Gray's Journal

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Warm Up With Winter Cocktails - Beverage Manager Jeffrey Sykes's Favorites!

Days have grown shorter, the sunsets more colorful and sometimes we just need a drink to warm us up on those cold winter evenings.

While most people think warm drinks will do the trick, think again! Wintertime cocktails may be served cold but pack a nice warm punch. Combine it with an evening sitting by the fire and you've just created the perfect wintertime concoction.

The list of winter cocktails could go on and on, but we went straight to the source and spoke with Graylyn's Beverage Manager Jeffrey Sykes to get his secret list of the best wintertime drinks. Pour, mix, sip and enjoy!

The Old Fashioned (a Graylyn Signature Cocktail!)
Patiently aged Knob Creek small batch rye whiskey muddled with orange peel, maraschino cherry, sugar and Angostura Bitters. Served on the rocks in a highball glass

2 oz bourbon whiskey
2 dashes Angostura® bitters
1 splash water
1 tsp sugar
maraschino cherry
orange wedge

Mix sugar, water and angostura bitters in an old-fashioned glass. Drop in a cherry and an orange wedge. Muddle into a paste using a muddler or the back end of a spoon. Pour in bourbon, fill with ice cubes, and stir.

Pear and Sparking Cider Cocktail

2 cups pear nectar, chilled
2 cups sparkling apple cider, chilled
2 cups seltzer, chilled
4 ounces (1/2 cup) bourbon whiskey, such as Knob Creek

1 Bosc pear, unpeeled, cored, and cut lengthwise into 8 wedges

Stir together pear nectar, cider, seltzer, and whiskey in a pitcher. Divide pear wedges among glasses, and pour in cocktail. Serve immediately.

Dandy Shandy

4 ounces good quality dark stout or porter beer (or nonalcoholic beer) (1/2 cup)

4 ounces chilled ginger ale or ginger beer (1/2 cup)

Place dark stout beer in a serving glass. Pour ginger ale atop. Makes 1 (8-ounce) serving.

Smoky Martini

2 oz Absolut Vodka
.5 oz Laphroig Single Malt Scotch Whisky
1 dash Pernod

Add both ingredients to a mixing glass and fill with ice.
Stir, and strain into a Martini glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

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Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Chef Rollins' Winter She Crab Soup

She Crab Soup has been a Southern signature dish for decades, bringing warm, rich flavor to kitchen tables throughout the Southeast. While local restaurants offer their own versions, this rich and filling soup traditionally consists of heavy cream, blue crab meat and crab roe (eggs) with dry sherry often added as it is plated.

Large numbers of Scottish immigrants began settling in Charleston during the 1700s.  One traditional dish they brought with them was partan-bree, a crab and rice soup. The settlers began to adjust their recipe to incorporate blue crabs because of the abundance in the area.  This Scottish soup served as a starting point, but She Crab Soup as we know it today was not developed until the early 1900s. As the story goes, R. Goodwyn Rhett, Mayor of Charleston, was entertaining President Taft at his home. The Rhett’s butler, William Deas, was asked to create a fancier version of their traditional crab soup. He added the orange-hued crab eggs of mature female crabs, called “she crabs” by fishermen, to give color and improve the flavor, thus inventing the Charleston delicacy known as She Crab Soup.

This delightful and smooth seafood soup is sure to impress your friends and family! Enjoy!

Chef Rollins' Winter She Crab Soup

Serves 6pp
Prep time 45mins, Cook time 60 mins.


o 1 tablespoon butter, unsalted
o 1 quart milk
o 1/2 cup heavy cream, whipped
o 1 teaspoon lemon juice
o 1/4 teaspoon ground mace or nutmeg
o 1/4 teaspoon pepper
o 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
o 1 teaspoon flour
o 2 cups jumbo lump crab meat
o 1/2 teaspoon salt
o 4 -6 tablespoons dry sherry
o paprika, and or fresh parsley ( to garnish)


1. Bring water in the bottom of a double boiler to a boil, reduce heat so that water barely simmers
and make sure that the amount of water does not touch the bottom of the top of the double boiler.
2. Melt butter in the top of a double boiler and blend with the flour until smooth.
3. Add the milk gradually, stirring constantly.
4. Add the crab meat and all seasonings except sherry and cook slowly, stirring frequently, for about
20 minutes on low to medium heat.
5. Finish with dry sherry and serve.

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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Ring in the New Year at Graylyn!

Christmas may not even be here yet, but I bet many of you are already thinking ahead and starting to make plans for New Year’s Eve. Whether you're looking for an exquisite dinner for you and your spouse or just a relaxing evening away from home, Graylyn has New Year's packages for you!

This year Graylyn is offering an A La Carte dining experience for its New Year's guests. Menu items start at $17.50, and Chef Greg Rollins has planned this one-of-a-kind menu with our guest's interests in mind. This dining experience is offered from 5:00pm to 11:00pm by reservation. 

Ready for a New Year's mini vacation? Send the kids off to grandmas because Graylyn is offering a special overnight dining package for you and your spouse. The package includes a dinner credit, overnight accommodations early check-in and late check-out. 

Have you ever wondered what it'd be like to party like the Gray family in the early 1930s? Well now you can. Host a dinner party for up to eight people in one of Graylyn's unique private dining rooms. 

These packages are available from December 30 to January 4, 2015.  Be sure to call to make your New Year's reservations! For more information click here.

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Monday, December 1, 2014

Gifts for Him & Her at Graylyn

Every year (and this year doesn’t appear to be an exception) the weeks before Christmas seem to go by faster and the big day is upon us sooner than expected. The season also means it’s time to search for the perfect Christmas gift again. We have a wonderful idea of how to give your loved ones a great surprise without having to face the crowds on the city streets.

This year give the gift of Graylyn! Graylyn gift certificates are available throughout the season and into the New Year. Surprise your loved one with the historic charm of Graylyn.

Please contact Graylyn Reservations at 800-472-9596 to buy your gift certificate.

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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

It may still be November, but I bet many of you are already thinking ahead and starting to make plans
for New Year’s Eve. Whether you're looking for an exquisite dinner for you and your spouse or just a relaxing evening away from home, Graylyn has New Year's packages for you!

This year Graylyn is offering an A La Carte dining experience for its New Year's guests. Chef Greg Rollins has spent much time planning and preparing this menu, and the delicious menu items start at $17.50. Make your reservations anytime between 5:00 and 11:00 p.m.

Looking for a night away from home to just relax? The Overnight Dinner Package offers estate guestroom accommodations, as well as a credit for our A La Carte dinner experience. Take the elevator home, but be sure to come down for our gourmet breakfast in the morning! Need an early check-in or check-out, don't worry, we have you covered!

Some people just want to have a party on New Year's, we get it! Book a dinner party at Graylyn for the New Year and feel what it's like to party like a Gray. This package includes a four-course dining experience for eight of your family or friends in one of Graylyn's private dining rooms, as well as a two-hour premium open bar service. And to the host, we know it's a lot of work planning a party, we invite you to stay the night. It's on the house!

Contact Graylyn Reservations for more information on these packages, 800-472-9596 or learn more here.

Click here to request your New Year's Packages online. 

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Monday, November 3, 2014

Chef Rollins' Hearty Tomato Bisque, Perfect For Chilly Winter Nights!

This is the perfect heart-warming soup for those chilly winter days. Tangy roasted tomatoes paired with smoky bacon and cheesey croutons will have your tastebuds screaming for more. 

Tomato bisque is one of Chef Rollins' favorite soups to make in the winter time. He often serves it for lunch or dinner at Graylyn, so stop by and be sure to try it! 

Hearty Tomato Bisque Soup with Cheese Croutons
Serves 6
Prep Time 45mins

Cook Time 60 mins

• 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 1 onion, chopped
• 1 carrot, chopped
• 1 stalk celery, chopped
• 4 cloves garlic, minced
• 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
• 4 slices of bacon
• 5 cups chicken broth
• 1 (28-ounce) can whole, peeled tomatoes (with liquid), roughly chopped
• 3 parsley sprigs
• 3 fresh thyme sprigs
• 1 bay leaf
• 1 cup heavy cream
• 1 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
• Freshly ground black pepper
• 6 baguette slices

• 1⁄4 cup shredded parmesan cheese


Heat the butter in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring, until crisp 
and most of the fat has rendered, about 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper 
towel-lined plate and set aside. Lower the heat to medium, add the onion, carrots, celery, and garlic and 
cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until soft and fragrant, about 8 minutes.

Stir in the flour and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Pour in the broth and tomatoes and bring to a boil while 
whisking constantly. Tie the parsley sprigs, thyme, and bay leaf together with a piece of kitchen twine and 
add to the pot. Lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

When the soup base is cool, remove and discard the herb bundle. Working in batches, transfer the mixture 
to a blender and puree until smooth. Using a sieve over a large bowl, strain the tomato puree. Return the 
puree to the pot and reheat over medium heat.

Butter baguette lightly, sprinkle with parmesan cheese and toast until golden brown.

Whisk the heavy cream and salt into the soup and season with pepper to taste. Divide among warm soup 
bowls, garnish with cheese croutons, and serve immediately.

Chef Greg Rollins

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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Support The Home Team - Graylyn International Conference Center

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