Time and tea unfold at Windsor Court

00:00 December 17, 2013
By: 2Fik
Snow Milk Punch [Courtesy of Anne Berry]
Snow Milk Punch, photo by Anne Berry

Time is the ultimate luxury at the Windsor Court's holiday tea, a three-course affair ringed by potted poinsettias and a skyscraping Christmas tree.

First come finger sandwiches (smoked salmon, ham and cucumber; substantial enough for lunch), then gingerbread and cranberry scones (kids get theirs studded with plump chocolate chips), capped by chocolates, strawberries and little cakes.

There's tea, of course, and I favored a creamy, exotic gingerbread brew.

If you're feeling especially festive (or frazzled), the tea service includes holiday cocktails: spiced mulled wine, a Cosmopolitan variation, and (my favorite) a fragrant orange vodka milk punch, grounded by silky sweet potato syrup, and delicately boozy.

Once the tree comes down, you can still order these holiday sippers at Cocktail Bar. (And if you see Kent Westmoreland behind the stick, ask for his off-menu Queen's Cousin, a sparkling citrus cooler.)

For something with even more punch, there's the Cynical Parrot, a fizz loaded with barrel-aged honey syrup and falernum, and Evan Williams 9-year single-barrel bourbon.

The Windsor Court acquired a share in this barrel of premium bourbon through the Spirits Exchange, a local cooperative that's brought hand-selected spirits into the wells of Cocktail Bar, Bar Tonique and Cure, and on the shelves at Keife & Co.

Skip Adams, the Windsor Court's food and beverage director, tells me that next up will be an Elijah Craig 12-year, and eventually Scotches, rums and tequila. But that's another season.

Le Salon and Cocktail Bar at the Windsor Court Hotel, 300 Gravier Street, 523.6000. There are still some openings for weekday seatings of holiday tea, which runs through January 5. Tea-goers will also get a first look at the hotel's own 2013 St. George ornament ($35).

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