Why Columbia is becoming a big deal for restaurants and bars

Why Columbia is becoming a big deal for restaurants and bars

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Columbia’s booming restaurant and beverage industry continues to excel. An influx of food festivals, high-end restaurants, cocktail bars have cropped up, putting “Soda City” on the map for foodies.

People like Kat Hunter, named one of SWAAY magazines’s “most influential women behind the bar," are taking their creativity and passion and putting it into delicious experiences.

Kat says her specific cocktail creativity comes from a lot of antiques. “I actually moved here with the intent of doing a duel degree – social work and law. I used to go a lot of antique shops and I’d find old recipe books – even just cookbooks which have cocktail recipes in the back....I started just finding these weird old books with wood covers, leather covers – people had written their own recipes from their homes. I became fascinated with collecting them."

Bourbon, just one example of many restaurants stepping up their game, also does theme weeks to draw in customers, but also to show off their talented chefs and menu flexibility. A changing population Kat says, is expanding the horizons of many customers. “Seeing how Columbia has changed so much since I’ve moved here. It’s just blossomed. It’s wonderful because so many different people are now coming into the area, staying, and making it so much better – it’s opening up.”

We had a chance to hangout with Kat and have her make one of her signature “Tiki Week” (running now through February 3rd) cocktails.



2 oz. of Woodford Reserve Rye

2 oz. of coconut cream

1/2 oz. of Averna

1/2 oz. of Vietnamese cinnamon syrup

1 tsp. of matcha powder

2 drops of birdseye chili bitters

4 shakes of mole bitters


Fill cocktail shaker with ingredients, in order.

Add crushed ice to cocktail shaker and shake vigorously for 15 seconds.

Strain drink into glass.

Add large ice cubes.

Top with crushed ice.

Garnish with aloe leaves, cinnamon sticks and tropical flowers.


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