On the menu: Cocktail lounges in the center aim to make the season bright |  On the Menu

On the menu: Cocktail lounges in the center aim to make the season bright | On the Menu

Getting in the holiday mood is something that the managers of two downtown lounges have literally done with the holly jolly season now in full swing.

The weather certainly does not have to be terrible to enjoy a nice seasonal drink, and at HUB Restaurant and Ice Creamery, manager Armando Gonzales says his new holiday-inspired drinks were based on his team’s desire to bring some party to the center.

“These cocktails are built on the seasonal traditions of getting together with family and friends and the warm feeling we get from festive tastes,” said Gonzales, head of HUB, 266 E. Congress Street.

His Winter Sangria is a recreated version of the popular Spanish sipper that uses the warming spices from mulled wine as a new twist.

He starts by making a hot mulled wine with cinnamon, orange peel, sugar and cloves. It is then cooled and poured over ice, with a splash of port wine, into a wine glass with a sugar-screwed edge.

“The port brings a little existential flavor to this cocktail, which adds even more of a holiday flavor profile,” he said.

Another of HUB’s holiday drinks is a nutty variation of the creamy cocktail theme inspired by two of Gonzales’ favorite things, whiskey and peanut cookies.

Santa’s Peanut Butter Cookies is a cocktail whipped up with peanut butter whiskey, a chocolate liqueur and cream. It is shaken by enthusiasm to produce a festive foam and poured over ice in a stone glass.

“We see a lot of cream-based cocktails during the holidays, like eggnog and white Russians, and we just wanted to be a little different with ours,” he said.

A short sleigh ride up the street from HUB, Good Oak Bar also celebrates the holiday in a spiritual way with two cocktails showcasing the scent and taste of winter.

“I always try to take advantage of the idea of ​​showcasing the seasons, whether it’s spring, summer, fall or winter, and incorporate flavors that connect our guests with those seasons,” said Tim Walsh, bar manager at Good Oak Bar. , 316 E. Congress Street. “At the same time, I also try to do something different and be as original as possible.”

An example of this approach with the holiday as a background is Walsh’s Gin Toddy, with the botanical spirit added with cranberries, pears and orange peel. After a month-long steeping time, mix it with a viscous mixture of local honey, lemons and sugar, pour into a glass jar with warm water and garnish with a cinnamon stick wrapped in orange peel.

Because gin is definitely in on Good Oak, it got the Walshs nod for yet another cocktail that makes the season bright: the North Star.

In this recipe, the gin is infused with turmeric, lemon, ginger and apple and combined with cinnamon-infused coconut milk and citrus juice. It is then shaken over ice and strained into an old-fashioned glass that holds a large ice cube and garnished with lemon zest and a sprinkle of curry powder.

“I’m a big fan of gin with its botanical douglas fir feel, and that’s why these cocktails go well with the holiday,” said Walsh, though softening the gin’s pine notes with the flavor infusions maximizes its availability and “makes it more kindly, ”he remarked.

While I certainly do not tolerate nipping and sledding, Santa may consider wetting his whiskers with these cocktails while charting his global travels. His drinks will be on me though. I have to make sure I’m not on the naughty list this year.

Contact Matt Russell, whose daily job is CEO of Russell Public Communications, at mrussell@russellpublic.com. Russell is also the publisher of OnTheMenuLive.com as well as hosting the Friday Weekend Watch segment on the “Buckmaster Show” on KVOI 1030 AM.

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