Ace mixologist Randy Layman serves up a holiday drink at Ace

At Ace, Randy Layman knows how to serve drinks...and ping pong.Whether it's a night at the Nutcracker, a performance of Handel's Messiah, or old-time caroling with friends, we all have our favorite holiday traditions. For Randy Layman, bartender at Ace, which I review this week, Christmas Eve wouldn't be the same without the Italian cookies known as pizzelles. "Every year my grandma Patty makes pizzelle cookies for us to snack on while we wait for dinner to be ready," he shared. "My twin brother, Ryan, and I would eat our fair share and then some, stuffing ourselves before the real meal began. Thirty-two-yearsold and I still haven't learned my lesson -- Grandma Patty's pizzelles are the first thing I look for when I get to their house!"

See also: - Ace scores with action, drinks and decor; food is a tie game - Photos: Behind the scenes at Ace - Behind the Bar with Randy Layman at Avenue Grill (and now Ace)

For a new tradition to add to your list of favorites, consider making this Christmas cocktail, poured now at Ace. The Little Things Recipe courtesy of Randy Layman

2 ounces Bulleit bourbon ½ ounce Carpano Antica sweet vermouth ½ ounce Benedictine Barspoon Sambuca

Stir all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a flamed orange peel.

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Gretchen Kurtz has worked as a writer for 25 years; during that time she's stomped grapes in Napa, eaten b'stilla in Fez, and baked with Buddy Valastro, aka the Cake Boss. Her work has appeared in publications including Boulevard (Paris), Diversion, the New York Times and Westword. Our restaurant critic since 2012, she loves helping you decide where to eat and drink tonight.
Contact: Gretchen Kurtz