Tired of bringing just another bottle of wine to the party - why not give your friends something to comfort them all winter long?
Chris Huber, the liquor guy at Sorella Wine & Spirits, brought out his hefty drink book for me when I visited the store last week. (He'll bring out the book for you, too, just ask!) We thumbed through mixed drink recipes and then walked around the store so he could show me what drinks are hot sellers when it gets so cold outside.
Huber says in the winter, people drink more of what they like, adding alcohol to other drinks. What he likes is honey liqueur, which he adds to his hot cocoa. He recommends Barenjager ($20.49, 750 mL) a vodka- based honey liqueur. He says it's also good in warm milk. Another of his picks is Appelkorn ($17.99, 750 mL), which you can add to your apple cider. (Getting the idea, yet? It's a little like the Chinese fortune cookie game except instead of adding the words in bed, you add the word liqueur. So - I'd like warm milk with honey becomes 'I'd like warm milk with honey' liqueur. I'd like apple cider becomes 'I'd like apple liqueur cider.' Fun, isn't it?)
Huber says popular sellers this time of year include Jagermeister, which people drink from flasks on ski trips and hay rides (if you know of such hay rides, let me know!), and chocolate liqueurs like Godiva, that people add to their coffee. Other popular winter picks are almond-flavored amaretto (Lazzaroni, $17.49, 750 mL) and hazelnut-flavored frangelico. A new product getting attention is Trader Vic's macadamia liqueur ($15.99, 750 mL).
Huber's most helpful tip was in the realm of champagne mixed drinks. Now usually the bubbly is so expensive, you wouldn't want to mix it with another drink. But, Huber recommends using the Spanish version of champagne called cava, which is far cheaper (Cristalino, $8.99). It's a little less crisp than champagne proper, but still is bubbly and goes well with the raspberry-based liqueur, chambord. Huber recommends ¼ parts liqueur to ¾ parts cava.
And you? I know you've got holiday drinks worth recommending. Come on, spill!