Classic Holiday Cocktails with the Drink Whisperer

Holiday Cocktail Style




The holidays are here and amidst the hustle and bustle of the season, it’s a time to relax and unwind in the company of family and friends.  In addition to good people, creating a picturesque holiday requires the company of good food and good drinks.   My November feature covered the food. So, it’s only right that my feature this month cover holiday cocktails. Keep reading  and my December feature, an absolutely fabulous and experienced  bartender, will have you mixing a recipe for holiday party success! Be sure to read to the end of the post to get recipes  for three holiday cocktails!

The Drink Whisperer

My Feature for the month of December is Zachary Helton (also known as the Drink Whisperer). Zachary is a bartender aficionado who I had the pleasure of meeting at Nashville Lifestyle’s 2017 Bartender Bash .  There were lots of entrants in the competition, but for me,  Zachary’s cocktail stood out among the crowd (I’m not the only person who felt that way because Zachary, and his craft cocktail, took home the prize).

Photos by Terri Cannon Photography

So,  what made his drinks so special?  Well,  it wasn’t just one thing. It was a combination of the flavors, the knowledge he dropped about everything from how the cocktail was mixed to the local ingredients used, his attention to even the smallest detail, and his overall presentation.   Fast forward, I thought Zachary would be a great feature this month. So, I invited him over to get to know more about him, and I asked him to mix up some holiday cocktails while we chatted. 

Scales of Style Interview Drink Whisperer

Zachary, thanks for allowing me to feature you. Tell us a little about yourself. 

I’m Zachary Helton. I’ve been bartending in the Nashville area since 2000.  My best friend Ricky Meyer got me my first bar gig at TGI Friday’s in Hickory Hollow.  Our little store had 4 amazing bartenders, and I picked up a lot of lessons from them that I still carry with me today: showmanship, accountability, personality, competitiveness,  trust, speed, drink knowledge, and technique.  

How’d you get the name the Drink Whisperer?

My friend Nick Delorenzo (now known as “Nicky Booze”) came up with “The Drink Whisperer.” I have a very loud voice, and I’m a very good listener.  

“Most people will tell you exactly what they’re looking for in a cocktail.  It’s our job as bartenders to put all those clues together to make them the drink they really want.” 

Zachary Helton Feature Scales of Style

Let’s talk a little about your style before we shift to holiday cocktails. Okay, so style: describe your style in one word.


Is your classic style reflected in your bartending?

Very much so. My fiancé , Embi Ferro, and I own an antique and decor business called, Vintage Patina House in Franklin, TN.  Something about the history and the past has always sparked my interest. There’s a real beauty in classics, whether its fashion, furniture, or drinks.  Knowing and studying the past, will give you an advantage when trying to create something new and special today.

Embi Ferro Scales of Style

I love that answer and so agree with it. When you think about the holidays, what cocktails come to mind?

Three drinks mainly: bourbon old fashion, the gin martini and apple cider.  All can be made quickly with very little work involved which is perfect because I can get back to sitting around with the family talking and enjoying each others company, not spending all my time making drinks.

I am lucky enough to be in love with the woman of my dreams. It took me forever to find her though, but I did.  We do everything together and work side by side every day and night working both our antique business and The Drink Whisperer.  So we try to relax around the holidays. Our holiday menu is full of naps, family, booze and food.

What about these drinks say holiday cocktails to you?

Holidays are all about family. These classic cocktails really remind me of that.  Whether it be drinking a nice, clean Old Fashion by the fire while listening to family play music or stirring a Gin Martini for Embi and her father.  Sometimes a really low proof Cider to sip on in the morning with breakfast can be a nice way to start your Christmas morning.  Cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, oranges, apples, caramel and a little vodka sounds exactly like what the essence of holidays should be.



5 Replies to “Classic Holiday Cocktails with the Drink Whisperer”

  1. Great post! Will definitely try the recipes. Something new!

    1. Thanks so much for reading! I hope your attempts were a success!

  2. Sheena Steward says:

    Nothing like a good drink to put you in the spirit. The drink whisperer sounds pretty dope. His story was actually inspirational. I need to look him up.

    1. Thanks girlie! He is! Thanks for reading! Hope your holidays were wonderful!

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