The Bottles Team
Personally, New Year’s Eve has evolved from a whirlwind of party hopping to a quiet evening with a few friends and neighbors at home. I’ve substituted long bar lines and waiting for cabs in the frigid cold with a home cooked meal, a selection of ridiculous board games, and a few crowd-pleasing drinks.
For cocktails, I am loving the Bittermilk Tom Collins with Elderflower & Hops, a fantastic syrup from South Carolina that has a permanent home in my fridge. I pair the St. George High Rye Gin with the Bittermilk to create a quick cocktail that is light and citrusy with a nice bitter, hoppy note. For a non-alcoholic version, substitute the wonderfully tart Fentiman’s Victorian Lemonade in place of the gin.
Tom Collins with Elderflower & Hops
1 part St. George High Rye Gin
1 part Bittermilk No. 2 – Tom Collins with Elderflower & Hops
1 part soda water
Combine all ingredients in a tall glass filled with ice. Stir, and garnish with a cucumber.
Instead of wines, I like to switch up the menu and use a small gathering as an opportunity to share a few bottles of delicious craft beers. Last year I served a magnum of St. Bernardus Abt 12 vintage 2012 – a wonderful Belgian Quadrupel that is dark, strong and malty. Once the bottle was drained it became a lovely photo prop! We also had Arrogant Bastard 3 Liter bottles and Corsendonk Christmas Ale 3 Liters.
Since we started with a Belgian beer, let’s continue the trend in this year’s menu:
De Glazen Toren Saison d’Erpe Mere
A Belgian beer to the core, saisons are my favorite because of their effervescence, malt and spice notes. The Glass Tower brewery is dedicated to crafting only a handful of beers and their attention to detail is present with every sip. Check out their website’s food pairing section – especially a fondue recipe that includes a splash of saison to this triple crown of cheese heaven – Gruyère, Appenzeller and Emmental!
Houblon Chouffe Belgian Tripel IPA
My lovely gnome friend will satisfy your hop head friends and remind your guests about David the Gnome’s fantastical adventures with his friend Swift. A Belgian tripel with banana esters and a backbone of hops, the slightly bitter finish will leave you smiling and wondering how the gnome did it again!
Brasserie Dupont Monk’s Stout
Known for their saisons, Dupont created a stout that is not at all heavy like some of it’s friends on our stout shelf. By December 31st, I have almost reached my dessert quota so a rich, creamy stout is the last thing on my mind. Instead I turn to this enjoyable dry, low ABV stout to pair with the last of the holiday cookies and pies.
Once upon a time at Allagash brewery, a whole batch of Allagash tripel was ready to be bottled, but sadly due to a customs delay, the empty bottles from Belgium were held up in transit. Not wanting to waste the beer, Allagash decided to place the tripel in some Jim Beam casks that were waiting to be used to age a darker beer, like their popular dubbel. The result – a fantastic tripel with caramel and vanilla notes, aged for eight weeks and then blended with some fresh tripel.
Okay, okay, what’s New Year’s Eve without Champagne? At midnight, or 11:30 pm, I’ll be cracking open a bottle of Moët & Chandon Imperial to toast to 2015!
Cheers & Happy 2015!
There is no other category of wine in the store that can do or say so much than Sparkling Wine! Regardless of price, a glass of bubbly is the best way to start any occasion. The ‘pop’ of the cork is the official sound of party time, and perfectly sets the tone of any gathering. Not only is sparkling wine delicious and one of the most versatile wines for food pairing, but also is the perfect way to say Thank You, I love you or Congratulations!
With so many choices, names and styles it can be difficult to pick a sparkling wine that suits your occasion or meal. We’ve simplified your decision making process by creating a list of our Top 9 Sparkling Wines for this holiday season. Cheers!
Pol Roger Champagne – Good enough to be served at Kate and William’s royal wedding so it’s definitely good enough for any occasion at your home. Classic Champagne with plenty of structure and delicious complex flavors.
Charles de Fère Blanc de Blancs – Made in the same style as Champagne, but much less expensive. Made with 100% Chardonnay, it’s light and lively but has a deep and complex toastiness that makes it a great value.
Ca’ Furlan Prosecco – Our most popular wine in the store! Beautiful and crisp and a perfect pairing with party time! Superb value!
Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs – California’s premier sparkling wine producer and often poured at the White House for fancy state dinners. Packed with gorgeous tropical fruit flavors, fresh green apple, roasted nuts and a long creamy finish. Also available in a 1.5L!
Mercat Cava Brut – Beautiful Cava in a beautiful package. Aromas of creamy pear and apple burst out of the glass coupled with flavors of papaya and hints of toasted hazelnuts. So good!
Egly-Ouriet ‘Brut Tradition Grand Cru’ Champagne – The King of the ‘Grower Champagnes’! Made by the same people that grow the grapes, this is an absolute sleeper of a Champagne. Dry, perhaps even austere, with some much complexity of flavor that you’ll be thinking of it for days after.
Mionetto Brut Prosecco – Perhaps the most iconic Prosecco in the world! Intensely fruity aromas – very dry, fresh, light in body and well-balanced. Perfect alone as an aperitif or as a complement to appetizers. Also excellent as a base for Bellinis and other sparkling wine cocktails.
Möet & Chandon Imperial Brut Champagne – So much elegance and complexity wrapped up in one bottle! Vibrant intensity of green apples and citrus fruits, freshness of mineral nuances and white flowers and elegance of brioche and fresh roasted nuts.
Chandon Rosé – A dramatic sparkling wine from California! Deep pink color with intense ripe strawberry, juicy watermelon and fresh red cherry fruit flavors and aromas. A very creamy and seductive wine that is bold and sure to make a big impact at any occasion.