced citrusy triple-sec) and star anise. The Rosa Oscura, as well, is a soft pink agave and mezcal drink garnished with a smoked cinnamon stick. A couple of those might get you in the holiday spirit early.
Virginia Street’s Ceol Irish Pub has the classics on deck. The traditional pub, complete with red brick walls, a large wooden bar and a stage with various Irish musicians performing might be enough to warm up your heart on its own, but the bar practically has a menu full of cold weather classics. For one, there’s Ceol’s twist on Irish coffee with a hot cup of joe, Irish whiskey and Irish Mist liqueur (a spicy and sweet addition). Or order a Hot Apple Pie with warm spiced cider and Tuaca brandy liqueur topped with whipped cream. Just ask the bartender, and there’s a delicious seasonal cocktail to suit you perfectly.
Over in the Riverwalk District is Ole Bridge Pub. Step inside from the cool breeze of the flowing Truckee River below and into this cozy bar. Even though its patio is a favorite for the warm months, there’s still plenty to keep you entertained inside, including shuffleboard, darts and a menu of specialty fall drinks. The Smoky Devil is a good start with mezcal, sweet creme de cassis, a squeezed lime, ginger beer and a jalepeno garnish for a deep, blood-red concoction with a bite. There’s also the Ole Bridge Penicillin, a simple cold night staple with scotch, lemon juice and honey-ginger syrup.
Last, at the Eldorado is Roxy, a high-class restaurant that makes for a memorable date night as well as a classy stop for one of its renowned martinis. Heat up a chilly afternoon by dropping by Roxy’s happy hour and ordering the Mocha Martini, a mixture of Kahlua, Godiva chocolate liqueur, vodka and a splash of coffee. There’s a delicious and boozy dessert in its Mercedes Martini as well, with vanilla vodka, Bailey’s Irish cream and Kahlua to top it off.
A stop at any one of these will surely win you over to Reno’s year-round bar and pub scene. And while hibernation has its perks, it might be worth it to brave the cold. Who knows –one of these seasonal drinks might become your new favorite.