holiday recipes

Eat, drink, and be merry! | Enjoy these holiday recipes.

Here at the Horton we’ve welcomed a new food and beverage manager: Ellen Williamson. We love Ellen for so many reasons, and we especially appreciate the unique perspective that she brings to her position from years of experience working in hospitality in the high country. She brings such a wonderful energy to our space, whether she’s working behind the bar, checking in with guests in the lounge, or dreaming up new food and drink specials. It’s long overdue that we feature her in a blog post, and with the holidays right around the corner, it’s the perfect time to showcase a few of her favorite holiday recipes. Read on to learn about a few of Ellen’s favorite holiday cocktails, beer, wine, and appetizers.

Get into the holiday “spirit” with these cocktails.

Midnight Magic

Ellen recommends serving this one on New Years Eve.

Sliced strawberries
Lime juice
Stella Rosa Imperiale Black Lux
Mint garnish

Fill a glass with strawberries and blueberries, top with Stella, add a squeeze of lime juice, a drizzle of honey, and a sprig of mint.

Frenched Hot Chocolate

Great for Christmas Eve. Probably my personal favorite out of all the holiday recipes. 

12 oz whole milk
6 oz yellow chartreuse
4 oz calvados
2 oz dark chocolate, chopped
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped
1 three inch cinnamon stick, plus freshly grated cinnamon for garnish

In a medium saucepan combine the milk, chartreuse, calavados, chocolate, vanilla bean and seeds, and cinnamon stick. Stir constantly over moderate heat until chocolate is completely melted, remove from heat, discard the vanilla bean, and whisk the hot chocolate until frothy.


Black Christmas Bottled Cocktail

8 oz rye
4oz averna
2 oz allspice liqueur
4 dashes angostura bitters
4 dashes orange bitters
2 oz water
Brandied cherry garnish

Combine all ingredients in a large spouted mixing glass, stir to combine, and then funnel into a swing top bottle. Store refrigerated until ready to serve. For one cocktail portion out 3.25 ounces into a cocktail coupe.

Yuletide Moon

4 pitted cherries
1.5 oz merlot wine
1 oz bourbon
2-3 tbsp fresh orange or clementine juice
1-2 tsp maple syrup
Dash of cinnamon or nutmeg
Lemon zest or peel

In a tall glass muddle the cherries. Then add orange juice, maple syrup, merlot, bourbon, and mix again. Pour into an old fashioned glass with a handful of ice. Garnish with lemon peel and grated nutmeg or cinnamon.

Yule love these holiday appetizers!

Cranberry Pecan Baked Brie

1 8oz wheel of brie cheese, rind trimmed
2 tbsp brown sugar, packed

For the maple honey drizzle:
¼ cup brown sugar
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp maple sugar
1 tbsp unsalted butter
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg
Zest 1 orange
½ cup pecan halves chopped
¼ cup dried cranberries


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place brie on a rimmed baking sheet, sprinkle with brown sugar, and bake until softened, about 12-15 minutes. Let cool for five minutes.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, butter, cinnamon, nutmeg, and orange zest. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally until foamy for about 1-2 minutes. Stir in pecans and cranberries.

Serve brie warm topped with pecan mixture.

Hot Jezebel Dip

18oz jar apricot preserves
8oz package cream cheese
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
2-3 tablespoons horseradish
Fresh cracked black pepper
Pita chips or crackers (for serving)

In a bowl, whisk together apricot preserves, dijon mustard, 2 tablespoons horseradish, and black pepper. Chill overnight or serve immediately poured over the top of cream cheese.

Festive Beer & Wine

Looking for something other than a cocktail? Ellen recommends these beers and wines for the holiday season.


Yuletide by Fonta Flora, based out of Morganton NC.
A bourbon barrel aged imperial stout conditioned on traditional gingerbread spices.

Hoppy Holidays by NoDa Brewing, based out of Charlotte NC.
An IPA brewed with a variety of different hops and spruce essence.

Cold Mountain Spiced Ale by Highlands Brewing, based out of Asheville NC.
Featuring vanilla, hazelnut, dark fruit, and cinnamon.


Rombauer Zinfandel 2017, California Red
Sanctuary Pearl Albarino 2018, North Carolina White
Palmer Champagne Brut Reserve, France


If you decide to make one of Ellen’s holiday recipes, take a photo and share it on Instagram or Facebook. We’d love to hear about your favorites! Looking for a place to stay or eat, drink, and be merry with friends? Look no further. We’re open over the holidays! Check our availability for lodging by clicking here.


Author: Megan Biddix

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