Spirits of Christmas

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

An inside look at a few of our bartenders in Winston-Salem, including festive drink recipes to concoct in your own kitchen over the holidays. 

Thomas Ehrlich, 30, Bar Manager at Hutch and Harris

What makes this bar a nice place to have a drink?   Hutch and Harris has been around for years, but with the acquisition of our next door space, the former Wolfie’s, our Side Bar has seating for 50, 16 beers on tap and a lengthy cocktail list. And besides, we have excellent food, a raw seafood bar, and a private dining room for holiday parties. We try hard to keep our regular customers satisfied - those who have been coming to Hutch and Harris for years - as well as appeal to the new clientele we are bringing in. We’re a new bar that’s finding its identity and I love helping it along in the process.

What do you love about Christmas?  Family.  My family is spread out all over the east coast and this is the one time a year we all get together.

Tell us about yourself:  So I graduated from Reynolds High School here in Winston-Salem and went right into the food and beverage industry.  I moved away when I was 20 and for the past year and a half had been running a bar in Charleston, South Carolina.  I moved back to Winston-Salem this year to help my mother after my father’s death and am now the bar manager here.  The dynamic of downtown Winston-Salem has changed completely since I’ve been gone, so I’m having fun catching up with people I grew up with and haven’t seen for years.

What’s your favorite drink?  Bourbon. And IPAs.

What would you say to Winston-Salem? Come and give the new cocktail list a try. It'll be something unique and different than you’ve had before.


1.5  oz. Flor de Cana (or any aged rum)
 .25 oz. fresh lemon juice
 .5  oz. Aperol
 .5  oz. Cinnamon Nutmeg Demerara syrup (recipe below)

Shake together and serve over ice with an orange twist.

Cinnamon Nutmeg Demerara Syrup
2 cups Demerara sugar
2 cups water
3 cinnamon sticks
3 cracked whole nutmeg

Jon Michael Hartwig, 27, Bartender at Single Brothers

What makes this bar a nice place to have a drink? People enjoy the time it takes to watch us make a craft cocktail and they love that everything is fresh. Our herbs are grown out back or locally, we make all our own syrups, such as rosemary, thyme, and sage syrups, plus we also infuse vodka. Currently, we have horseradish, lavender and rosemary vodka. Single Brothers was the first craft cocktail bar in Winston-Salem and we love creating drinks for our customers, whether it’s an old-timey cocktail or something new and trendy. All our recipes are created by the Drew, the manager, but she allows us the freedom to give input, which is nice.

What do you love about Christmas? I love the festivities, the colorful sweaters, the jolly mood.

Tell us about yourself:  I was born here, but not raised here. I went to school in Wilmington and then to the Art Institute for a short time. After that, I was a cheerleader in New York for a non-profit to raise money for inner-city art kids while cheering around the city. I’ve been a barista and was actually professionally trained on coffee while in New York City. I’ve been a line cook, server, dishwasher - I've done it all. But my entire family lives here so that’s why I came back and I’ve been here at Single Brothers now for a year and a half. I love it here and being a bartender. I'm also an artist on the side. I recycle fabrics and make novice clothing and large accessories.  I have shows every few months.

What’s your favorite drink?  I'm a bourbon drinker and I love something with dark berries, mint and spices.

What would you say to Winston-Salem?  That I love you! I love the people here. Everyone is very supportive of what we're all doing in the community. We're all for each other, intertwined, and doing what we love.

Black Currant Smash

2 oz.   Bulleit Bourbon
1.5 oz. Black Current preserves
1 oz.   Fresh lemon juice
.75 oz. Cointreau
1 oz.   Simple Syrup
10      Mint leaves, muddled

Shake and strain. Garnish with orange peel and mint leaf.

Joshua Tharington, 35, bartender at Village Tavern in Reynolda Village

What makes this bar a nice place to have a drink?  Let’s be honest, a lot of places have good food and good drink, but what we care about here at the Tavern is relationships. We know what we’re doing as far as making beverages, but we want you to come in and know that we really care. We listen, we joke around, we ask about your day.  It’s not for show – we really care. A lot of our bartenders have been here for 14 and 15 years.  You don’t find that in a lot of other places.

What do you love about Christmas?  The holiday vibe, the changing weather, the decorations going up in the Village. I’m a Christmas goof.  But it’s okay to sing and be goofy. It’s Christmas, so why not get all in?

Tell us about yourself:  Well, I’m a townie from Pfafftown.  I’ve been bartending for 14 years, since I turned 21. I have a Master’s Degree and taught high school Spanish for years, doing bartending on the side.  I’ve been here at The Tavern for nine years and for the past four years full-time.  And with all these crazy degrees, I’m okay with where I am. My uncle keeps saying, “Why don’t you get a real job?” and I say, “This fake one is great!” And really, these Wake Forest people and the folks in this neighborhood, they are so good to us. I have a couple little ones, a fantastic wife, and when I’m not here at The Tavern, it’s all about them.

What’s your favorite drink?  I enjoy wine. We do great cocktails here but we love serving and teaching about wine.

What would you say to Winston-Salem?  Winston-Salem is fantastic!

Nuts and Berries

1 oz. Chambord
1 oz. Frangelico
A heavy splash of half & half

Shake over ice, strain and pour. Garnish with raspberries on a skewer.

Jordan Keiper, 25, bar manager at The Tavern in Old Salem

What makes this bar a nice place to have a drink?  The atmosphere, the historic surroundings, the intimacy, the candlelight, and the fact that we are locally sourced, from the kitchen to the bar, with products from North Carolina, whether moonshine from Mayberry Spirits in Mt. Airy or gin from Sutler’s Spirits here in Winston-Salem. We love to support our state and believe we (North Carolina) have some of the best products in the United States.
What do you love about Christmas?  Christmas is one of the best times of the year for me. Our family always attends the Moravian Love Feast on Christmas Eve, then we come home to a meal of Oyster Stew, after which we open one present. The rest of the presents are opened on Christmas day while Dad cooks breakfast and Mom prepares our Christmas dinner. Old Salem is extremely beautiful at Christmas and it is a joy for us to share our traditional recipes with people during this season.
Tell us about yourself.  I was trained classically in culinary school and had been opening restaurants with Sammy Gianopoulos as his sous chef and kitchen manager until my family purchased the Tavern and we had a need for a bartender, so I stepped into that position. I’m currently working on publishing a book of my recipes for 1500 craft cocktails, ranging from easy to difficult, to be released, hopefully, in 2016 and am in the process of establishing a craft brewery with a high school friend, as well. Every day I try to find a reason to become better. That’s my inspiration – always trying to do better. I think that as I do better, those around me will follow.
What’s your favorite drink?  A martini that I make with Sutler’s Gin and Spiced Beet Juice.
What would you say to Winston-Salem?  Winston-Salem is absolutely beautiful. It’s far beyond what it was even several years ago. Bartenders are beginning to get together, create together and raise the bar for experiencing exceptional cocktails in Winston-Salem. I think within the next year or two you’ll see a big, big boost in Winston-Salem bars because of the hospitality, the friendship among bartenders here.

Mama’s Cobbler

1 oz.   Southern Comfort
1 oz.   Carriage House Apple Brandy
2 oz.   Pear nectar (Goya)
.75 oz. Vanilla Simple Syrup (recipe below)
.5 oz.  Key lime juice
A pinch of brown sugar and cinnamon garnish (recipe below)

Combine in ice, shake well and strain into martini glass. Garnish rim of glass with brown sugar mixture.

Vanilla Simple Syrup (makes one cup syrup)
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
3 oz. vanilla extract

Bring all ingredients to a boil, then chill.

Brown Sugar Cinnamon Garnish

½ cup dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons white sugar
2 teaspoons cloves
2 teaspoons nutmeg
3 teaspoons cinnamon

Mix until well combined.

By Naomi Gingerich, as published in the December issue of Winston-Salem Monthly Magazine. Photos courtesy of Amy Badgett.

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