Sip & Savor

Southern Cuisine History: She Crab Soup

She Crab Soup has been a Southern signature dish for decades, bringing warm, rich flavor to kitchen tables throughout Charleston. 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, try to recreate the Palmetto Cafe’s She Crab Soup with Sherry, or come in and try it for yourself!



Traditional She Crab Soup with Sherry, from the Palmetto Cafe

Yellow Onion (minced)
Celery (minced)
Bay Leaf
Thyme (chopped)
Dry Sherry
Milk (cold)
Heavy Cream (cold)
Lobster Stock
Crab Roe (minced)
Salt and Pepper
2 oz
2 oz
3 oz
3 oz
1 small leaf
1 tsp
1 oz
3 c
1 oz
2½ c
1 ½ oz
4 oz
To taste
To taste


In a heavy gauge pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and cook the mixture constantly stirring to a golden straw color (appx. 7 minutes). Add the onion, celery, thyme and bay leaf and continue cooking for another 10 minutes. Add the milk, cream and half of the lobster stock. Cook 20 minutes. Add the minced crab roe to the remaining lobster stock and combine it with the sherry. Add this mixture along with the nutmeg and seasonings to the rest of the soup. Cook for 10 minutes. Add the crabmeat and cook an additional 5 minutes. Garnish with fresh crabmeat mixed with chopped thyme. This recipe serves 6 to 8 people, bon appétit!

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Sip & Savor

Oak Barreled Cocktails at Thoroughbred Club

Just in time for cold and flu season, two barrel aged cocktails are set to make their debut here at Charleston Place. Guaranteed to warm you to the core, these classic cocktails are currently being featured at the Thoroughbred Club, located in the lobby of Charleston Place Hotel.

Barrel aged cocktails have been growing in popularity since 2009, when a London bartender was credited with putting aside a few casks of brown water to set a sell. Here at Charleston Place, our very own master mixologist, Malachi Topping, is experimenting with oaky aging to add his own flare on these classic cocktails. Using two, two- liter casks behind the bar, Topping mixed Famous Grouse with Tennessee Honey and Irish Whiskey with Carpano Antica Vermouth, then let them age for three months. His first two creations include a throat-warming Scotch and Honey, plus a smooth Old Fashioned.

To make your own version of the Old Fashioned, follow Topping’s recipe below or just stop in to try the barrel aged liquors for yourself.

Old Fashioned:
2.5oz Bourbon Whiskey
0.5oz Fresh Lemon Juice
1 dash of Fee Brothers Orange Bitters
0.25oz Laphroaig 10yr Isley Scotch
Orange Twist for Garnish

Rinse a chilled coupe with Laphroaig 10yr Islay Scotch and discard the excess. Squeeze the orange twist into the glass to release its oils. Run the twist around the rim, twist and place on the side of the glass. Combine the Whiskey, Fresh Lemon Juice and Bitters in an ice filled mixing glass. Stir 30 times.* Strain into glass, serve and enjoy.

*This is not an arbitrary number. The number of stirs changes the amount of water added to the cocktail which impacts the flavor and mouth feel. A drink that is stirred properly will have a rich, silky texture and be less watered down.

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