Island Experience

7 Must-Try Holiday Drinks in the San Juan Islands

Local restaurants are mixing up some festive cocktails!

It's time to eat, drink, and be merry! Whether you prefer hot or cold, creamy or fruity, sweet or smooth, there’s something on this list for everyone. Check out these festive spirits that are sure to get you in the holiday spirit!

Ursa Minor's aged, boozy egg nog with whipped cream and dandelion root

1. Ursa Minor's Egg Nog

In true Ursa Minor fashion, they've gone above and beyond. The Lopez Island restaurant, known for its seasonal menu and locally foraged foods, is putting its own twist on the holiday classic. This aged, boozy egg nog includes whipped cream and dandelion root. And in the spirit of giving, Ursa Minor is donating profits from this delicious drink to the Lopez Island Family Resource Center. Ursa Minor's egg nog is holiday cheer in a cup!

Ursa Minor

210 Lopez Rd., Lopez Island ; 360-622-2730

Coho Restaurant's Pear Smash

2. Coho Restaurant's Pear Smash

In downtown Friday Harbor, Coho Restaurant is turning local island fruits into delicious holiday-inspired shrubs. This year, the Pear Smash cocktail is delighting visitors with notes of ginger and cinnamon to spice up the sweet pear flavor. Add in a dash of lemon juice and top it off with Ghost Owl Whiskey from the Pacific Northwest’s Parliament Distillery - and voila! You've found your new favorite, perfectly balanced, holiday drink. 

Coho Restaurant

120 Nichols, Friday Harbor ; (360) 378-6330

New Leaf Cafe's Walnut Liqueur

3. New Leaf Cafe's Walnut Liqueur

Walnut fans rejoice! This house-made liqueur is the perfect nutty compliment to your winter cravings. Called Nocino, this Italian walnut liqueur, is made using the approximately 150 year old American Black Walnut tree behind the Outlook Inn. How's that for locally sourced?! Striking the right balance of bitter and sweet,the final product is remarkably complex, with notes of coffee, vanilla, oak, clove, and baking spice.  You’ll find it thinner and far less syrupy sweet than store-bought varieties, and that’s why we love it! 2020 marks the 7th vintage for head mixologist Jolene, who says the drink is truly a labor of love.

New Leaf Cafe at Outlook Inn

171 Main St., Eastsound ; (360) 376-2200

Peppermint White Russian, photo by The Marvelous Misadventures of a Foodie

4. Lopez Islander's Peppermint White Russian

Guarantee yourself a white Christmas this year! The Lopez Islander offers a trio of of holiday drinks, including the local favorite, a peppermint white Russian, recipe courtesy of The Marvelous Misadventures of a Foodie.  A holiday flair on a classic drink, this mix is the perfect blend of Kahlua, vodka, peppermint schnapps, and cream.  Enjoy this Christmas cocktail along with a stunning view of Fisherman's Bay. Time your visit to line up with the resort's holiday craft fair on December 7-8th or the lighted boat and ugly sweater party on December 14th.

Lopez Islander Resort Restaurant

2864 Fisherman Bay Rd., Lopez Island ; (360) 468-2233

riday Harbor House's Hot Toddy

5. Friday Harbor House's Hot Toddy

Friday Harbor House is known for its exceptional cocktails, thanks to master mixologist and head bartender Nathan. He's outdone himself this year with a house blend of barrel-age rum turned into a toddy! Combine the house rum with honey syrup and spices for a warm, molasses-y treat. Sip this new favorite next to the fire and enjoy panoramic views of Friday Harbor. But you better watch out - this cocktail is so good, it might land you on the naughty list.

Friday Harbor House Restaurant

Friday Harbor House, 130 West Street, Friday Harbor ; (866) 722-7356

Downriggers' Hot Peanut Buttered Pecan Bourbon

6. Downriggers' Hot Peanut-Buttered Pecan Bourbon

The weather outside is frightful, but this bourbon is so delightful! Enjoy revel stroke pecan whiskey, house-made peanut butter mix, brown sugar, nutmeg and honey, mixed to perfection.  As you enjoy this festive Downriggers drink, watch the cheerfully-lit ferries arrive in Friday Harbor. Line up your visit to San Juan Island with the Old Fashioned Christmas Market on December 14th and finish off your holiday shopping!

Downriggers

10 Front St, Friday Harbor ; (360) 378-2700

Rosario Resort's Festival of Trees Cocktail

7. Rosario Resort's Festival of Trees Cocktail  

Every year, Rosario Resort hosts The Festival of Trees - a fundraiser for local non-profits. Each participating organization decorates a Christmas tree in the mansion's lobby, and the public is encouraged to vote on their favorite display. In honor of this island tradition, Rosario has unveiled a new cocktail that features Douglas Fir brandy, rosemary, and elderflower liqueur. Add in a bit of scotch, orange and lemon juice, and you'll be ready to stroll the hallway of trees!

Holiday Lights, Friday Harbor, John Sinclair (10)

Holiday Happenings

Enjoy tree lighting, artisan fairs, dining and lodging specials!