So many memories of the holidays are tied to what we eat and drink: the egg nog at the Christmas party, the hot chocolate while you put up the tree, the cookies we leave for Santa, the mulled wine to warm you after a walk in winter wonderland — assuming it’s actually cold. Here’s a list to guide you to food that will help you find your joy.
▪ Something for the kids. On Saturday, see Santa arrive by WKYT helicopter at The Summit, which will light up a giant Christmas tree and kick off the holidays with gift card giveaways and samples. Santa is scheduled to arrive at 3. Stop by The Green for hot cocoa and cookies presented by Ted’s Montana Grill. From 4 to 7 p.m. Santa will be at Louis’ Flower Power Shops, where he will be available for photos from 1 to 7 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Reservations can be made online here. Madewell will serve sips and sweets throughout the afternoon, while Anthropologie hosts a children’s toy workshop from noon to 4 p.m.
▪ Something for the parents. Also on Saturday at The Summit, Maker’s Mark will have a pop-up shop in The Barn, with treats and more. It’s open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., and you can get a dipped ornament beginning at 6 p.m. (while supplies last) by donating canned goods for God’s Pantry Food Bank. For every can donated, you get receive one entry in an all-local giveaway (including a Maker’s Mark VIP experience, The Barn restaurant gift cards, an Ale 8 One prize pack and more). On Dec. 15, The Summit will host a “Lose/Love the In-laws Bar Crawl” from 7 to 9 p.m., with free food samples, holiday cocktails, a buffet at The Barn and more. All participants must be 21 or older and register here. Tickets are $15.
▪ Treat yourself and a friend to tea. Greentree Tearoom is open for lunch Tuesday through Saturday through Dec. 23. Book early; reservations are required. For December, the menu includes tomato bisque, cranberry and white chocolate scone with Fayette cream, chicken cordon bleu with mornay sauce, Parmesan tomato rounds, cucumber-dill and ham salad tea sandwiches, almond tea cookies, Kentucky bourbon balls, jam cake and Darjeeling tea. Call 859-455-9660 to book a seating.
▪ Enjoy a leisurely lunch in a place decorated to the nines. Holly Hill Inn at 426 North Winter Street in Midway is serving its seasonal lunch through Dec. 30. The three-course holiday luncheon menu features a choice of soup or salad, entree and dessert. Entreés include pan-fried pork chop, herbed lemon salmon, oven-roasted quail, lump crab cakes or chestnut gnocchi. A selection of appetizers is also available. The menu is also available at Sunday brunch. The cost for the prix fixe lunch or brunch is $22. Reservations are available 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily. The restaurant is closed Dec. 24 and 25. Call 859-846-4732 for reservations.
▪ Eat dinner on the distillery grounds. This year, for the first time, the Jim Beam American Stillhouse in Clermont is planning a holiday “Feastival” on Dec. 1 and 2. For $10, you can reserve a spot and the distillery will donate $10 to Project Hope. The plan is for this to be the biggest outdoor dining event on the distillery grounds, which are decorated for the holidays. Hosted by master distiller Fred Noe and his family, the communal dinner will have live music, distillery tours, crafting stations and more to go with the huge, family-style feast featuring Noe family-favorite recipes. It’s 6:30 p.m. Dec. 1, and 4:30 or 7:30 p.m. Dec. 2. RSVP at JBfeastival.eventbrite.com. And even if the dining is sold out, you can enjoy the holiday activities on the grounds for free.
▪ Shop and sip. Wine + Market’s seventh annual Holiday Open House is Friday from 5 to 8 p.m. It’s $5, with no reservations required. There will be bourbon, wine and beer tastings, with live music and a rare-bourbon raffle.
▪ More shopping and sipping. Michler’s Christmas Market, hosted by the Kentucky Native Café, is 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. While they make you a wreath, you can scope out all the gift items and enjoy holiday pastries and hot mulled wine.
▪ Even more shopping and sipping. Whiskey Bear in The Barn at The Summit at Fritz Farm has a new Winter Warmer cocktail menu, featuring spiked cider, a hot toddy and a Kentucky coffee with a little something in it. And since The Summit is an entertainment district, you can get it in a hot to-go cup. Seriously.
▪ Breakfast with Santa. The Oleika Shrine Temple, 326 Southland Drive, will host an all-you-can-eat breakfast with Santa with pancakes, sausage and a drink. It’s 8 to 11 a.m. Dec. 9; $7 for adults, $5 for children younger than 10. Bring a few extra dollars and visit the grab bag table.
▪ Eat cookies with Santa. Santa will be at Martine’s Pastries, 1039 Industry Road, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 9, and you can score samples of scones, holiday cookies including gingerbread, snickerdoodles, pecan crescents and sugar, and Martine Holzman’s amazing Yule logs. Call (859) 231-9110 or go to Martinespastries.com.
▪ Celebrate at a distillery. Woodford Reserve Distillery, 7855 McCracken Pike in Versailles, has a holiday lunch buffet on Fridays and Saturdays in December. Or, on Dec. 16, enjoy a special holiday dinner. Lunch, including a distillery tour, is $44 a person; just the lunch is $35. Dinner, which also includes a tour, is $80. Make reservations at Woodfordreserve.com/events.
▪ Celebrate at another distillery. Wilderness Trail Distillery at 4095 Lebanon Road in Danville is hosting a holiday open house Friday and Saturday and is releasing a single-barrel, cask-strength version of its Harvest Rum. This 101-proof Harvest Rum will be available only in the gift shop, where everything but alcohol will be 20 percent off. Open house hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. The distillery also is accepting donations of pasta, paper or canned goods for the New Hope Food Pantry in Danville.
▪ Shop for a cause. Lucky’s Market, 1030 South Broadway, is donating 10 percent of all profits on every Lucky’s Market brand product bought through Dec. 13. So stock your pantry and help the Hope Center, which cares for homeless and at-risk people.
▪ Christmas like you’re in Maine. Clawdaddy’s on Broadway will ship live lobsters overnight from Maine if you order them by noon the day before. Seafood treats also are available for takeout or delivery (including lobster bisque, New England clam chowder, crabmeat salad and more by the quart) by calling 859-258-2529 48 hours in advance. And don’t forget the Maine blueberry bread pudding with bourbon glaze.
▪ Christmas like you’re in Kentucky. Midway Bakery, 510 South Winter Street in Midway, is having a holiday open house from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 9, with free samples of mocha teacakes, biscotti, bourbon pecan pound cake truffles and more. You also can buy Kentucky-shaped gingerbread cookies, along with gingerbread men, and order holiday cakes including bourbon pecan pound cake truffles, chocolate chess pie, snowball cupcakes, boxes of shortbread, Kentucky jam cake, and pies. You can also order online at Themidwaybakery.com; orders must be placed by Dec. 21.