Like it or not, the Holidays are officially here, and what better way to get into the spirit than to enjoy seasonal holiday dishes & drinks! From large dinner gatherings, to holiday parties and celebrations, we could always use some helpful tips and tricks on creating dishes for the season. We sat down with Harold’s Executive Chef, Carsten Johannsen, and Harold’s Director of Food & Beverage, Gary Wallach, to fill us in on their favorite tried and true holiday recipes.


1. What is your go to Holiday dish that is always a crowd pleaser?
Chef Carsten: I always enjoy making an herb crusted Prime Rib during the holidays. During the holiday season in particular, a Prime Rib feels celebratory and traditional. The dish is decadent and a definite crowd pleaser. (recipe listed at bottom of page)

2. What is your go to Holiday appetizer that is easy and quick to make?
Chef Carsten: Potato Latkes are great for a quick and easy appetizer to make. Mostly likely, all the ingredients you need are already in your cupboard and pantry. Making a batch of latkes is deceptively simple and quick. (recipe listed at bottom of page

3. What is your favorite ingredient to use while creating dishes during the Holidays? Any fun/unusual ingredient?
Chef Carsten: My favorite ingredients to use during the holidays are hearty herbs like Sage and Rosemary. These herbs add an earthiness that most of us associate with colder weather and the holidays in general. These herbs are great in dishes that warm people from the inside out.

4. How do you get inspiration to make your dishes?
Chef Carsten: A lot of my inspiration for dishes come from local and independent farms. I have a great deal of respect for the work of independent farmers. There is such a high level of care and hard work that goes into cultivating the ingredients that end up being used for a dish. A lot of my inspiration comes from letting the quality of these ingredients shine through.

5. If you had to pick one, what is your favorite dessert to enjoy during the holidays?
Chef Carsten: My favorite holiday dessert is Eggnog Cheesecake. It’s a festive treat that’s perfect for the holidays. (recipe listed at bottom of page

6. In a sustainable environment, how do you try and cook waste-free?
Chef Carsten: In the kitchen we have a waste-not-want-not mentality. I try my best to cook waste-free by utilizing all parts of the produce and meat used. For example, discarded ends and bones are great to use in a slow simmered stock. There’s always a way to be creative and cut waste.


1. What is your favorite spirit to use for making cocktails during the holiday season?
Gary: I’m a seasonal drinker, so during the holidays I reach for anything out of the barrel. I love aged rums, and American Whiskies. Something that keeps you warm through the colder and longer days of winter. Plus, they are delicious, and versatile in cocktails.

2. Where do you find your inspiration to make cocktails for the Holidays?
Gary: Childhood memories always play a part in my cocktail creations. Cranberries on thanksgiving, chocolate coins around Hanukkah. This season represents warmth and togetherness for me. So I am always looking for flavors that bring people together.

3. Can you provide some tips on making holiday cocktails at home?
Gary: Keep it simple. A short grocery list and a trip to your local store is all you need to serve for the holidays. Most importantly, Punch is the way to go. Don’t get stuck making one cocktail at a time in your kitchen while your friends and family party.

4. What is your favorite ingredient to use when creating Holiday cocktails? Any fun/unusual ingredient?
Gary: Flips, punches, and toddies are all the buzz during this season so I like to find ways to find new approaches towards them. Scotch and hot apple cider, or oat milk and chocolate bitters make for fun additions to simple recipes that already feel festive and seasonal. (recipes listed at bottom of page)

Food Recipes

Potato Latkes
Serves 4

2 Large russet potato
4 Shallots
1 Egg
3 Tablespoon Potato starch (or corn starch)
3 Green onions (green only)
to taste: Salt and pepper

1. Peel the potatoes. Grate potatoes and shallots on a box grater into a kitchen cloth. Using the cloth wring out all of the juice from potato and onion and transfer to a mixing bowl
2. Combine the rest of the ingredients (starting with a couple of pinches of salt) and mix thoroughly. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
3. Put a cast iron pan on medium heat. Add about 1 T of butter. Once the butter starts to bubble (but not turn brown) add an fist-size ball of your potato mixture and press down with a spatula to make a pancake shape. Let cook to golden brown ( about 3 minutes) and flip and to get golden brown on the other side. Pull out of the pan and onto a paper towel to drain the fat, then serve immediately. Garnish with sour cream and apple sauce

Prime Rib
Serves 8-10

1/2 each Boneless prime rib (Apprx. 6-8 lbs)
1/2 bunch Rosemary
1/2 bunch Sage
1/2 bunch Thyme
1/4 cup Kosher salt
1 Tablespoon Ground black pepper

1. Pick up 1/2 or a 1/4 of a full, whole prime rib from your local butcher 2 days before you plan to serve. 1/2 will serve about 10 ppl and 1/4 will serve about 5 ppl (cut quantities of herbs, salt, pepper in half for smaller portion). Do not trim any of the fat. Using butchers twine, tie the roast for presentation (you can skip this step and still have a perfect roast)
2. Pick the herbs and discard the stems leaving just the leaves. Roughly chop the herbs and place them on all sides of the roast. Put the roast unwrapped in the refrigerator overnight.
3 When ready to cook, preheat your oven to 200 F with fan.
4. Season the roast all the way around with salt and pepper. Place on a roasting pan with a rack fat side up and place in the oven.
5. Using a digital thermometer you should check the roast every half hour until the internal temperature reads 90 degrees. Once the internal temperature hits 120 F, raise the temperature of the oven to 450 F to brown the roast. During this time you want to check the internal
temperature of the roast frequently. Pull the roast out of the oven at 127 F for medium rare and 135 F for more of a medium. This allows for carryover cooking. Save the pan dripping for sauce.
6. The roast should rest for at least 20 minutes before slicing and serving. Garnish with horseradish cream, pan drippings and coarse sea salt.

Eggnog Cheese Cake
Yields: 1 full cake/12 slices

3 lbs Cream cheese
1/2 cup Sour cream
2 cups Sugar
1/2 tsp. Ground nutmeg
3 tsp. Vanilla extract
2 cups Eggnog
8 ea. Whole eggs

2 cups Graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup Melted butter
1/4 tsp. Ground cinnamon

1. Mix all ingredients for crust in a mixing bowl thoroughly with hands. Line a 9″ cheese cake pan with the crust on the bottom approximately 3/4 of the way up the sides of pan. Place in the freezer.
2. In an electric mixer with the paddle attachment on med-high speed, whip the cream cheese, sour cream, sugar and nutmeg until completely smooth. Turn down to med-low speed and add 1 egg at a time until each is mixed. Add nutmeg and vanilla extract, and mix until fully smooth.
3. Pre heat the oven to 350 F.
4. Pull the cheese cake pan out of the freezer. Place tin foil completely around the outside so that no liquid can seep through. Pour in filling. Place pan in a larger pan (such as a large roasting pan) and fill with water until it reaches 1/2 way up the cheese cake pan.
5. Bake for 45 minutes at 350 F. Check for doneness periodically with a cake tester by placing the tester in the center of the cake. Pull out tester and immediately place to your chin. If it is hot to the touch of your skin, then it is done. If it is tepid or just warm, cook until center is hot.
6. Chill in refrigerator overnight before serving. Garnish with whipped cream.

Drink Recipes

Hand Warmer (Served Warm)
.25 oz. Eli’s Winter Wonderland Cordial
.25 oz. fresh lemon juice
.75 oz. orange liqueur
1.5 oz. Blended Scotch (preferably Monkey Shoulder Scotch)
4 oz. Hot Apple Cider

Method: Add all ingredients (sans the apple cider) to a mug. Stir gently to combine and top with hot apple cider. Express an orange twist over the top. Discard. Garnish with orange twist with clove studs.
Glass: Mug (preferably no more then 11 ounces.)
Garnish: Orange Twist w/Clove Studs

Harold’s Holiday Punch
6 oz. Bourbon (Preferably Old Forester)
2 oz. Pear brandy (preferably Clear Creek)
6 oz. Holiday pomegranate syrup
4 oz. Fresh lemon Juice
1 bottle of Champagne (preferably Piper-Heidsieck Champagne)

Method: Add all ingredients together (sans the champagne), taste and adjust according to your preferred taste. Leave in a fridge for a few hours before your guests arrive. When ready to serve, add mixture to a punch bowl over a large cube of ice. Slowly pour in the entirety of the champagne bottle. Use a ladle to stir and combine all ingredients. Garnish the punch with lemon wheels, and pomegranate seeds. When serving, grate some nutmeg over the top to finish it off and hang out with your friends.
Glassware: Punch bowl, ladle, and rocks glasses or punch glasses.
Garnish: Pomegranate seeds, lemon wheels, nutmeg.

Holiday Pomegranate syrup – add a cup of water, a cup of pom wonderful juice, 2 cinnamon sticks, and 6 – 10 cloves to a pot. Bring to boil, then down to a simmer, and cook until sugar has fully dissolved. Let rest until room temperature. Strain out spices and bottle. For a stronger flavor, leave the spices in the syrup in your fridge over night and strain the next day for more depth and complexity.