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.
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