Since the Cotton House opened in Cleveland, Mississippi, at the end of July, business has already been booming. That’s partly because, as Cleveland’s first and only boutique hotel, it provides a wealth of charm and Southern hospitality to the little Delta town. It’s also thanks to chef Cole Ellis, who helms both the Delta Meat Market downstairs—a refreshed, larger iteration of the original location across the street that garnered him a James Beard nod for Best Chefs in America in 2017—and the brand-new Bar Fontaine on the rooftop.
This rooftop perch’s food offerings—small plates such as rosemary focaccia with whipped ricotta and pasta dishes like fettucine tossed with brussels sprouts and peppers—have a southern European flare, but the drinks stay true to Mississippi. “The bar manager, Matthew McCain, and I started playing around with the idea of having our drinks menu incorporate Delta-style names and local ingredients,” Ellis says. He recommends the Rail Car—Four Roses bourbon, cane syrup, and pecan smoked lemon—or this lemon, basil, and vodka concoction made with Jackson, Mississippi’s Cathead vodka that’s refreshing enough to beat the end-of-summer heat even in the so-called most Southern place on earth.