It may not be the North Pole, but Sacramento’s chilly, wet weather can make it hard to feel festive, even during the holidays. Take a break and try these special cocktails from talented local mixologists and you are guaranteed to have a cozy, warm and delightful experience. These festive concoctions present the perfect opportunity to enjoy some of the season’s flavors such as peppermint, cinnamon and chocolate.
(credit: Valerie Heimrich)

(credit: Valerie Heimrich)

The Virgin Sturgeon
1577 Garden Highway
Sacramento, CA 95833
(916) 921-2694

Aaron Sens of The Virgin Sturgeon helped create the Colombian Fireball, a favorite new drink of guests to the Sacramento River’s venerable floating restaurant. The concoction includes cinnamon-infused whiskey and coffee, and is sure to warm up visitors both inside and out. Sens has enjoyed a career in bartending and management at local restaurants such as Spataro and The Firehouse, but says that the people and casual, quirky ambiance of VS makes this his ideal job.

Server Susie DeKeyser, a 25-year veteran of The Virgin Sturgeon, suggests sitting by the fireplace and enjoying a snowy-smooth Deamsicle. The orange juice and Smirnoff Iced Cake Vodka mixture is a perfect compliment to sturgeon or other items on the menu that are served with mango salsa. DeKeyser says that one of her favorite year-round meals at VS includes a top-shelf margarita and the savory cioppino seafood stew.

Add relaxing at The Virgin Sturgeon with good friends to your list for a merry time during the winter season. Everyone is sure to be jolly when enjoying excellent food, a gorgeous view from of the river and a Chocolate Cherry Drop. The luscious drink includes Absolut raspberry vodka, Baileys and Crème de Cocoa and is served in a martini glass. For pure decadence and bliss, try it with the ultimate chocolate cake or a slice or black cherry chocolate cheesecake. Bill Riggs has owned VS for 24 years and admits that even though he isn’t a dessert fan, Baileys cheesecake with a Chocolate Cherry Drop is a fantastic combination.

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Mooney’s Restaurant & Bar
312 E. Bidwell St.
Folsom, CA 95630
(916) 458-0397

For a fun, casual and festive time, be sure to head to Mooney’s in Folsom. Denise Dorsett named the restaurant and bar after her Golden Retriever, and many of Dorsett’s special winter sippers bear his name as well. Dorsett was previously a server at the Valencia Club, but now does a bit of everything as the owner of Mooney’s.

One perfect way to relax after the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping is with a Minted Moon. The creamy potion includes Crème de Menthe, Kahlua, Baileys Irish Cream and vodka. While you always avoid breaking the ornaments on your holiday tree, the Mooney’s Christmas Ball Buster cocktail will get you warm and inspired. The potent highball includes rum, pineapple and other secret ingredients, and Dorsett says it is the perfect accompaniment to the restaurant’s porterhouse steak.

The Mooney’s Lava Lamp is a fruit-forward drink reminiscent of a Long Island Iced Tea, and Dorsett says that the slightly sweet Jolly Rancher flavor goes well with many dishes at the restaurant. Although Mooney’s has been repeatedly voted as having the “best burger in Folsom,” its eclectic menu includes everything from asparagus fries and braised lamb shanks to breakfast, jambalaya and sandwiches.

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Valerie Heimerich is a freelance writer out of Sacramento. She typically covers animals and community issues. She has volunteered and worked for many organizations helping animals and people. Her work can be found at