Have Yourself a Merry Little Cocktail at this Swanky Hideaway

Have Yourself a Merry Little Cocktail at this Swanky Hideaway

Dulce Far Niente

ENTER THE CODE on the hidden door that is disguised as a bookshelf and give it a hard shove. Wind through the bustling kitchen and enter another door which opens to a softly-lit hideaway. You’ve broken the code for Bandista, the cool little speakeasy upstairs at the Four Seasons Hotel Houston.


Feel lucky, because with only 20 seats, dim lighting and zero outdoor views, it could be any time of day and in any city, which makes it truly feel like an escape. Spiffy bartenders are extra attentive to each guest, carefully crafting high-end cocktails that are works of art served in specialty glassware and goblets.

You’ll be greeted with a luxe snack to nosh with one of Bandista’s classics like the beautiful Spirited Courage. This must-try is a take on the French 75 made with house made raspberry puree and meticulously garnished with whole raspberries. You’ll feel more beautiful just holding it.

To make things even jollier, consider the roster of new holiday cocktails — some of which come with little treats — created under the guidance of beverage manager Johnathan Jones. Rich in flavor, the cocktails are prepared with elements of surprise and glamour.

The eight new cocktails are open-your-eyes-inventive yet cozy for winter.The romantic Flame of Love is a modern riff on the original, which was created in 1970 for Dean Martin by Chasen’s bartender Pepe Ruiz. London Fog is a sophisticated woodsy cocktail paying tribute to Mother England showcasing various elements, while the Ritual is a clarified cocktail which takes inspiration from the classic El Diablo cocktail.

And many of us can relate this cocktail: Writer’s Block. This refreshing gin-based cooler designed to get the creative juices flowing and its hand-picked block of ice is quite a piece of work. There’s a tiki drink lover in every group and Call Me Sambaldy is a fun, classic tiki-style drink thrown on its head with a hint of unexpected Asian spice. Dessert lovers should start or end with Dulce Far Niente — a cocktail version of the famed Italian dessert, tiramisu, complete with mascarpone mousse!

London Fog

Jonathan Jones

Back from last year by popular demand are decadent concoctions including Menage a Trois, a trio of sensory experiences surrounding a Brandy Alexander, as well as the Pimm’s Cup. The stunning presentation of a deconstructed Pimm's Cup allows the guest to pour to their desired mix. Ladies love the Sparkling Courage – the pink cocktail is the life of the party, eliciting major French 75 vibes.

Wondering about the name Bandista? Inspired by the tequileros, the Prohibition-era smugglers who illegally transported tequila, Bandista is a cocktail journey and experience open Wednesday through Saturday from 5PM to midnight. Reservations are required, so book that holiday escape pronto.

Elsewhere in the Four Seasons Hotel, there are holiday happenings galore including holiday carollers. Through Dec. 31, enjoy holiday treats at Bayou & Bean where a new seasonal menu takes stage, including festive additions like gingerbread men and peppermint mochas. The Gingerbread Tea with Santa is Dec. 17 and Christmas Day brunch is Dec. 25 at Toro Toro.

Wellness is in order, so put the Peppermint Pampering at The Spa on your radar, which lasts through Jan. 7. This includes a special massage, foot or back scrub, and a treat to take home. Kick off 2024 with Bayou & Bottle’s New Year’s Eve party with live music, or at Bandista for an intimate gathering. Cheers!

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