December 18, 2020
There is nothing quite like the perfect cocktail to set the mood for the holidays. Whether it is a nice glass of wine, a festive beer, or a cocktail – we’ve got tips and tricks to help you celebrate (and sip) in style this holiday season.
Add a festive visual flourish to any cocktail with a flavorful rim. Try crushed graham crackers to add a spicy sweetness, add sprinkles for a touch of color, or crushed candy canes for that perfect holiday kick. To rim a glass: dilute syrup (simple syrup, maple syrup, honey, etc. all work) one to one with water in a bowl. In a shallow, flat plate place your dry rimming ingredient. Dip each glass about ¼” into the sugary liquid, then immediately press the rim into the ingredient plate. Turn upright and carefully fill with your favorite drink!
Tip: You can rim a mug with sprinkles or candy canes to serve hot chocolate or coffee too.
Spruce Up Your Cocktails (literally!) with Flavored Syrups
Add a twist to any classic cocktail by adding a flavored simple syrup. Try spruce, mint, cranberry or cinnamon to dress up any drink. Use flavored syrups to add new flavors to classic cocktails, stir into coffee and hot cocoa for a fun treat, or pour over ice cream and desserts. You can purchase flavored syrups, but they’re also quite easy to make at home. Bring one part water and one part granulated sugar to a boil, once boiling remove from heat and add in desired flavoring (for items like spruce, cranberries or mint, add one part, for cinnamon add two cinnamon sticks). Stirring occasionally, let everything steep for a few minutes until desired flavor intensity is reached. Store refrigerated in an airtight container for up to six months.
With different styles to compliment nearly every food, wine is a holiday staple. Always have some wine leftover in the bottle? Try purchasing smaller sized bottles or canned wines (although be careful as the serving size of some of these can add up quickly!). Favorite wine not available in a smaller size? Try a vacuum cork, like the Vacu Vin Wine Saver Cork, which allows you to pump air out of the bottle while sealing it, slowing down the oxidation process and giving you a few more days to enjoy it.
Serving the Perfect Glass
Store wine in a refrigerator to cool, and let it sit out briefly before serving since wine is actually better if it’s not too cold. White wine too warm? Place in a container filled with salted ice to cool it more quickly, or drop frozen grapes into a glass of wine to immediately chill it without diluting the flavour.
Full-bodied red wines should be served just below room temperature, while lighter reds should be somewhat chilled.
Dressed Up Cocktails
Add visual interest – and fun flavors – to cold cocktails, iced coffees, and shakes by drizzling syrup along the inside of the glass. Create stripes, loops or freehand patterns by using a squeeze bottle. Turn the glass at an angle for best control and use viscous syrups for more intricate designs. Fill immediately with cool liquid to preserve the design. Chocolate syrup is perfect with shakes and frozen cocktails (like Mudslides and Grasshoppers) while caramel and cinnamon syrups add festive flavors to cocktails and iced coffee.
Shelf Life & Storage of Common Holiday Drinks
Wondering how long that bottle will keep after you open it?
High alcohol content liquors are shelf stable and will last for months (if not years) stored in a dark, cool place. Liqueurs (like Baileys) last for six months after opening, and should be stored in the refrigerator. Unopened beer lasts six to eight months (depending on the style), while open beer will usually lose carbonation within 24 to 48 hours of opening.
Opened wine should be consumed within a week (use it for cooking if you don’t want to drink it), and sparkling wine should be consumed within hours.
This holiday season, no matter what your plans look like, you can still find ways to make even casual moments festive. Visit your local Co-op Wine Spirits Beer this season for recommendations, or pairing advice.
Every city has its beloved breweries, and Calgary is undoubtedly no exception.
At Co-op Wine Spirits Beer, we know you want quality products and are also looking for the best value.
Co-op Wine Spirits Beer Sommelier Coordinator Katherine Mindach has some advice for cooking with alcohol:
“When you pour a little in the pot, make sure to…
Beer is a year-round favourite.
For wine drinkers, winter tends to be the season of robust reds, ports, and full-bodied vintages.
Father’s Day is just around the corner. Rather than hosting another basic cookout this year, throw him a party as special as he is.
However you choose to refer to it—May long, May two-four, Victoria Day weekend—May long weekend is the first official marker of summer.
Any wine lover knows that, like food, wine tastes change with the season.
This Valentine’s Day will be less fabulous dinner out in a packed restaurant and more cozy evening in at home.
Sometimes choosing a great wine can be overwhelming; there’s so much choice out there that it can be difficult to know which brands to trust.
While we may not get to spend the holidays physically together, we can at least share the moment virtually.
This holiday season one of our favourite ways to feed family, friends and folks is to set up a grazing station and let everyone nibble…
One of the saddest consequences of the pandemic is the fact that it keeps us far from our friends.
Wine and cheese are natural pairs.
There’s something about the holidays that lets us all feel like we can indulge.
Thanksgiving may look a little different this year.
For more than 30 years, Viña Montes has been producing luxury wines from Chile and exporting them to customers worldwide.
At first glance, a distillery named after one of the monsters of the Mesozoic might seem a bit strange.
Everyone’s in search of the perfect cold, crushable summer patio beer.
Anyone who’s ever tried to name someone or something knows the decision can be fraught with challenges.