Holiday Spirits: 3rd Chai’s the Charm

In honor of the holiday season, our Bar Manager, CJ Collum, talks inspiration for his favorite holiday libation, his new role at The Restoration, and what to expect from The Watch’s lineup of seasonal cocktails to get you into the holiday spirit. 


.75oz Hilton Head Rum

.75oz Bacardi spiced Rum

.75oz Orange juice

1.25oz Chai oat milk orgeat


To make the Chai orgeat, heat one quart of oat milk with two quarts of sugar.

Once the sugar is dissolved, steep 3 bags of chai in the liquid over low heat for 20 minutes.

Whip shake all ingredients and strain. Garnish with a charred cinnamon stick.

What was the inspiration for this cocktail?

My inspiration for this cocktail started with my love of rum. There are so many flavors that make every rum unique in its profile. These flavors also make this spirit perfect for the holiday season because those spices are also used in a lot of dishes. It is called the 3rd chai’s the charm because it has taken a while for me to get the chai orgeat recipe just right. I finally figured it out by using oat milk instead of traditional almond milk. This was really exciting to me because I love orgeat as an ingredient, but it traditionally has a nut allergy. This recipe makes so many rum drinks available to people who used to be allergic to them.

What does this cocktail pair with?

I think this drink would pair amazingly with our Pumpkin Spice Mousse or the Carrot cake. The cinnamon and chai in the cocktail would match the fall flavors in these desserts perfectly.

Describe your new role at The Restoration and The Watch.

My new role at The Restoration is to run the beverage program for the entire hotel. This covers everything from in-room baskets to helping the sales team provide beverage packages for events throughout the building. I am also responsible for the beverage program at The Watch, which is personally my favorite part. I get to work together with my crew to experiment with ingredients and provide some truly great cocktails.

What fun holiday memories inspired you to create cocktails for the holiday season?

I’m from the very end of Long Island so the winters would get very cold and one thing we would do every weekend would have a bonfire at one of my friend’s houses. Most of my best memories during the winter season revolve around those fires when we really didn’t have much to worry about. So, for the Holiday menu, I wanted to create cocktails that transport you back to that warm feeling of being around a fire, and those warm memories of when we were young.

What can guests expect from the beverage program at The Watch this season?

This season at The Watch guests can expect a menu that covers all parts of the season. We have cocktails such as the Last Straw that bring about feelings at the end of summer when the weather starts to turn. Then we have the Apple Bottom Jeans which puts you right at your family’s thanksgiving dinner for dessert. Finally, we have the Coco Loco which reminds you of drinking hot cocoa at Christmas time, but with a twist. There is truly something for everyone on this menu.