With Christmas rapidly approaching, the Montage Palmetto Bluff’s Beverage Manager, Ross Hardigan, has dreamed up a way to make this holiday season even more joyous. He has concocted a cocktail menu featuring 12 Christmas-themed cocktails including the Chocolate Peppermint Stick, the Christmas Cookie, the Red Hot Santa Tini and the Palmetto Eggnong, to name a few.
His inspiration? His favorite time of year, of course. Hardigan told Swig Contributor Kristen Oliveri that he worked with the season’s different spices and infusions to impress Montage Palmetto Bluff’s seasonal guests. “When looking at what cocktails we would use for these occasions, I really thought back to my childhood and what Christmas meant to me. I remember trying to sneak around the house finding where my parents hid all the candy canes,” he said, adding, “My parents were always making fresh egg nog to have on Christmas eve, non alcoholic for me, of course.”
Hardigan’s goal was to have the child in all of us appreciate and fall in love once again with the magical time of Christmas. Below Hardigan reveals more about his unique cocktail program and unveils the entire top 12. Reluctantly, he also fesses up as to which drink is actually his favorite one.
The 12 Drinks of Christmas:
- The Chocolate Peppermint Stick
- Christmas Cookie
- The Chocolate Raspberry Martini
- The Red Hot Santa Tini
- Berry & Pear Tree Martini
- Red Rudolph
- Candy Cane
- Palmetto Eggnog
- Hot Buttered Rum
- Mulled Wine
- The Nutcracker
- The Christmas 75
Q: What inspired you to create the 12 Cocktails of Christmas?
A: We were inspired by holiday traditions, spending time with family and all of the scents and flavors of the season. Our team is comprised of such a diverse group of individuals so talking with them about their traditions and favorite aspects of the season was an enjoyable way to come together and share a bit of ourselves.
Q: What is it about the Christmas holiday that lends itself to creative cocktails?
A: In my my eyes, Christmas is the greatest holiday of the year. There are so many smells, spices, sweets and even feelings that come with this great time of year. I think about when I was a kid and how much I loved egg nog, the cinnamon scented bushels and my best memory of all, the decorative nutcrackers.
Q: If you were playing favorites, which one is yours?
A: I really love the Nutcracker, not only the ingredients, but why I chose the nutcracker name has a deeper meaning. My grandmother has an army of nutcrackers and when I was little, I loved playing with them. I thought they were the coolest toys and I loved Christmas because she would only let me play with them during that time. It’s one of my most joyous memories of the holidays growing up.
Q: What might be a good food and wine pairing with any of your 12 cocktails?
A: I would definitely suggest a great crème brûlée or apple pie with these cocktails. Not only are those my favorite, but they would pair very well. It’s a little unusual to pair a wine with your cocktail, but transitioning from the cocktail to wine, I would also go with a dessert wine like a Chambers Rosewood Vineyard Muscat, something that has a little more weight and sweetness to it.
Q: What’s coming up next for you and the beverage program at Montage Palmetto Bluff?
A: This is an excellent question! We are always looking to plan ahead for the future and we have two huge programs on our radar. First, the addition of our newest village here at Palmetto Bluff, Moreland, which will have multiple venues for dining, is opening this spring. We will be coming up with fun and exciting new cocktails for those locations. Secondly, we are looking ahead to our spring cocktails. It’s never too early to plan ahead and we look forward to showcasing those in late March, early April.