But there are options other than red wine to bring to a holiday party
For some if not most, the holidays are a time of parties, events, dinners and celebrations of all kinds. You never want to show up empty-handed, but there has to be something other than that stock bottle of Turning Leaf merlot you use in all instances.
Here, then, is a rundown of the perfect beverage to complement each occasion.
Gewurtztraminer. If you’re going to bring wine anyway, why not try a beautiful, floral white which goes perfectly with everything from lump crab hors d’oeuvres to turkey dinners to dessert pies?
– Perfect for: Dinner parties where you aren’t sure what’s being served, or get-togethers with lots of passed appetizers. (If you spill white wine, it won’t ruin the furniture like a red.)
– Can’t-go-wrong choices: Consider one of the many delicious classics from Alsace, the traditional birthplace of Gewurtz: Hugel Gentil ($13, available at Kroger and other retailers) for nice, casual acquaintances; Schlumberger Fleur ($24, available at Sigel’s), for close friends or those you want to impress.
Designer vodka. The tofu of alcoholic mixers it takes on the characteristics of its companions in the glass vodka is the most versatile of liquors, but it rises or falls on its smoothness. There are countless designer versions available that appeal to those with idiosyncratic tastes.
– Perfect for: That especially picky friend who knows his vodkas and appreciates someone who puts thought into a choice, or that new couple who need to stock up their inventory in a new wet bar.
– Can’t-go-wrong choices: Consider something fancy like a SKYY90 gift set ($90, available only online at Alpha-man.com) with delicate barware to really set the tone of giving. Or try the unusual, delicious Ciroc, which is made from grapes ($28, available at Sigel’s).
High-end tequila. If you’re going to a party with a south-of-the-border theme, you can try bringing the traditional Mexican Christmas delicacy of tamales. But instead, why not take something to wash them down with, like a fine tequila?
– Perfect for: Wild, non-traditional parties with a hip crowd who prefer shots to sips or native Mexicans who know a little something about how to enjoy this most potent of clear liquors.
– Can’t-go-wrong choice: The hand-crafted Partida Blanco ($46.50, available at Goody Goody) has a balanced, surprisingly fruity aroma.
Sweet rum. The sweetest potable (also available with spicy undertones) is versatile mixer that begs for an umbrella and who doesn’t appreciate versatility?
– Perfect for: Housewarming parties, mojito lovers or friends who prefer elaborate mixed drinks over the basic wine spritzers and vodka-and-cranberry.
– Can’t-go-wrong choice: Cane 10 Rum ($30 for a one-liter bottle, available at Goody Goody) which is distilled from cane sugar, not molasses is one of the purest versions of Cuba’s greatest contribution to cocktail culture.
Fancy scotch. Scotch is more than just whisky it is whisky with its source in the Highlands of Scotland. Knowing something about scotch tells people you’re a connoisseur of the finer things in life.
– Perfect for: Elegant or wealthy friends a good bottle is a great gift for the person who has everything or parties where guests will be expected to linger over drinks, cigars and conversation, not dancing to loud music.
– Can’t-go-wrong choices: Macallen 10 years single malt ($39, available at Goody Goody) blends terrifically with cointreau and lime juice for a signature drink, and Glenlivet newly-released Nadurra ($48, available at Goody Goody), aged 16 years and 114 proof, is sure to lubricate any social setting.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, October 20, 2006.