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posted: 12/6/2011 6:00 AM

Martini bars mix up ways to sip the holiday spirit

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  • The Entwined Cocktail makes a return for the holidays at The Vine in Grayslake.

      The Entwined Cocktail makes a return for the holidays at The Vine in Grayslake.
    Courtesy of The Vine of Grayslake

  • The Candy Cane martini at Martinis on Main gets its color from the crème de mint.

      The Candy Cane martini at Martinis on Main gets its color from the crème de mint.
    Courtesy of Martinis on Main

  • New this year to The Vine is the Nutcracker Martini, with Tahitian vanilla-Infused vodka, Amaretto, Frangelico and creamer, rimmed with homemade Tahitian vanilla syrup and toasted walnuts.

      New this year to The Vine is the Nutcracker Martini, with Tahitian vanilla-Infused vodka, Amaretto, Frangelico and creamer, rimmed with homemade Tahitian vanilla syrup and toasted walnuts.
    Courtesy of The Vine of Grayslake

  • Peppermint schnapps, vodka and liqueurs are blended for the Peppermint Mocha Martini.

      Peppermint schnapps, vodka and liqueurs are blended for the Peppermint Mocha Martini.
    Courtesy of The Vine of Grayslake

 
 

For customers who enjoy sipping a little extra holiday spirit, suburban bars are pouring some very festive martinis this month.

The Vine of Grayslake runs a martini special every weekend during the holidays, and has a different martini each week. Four favorites from last year are returning -- the Peppermint Mocha, Snowflake Martini, Entwined Cocktail and the Winter Julep. Customers can expect new options as well, including drinks drawing on the flavors of gingerbread, egg nog and hot chocolate, said Manager Mike Pruitt.

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"We've been infusing a lot of different vodkas for some of these cocktails -- the dates the drinks will come out (is determined by) how long the infusions take," Pruitt said.

The Entwined Cocktail features Chambord vodka, St. Germain elderflower liqueur and champagne, with a garnish of fresh blackberry and rose pedals. The Winter Julep has cranberry juice, simple syrup, triple sec and Southern Comfort.

Then there are two that might be better served after the meal. The Peppermint Mocha has peppermint schnapps, crème de cocoa liqueur, Starbucks coffee liqueur, Three Olives chocolate vodka and creamer, topped with whipped cream, crushed peppermint candies and freshly shaved chocolate. The Snowflake Martini, meanwhile, features Malibu rum, Godiva white chocolate liqueur, Blue Curacao liqueur and creamer, and the glass is rimmed with white chocolate syrup and fresh shaved coconut.

Martinis on Main in Algonquin also has gone sweet on the holidays. The bar's candy cane martini is made with vodka and crème de menthe and has a sugar rim and candy cane garnish to give it a festive look. There's also a chocolate peppermint martini and a peppermint patty martini, which have both been very popular the past few years, said owner Klara Cukova.

"These are more of a dessert martini," Cukova said. "It gets everyone in the holiday spirit."

The Martini Room in Elgin is also getting into the spirit. Co-owner Urszula Borodzinska said the nightclub and martini bar always brings out different seasonal drinks.

This year the Martini Room debuted three completely new martinis: the White Christmas martini, the Candy Cane martini and the Very Merry Christmas martini.

The White Christmas martini is made from new whipped cream vodka, chocolate whipped cream vodka, vanilla cola, half and half and Bailey's Irish cream; it's garnished with a chocolate powder. The Very Merry Christmas martini is made with raspberry vodka, peach schnapps, pomegranate juice and St. Germaine liqueur. For New Year's, bartenders will top it off with champagne.

Returning is the on-the-strong-side Rudolph the Red Nose drink, which last year was a martini, but this year has been reworked into a shot. Made with cinnamon whiskey and lime juice, the Rudolph the Red Nose shot will be sold for $3, while the other holiday martinis are between $8 and $10 at Martini Room, she said.

Borodzinska said Martini Room will also have special cocktails with Godiva dark chocolate liquor or a coffee flavored alcohol that will be served warm as dessert cocktails for cold winter days.

Bartenders at Two-Nine Martini Lounge are still working on their holiday drink menu, but customers can expect old favorites such as candy cane and crème de menthe flavors.

Two-Nine also is concocting a hot chocolate-infused martini to warm up patrons on the coldest winter days.

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