Friday, December 3, 2010

Holiday Gift Giving Ideas

Tis the season for giving! And giving, and giving, and giving. With Christmas gift lists getting longer each holiday, it becomes harder to come up with original, creative ideas for presents for each person on your list. Instead of buying your in-laws another dishtowel set, or getting your neighbors another pack of napkin rings, how about surprising them with a delicious bottle of their favorite wine or spirit?

Wine

Wine makes a fantastic gift for business associates, neighbors, family members, coworkers and anyone else who may be on your list this year! Bringing a bottle of wine as a gift for the host of a holiday party demonstrates thoughtfulness and appreciation. Ask your host what's on the menu so you can find a wine that will pair well with dinner or dessert.

Bold, aromatic red wines are the most popular choice for the winter season, so it's usually a safe bet to select a Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Malbec, Shiraz or Merlot. There's no need to break the bank purchasing wines for everyone on your gift list. DrinkUpNY stocks a huge selection of wines from around the world, many starting at just $10. Browse our wines by price or by type to find the perfect match for your holiday festivities. We recommend Hayman & Hill "Reserve Selection" Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley, California), Bodega Catena Zapata "Catena" Malbec (Mendoza, Argentina) and Otto's Constant Dream Syrah (Hawkes Bay, New Zealand). Another great choice is Dupeuble Beaujolais Nouveau (Burgundy, France), an exceptional Gamay available exclusively during the holiday season.

If you would like to purchase a more expensive gift for someone special in your life, we recommend Tensley Wines "Colson Canyon Vineyard" Santa Barbara Syrah (South Central Coast, California), Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon (Sonoma, California), and Domaine Huber-Verdereau Volnay (Burgundy, France).

We also recommend stocking up on Champagne, because no New Year's party is complete without it! Try Krug Grande Cuvee Brut, if you want to splurge, or De Montoux Rose and Gosset Brut "Excellence" which are more moderately priced. We also offer many fantastic sparkling wine options that retain the festive, bubbly allure of Champagne but stay within budget. We enjoy Carpene Malvolti Prosecco di Conegliano (Veneto, Italy) and Gramona Gran Cuvee Cava (Catalonia, Spain)!

Cider

One of the quintessential holiday beverages, cider is featured prominently in holiday cocktails and has long been a popular beverage for the winter season. While sweet ciders can be enjoyed as an aperitif or paired with dessert, dry ciders are usually recommended for most holiday cocktails, such as the cider martini. For an interesting alternative to your typical apple cider, try Doc's Draft Hard Raspberry Cider (New York) or Original Sin Pear Cider (California)!

Spirits

While numerous spirits are great as gifts, it's always best if you know what the recipient prefers. If not, try to select a smooth, warming spirit that suits the season, such as brandy, whiskey or rum. We have selected a variety of spirits from different price points to not only suit the palate, but also the wallet!

Whiskey

A staple of any home bar, whiskey is popular year round, but is especially suited for the holiday season. There are many different types of whiskey, but here are a few gift options to get you started: Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon, Compass Box "Flaming Heart" Blended Scotch, Connemara Cask Strength Peated Single Malt Irish Whiskey and High West Very Rare 21 Year Old Straight Rye.

Brandy

After coming home from a freezing winter day it's great to settle down by the fire (or radiator) with a rich, warming glass of brandy. Treat your friends and family to Chateau de Pellehaut Reserve Tenareze Armagnac, Bache-Gabrielsen "Natur & Eleganse" VSOP Cognac, Germain-Robin "Coast Road Reserve" Craft-Method California Brandy or Laird's Old Apple Brandy.

Rum

Although a popular ingredient in summer cocktails, rum is suitable for year-round enjoyment. Many rums are both delicious and inexpensive, but there are a few that make quite exceptional gifts:

Black Tot "Last Consignment" British Royal Naval Rum - A unique piece of history and a rare find for collectors, this bottle contains some of the last remaining rum from the rations of the British Navy.

Ron Zacapa XO Solera Grand Reserve - This excellent Guatemalan rum is the perfect combination of sweetness, spice and fruit.

Don't forget to visit our Holiday Gift Guide for even more great ideas! We hope you have a very happy holiday and a wonderful New Year!

Cheers!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Stocking Your Bar for the Holidays

The holiday season is rushing towards us faster than Santa’s sleigh and before you can say “Ho Ho Ho” it will be that time of year – the time for giving, the time for family, and of course, the time for parties! If you spend the period from November to January careening between family get-togethers, friends’ parties and other festivities, chances are you will need to make sure your house is stocked full of goodies so that guests don’t go home hungry or thirsty!

Whether you host parties, or simply attend them, it is important to make sure you have a fully stocked bar for the holiday season. For those hosting parties this season, a bar replete with drinks will keep guests happy and the enjoyment lasting well into the night! For those attending parties, wine and spirits are perfect holiday gifts, so stay tuned for our holiday gift-giving guide within the next few weeks!

Holiday Essentials

Winter wines and spirits will be popular and in high demand, especially holiday drinks such as Mulled Wine, Cider and Eggnog. Be sure to prep your kitchen and bar with the ingredients to make these holiday essentials as guests are sure to look for them!

Eggnog:
Eggs, milk, cream, bourbon, sugar, brandy & nutmeg
(We recommend Four Roses Straight Bourbon Whiskey & Bache-Gabrielsen 3 Kors Fine Cognac)

Cider:
Brandy, honey, cinnamon, apple cider, orange juice, spices & lemon
(We recommend Laird's Bottled in Bond Straight Apple Brandy)

Mulled Wine:
Red wine (Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot works best), orange, brandy, cloves, honey, cinnamon & ginger
(We recommend Wyatt Cabernet Sauvignon or Raphael Estate Merlot & Menorval Calvados Prestige)

Irish Coffee:
Coffee, Irish cream, cream, & nutmeg or cinnamon
(We recommend Molly's Irish Cream)

It is important to keep a supply of other liquors as some guests may not enjoy these seasonal drinks and will prefer other cocktails. A few excellent cocktails for the winter season include:

Manhattan:
Old Overholt Straight Rye Whiskey & Noilly Prat Original French Sweet Vermouth

White Christmas:
La Clandestine Absinthe, Le Vigne di Alice Prosecco & St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram

Mocha Mint:
Fair Cafe Liqueur, Marie Brizard White Mint Liqueur & Marie Brizard Creme de Coco Brown

Browse our cocktail combos or purchase one of our books for even more cocktail recipes!

Stock Up!

Many cocktails require fresh ingredients that require a trip to the supermarket. While it is always important to pick up some of the more popular mixers such as orange juice and soda, it is also a good idea to stock up on garnishes to complete the look of your cocktail. While some recipes call for slightly unusual garnishes, some of the more popular ones are olives, lemons, limes, and Maraschino cherries, so try to keep them handy. You will be sure to impress your guests with your bartending skills!

We know that the upcoming season is a hectic time of year for many people, but DrinkUpNY is here to help you through it! Check back soon for our holiday wine recommendations, as well as advice on how to select the perfect wine to accompany your meal!