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New monthly cocktails series toasts the Clifton's local ties

Wish you could put your to-do list on pause for just a little while? A new monthly cocktail hour series at the Clifton is offering hotel guests and locals alike an opportunity to relax by the fire with a creative libation and dial down the hectic pace of holiday plans.

The second event in the new Cocktails at the Clifton series, set for Thursday at the Manor House, will feature holiday-themed cocktails. To keep the gentle escape from setting off your guilt meter this time of year, remember that part of the proceeds will benefit the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank.

The specialty cocktails from The Copper Bar’s team include the Pomegranate Martini, Poinsettia, Christmas Manhattan, Figgy Ginger, Cranberry Bourbon Smash and Jolly Old-Fashioned. They’ll offer local residents a chance to get a fresh look at a local landmark that need not be saved for engagements, weddings and other milestone occasions.

“A lot of locals have never been here. We are that ‘special occasion’ place,” said Phyllis Case, the Clifton’s general manager. “A lot of people don’t know us as the warm place around the corner.”

Case and her team are trying to change that perception by offering year-round opportunities to relax, recharge, check out the locally produced honey and candles in the gift shop and perhaps extend the vibe by staying for dinner.

“There are four fireplaces downstairs at our Manor House, and they’re all decorated,” Case said. A cocktail might lead to “maybe a charcuterie board, or maybe the short rib. It’s just a comfortable place.

“It’s a pop-in. It’s not something they have to commit to. It’s definitely something that can fit into the schedule.”

The first event in the new series, on Nov. 15, offered guests a chance to learn more about bourbon over sips and s’mores.

The tightly knit team takes pride in sharing the property with visitors.

“We’re united by the love of this place. We call it ‘the magic of the Clifton,’” Case said. “Once you get it, you get it.”

Fans who like to mingle can mark their calendars for Jan. 18, when the next event in the series will take place at Clifton’s Collina Farmhouse. Throughout the new year, there will be seasonal flavors and different locations on the property, including the Secret Garden and the Croquet Lawn.

The Clifton is at 1296 Clifton Inn Drive in Charlottesville. Keep up with the series online at, or call (434) 971-1800.


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