Booze News: ’Tis the season for Christmas-y drinks

Pair your favorite holiday sweaters with these festive drinks, get your cozy on this winter

CHRIS WEST, Evergreen columnist

I am a firm believer that the holiday season does not start until Santa marches his jolly ass down 5th Avenue on Thanksgiving morning. He hath done marchethed. It’s official. The holiday season is now upon us.

This means three things: You’re going to start seeing a lot of weird and socially confusing Christmas sweaters being sported around. You will have to resist the urge to caveman punch people in the face every time they quote “Elf.” It’s not a good movie, people. And finally, holiday-themed booze is here, and as the High Priest and Grand Poohbah of All Things Alcoholic, I’m here to help find the good stuff and drink it.

One of the most important things you can do for any kind of holiday party is serve a bowl or a hovel of something for your guests to collectively get tipsy. I say now with a good degree of certainty that that bowl/hovel should be a mulled spiced wine. I finally had the opportunity to make this for Thanksgiving and words fail to describe the deliciousness of it, although cuddly does come to mind.

Combine two bottles of your favorite full-bodied wine, add in some brown sugar, apple cider, cinnamon sticks, cloves, star anise (pronounced ANN-ISS) a little spot of brandy and the juice of one orange. Throw all that in a crock pot and let it warm for about an hour, covered. Drink from a mug and NOT A GLASS, that’s important, and bam, you got yourself a party.

Next comes something a bit more pirate-y. “Hot Buttered Rum” has been a staple of mine ever since I found that drinking warmed booze really helps you hang out outside during the winter. It also helps that it’s been in the U.S. since around the 1600s, so if it’s good enough for the revolutionaries, it’s good enough for me. Anyway, by mixing a stick of butter, brown sugar (can you see a pattern), ground cinnamon, ground cloves and a smidge of salt, and mix it, you get a batter that will melt your soul.

Find your favorite dark rum, and quality matters here, because the better the rum, the better the drink. Put some batter in a mug, add two shots (or more) of rum and top with boiling water. Comfort in a glass. If you’re interested in trying a good mug of buttered rum, I suggest you stroll on down to Rico’s Public House. They go for $5 a mug and they make it perfectly.

As far as things to do around town, Merry Cellars is having their 13th Annual Holiday Barrel Tasting Weekend from 3 – 8 p.m. Friday and from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday.

For those of you who have never had the opportunity, drinking from the barrel is a real privilege and rarely done. This wine comes directly from ageing and paired with hors d’oeuvres. It’s free for wine club members and $10 for everyone else.

That’s a lot of good wine for not a lot of moolah, plus it’ll give you an opportunity to make gift baskets for your parents, which you owe them, because hey, it’s Christmas. That said of course, stay safe my friends and bottoms up.

Chris West is a sophomore viticulture and enology major from Plano, Texas. He can be contacted at [email protected]