’Tis the season yet again, and as we prepare to gather and make merry, let’s be sure not to skimp on the holiday liquor. Knowing what to have on standby is crucial to creating the perfect drink.
A well-stocked home-for-the-holidays offers drink selections that are both diverse and accessible, with a mix of classic crowd-pleasers and exceptional choices to prominently feature holiday and deep-autumn flavors.
The Holiday Liquor Cabinet
A liquor cabinet that can hold up through Thanksgiving and well into the New Year is important. Nobody wants to break their holiday groove to make an emergency run to the liquor store in their Christmas pajamas. So, make sure you have the following liquors available for guests at a minimum.
- Rum—Try a spiced rum for warm wintertime vibes. You can’t go wrong with Captain Morgan or Sailor Jerry’s. Mixes well with nog and in hot mixed drinks.
- Whiskey—Make sure you have something on hand for the whiskey connoisseurs at your holiday gathering. Irish whiskeys and bourbons can both hearken back to the memories of a traditional country Christmas. Try exploring offerings from Jameson or Knob Creek.
- Vodka—a simple, clean vodka is a must-have for guests who want mixed drinks. It’s the most versatile and adaptable of the liquors. Try Svedka or Smirnoff, both of which also offer flavor-infused vodkas that might spark your holiday creativity.
- Peppermint Schnapps—for those candy-cane-themed mixers or shooters, of course. Try spiking your hot cocoa.
- Brandy—Brandy is another drink that can go well with egg nog, but it’s also a favorite for just sipping around the fire. Rémy Martin XO is a staple, but in some households, it’s a Christmas tradition to acquire a bottle of Spanish Brandy, or Brandy de Jerez, which owes its unique qualities to being derived from Spanish sherry.
Hearty Winter Beers
It’s not all about liquor. The beer-drinkers at your holiday festivities also deserve consideration. Stock up on a crowd favorite like Budweiser, with their annual holiday-themed cans, but think outside the gift box as well.
There is no shortage of craft brewers putting out seasonal brews each year. Try to have choices in at least three categories. Grab a lager, an ale, and round out the offerings with a porter or stout because you’ll want to have something hearty and dark on hand this time of year.
- Bell’s Brewery—Christmas Ale
- Tröegs Brewing—Mad Elf
- Revolution Brewing—Fistmas
- Sierra Nevada—Celebration Ale
- Samuel Adams—Winter Lager
- Leinenkugel’s—Snowdrift Vanilla Porter
Mulling wine is a fun and easy way to add some warmth and holiday spice to your celebration. You simply simmer a dark wine at low heat and add cinnamon sticks, cloves, oranges, and whatever other herbs or spices you like, infusing it with that magical Christmastime flavor. Don’t boil it. Set your heat too high, and you’re likely to burn away alcohol content.
- Zinfandel (not white)
Mixers and N/A
Don’t forget your nog, sparkling juice, ginger ale, and cola. Head to your nearest Payless Liquors and stock up on holiday cheer.