Interstate Hotels & Resorts presents the top three winning holiday cocktails submitted by Interstate bartenders, mixologists and food & beverage directors from hotels around the country. In all, 32 submissions were judged by guest mixologists Kim Haasarud of Liquid Architecture and Bridget Albert of Market-Fresh Mixology, based on the following criteria: flavor, balance, creativity, and use of required products. Recipes are included to make and enjoy these seasonally crafted cocktails at home.
Falling Leaves on the Creek, Sheraton Orlando North — Orlando, FL
Falling Leaves on the Creek captures the essence of your mother’s kitchen during the holiday season. Just like how you can’t enjoy only one dish at Thanksgiving dinner, you can’t have just one sip of this signature drink. The Falling Leaves begins with a warm citrus blend of Knob Creek Bourbon, Grand Marnier, and orange bitters. As the sphere dissolves, it introduces fragrant rosemary. Towards the center of the sphere is a honey and vanilla section that gives a sweet ending. Recommended Food Pairing: a gourmet burger.
- Knob Creek Bourbon 1 1/4 oz
Grand Marnier Liqueur 1/4 oz
Orange Bitters 3 dashes
Rosemary 2 sprigs
Sugar 4 oz
Vanilla 1/2 tbs
Honey 1/2 tbs
Water 6 1/4 oz
- Inner Sphere layer: Vanilla & Honey Syrup 2 oz water, 1.5 oz sugar, .13 oz vanilla, .13 oz honey. Combine in pot and bring to boil. Cool down. Put in mold (holds 2 tbs) and freeze.
- Outer Layer: Rosemary Syrup 4.25 oz water, 2.5 oz sugar, 2 rosemary sprigs. Combine in a pot and bring to boil. Cool down. Fill 1/4 of 2 1/2 sphere mold. Insert frozen vanilla and honey syrup. Fill the rest 2 1/2 sphere mold and freeze.
- Making the drink: In a rocks glass, insert frozen syrup sphere. In a shaker, pour 1.25 oz Knob Creek, .25 oz Grand Marnier, and three dashes orange bitters. Stir and pur in glass. Garnish with orange peel and rosemary.
Yuletide Fog, The Westin Alexandria — Alexandria, VA
Yuletide Fog epitomizes winter with just one sip. The featured recipe includes Basil Hayden’s Bourbon, cinnamon rosemary simple syrup, orange bitters, maple pearls, dried orange crisp, and a smoked cinnamon stick. Recommended Food Pairing: bacon.
- Basil Hayden’s Bourbon 1 3/4 oz
- Cinnamon Rosemary Simple Syrup 1 oz
- Orange Bitters 2 dashes
- Maple Pearls 1 g
- Dried Orange Crisp 1 each
- Cinnamon Stick 1 each
- Build bourbon, simple syrup and bitters into mixing glass.
- On cedar board, smoke cinnamon stick with torch and cover with rocks glass to fill with cinnamon smoke.
- Stir drink and strain onto a large ice cube. Garnish with orange crisp and maple pearls.
3rd Place: Cranny Smith, The Lismore Hotel Eau Claire, WI
Cranny Smith is the perfect cocktail for cider lovers everywhere. The Cranny Smith is a take on a Wisconsin holiday classic — brandy slush — featuring Courvoisier vs. Cognac, Good Land Cranberry Liqueur, freshly squeezed lemon juice, house-made Demerara syrup, Ferro Farms Hard Cider and a splash of soda water. Recommended Food Pairing: cheese board.
- Courvoisier 1 oz
- Good Land Cranberry Liqueur 1 oz
- Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice 1 oz
- 2:1 Housemade Demerara Syrup 1 oz
- Ferro Farms Hard Cider 1 oz
- Soda Water splash
- Pour Ferro Farms Hard Cider into rocks glass and freeze for at least 4 hours.
- Add all ingredients to cocktail shaker.
- Shake and strain over the frozen layer of cider in the bottom of the glass.
- Add a splash of soda water.
- In a minute or two, the frozen cider will pop off the bottom of the glass and float in the drink. As it is consumed, the cider will melt, adding more apple flavor to the drink.