When it comes to holiday imbibing, it’s not all pumpkin beer and mulled wine. Sure, you can get plenty of both throughout OKC this time of year, but thanks to the city’s bevy of inventive barkeeps, there are more than enough merry cocktails to make this the most exciting time of year to drink. From winter-spiced horchata to a chai-infused old-fashioned, here is where to drink — and what to order — when looking for holiday cocktails in Oklahoma City.
The holidays are a time not for subtlety, but for glamor just this side of excess, which is why some bars lean into the vibe of it all with over-the-top decor and libations to match. New State Burgers & Spirits (1705 NW 16th St., OKC) is one such merry-maker. The Plaza District bar, known mostly for its prize burgers, is in its fourth year of “Making Spirits Bright,” an immersive holiday cocktail program shimmering with tinsel and cheery cocktails. “We started the program in 2020 during the pandemic and we wanted to create something that would make people forget the situation we were experiencing, and to provide something that would be an escape,” explained co-owner Tyler Maune.
And since good cheer is evergreen, the restaurant has kept it a tradition, going all out with decorations and themed cocktails in vintage glassware. Some of this year’s returning staples are the Cider Margarita with cranberry-pineapple-tequila ice cubes, a cherry-topped Champagne cocktail called the Ball Drop and the Cousin Eddy, a pepperminty White Russian-inspired sipper garnished with a candy cane.
Elsewhere, El Coyote’s drink list is redolent in all manner of holiday spices. While the Santa Fe-inspired cantina at 925 W. Britton Road features frozen housemade horchata year-round, customers can upgrade to a Horchata Superior by adding Bacardi rum, which the bar noted really brings out the winter spices in the cinnamon-kissed horchata blend. There’s also the Pumpkin Spice Margarita, a pumpkin-hued tequila tipple splashed with cider, steeped with spices and garnished with a sugar rim and cinnamon stick.
Over at El Coyote’s sister restaurants, things are just as festive. Among its peppermint chocolate martinis, pumpkin pie martinis and spiced apple Aperol spritzes, Bar Cicchetti (121 E. 2nd St.) has enough holiday cocktails to stock a Christmas party on the North Pole, while Osteria (6430 Avondale Drive) scratches the dessert cocktail itch with its boozy brown sugar eggnog and a pumpkin spiced espresso martini.
There’s another horchata rendition being served at Palo Santo (1203 SW 2nd St.), where El Tigre Horchata is a nutty blend of rice, almonds, sweetened condensed coconut milk and spices, spiked with Cognac, corn whiskey and rum. The Spiced Cranberry Spritz is a lighter and crisper option, made with pisco, yuzu and dry Lambrusco, while the Oaxacan Hot Chocolate is dessert in a mug, infused with cinnamon, mezcal and sherry.
Over in the Paseo Arts District, a holiday cocktail crawl should include a stop at Red Rooster (3100 N. Walker Ave.) for chai- and allspice-infused Old Fashioneds and the Nosferatu, a creamy mezcal drink with pumpkin spice liqueur, cold-brew and cinnamon. Then, head to FRIDA Southwest (500 Paseo) to sample the seasonal goods, like the Harvest Moon, a bourbon, rum and Calvados drink with pumpkin-spiced coffee liqueur, amaro and sweet potato tea, or the Whiskey Bent and Hell Bound, a bracing bourbon elixir with smoked rosemary-maple syrup, sherry and black walnut and orange bitters.