SEASONAL SIPS: 3 Cherokee restaurants craft drinks for the holiday season

What better way to warm up the holidays than with a seasonally inspired beverage?

By Sampson Jenkins
Photography by Kathryn Ingall and Erin Gray Cantrell

Local restaurants are serving up Christmas spirit in a variety of hand-crafted specialty hot and cold cocktails and drinks perfect for winter months.

Riverstone Corner Bistro in Canton, a farm-to-table restaurant that relies on fresh, high-quality ingredients, is stirring it up with three artisanal cocktails inspired by Christmas that customers can enjoy with a delicious meal by the fire on the outdoor patio or in the cozy restaurant.

“Our restaurant is family-owned and operated. We pride ourselves in having a farm-to-table and scratch kitchen as well as having hand-crafted cocktails made with house-infused vodkas, gins and simple syrups, all fresh juices and ingredients,” said owner Shelly Farrar.

The popular bistro’s bartender Sarah Byess knows just how to satisfy discriminating diners at the restaurant. The Sugar Plum and Sage Champagne Spritzer blends sweet plum and sage simple syrup with sparkling wine to dance across the taste buds.

The Raspberry and Thyme Negroni, inspired by the house chef, is a combination of sweet and stout, infused with house thyme gin, Chambord, chocolate bitters and a splash of soda.

Gingerbread houses are not the only thing to make during the Christmas holidays, as Byess’s specially crafted treat of the season, called the Pumpkin and Gingerbread S’more Martini ,will satisfy.

This delicious cocktail is made of pumpkin puree, whipped cream, house infused vanilla bean vodka, amaretto and white chocolate Godiva and topped with toasted marshmallows and a soft gingerbread man.

If a hot Christmas beverage is what you are looking for, Tea Leaves and Thyme in Woodstock has a variety of delicious holiday teas.

The authentic tea room has a large selection of hot teas such as their holiday favorites Christmas Tea, Nutcracker Sweet, Orange Cinnamon Spice and Winter Dream.

Tea Leaves and Thyme likes to have fun during the holidays with their Snap Crackle and Sip tea, made with cinnamon and Pop Rocks that crackle while you sip, said owner Kim Jordy.

“Our motivation is simple, to provide you with an eclectic and cozy luncheon spot, where families and friends can indulge in each other’s company over a cup of tea,” Jordy said.

“Tea Leaves and Thyme offers more than 70 varieties of quality loose-leaf tea, as well as a full luncheon menu and a selection of traditional tea trays.”

The Ice Martini Bar in Woodstock has a holiday treat of their own for the season they call the Makers Holiday Cheer, sure to hit the mark with customers up during the holidays.

The specialty drink is made with Makers Mark whiskey, apple brandy, cinnamon syrup and apple bitters, garnished with a red apple and cinnamon stick.

“We take great pride in creating a new experience for our customers each season. Our hand-crafted cocktails are made with freshly squeezed juices,” Ice Martini Bar owner Danny Snow said.

“Typically, with the holiday season we lean more toward the dark liquors such as whiskeys and bourbons. We like to consider ourselves the place where you can be a regular but still expect something new and original with each visit.”

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