A holiday spread is woefully incomplete without a little boozy flair. And while a Gin & Tonic or a glass of red is always nice, we wanted to branch out into a bit more creativity this season. Who better to lead the way to craft cocktail heaven than Colleen Hughes, the Vice President of the Charlotte USBG Chapter, head bartender at Haberdish, and beverage director of several other restaurants owned by the Haberdish team (Crepe Cellar, Sea Level, Growler’s).
Colleen has worked in the food and beverage industry for over 15 years, serving everything from coffee to beer and wine. But today, her menu at Haberdish exemplifies the skill and creativity that’s positioned Colleen as one of Charlotte’s best mixologists. Seasonality and freshness rule, and Hughes’ drinks have the unique ability to look as good as they taste.
Use her recipes as inspiration. Or just stop by everyone’s favorite NoDa mill house for a beverage from the woman herself.
Punch is one of the best parts of the holiday season: it’s shareable, seemingly never-ending, and frequently forgiving. Ran out of pomegranate and need to do a splash of cranberry juice from the back of the fridge? Your Aunt Janice won’t notice the difference.
A Holiday Punch For The Whole House
Vodka sage simple syrup, pomegranate lacore, clarified lemon juice, allspice dram, champagne. On draft.
Variety is the spice of life. While everyone loves a classic Moscow Mule, it’s rapidly become a beverage many are putting their own twist on (think Mexican Mules or the gin-heavy London Mule). If you’ve got your spirit of choice on-hand and some spicy ginger beer, the next ingredients can be as playful as you like.
Your New Favorite Christmas Mule
Doc Porter’s vodka, fresh cranberry and Christmas spice reduction, pomegranate liqueur, ginger beer
Eggnog, also classically known as a milk punch or egg milk punch, is one of our older alcoholic beverages (many date it as far back as the 14th century). It’s staying power is clearly for a reason: Few sips evoke the holiday season quite like a fresh cup full of your own take on eggnog—raw eggs not required.
Not Your Grandma’s Eggnog
Frozen house eggnog, rum, flarnum, whip
No need to wax poetic on an Old Fashioned, since this is as staple a cocktail as they come. A hint of gingerbread flavor, however, makes this all the more fitting for the November and December months… just in case you wouldn’t have ordered one regardless.
A Spicy Gingerbread Old Fashioned
Maker’s Mark private select barrel, gingerbread reduction, dehydrated orange, cinnamon
This one is all Colleen — if you can recreate a cocktail this prettily presented at home, please send us pictures.
I’ll Have a Blue Christmas
White chocolate and coconut reduction, rum, bitters, hand-whipped cream