City Cocktails

Jan-15-SIPHandcrafted cocktails at JT’s Lounge include local ingredients. 

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


I love classic hotel bars. They provide travelers a convenient spot to recover from the trip and catch up over drinks and nibbles and a nice place to “get away” for locals.

Located inside the Renaissance Ross Bridge Resort and Spa, JT’s Lounge is named for its settler, James Taylor Ross. The Ross family’s Scottish heritage served as the inspiration for its ambience and the upscale Scottish cocktails. JT’s also boasts a lineup of craft beers, Alabama Moonshines, a foodie-driven light menu, and live music. This 2,000-square-foot bar was recently renovated along with the property. Wood-paneled walls enclose this upscale space where the curved bar is center stage. Fresh fruit and herbs, including rosemary grown on the property, decorate the bar and are used in the drinks. High tops dot the surrounding space. And window seats—a sofa and wing chairs around a coffee table—make weary travelers feel right at home.

The familiar face of bartender Justin Cobb—who has also served as bartender in my home for private functions—greets us tonight. Seated at the bar, we enjoy three signature cocktails. The Old Fashioned Holiday is rust-colored and served in a low ball on the rocks with a sugared rim. It is a refreshing mix that includes Clyde May’s Alabama Moonshine with notes of cranberry, orange, and ginger. Martini 1863 is named for the date when Ross moved his family to the area. This lovely sipper is light yellow in color, filled with lemon pulp and lemony flavors. And Survival Punch is rose in color, served in a Ball jar, and garnished with fresh rosemary. This drink includes Alabama Moonshine and Still Crossroads and boasts layers of deep, rich flavors, making it the favorite of the mix and well worth a trip to JT’s.

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