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Plan Check Kitchen  Bar in Los Angeles offers Japanese whiskey flights for 20 to 80
<p> Plan Check Kitchen + Bar in Los Angeles offers Japanese whiskey flights for $20 to $80.</p>

Seasonal sips with a holiday twist

&bull; More beverage recipes

The holidays and cooler months offer opportunities for restaurants to promote special drinks that highlight flavors of the season.

At holiday brunches, for example, the usual yogurt-and-fruit smoothie combination gets a boost from  a little bubbly. The sparkling champagne smoothie is accented with a pinch of nutmeg.


Flights feature into the new whiskey offerings at Plan Check Kitchen + Bar in West L.A., where specialty Japanese whiskey complements the restaurant’s American comfort food small plates. Whiskey flights are priced from $20 to $80.

Across the country, Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse in Philadelphia is serving the Snowflake Martini this season. It combines amaretto and vodka and is garnished with a candy cane.

At Haru in Boston, the Cranberry Caipirinha is a Brazilian-inspired holiday cocktail with a wintery twist. The drink, featuring cachaça, cranberry juice and cranberries, will be available through New Year’s Eve for $7. Haru is a modern Japanese restaurant group with eight locations in New York and Boston.

The Pumpkin Martini seasonal cocktail offered at At McGillin’s Olde Ale House offers a taste of late fall, with pumpkin liqueur, vanilla vodka and milk or half-and-half. It’s served in a glass with a sugar and cinnamon rim. McGillin’s, Philadelphia’s oldest continuously operating tavern, opened in 1860.

Pumpkin Martini
From McGillin’s Olde Ale House, Philadelphia. Yield: 1 serving.

1 ¼ oz. vanilla vodka
1 ¼ oz. Pumpkin Smash liqueur  
½ oz. milk or half-and-half
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon

Mix the first 3 ingredients and pour over ice in martini shaker. Shake well. Mix the sugar and cinnamon and rim martini glass with the mixture, then chill glasses. Strain liquid martini ingredients into chilled glass, and serve.

Cranberry Caiprinha
From Haru, Boston. Yield: 1 serving.

2 oz. cachaça
1 oz. cranberry  juice
2 dashes cinnamon sugar
3 bar spoons of cranberries
2 bar spoons of dark brown sugar
2 lime wedges
1 orange slice

Muddle fresh limes, cranberries and an orange slice. Sprinkle in brown sugar. Add a blend of cachaça, cranberry juice and cinnamon sugar.  Shake the mixture, strain into a rocks glass and garnish with two cinnamon sticks.

Snowflake Martini
From: Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse, Philadelphia. Yield: 1 serving.

1 oz. DiSaronno Amaretto
1 oz. Grey Goose vodka
1 oz. heavy cream

Shake and strain ingredients into a martini glass. Garnish with a mini candy cane.

Sparkling Champagne Smoothie
Yield: 1 cup.

1 cup plain or fruit-flavored yogurt
2 cups fresh or frozen fruit of choice
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
6 oz. chilled champagne

Place yogurt, fruit and nutmeg into a Vitamix container in the order listed and secure the lid. Select variable 1, turn machine on and slowly increase speed to variable 10, then to high. Blend for 30 seconds, or until desired consistency is reached. Pour into glasses, filling ¾ full. Top off with champagne and gently stir to combine.

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