Get in the Spirits for Holiday Celebrations

By: manne

Top with whipped cream
Dust with cocoa powder

The holidays are almost upon us, and that mean sties the season for parties with coworkers, dinners with families, get-togethers with close friends and quiet nights by the fireside with loved ones. If you’re planning to do some entertaining, do everyone a favor and look beyond the traditional spiked eggnog and hot buttered rum. There are some better options; so here are a few suggestions to warm your belly and fill your guests with holiday cheer.

Some Like it Hot

On a cold winter day, there are few things better than a steaming mug of coffee, hot chocolate or mulled cider served with chestnuts or biscotti besides a roaring fire. Put some fire in the mug by adding one ounce approximately a shot of Vecchia Romagna Brandy and garnish with whipped cream. Brandy mixes exceptionally well with warm beverages especially coffee and adds a sweet, yet slightly spicy, bite to the drink. Vecchia Romagna, which is one of the oldest Brandy distillers in Italy, imports four sophisticated Brandies Etichetta Nera or Black Label,which retails for a very affordable 26.99, and three highend vintage Riservas 10, 15 and 35 years old that range from 40 to 200. Vecchia Romagna Brandies are also available in attractive gift boxes that make great gifts for dads and grads.

Love that Lemon

What is it that bartenders and desert chefs have in common these daysThe answer is a delightful liqueur known as Lemoncillo also spelled Limoncello. Perfect for cocktails and confections, Lemoncillo is a luscious spirit made from lemon zest infused with alcohol. It has gained in fame due to its versatility and perfectly balanced sweet/tart flavor. One Italian company, Giori, produces a Lemoncillo that has earned praise from epicurean experts and can be used equally well in Cosmo Volanos as it can in lemon meringue. Giori also offers a one-of-a-kind Lemoncillo Cream liqueur that serves well in espresso or drizzled over brownies as a glaze. Giori Lemoncillo and Lemoncillo Cream both retail at 18.99 for a 750 ml bottle.

Feel the Chill

Cocktails are a surefire hit for holiday parties, and no cocktail party is complete without vodka. Vodka especially the unflavored, premium kind is ideal for cocktails because true, quality vodka has a faint, icy aroma and a smooth, dry, almost neutral taste that inherits the character and flavor of a mixer. So, everything from chic Cosmopolitans, Martinis and Vodka Mimosas, to standards like White Russians, Gimlets and Screwdrivers can be made from the same bottle. One exceptional example is Kutskova a Russian-made, fivetimes filtered, double distilled, super remium vodka. Kutskova, which retails in the 25 range, has received rave reviews as well as gold medals from the San Francisco World Spirits Competition and Tastings International Review of Spirits, for its pure, crisp flavor and cool, soft aftertaste.

Something Different

If re looking for a truly unique gift for a liqueur connoisseur, look for a delightful cordial called Amaro Montenegro. For those of you not familiar with Amaro Montenegro, it is an herbal liqueur that has a sweet taste and slightly bitter finish and is usually served before or after a meal. Bartenders and barristas across Europe have been using Amaro for years as an ingredient in everything from cocktails to coffees, and it is now beginning to gain popularity here in America. With vibrant flavors of spice, molasses, clove and orange peel, Amaro Montenegro was recently given outstanding ratings by the Spirit Journal,Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast. It serves best straight when chilled or at room temperature poured over ice cream. For the holidays, Amaro Montenegro is available as a gift set that comes with a special Amaro glass and retails for 21.99.

Get Cozy

Possibly the most cherished thing about the holidays is that it brings people together. With close friends and family traveling from everywhere for a visit, you may find yourself playing host to an intimate get together. Whether served on the rocks, mixed in a cocktail, with champagne, or warm in a snifter with a cigar, what could be better than a rich, velvety, aromatic Cognac Produced from among the finest vineyards in the Grande Champagne region of France, Croizet Cognacs have received praise at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition for their incredible flavor and smoothness. And, with the VS retailing at 19.99, VSOP at 29.99, XO at74.99 and XO Gold at 99.99 Croizets line of quality cognacs are exceptional values compared to other, better known brands. Additionally, the VSOP, XO and XO Gold are presented in attractive individual boxes perfect for holiday gift giving, and the XO Gold is presented in a festive gold bottle.

Wrap it Up

This time of the year can be pretty hectic with trips to the mall, travel plans, preparing the house for guests, cooking feasts and more. But, no matter what holiday youre celebrating this season, or whether youre hosting a get-together for two or two hundred, these holiday spirits can fit into just about any occasion. So, may your days be merry and bright, and remember to drink responsibly.

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