Standing at the front of the room looking quite dapper and trendy with his jaunty bow-tie and spiky hair, Justin Schorzman has our full attention. The Coeur d’Alene Resort’s Beverage Manager is mixing drinks with flair and telling Christmas holiday stories at this private cocktail tasting event.
Tonight we will sample five of Justin’s creatively concocted libations and then we’ll vote on our favorite.
The winning drink will be The Resort’s featured holiday cocktail and will premiere at the annual winter dinner theater event Christmas with a Twist, November 24 through December 17.
For the last four years, local resident and Hollywood actor Ellen Travolta has directed and starred in an intimate cabaret performance that focuses on family, tradition, friends and good cheer. This year, Ellen will be joined by her sister Margaret Travolta, daughter Molly Allen and Abbey Crawford.
Christmas with a Twist will offer something new this holiday season. In addition to regaling the audience with Travolta family antics, customs and songs, the program will include stories submitted by Coeur d’Alene community members. If your story of Christmas cheer, chaos, family or friendship was accepted, it will be performed at the show and you’ll receive a complimentary table for four as well as a keepsake recording of your tale being dramatized by this talented cast!
Justin’s first cocktail is the Fox & Hound Fizz, a tangy mix of Jack Daniel’s Gentlemen Jack, lemon juice, simple syrup, a dash of Pernod, orange bitters and shaken egg white. It’s a creamy, refreshing mix, and I give it two stars in my own personal ranking system.
Riffing on the immensely popular Moscow Mule, Justin next presents an Apple Cranberry Mule that combines vodka, cranberry juice, sparkling apple juice, ginger beer and cranberry garnish. I like this one, but it does not get me thinking about sleigh bells and snow.
The salted caramel eggnog, however, is Christmas from the first swallow. Eggnog reminds Justin of his grandmother who could never keep enough of it on hand. The drink we sip tonight is a pretty big step from Grandma’s traditional eggnog, and there’s something intriguing and slightly decadent about such a well-known holiday favorite that’s spiked with kosher salt. This drink really works for me.
Hot toddies always make me think of nursing a cold and sore throat, but when you’re pretending it’s Christmas like we are, and Justin is up front telling holiday stories and deftly mixing drinks, feeling under the weather is the last thing on my mind. The Honey Sage Toddy laces whiskey, honey sage syrup, lemon juice with a lemon twist and sage garnish. Yum. Many stars for this one.
Cocktail number five is a colorful Juniper Cherry. Crème de Violette gives it an exotic bluish tint, gin, lemon juice, and Luxardo maraschino liqueur give it a kick. Nice, but not jingling my bells.
The votes are collected, and, drumroll please, the winner is tradition with a twist: the Honey Sage Toddy. You can order your own signature Coeur d’Alene Resort holiday cocktail at all of the Resorts restaurants: Beverly’s, Dockside, Whispers, Tito’s, and Taphouse. Better yet, join Ellen and company for Christmas with a Twist. It’s sure to be an unforgettable evening full of laughter and good cheer.
Show details: opening night is November 24, the same night as The Resort’s annual Holiday Light Show. With the flick of a switch, the Resort becomes a winter wonderland with over a million twinkling lights decorating the hotel, grounds and boat docks. Christmas with a Twist runs through December 17 and tickets are $27.50. Make this a holiday to remember by combining an evening with Ellen and friends with an overnight at the Resort. Special hotel packages are available starting at $229. Purchase yours HERE!