Although Sacramento may not get as cold as many other regions, a wintertime hot toddy is definitely the way to beat the dipping temperatures. Thankfully, Sacramento bartenders are adept at creating a number of warm specialties that will leave you wishing you were fireside at a Tahoe ski lodge. And did you know January 11 is National Hot Toddy Day? Here’s a look at five spots in Sacramento whose bartenders will gladly warm you up this winter.

Walk into the Shady Lady and youíll feel like you walked into a 1920's speakeasy. (Credit:

Walk into the Shady Lady and youíll feel like you walked into a 1920’s speakeasy. (Credit:

Shady Lady Saloon
1409 R. St.
Sacramento, CA 95811
(916) 231-9121

Shady Lady Saloon easily makes the list for nearly every type of cocktail in Sacramento, and its hot toddy is no exception. One of its more well-known beverages is the hot buttered rum, made with dark rum, cardamom and brown sugar. It’s a unique take on the American classic made with butter, rum, hot water or cider, a sweetener and spices like cloves, nutmeg and/or cinnamon.

Related: Best Hot Drinks in Sacramento



The Porch Restaurant and Bar
1815 K St.
Sacramento, CA 95811
(916) 444-2423

The Porch Restaurant and Bar is the spot for southern cuisine in town, offering some interesting dishes and a bar menu to match. This holiday season, stop by to try The Porch’s “Home Sweet Home” wintertime cocktail. The “Home Sweet Home” has housemade apple syrup, apple puree, Black Velvet (toasted) Caramel Whiskey and Four Roses Bourbon.

de Vere’s Irish Pub
1521 L St.
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 231-9947

Listing the best spots for a wintertime hot toddy would be incomplete without a mention of de Vere’s and its traditional Irish coffee. When driving to San Francisco to have one at the legendary Buena Vista is not feasible, you are not sacrificing anything by staying local and enjoying an Irish coffee here. The Irish Coffee is made traditionally, with Irish whiskey (de Vere’s uses Tullamore Dew), brown sugar, coffee and hand-whipped cream. Also, de Vere’s has a signature coffee blend roasted locally and the bartenders whip the pub’s cream three times a day.



1801 Capitol Ave.
Sacramento, CA 95811
(916) 441-0303

You might not be thinking Zocalo for hot toddies, but don’t underestimate its bartenders. In fact, bartender Leah Neher took second place for her creation at the 2011 Midtown Hot Toddy Competition. It may be hard to bypass the extensive tequila menu and the array of rum-based mojitos, but a wintertime favorite has always been its homemade eggnog, prepared with Santa Teresa-aged Venezuelan rum, milk and half and half from Straus Family Creamery.

Related: Best Bars with Great Rum Selections in Sacramento

Photo Credit: Juliet Farmer

Photo Credit: Juliet Farmer

The Golden Bear
2326 K St.
Sacramento, CA 95816
(916) 441-2242

If you are in the market for a good hot toddy, why not stop by The Golden Bear, the spot of Midtown’s Hot Toddy Competition. Golden Bear holds a competition between Sacramento-area bartenders to see who can create the best hot toddy recipes. Contenders are judged on appearance, creativity, taste, technicality and overall delivery. Be sure to check out the menu at Golden Bear as well. It’s a locals’ favorite and not so much a secret anymore after a feature on Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.”

And if you are in the mood to sample more hot toddies, stop by Golden Bear’s sister restaurant, Hook & Ladder Manufacturing. It is debuting an interesting new winter cocktail there — the West Indies Sour. Made with St. Elizabeth’s Allspice Dram, a tradition of the West Indies, it is fortified with brandy and mixed with lime, simple syrup and dry red wine. Served hot, it is reminiscent of mulled wine, a holiday favorite.

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