Shannon Stansbury’s goal with a holiday cocktail is to catch imbibers by surprise. The charismatic Stansbury entertained guests at the Cypress Bar at the Southern Hotel in Covington, Louisiana before assuming his role as Operations Manager. He shares one of his favorite recipes with us. “While there’s nothing wrong with a traditional drink, it’s a treat to watch their faces light up when they taste something new and unusual,” he says. Inspired by his wife, a native of Manhattan who grew up in the New York City Ballet and The Nutcracker Suite, Shannon began researching Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy – her favorite piece. When he discovered that choreographer Marius Petipa’s intent was for the Sugar Plum Fairy’s music to sound like “drops of water shooting from a fountain” he considered ways in which to express that in cocktail form, and landed on infusing many different flavor notes into his recipe. In this drink, pairing tequila with red wine with the addition of little heat seemed to perfectly express the frenetic energy of the dance. To round out the flavor profile, he added herbs and a holiday simple syrup to bring home the Christmastime feeling.


Dance of the Spicy Plum

1.5 oz. plum bourbon (recipe below)
1 oz. Tequila Blanco
½ oz. grapefruit juice
½ oz. Ancho Reyes liqueur
.75 oz. holiday simple syrup (recipe below)
2 basil leaves
1 sprig thyme
.25 oz. cabernet

Cherry and basil for garnish

Directions: Mix all ingredients and shake vigorously. Strain and serve chilled.


Plum Bourbon

1 bottle bourbon

¼ cup mulled plum cider tea

Directions: Rest tea in bourbon for 1 hour, strain and serve.


Holiday Simple Syrup

2.5 quarts brown sugar
1 quart water
8 cinnamon sticks
3 tsp. whole cloves

2 tsp. nutmeg

Directions: Mix together in pot and heat to 180 degrees for 30 minutes. Let cool for 45 minutes before straining.