Drinking Your Way Through The Holidays

Drinking Your Way Through The Holidays

No Judgments Here …

cover photos by Dawn Garcia
[dropcap letter=”T”]he holidays are a time for decorating, gift giving, family gatherings, friends … all of which lead to that crafty spell only a proper drink could remedy. Now sure, you might be one of the lucky ones who has loving, warm, super accepting family that is all smiles and good cheer but for some of us, the holidays mean taking a deep breath and hoping we make it through the season without losing our minds or breaking up with our relatives!

Picture if you will walking into your estranged family’s designated holiday celebratory spot. It’s that moment where you hesitate to walk in – it’s an alcohol free zone. Good thing you’re clever enough to bring your “special” cup. Yes, we condone ingesting a good libation or five while the throes of holiday pressures loom. And when you arrive, come bearing extras … every cousin, grandparent, sibling, and new boyfriend/girlfriend will thank you.

Below is a holiday gift list for you to share with others – and – for you to go ahead and enjoy all for yourself.

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Nothing makes me quite as happy as the warmth and smokiness of a damn fine tequila. From Volcan De Mi Tierra that quite literally rose from the ashes – volcanic ashes at that – to the refinement of 1821 Extra Añejo Tequila with a clean, smooth finish, your holidays will be nice and cozy and should you give them as gifts, you might score some genuinely “favorite family member” points.

Volcan De Mi Tierra Blanco ($40) | 1821 Extra Añejo Tequila ($150)
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Like a perfect piece of freshly made apple pie, sweetness oozing over the top, scotch and whiskey go down with deep provocative notes of caramel, leather and sherry with remnants of chocolate. No matter how evolved or new your palate is, these three choices will have you tasting everything from dirt and earth to intoxicating finishes that remind you that you are as sophisticated as you want to be. They also happen to be rather impressive bottles to bestow on those in need a sultry escape.

Laphroaig ($44.50) | MacCallan 12 ($68) | Writer’s Tears ($125)
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Liquid courage: Martinis, Bloody Mary’s, Vodka Tonics, or a few holiday creations of your own imagination – these things make the stress of the holidays more manageable. Just don’t go crazy … can’t have any Bad Santa stories! That said, we reached out to our mixologist friend, Jesse Cortez at Bedlam Vodka ($23) for some tasty cocktail recipes that will keep the festivities alive through the rest of winter. Thank them by buying a bottle.

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1.5oz Bedlam Vodka
.5oz Grand Marnier
.75oz Demerara Syrup (2:1)
1/2 Lime quartered
10 cranberries

Muddle cranberries then lime in a cocktail shaker. Add remaining ingredients along with ice and shake till sufficiently chilled. Pour entire contents into a rocks glass and enjoy.

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1.5oz Bedlam
.5oz Apple Cider Simple Syrup
.5oz Fresh Lemon Juice
Top w/ Fevertree Ginger Beer
Add all ingredients except ginger beer to a shaker with ice. Shake briefly and pour over ice. Top with Ginger Beer and garnish with a mint sprig and apple slice.
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1.5oz Bedlam Vodka
.5oz Montenegro Amaro
4oz Eggnog
Add all ingredients to a shaker with ice. Shake till sufficiently chilled and pour over ice. Garnish with grated nutmeg, cinnamon, and pumpkin spice blend.
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1.5oz Bedlam Vodka
.5oz Grand Marnier
.75oz Demerara Simple Syrup
10 fresh cranberries
1/2 lime quarter and muddled
Muddle Cranberries and Lime in the bottom of a cocktail shaker. Add other ingredient with ice and shake till sufficiently chilled. Pour contents into a rocks glass.
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It can be said that pirates had a fine reason to go through barrels of rum with reckless abandon. Truth is, the sugar cane based spirit is one that makes you happy the minute you smell it! With notes of molasses and the unraveling of time, rum has a certain beauty to it that invokes much needed celebration. Recently having spent time in the Dominican Republic (the perfect winter escape I may add), I learned the art of sipping a good rum any time of day. Two of my favorite DR rums are Brugal and Ron Barcélo but venturing outside of the D.R., I was recently introduced to a new rum: Parce Rum from the gorgeous country of Colombia (next on our list of places to travel to). Parce is aged eight years (there is a twelve-year too) and has a really sweet, calming taste with notes of caramelized sugar, coconut, and even a bit of grass that finishes with the beautiful happiness Colombians are known for. Plus for every bottle purchased, they plant a tree in the rainforest so should you have needed one more reason to drink, now you can say its philanthropic. Win, win.

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Nothing says beer like a commemorative one that has a story that honors following your dreams. In Ireland, Guinness is the one tried and true beer just about EVERYONE drinks but recently we had the pleasure of getting to the heart of some serious history – and – tasting a swell of beers from them that won us all over. Known for their perfect froth on tap, Guinness recently celebrated 200 years with a special homage to its first introduction to the American market back in 1817 with the release of Guinness 200.  Not only are the graphics on the can cool (thanks to artist John Gilroy from the 1940s), this is a look at a piece of American history that the Irish helped us create. So in the words of the Irish, Sláinte chugat! Now go get yourself a beer … and yes, its holiday worthy.

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With thousands and thousands of wines to love, and bubbles making a major comeback, its impossible to narrow down out choices so instead of adding to the stress of consumerism, we’ve just picked two we think you ought to celebrate with. One – a dedication to every storyteller imaginable that taste big and bold and goes down easy, especially when inspiration desperately needs to strike. The other, a recommendation from our friend Chef Vartan Abgaryan at 71Above (a fantastic restaurant in DTLA you HAVE to go to!) that is not only lovely and pourable, but available at Trader Joes! This particular Brut is light, airy, crisp and perfect to begin or end an adventure.

Storyteller “Got Away” Cabernet Sauvignon $20 or less | Schramsberg ($26 Trader Joe’s)