In Good Spirits

Spirited Holidays

By Cheré Coen  |  Photography courtesy of Q Mixers

There’s something fun and new for every cocktail lover on your holiday gift list.

Gifting a bottle of a person’s favorite wine or spirit is always a solid bet during the holidays. So is bringing the right spirits to a holiday party — or serving them yourself.

Spirits to go has been a trend with no end in sight. What started as a way to bring alcohol to events and outdoors activities such as camping and tailgating has evolved to include innovative cocktail creations and clever uses of wine.

Colorado-based Wander + Ivy released this year a collection of limited edition wine varietals packed in single-serve glass bottles that are as lovely as the wines inside. The collection includes a 6.3-ounce serving of California chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon, New Zealand sauvignon blanc, a French rosé and a Spanish red blend. For each vintage it offers, Wander + Ivy partners with sustainable wine producers using certified-organic grapes. The company ships to 39 states.

For those wanting wine by the glass in a convenient package, Copa Di Vino sells a four-pack of the most popular flavors in the market: chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon, pinot grigio, and merlot. The plastic single-serve bottles are shaped ergonomically to prevent spillage.

Cathead Distillery in Mississippi sells vodka sodas in individual packs that are perfect for holiday parties and late-season tailgates. Flavors include limeade, lemonade, cranberry, and mandarin.

Q Mixers offers carbonated mixers perfect for mixing up a quick cocktail. Their tonics range from the classic tonic to flavored tonics such as elderflower — a delicious Blackberry Fizz recipe follows — and a range of ginger beers, ideal for a refreshing Moscow Mule. There’s even a “Kola” that’s perfect for a convenient addition to rum or whiskey.

Two new spirits on the market to note are Beignet Vodka out of New Orleans, with a flavor sending those who imbibe to Café du Monde, and the 2021 release of Cathead’s Old Soul straight bourbon whiskey, a small-batch distillation in Mississippi and Indiana that’s then aged several years in “Southern heat and humidity,” according to Cathead. For a quick and easy holiday cocktail to warm the cockles, try an Old Soul Old-Fashioned mixing 2 ounces Old Soul bourbon, a quarter ounce simple syrup, and three dashes of Angostura Bitters, then garnished with an orange slice.

Two new books on the market make for excellent gifts to the cocktail lover. “Distilling the South: A Guide to Southern Craft Liquors and the People Who Make Them” by Kathleen Purvis includes six liquor trails through 11 Southern states. Dr. Harris Cooper, an emeritus professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke University discusses how distilled spirits and popular music shaped a nation in “American History Through a Whiskey Glass.”

 Blackberry Fizz
1 1/2 ounces rye whiskey
1 ounce lemon juice
1 honey sprig
4 blackberries
4 ounces Q Elderflower Tonic
1 blackberry and lemon wheel garnish

Directions: Muddle blackberries in the bottom of a mixing glass. Add all other ingredients and shake. Strain the ingredients of the glass into a large champagne coupe or martini glass. Top with Q Elderflower tonic. Garnish with the blackberry and lemon wheel.

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