Sugar and Spice: Holiday Recipes

Ross Hardigan, Beverage Manager at Montage Palmetto Bluff, loves fall and winter and all of the scents and spices that bring up warm memories—especially those of his childhood, which inspired his 12 Cocktails of Christmas program. One of his favorites is the Nutcracker martini, in memory of his grandmother who had an army of nutcrackers that she would only bring out during Christmas holidays. Here is his recipe, and other festive treats from Montage chefs:

The Nutcracker
From Ross Hardigan, Beverage Manager
Montage Palmetto Bluff


1 ounce almond milk
1.5 ounces Frangelico
1.5 ounces Cake vodka

Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice, shake vigorously, strain into a martini glass. Top with whipped cream and garnish with nutmeg.

Mauled Wine
From Georgie Chef Geoffrey Zakarian
Montage Beverly Hills

1 750-milliliter bottle full-bodied red wine
1 cup honey
1/2 cup brandy
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1 teaspoon whole allspice berries
3 cinnamon sticks
Peel from 1 orange
1 3-inch piece ginger, peeled and sliced
Whole star anise, for garnish

Put the wine, honey, brandy, lemon juice, cloves, allspice, cinnamon sticks, orange peel and ginger in a saucepan and bring to a low simmer. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer and transfer to a thermal container or large teapot.

Pour into glasses, garnish with star anise and serve.

Christmas Chestnut Chocolate Chip Cookies
From Executive Pastry Chef Lee Smith
Montage Laguna Beach


1 cup butter
1 cup muscavado brown sugar
2 egg yolks
4 whole eggs
1 vanilla pod
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups soft flour
½ cup chopped chocolate chips

Cream butter and sugar until well combined. Add eggs and egg yolks and flour, vanilla and salt and mix until a dough forms. Weigh ½ cup pieces. Roll into logs and refrigerate. Brush logs with egg wash and grated chocolate. Slice and place on a baking sheet. Make a well in the center of each. Pipe chestnut puree into each well. Bake at 356 degrees F.