By Amanda MacLaren / Photography by John Michael Simpson
‘Tis the season to eat, drink and be merry – and you can accomplish all three in one visit to The Carolina Inn (though, really, you’ll want to come visit throughout the holidays). Belly up to the bar at Crossroads Chapel Hill and whet your whistle with any of the drinks in this wintery cocktail trio, crafted by the masterful bar supervisor Kiyarash Saghaey:
• Under the Mistletoe
“This is our take on a mint chocolate martini,” says Director of Food and Beverage Ramon Jimenez. You’ve got your vodka, chocolate liqueur and mint liqueur, and it’s garnished with shaved chocolate, mint and cranberry, plus a rim of freshly ground chocolate. It tastes just like mint chocolate chip ice cream, so if you’re a big dessert lover, this is the drink for you.
• Snow on the Hill
Made with Zacapa aged rum, zinfandel port, egg whites and simple syrup, and garnished with nutmeg and a cinnamon stick, this eggnog packs a flavorful punch. The drink may be chilled, but you’ll feel the warmth running through your body all the way to your toes after that first sip.
• Christmas Mimosa
“Call it a Christmosa,” Ramon says, laughing. “We’re still playing with the name.” No matter what they end up calling it, all you need to know is that it is a celebration in a glass. The prosecco is La Marca – one of my all-time faves – with the addition of a deep garnet housemade grenadine. It’s garnished with a fresh rosemary sprig and a cranberry. Pro tip: After taking a whiff of the rosemary, use it to stir up the grenadine that’s at the bottom of the glass.
These cocktails, which will stay on the menu through New Year’s Eve, are designed to align with the festive holiday touches for which The Carolina Inn is renowned. “We’re using these holiday flavors to tie in with our numerous events that we do on the property,” Ramon says. “You’ll be able to get one of these cocktails before going over to see Santa at one of the brunches that we have, or you can just enjoy it here at the bar.” (Turn the page to find more information about all the events that the inn hosts this year!)
“We also have outdoor seating, and these can easily be enjoyed by the fire pit,” Ramon adds. Wherever you choose to imbibe these spirited sips, they are sure to bring you plenty of holiday cheer!