Holiday spirits aren’t just for Ebenezer Scrooge. In SoIN, we’ve got spirits of Christmas past, present and future. These aren’t ghosts we’re talking about. We mean spirits of the Christmas cheer kind. At some of our local bars and eateries, mixologists are concocting magical holiday libations sure to get your holidays off to the merriest of starts.

Over the next few months, we’ll feature some of SoIN’s local mixologists who have created some crafty cocktails. The following is merely the tiniest of samples of what Southern Indiana has to offer to eat and drink.

The Exchange Pub and Kitchen
118 W. Main St., New Albany

The Exchange Mexican hot chocolate cocktailThe Exchange has created two signature holiday cocktails this season. Matt Simpson of Brand Hospitality Group works with both The Exchange and Brooklyn and the Butcher. He shares the signature drinks that will warm cold revelers this holiday season.

“The Exchange Pub + Kitchen prides itself on using fresh, seasonal ingredients for both its food and beverage recipes,” says Simpson.  “For the holidays, it was important for us to be able to offer something to our guests that speaks to our vision, while at the same time, having a bit of fun with the winter seasons offerings.”

These two drinks are both new takes on classics.

The Exchange Eggnog is a blend of savory nutmeg and sharp allspice dram and Old Forester. “These flavors balance perfectly with our signature bottle of The Exchange Old Forester Single Barrel. It's unique, and yet familiar at the same time,” says Simpson.

The other cocktail is a hot chocolate.  The Mexican Hot Chocolate is a blend of smooth, rich house made hot chocolate blended with El Jimador tequila and molé bitters. “It's a drink that will warm up guests and make them feel nice and cozy on a cold winter day,” said Simpson.

The Exchange is a popular downtown destination. It’s best to call ahead or make a reservation through OpenTable, which can be accessed from The Exchange website.

MESA, A Collaborative Kitchen
216 Pearl St., New Albany

The Raspberry Beret is a little nod to the late Prince Rogers Nelson and was created by mixologist from Indianapolis, Jessica Taylor, CSS (that’s Certified Specialist of Spirits, for those of you who don’t know). 

MESA Red Beret

“My goal for this cocktail (and all the cocktails on the MESA menu) was to offer something fresh, simple and replicable,” she said.  “I drew inspiration from the sour family of cocktails. Sours include cocktails such as: Margarita, Sidecar, Daiquiri, Whiskey Sour.” The Raspberry Beret blends Absolut Vodka, fresh squeezed lemon juice, Hella hibiscus, Wilks and Wilson raspberry gomme.

While technically not a holiday drink, we felt it was an important drink in the Southern Indiana spirit repertoire. The ingredients for the Raspberry Beret are sourced from all over the world but the raspberry gomme is made in Indiana. “The Wilks and Wilson raspberry gomme is made in Indiana and contains gum arabic, real raspberry juice and organic evaporated cane. Gum arabic adds a silky texture to cocktails,” said Taylor.

MESA is a reservation/ticket-only restaurant and culinary experience. Please visit their website for the menu and chef calendar.  The Raspberry Beret is always available.

Red Yeti
256 Spring St., Jeffersonville

Red Yeti feels they operate the smallest brewery in the world, a real microbrewery if you will. Actually they don’t, but say it feels that way. Located in historic downtown Jeffersonville, Red Yeti is a popular stop and a great place to grab a hearty meal and sample some of the best beers in the region including their own.

Red Yeti also serves a mean cocktail. Two cocktails on their current menu stood out to us and we wanted to share.Red Yeti Christmas in the Tropics cocktail

The Fall Fashion is an old fashioned made with clove syrup with a toasted orange peel. This drink is served on Thursdays this season. Xmas in the Tropics is a spiced rum and maple syrup sour that is shaken and served with a lemon spiral. It is served on Fridays. Red Yeti only accepts reservations for parties of 10 or more.

The Vinyl Lounge
353 Spring St., Jeffersonville

The Vinyl Lounge, located above HM Franks, is one of the newest additions to the cocktail, nightlife scene in Southern Indiana. The bar features a 60’s-inspired vibe with rainbow stairs and a vinyl playlist chosen by patrons from the bar’s scores of vintage albums.

Beverage Director Chris Palmer offers three cocktails to our holiday list.

Any fan of classic rock will want to try Brandy You’re a Fine Girl.  This drink is made with brandy, luxardo, fresh lemon juice, cointreau, house-made apple-cinnamon syrup, angostura and orange bitters. Palmer says, “This cocktail is well balanced with sweet and tart elements. It brings to mind, aspects of a toddy, but is served chilled in a Coupe glass. It’s a wonderful touch for this time of year and pairs well with a great Bing Crosby tune.”

The Vinyl Word is a mixture of gin, green chartreuse, luxardo, fresh lime, and mint bitters. It is garnished with cherry and rosemary. This drink according to Palmer “invokes elements of evergreen trees and should inspire anyone to seek out their beau under the mistletoe.”

Vinyl Lounge barVinyl’s Holiday Old Fashioned, which Palmer describes as a “seasonal twist on the classic whiskey cocktail,” is the drink that “you’ll want to be sipping while the Yule Log crackles.”It is a combination of rye, house-made apple-cinnamon simple syrup, rhubarb bitters, and flamed orange peel.“Like your grandmother’s favorite dessert at Christmas dinner, this seasonal old fashioned is a blue ribbon winner.”

Vinyl Lounge is open Wednesday and Thursday from 7:00 PM-1:00 AM, on Fridays and Saturdays from 7:00 PM-3:00 AM. It's the perfect place for a real nightcap.

To plan your spirited stay, check out the craft beverages section of our website. We look forward to your visit this holiday season!