Summer is over and that means it’s time to deflate the pool floaties and start waxing the skis for the upcoming winter season. As the temps will be dropping soon and hopefully some snowfall will bless the Sierra Nevadas, it’s time to move from poolside cocktails into some warm fireside drinks. If you are looking for spots in Sacramento that serve up some of the best hot drinks — alcoholic and non-alcoholic — check out these five options, all of which are sure to warm you right up.
Ginger Elizabeth Chocolates
1801 L St. Ste. 60
No matter how old you are, you are never too old to enjoy a cup of old-fashioned hot chocolate. One of the best spots for an unbeatable gourmet hot chocolate is Ginger Elizabeth Chocolates. You can order a classic American-style hot chocolate or try something new and go for the European Sipping Chocolate, made with bittersweet chocolate. If feeling daring, order the Oaxacan Spicy Hot Chocolate made with Ginger Elizabeth Chocolates’ blend of “semisweet hot chocolate infused with cinnamon, chilis, vanilla and ginger.” No matter which one you choose, all hot chocolates are topped with a dollop of whipped cream or homemade vanilla bean marshmallows.
Shady Lady Saloon
1409 R St.
The Shady Lady Saloon is known for serving up some old-time and classic cocktails. One of the more well-known drinks is a hot buttered rum, a great alcoholic beverage to rid that frostbite. This American classic dates back to the colonial days and is made with butter, rum, hot water or cider, a sweetener and various spices like cloves, cinnamon or nutmeg. Shady Lady’s version includes dark rum, cardamon and brown sugar — definitely worth a try.
de Vere’s Irish Pub
1521 L St.
You don’t need to drive to San Francisco each time you want an authentic Irish coffee during the winter. Stick close to home and check out de Vere’s Irish Pub for its take on the drink. This pub takes great pride in its Irish coffee, keeping true to the authentic way it is made in Ireland. The make-up includes only four ingredients — traditional Irish whiskey (de Vere’s uses Tullamore Dew), brown sugar, coffee and hand-whipped cream. The pub goes an extra step with a signature coffee blend roasted locally and whipped cream that is hand whipped three times a day.
1010 9th St.
While Temple Coffee has exceptional coffee, it’s the gourmet teas that should bring you in this winter. Skip the traditional classic English teas you find most places and check out the selection of Asian teas that are not always easy to find. Some notable varieties include Bao Zhong and Bai Ho, two types of Oolong tea, and Ancient Sheng Pu-erh Ya Tuo Cha, one of the most renowned Chinese teas. If you want to learn more about tea, Temple Coffee is offering a class in October that educates on tea tasting and processing.
Abel’s Apple Acres
2345 Carson Road
The arrival of fall temperatures is also a signal of one of the most beloved times in Sacramento. The Apple Hill region gets in full swing with the start of apple season. One of the best aspects of the changing temperatures is apple cider, which is served warm by many farms and stands. Stop by Abel’s Apple Acres as it’s one of the most popular spots on the Apple Hill trail. Pick up some apple donuts, a pumpkin-apple pie and some of Abel’s hot apple cider before you make your way down the hill.
Erin De Santiago is a freelance travel and food/wine writer and photographer from Sacramento, California. She is a regional membership coordinator for the International Food, Wine & Travel Writers Association (IFWTWA) and writes for a number of publications in addition to publishing her own blogs. She has traveled to over 40 countries on five continents in search of the best food and wine around the globe. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.