Taking the stairs from my swanky digs at the boutique Dwell Hotel in Chattanooga, Tennessee, drinks at Matilda Midnight were in order before dinner at the Solarium Cafe, where botanicals and locally-sourced ingredients are the theme in this cozy, 35-seat cafe.
I’m a sucker for honeysuckle anything. I love the scent and the taste, let alone the name. So, when I found Cathead Honeysuckle Vodka on a few cocktail menus, I had to order those first and foremost. According to distiller Phillip Ladner, the notes on this unique vodka are “soft floral & herbaceous aromas of honeysuckle. A sweet and delicate flavor with a well-rounded fresh finish.”
At the Dwell Hotel’s zodiac-inspired Matilda Midnight lounge, seasonal cocktails are on the menu.
DRINK #1 – At the Matilda Midnight lounge, order the Summer Sanctuary ($10) with Cathead Honeysuckle Vodka, St. George Pear, Creme de Violette, Sparkling, and this is where the visual gets really interesting… icebound seasonal fruits & herbs. The ice cube is over-sized and encapsulated in the cube is a work of art — colorful, fresh herbs that become one in your drink if you drink it too slow.
DRINK #2 – A few steps from the Matilda Midnight lounge is The Dwell Hotel ‘s Solarium Cafe. The menu is health-conscious and the wine list is a mix of Old World and New World. My choice was perfect: A Shiraz/Grenache that proves Australia wines of McLaren Vale are keeping up with the Joneses.
DRINK #3 – I deem St. John’s Restaurant in Chattanooga as the best restaurant in the city. Before I perused the dinner menu, I ordered myself a cocktail of April Showers (you can order this off-menu off-season) because, well, honeysuckle… Cathead Honeysuckle Vodka with yellow chartreuse, strawberry-rhubarb, thyme, lemon and sparkling wine. Oh, my.
DRINK #4 – Still at St. John’s Restaurant, my cocktail was set aside for a glass of Anthill Farms 2015 Anderson Valley Pinot Noir, which paired nicely with my order of pork belly “Croque Madame”.
Once you’re ready to walk off the alcohol, head to one of the longest pedestrian-only truss bridges in the world: the Walnut Street Bridge. This iconic bridge was built in 1891 and spans 2,370 feet over the Tennessee River to connect downtown Chattanooga with the vivacious North Shore District. The best way to walk it is to grab a cone of hand-crafted, creamy Clumpies Ice Cream on the North Shore Coolidge Park area at sunset.
NOTE OF INTEREST: Head to Chattanooga on October 6, 2018 to participate in the Wine Over Water Food & Wine Festival that takes place on the bridge.