Cozy drinks: Downtown fireplaces stoke the season
When you're chilly and tired from shopping or checking out the big Christmas tree at Central Place on the Downtown Mall, there are at least five fireplaces within footsteps. On a recent Thursday night, we checked out all five– and the signature drinks that go along with them.
This is the biggest downtown fireplace and the only one to throw out heat on two opposing sides: to the long copper bar and to a soft seating area. Naturally, at a brewery the signature drink is gonna be beer.
A seasonal brew, this one carries a bourbon color with malty, caramel notes and hints of raisin and date. $4.75
What once may have seemed like C&O's no-man's-land, the main floor of this venerable Water Street cuisinery came alive in the early 1990s when the fine folks of Tulikivi donated one of the company's slow-heat-release soapstone woodstoves. Now, the mezzanine is the in-scene.
Black Tea Toddy
It's black tea steeped in Elijah Craig bourbon, with brown sugar syrup, homemade clove bitters, and a little hot water. $9
The pony-tailed Boomer who renovated his favorite bar in the early part of the century left no brick unturned. He won a prestigious preservation award for keeping this historic structure– including its working fireplace– intact. Now, it warms diners with such beverages as the Caldo Fellini; caldo meaning "hot" in Italian.
Into boiling water they add the Italian lemon liqueur Limoncello, honey, and Grappa. $9
Some folks don't realize that ultra-modern Zocalo has a fireplace. It's not bricks and logs, but all winter long in the front room with the view of the Downtown Mall, this gas-fueled hearth cranks out the BTUs.
Hot Apple Cider
They simmer Showalter's apple cider from Timberville with cinnamon sticks, cloves, and peppercorns and serve it piping hot in a glass mug with a choice of Jim Beam bourbon or Captain Morgan spiced rum– topped with a homemade whipped cream and dusted with cinnamon. $8
Founded in 1890, this historical drug store still delivers pharmaceuticals, and its throwback lunch counter still offers old-fashioned milkshakes while a blazing fire fills the room with the wintery smell of Virginia trees.
Real ice cream, milk, and chocolate syrup. $4.77