Let's Talk About Holiday Spirits

As the weather cools, why not take comfort in some of these classic holiday treats!

1. Eggnog
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, nog was "a kind of strong beer brewed in East Anglia." In Britain, the drink was popular mainly among the aristocracy. Fresh milk, eggs, sherry, cinnamon, and nutmeg were foods of the wealthy, so eggnog was often used in toasts to prosperity and good health. The drink crossed the Atlantic to the British colonies during the 18th century. Since brandy and wine were heavily taxed, rum from the Caribbean was a cost-effective substitute. The inexpensive liquor, coupled with plentiful farm and dairy products available to colonists, helped the drink become very popular in America.
2. Mulled Wine
Mulled wine is very popular and traditional in the United Kingdom and the United States at Christmas. In contemporary culture, there is no specific recipe for mulled wine and the spices involved in its recipe. It is commonly a combination of orange, lemon, cinnamon, nutmeg, fennel seed (or star anise), cloves, cardamom, and ginger. The spices may be combined and boiled in a sugar syrup before red wine is added, heated, and served. Variations include adding brandy or ginger wine. A tea bag of spices can be added to the wine, which is heated along with slices of orange as a convenient alternative to a full recipe. Mulled wine is often served in small porcelain or glass mugs, sometimes with an orange slice garnish studded with cloves.
3. Coffee Liqueur
Coffee and alcohol are two of the most popular beverages on the planet, so combining them is just common sense. The two main mass-produced selections are Kahlua and Tia Maria. Other companies produce coffee-flavored varieties of their mainstay liquor (e.g. Baileys has a coffee-flavored Irish cream), but these are the two true coffee liqueurs. If you’re interested in less widely produced coffee liqueurs, we recommend searching for Firelit. It may be difficult to find in some areas, but it’s worth the effort. Firelit is made with small-batch, freshly roasted coffee that’s brewed as a cold-brew, and brandy. It’s stronger, both in flavor and alcohol content, than Kahlua.
4. Irish Cream
When most people think of Irish cream, they think of Baileys. It's a light caramel color with a pleasantly smooth cream flavor, light hints of cocoa, and a whiskey kick. You can find it for about $22 per liter, but some lesser-known brands like Carolan's and St. Brendan's can hold their own for a couple bucks less. Baileys is the top-selling liqueur in the world, so you won't have trouble finding it.
5. Champagne Cocktail
According to master mixologist Dale DeGroff, this is one of the few original cocktails that appeared in the first (1862) version of the seminal How to Mix Drinks by Jerry Thomas. The recipe has remained unchanged for 150 years1. To make, in a small dish or glass, soak a sugar cube with the Angostura bitters. Fill a chilled flute with the Champagne, then add the bitters-soaked sugar cube. Garnish the drink with a lemon twist. A true classic!

Whether you favor a creamy liqueur or a crisp cocktail, there is a holiday spirit for everyone. From all of us here at Liquor ‘n’ Wine, we hope these drinks bring you bliss and good cheer. Any one of these drinks will be a hit at your holiday feast. Happy Holidays!

1 http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/champagne-cocktail
Wednesday November 29th, 2017