Whether it’s for a celebratory meal or a grand gift, Alabama restaurants, breweries, and cocktail bars offer some unusual opportunities for the holidays.
These aren’t your ordinary tacky-sweater events. “Yule” enjoy the finest Gulf seafood, multi-course meals paired with seasonal beer or premium bourbon, find fireworks or frivolity on New Year’s Eve, or learn how to make biscuits to enjoy with college football the next day.
Don’t wait. Tickets and reservations go quickly. Here are your food and beverage-related plans to make now.
Feast of the Seven Fishes
Kitchen teams from sister establishments in Auburn will offer their early take on the Feast of the Seven Fishes, a traditional Christmas Eve meal among Italian-Americans Catholics. Scott Simpson from The Depot and Robbie Nicolaisen from The Hound pay tribute to the fishes swimming in the Gulf of Mexico with their seven-course meal on December 13 at The Depot. Like a holiday table, the seating is communal. Tickets are $200 per person, and include five drink pairings during the meal. Cocktail hour starts at 5 p.m., featuring holiday libations.
Christmas Cheer & Holiday Beer Dinner
The five-course beer and dinner pairing will be held December 20 at the Brewers Cooperative location in Stovehouse at Huntsville. Created by the taproom’s new chef, Bill Harden, a veteran of the Huntsville restaurant scene, the menu had not been released in early December. Original Cooperative brews are on tap for the dinner, too. Tickets are $75 (plus a $6.88 Eventbrite fee) for both dinner and beer, and $60 (plus a $5.87 fee) for food only (no alcohol). The dinner is set for 6:30 p.m.–9:30 p.m.
Biscuit Experience with Scott Peacock
Scott Peacock, a James Beard Award-winner whose collaborations with the late Edna Lewis are legendary in culinary circles, shares his secrets for making the biscuits that have been featured in Gourmet, Food & Wine, Better Homes & Gardens, The New York Times, The Martha Stewart Show, and TODAY. Food & Wine lauded his biscuit recipe among the 40 best it’s ever published. Peacock will explain his techniques and emphasis on quality ingredients during a half-day session in a kitchen at Reverie Mansion in Marion. Students make their own batch of buttermilk biscuits, using flour ground from Alabama heirloom white lammas wheat, which Peacock grows. The class is expensive, but it’s a unique opportunity for people who are serious about their food.
Pappy Van Winkle Dinner
Among bourbon fans, few labels provoke a Pavlovian reaction like Pappy Van Winkle, the flagship product from Kentucky’s Buffalo Trace Distillers that commands prices up to $2,000-$3,000 a bottle on the secondary market. The five-course meal will be paired with E.H. Taylor, Weller Special Reserve, Blantons, Weller 12-year, Eagle Rare and Old Rip Van Winkle 10-year. Tickets to the January 9 event are $199 per person, plus tax and gratuity. The host, Bistro 218, bills tickets as the ultimate Christmas gift for bourbon connoisseurs. Reservations also are available through bistro218.com or by telephoning 205-983-7999.
New Year’s Eve starts with a five-course prix fixe menu in Arrington restaurant (5 p.m. – 8 p.m.), followed by musicians performing in The Pub, or a Craft Cocktail Experience with Mersey Distillery. Fireworks begin at 11 p.m. Dinner is $100; add $50 for wine pairings. The menu includes grilled Murder Point oysters, diver scallops, and entrée choice between smoked lobster and 48-hour Wagyu short rib. Reservations are required; telephone (256) 208-7600. Overnight accommodations at The Inn are available.
The House of Found Objects
Reservations are now open for a New Year’s celebration at one of the most interesting, eclectic, and fun bars anywhere, run by one of the city’s top mixologists, Feizal Valli. Competition should be fierce for the costumes that hang around the bar for customers to wear. Drink a signature Sex Panther cocktail and proudly wear the wipe-on “tattoo” that comes with it. Experience the Womb Room. Or sit on a balcony above the fray and take it all in. Reserve at the bar or via message on its Instagram page (@thehouseoffoundobjects).