Cherished Traditions and Festive Sips

Holiday Magic Unveiled: A Peek into Local Traditions and Tantalizing Holiday Sips from Our Friends.

Welcome to the heartwarming tapestry of the holiday season! As Publishers and passionate aficionados of all things local, we at Chatham + Short Hills Lifestyle and Morris Lifestyle magazine are thrilled to share a truly special treat with you. In "Cherished Traditions and Festive Sips," we've embarked on a delightful journey through our community, where local business owners have opened their hearts to reveal their most cherished holiday traditions. But wait, there's more! Our advertising partners, who have become dear friends, are adding an extra dash of warmth to the holiday spirit by sharing their favorite holiday drinks and the secret recipes behind them. Let's toast to the magic of the season with stories that will warm your heart and recipes that will tickle your taste buds! Thank you, Short Hills Hilton, for hosting us for the photo session and for sharing your drink recipes!


John Bruton, Hilton Short Hills


“My favorite tradition is the hotel's annual holiday cupcake decorating event. Every year the hotel partners with a local charity and we invite local families to the hotel and we have a cupcake decorating party in our grand ballroom complete with egg nog, hot chocolate and yes, Santa too! It’s really a great time and it’s so wonderful to see the families enjoying themselves with the hotel staff during the holidays.”

Bourbon S'mores Old-Fashioned Cocktail: 2 oz Knob Creek Graham Cracker infused bourbon, .25 oz Creme de Caco, .25 oz Toasted Marshmallow Syrup, 2 dashes Angostura Bitters.  Add ingredients to mixing glass. Top with ice and stir. Strain into rocks glass over a large bar ice cube. Serve with a toasted marshmallow.


Stacey Futterman Tauriello

 5 POINT Physical Therapy and Wellness, https://5pointpt.com/

“My favorite holiday tradition is decorating for the holidays. My family is mixed blend of traditions from both Jewish and Greek Orthodox faith.   So, our menorah and Christmas tree are a beautiful part of our decorations.  I am blessed to have had a grandmother that left me her original menorah and a mother-in-law that gifted me all her handmade Christmas tree ornaments.  Every year we get a fresh tree and decorate it.  The smell of the tree always makes me so happy for the holiday season.  Add in baking holiday cookies to our ritual always puts a smile on my face and now my 5-year-old daughter as well.”  

Peppermint patty hot chocolate with alcohol: Hot chocolate (homemade is best), Creme de Cacao, Peppermint schnapps.

Nick Shchurko and Mills

Bee Cleaner, Flooring & Upholstery cleaning,  https://bee-cleaner.com/

“I absolutely love spending the holidays with my loved ones, especially when we have a big feast planned! It's such a special time to catch up and be thankful for everything we have in our lives. And after we've eaten our fill, we get to exchange presents and play games all night long. I just adore this tradition because it brings us all even closer together each year.” Nick

Irish Coffee: 1 1/3 oz (2 parts) Irish whiskey, 1 oz (1½ parts) Fresh cream, 1 tsp. Brown sugar, 2 2/3 oz (4 parts) Freshly brewed hot coffee.  Whipped cream and shaved chocolate (optional)

Angelique van der Made

Red Oyster USA, https://red-oyster.com/

“Holiday tradition: to have a great evening long dinner with a group of our best friends. Everyone makes a special course including the pairing wine (we always challenge ourselves to be more creative and more special than the year before). Off course, we will start the evening with great Osetra caviar on fresh PEI oysters and a Gin Mare tonic.”

Gin tonic: With Gin Mare gin and lemon peel. This gin pairs very well with a fresh oyster!

David Leigh, ESQ.

The Leigh Law Firm, https://www.leighinjurylaw.com/

“My wife, Colleen, and her family own a Christmas tree farm in South Jersey. For years, they would sell the trees out of their backyard in South Orange. While they no longer sell the trees, “the farm” still holds a very special place in our family. Each year we go down and cut our own Christmas tree and plant several new ones. It’s one of my favorite holiday traditions. “

Mexican Hot Chocolate: 2 oz Don Julio Anejo, ½ teaspoon chili powder, 3 tbsps. cocoa powder, 8 oz Milk,  ½ teaspoon cinnamon. Combine steamed milk, cocoa powder, cinnamon & stir. In a mug add tequila (2oz). Top with vanilla whipped cream & add a dash of cinnamon.

Michael Mitchell 

Home Watch Care Givers, https://www.homewatchcaregivers.com/

“Decorating my house!  We are the Griswolds!  We celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah.  We won the best house in West Orange, two years in a row, we are known as the Chrismukkah House! (See attached).  The inside and outside are filled with decorations.  It brings me such joy to drive home and see my house all lit up!”

Christmas Martini: 2 oz Tito’s Vodka, ½ oz cranberry juice, ½ oz lemon juice,  ½ oz simple syrup.  Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker tin with ice and shake until ice crystals form on the tin. Strain into a martini glass with a lemon twist


Mike Giacopelli  

Mi Jack Home Builders, https://www.mijackhomebuilders.com/

“For the tradition I would say going to the tree farm and picking out our own tree and of course going home, putting on Christmas music and decorating the tree.”

Dark chocolate hot chocolate: Warm milk and heavy cream in a saucepan until nearly simmering. Add dark chocolate, cocoa powder, sugar, vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt. Whisk until smooth.

Julia Cheng

Soothing Zen Day Spa, https://www.soothingzen.com/

“My favorite holiday tradition is having the Christmas tree. Living in the city, we always had a small, sad Charlie Brown tree or sometimes even none at all due to space and more importantly, time limitations. Now that kids are in the picture, we make sure to set aside the time and set up a grand tree every year. It’s a great reminder to stop, catch a breath, and appreciate the kids’ joy.”

Lemon Drop Martini:  2 oz Ketel One citron, 1 oz Cointreau, ½ of lemon juice. Shake ingredients in a cocktail tin with ice. Rim Martini glass with sugar and strain contents into glass with a lemon twist.

Samir Patel

Blue Code Networks, https://www.bluecodenetworks.com/

“My cherished holiday tradition involves a three-day family gathering, where we rotate homes each day to celebrate Christmas with our loved ones. I'm grateful to my parents for instilling enduring Christmas traditions during our childhood that my siblings and I fondly reflect upon. We continue to decorate our home right after Thanksgiving, trim the tree by the fireplace, and, of course, set out cookies for Santa after the kids are asleep—keeping the magic alive.”

Smoked Old Fashioned w/Rye Whiskey: 2 oz Rye whiskey, 1/2 oz simple syrup, 2-3 dashes Angostura bitters, orange peel, Ice, smoking gun or cloche, wood chips (cherry, apple, or hickory), Rocks glass.

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