What's the quickest way to get people in the holiday mood? A festive cocktail — or four. Woodford Reserve and CultureMap served up seasonal libations and party inspiration at the Holiday Spirit Social, which was held at 3015 Trinity Groves and culminated in a expert-led whiskey tasting and four-course meal from Harlowe MXM.
Guests could get menu ideas (and recipes!) for their upcoming holiday soirees by sampling the pairings, which ranged from sweet to savory.
A tart and tangy cranberry mule made with Woodford Reserve bourbon accented a brioche topped with whipped goat cheese and Asian spiced pear, while a maple old fashioned balanced bites of praline-pecan chicken. The Holiday Chai Boulevardier packed a woody, spicy punch thanks to its chai tea-infused sweet vermouth, and went well with the Thai pork satay skewers. Woodford Reserve rye and spiced cherry bitters put a fruity spin on the classic Manhattan, which was served with sweet potato cakes topped with a dollop of harvest chutney.
Once everyone had sipped and nibbled from the starters, it was time to sit and learn about not only bourbon, but the night's cause. One hundred percent of the ticket sales from the Holiday Spirit Social were donated to Mankind, a Dallas-based nonprofit that raises funds and awareness for prostate cancer. Travis Robertson, Dan Russell, and William Whaling explained Mankind's mission before turning the stage over to Brown Forman's Charlie Moore and head chef at Harlowe MXM, Ben Leath.
Moore led the crowd through a tasting of three different kinds of Woodford Reserve bourbon, explaining the notes and complexities of each and demonstrating how different flavors (such as cranberry, dark chocolate, and hazelnut) could enhance event further.
Chef Leath introduced the special menu he had prepared for the evening, which began with an apple-bacon tartelette drizzled in Woodford Reserve caramel. Second was a salad of Woodford Reserve-glazed, grilled Seckel pears and arugula, topped with Camembert cheese and toasted pecans. The main course was free-range turkey roulade with Woodford Reserve safe stuffing, roasted cranberry mustard jou, and crispy Brussels sprouts. A Woodford Reserve orange dreamsicle tart with orange whiskey caramel and an almond crust signaled the end of the meal.
Before heading out into the night (an Uber discount was thoughtfully provided for those who felt they'd sampled a bit too much), guests could graze at the dessert bar, which included everything from mini chocolate mousse cups to macarons.