Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Holiday Sauce

It's already mid-November and we're knee deep in Christmas bazaars, so I want to know...

What do you drink during the holidays?

In Hong Kong there is no shortage of events, and during the Christmas season the party revs up a little later, a little harder, and a lot boozier.  What gets your party started?  Here is my humble list of winter favorites.  And this should go without saying, this is of course, a list of entirely alcoholic beverages.

For me there are several holiday classics.  My number one go to has got to be chocolate wine.  And by that, I mean the best alcoholic beverage in the entire world; BAILEYS.

One sip of Baileys and memories of shaking presents under the multicolor lights of the Christmas tree, Miss America competitions with JoAnn, toe nail painting on the floor with my mom and sister come flooding to my mind. Baileys is a staple under the McPhate Christmas tree, and a staple for Christmas.  And it couldn't be simplier; Baileys + ice.  DONE.

No winter would be complete without some deliciously warm, deliciously intoxicating mulled wine.  Vinchaud.  Gluhwein. Glogg. Whatever you call it, it's fantastic.  Take the cheapest thing you can find warm it up with some orange zest, nutmeg, cinnamon.  If you're feeling fancy toss in some whole vanilla bean.  Feeling boozy? Top it off with some Bourbon.  This is the epitome of Christmas in a cup (goblet?).

Along the same lines, albeit much more American, is another classic; hot spiced cider.   Cider + cinnamon + cloves + rum + allspice = something reminiscent of childhood yet with a twist of sinister.  Other warmed beverages include hot buttered rum (another McPhate family favorite), Irish coffee (whiskey and coffee), Spanish coffee (Tia Maria, rum, coffee), hot todday (hot tea, lemon, and whiskey), Wassail (apple cider, cranberry juice, brandy, honey, orange zest).
Now available premade!

Eggnog.  What American Christmas would be complete with a frothy cup of milk, cream, egg, and Bourbon? I myself love a cup, but one is the limit because these bad boys can pack in as many as 400 calories per cup. 

A poll through the office indicates another Christmas favorite; Guinness.  Guess who chose that? That's right, the Paddy's of the office favor a hefty pint over any frou frou warmed anything.  And why not pair that holiday pint with a holiday beer cake.  Try this one.

Of course no holiday, and certainly no New Year's celebration, would be the same without a little bubbly.   Some options for this holiday include:  Champagne (France), Prosecco (Italy), Cava (Spain), Cremant (France), and don't forget about the new world.  Notably, sparkling Shiraz from Australia and sparkling Chardonnay from Cali.

Not sold on bubbles yet?  Try something slightly sparkling and slightly sweet.   Subtle, light, low alcohol, Moscato d'Asti is the perfect introduction to wine.  I highly recommned our new arrival Carlin de Paolo Moscato d'Asti 2011 DOCG for it's honey and organge blossom flavors.

And finally a European Christmas favorite; dessert wines!  Most popularly Sauternes.  This Bordeaux dessert wine is the perfect poaching liquid for pears, but let's be real, we just want a glass to the dome.  Lush, indulgent, deliciously infected with noble rot to get the utmost concentrated and lasting flavor. 

So there you go ho ho.  My 2012 holiday booze guide.  Happy drinking!

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