It’s the most wonderful time of the year, which also means there’s abundant opportunity to host festive gatherings and keep the spirit of the holidays alive.
While it may seem that every holiday party is created equal, each one will bring forth a different vibe and will undoubtedly need a specific beverage to match its energy. If you’re wondering what kind of booze pairs well with the occasion you’re planning, we’ve got you! And one of the best parts of a curated beverage list is your guests won’t have to think too hard about what to bring. Cheers!
The Occasion: Cookie Decorating | The Beverage: Port
So many cookies, so little time! Whether it is gingerbread, chocolate chip or snickerdoodle cookies on your party table, Port is the perfect pairing for a night full of sugary goodness. A Portuguese fortified wine, Port is a sweet sipper that is typically paired with dessert. Ports come in the styles of 10-Year-Old Tawny (the more approachable style) and Classic Vintage (the more sophisticated style), but Chip Dry (white port) is also an option that can be sipped on the rocks with a twist of lime. And you won’t need an entire glassful with your cookies—port is extremely rich and has high levels of alcohol, so a three-ounce pour should suit you and your guests just fine.
The Occasion: Ugly Sweater Party | The Beverage: Pisco
If you’re familiar with the Pisco Sour cocktail, then you’ve probably experienced the crisp, refreshing taste of this spirit. Hailing from Peru and Chile, Pisco is distilled grape juice that is fermented into a high-proof alcohol. Catan Pisco, founded by Chilean-born Catalina Gaete-Bentz, has been widely deemed “the new vodka.” Macchu Pisco, founded by Melanie and Lizzie Asher, honors the Peruvian heritage of its founders from production to bottling. For an ugly sweater party that’s likely to be full of laughter, joy and probably a few rounds of karaoke, Pisco is the ideal beverage that is light and fun. You can make cocktails with it, drink it straight up, or enjoy it on the rocks.
The Occasion: Dinner Party | The Beverage: Pinot Noir
When the menu is to be determined by the host, a bottle of Pinot Noir is typically the safest option to bring (or ask your guests to bring) because it pairs well with anything. With red fruit flavors like cherry, strawberry, and raspberry and warmth from notes of clove and cinnamon, Pinot Noir is a balanced and approachable wine that’s guaranteed to be a crowd favorite at every course. Emeritus Vineyards just released their 2019 Hallberg Ranch vintage that would be great over a meal of salmon and roasted veggies. If game or beef is on the menu, the 2019 Banshee Morning Light Pinot Noir from the Sonoma Coast would beautifully complement any lamb, bison or sirloin that has been marinated and grilled to perfection. The 2019 Smith Story Pinot Noir from Anderson Valley is a great pre or post-dinner selection if guests aren’t quite ready to hop off the Pinot train just yet.
The Occasion: Office Party | The Beverage: Non-alcoholic/Low ABV wine and spirits
Traditionally, office parties are the opportunity to let your hair down with your colleagues. But sticking to non-alcoholic or low ABV (alcohol by volume) options for the gathering can help ensure things don’t get too wild. Atōst has four different flavor-infused, low-alcohol craft spirits that can be enjoyed with or without alcohol. If you want to offer your coworkers something a bit closer to the real thing, the beverage brand ISH Spirits has three non-alcoholic spirits (Tequila, Rum and Gin) that can all be used to make cocktails. And don’t worry, wine lovers: there’s something for you too! Proxies is a wine alternative that blends fruit, teas, spices and bitters. It has all the complexities of fermented grape juice and is meant to be enjoyed with food.
The Occasion: Holiday Movie Night | The Beverage: Rosé
Baby, it’s cold outside! And during this time of year, cuddling up on the couch with your favorite snacks and holiday movies queued up on the screen is pure bliss. Whether you’re watching the newest Lifetime movie with a beloved 90s celebrity or running back an oldie-but-goodie like The Best Man Holiday, Home Alone or Jingle All The Way, rosé is going to be the perfect partner for the night. SMAK Wines out of Walla Walla, Washington, produces only rosé wines, and the 2021 Winter Bubbly Rosé will take a bowl of freshly popped popcorn to the next level. The newly released MOM Juice Rosé is made of Grenache, Syrah and Zinfandel grapes, and would pair well with homemade kettle chips and onion dip. If takeout sets the mood right, Michael Lavelle Iris Rosé would accompany Thai, Chinese, sushi, or even an order of wings and fries.
The Occasion: Christmas Lights Viewing | The Beverage: Whiskey
There’s nothing like grabbing a bunch of your friends for a walk through a park or neighborhood decorated with hundreds of twinkling lights. And because this is an outdoor activity, you will definitely need something to keep you warm! Laws Whiskey House out of Denver, Colorado, has three types of whiskeys, and their Four Grain Straight Bourbon would be perfect for a hot toddy. From the Bourbon capital of the United States, a shot of Woodford Reserve’s Double Oaked would take any hot cocoa to the next level. And for a smooth taste of Tennessee, try Uncle Nearest 1884 Small Batch Whiskey with a mug of hot apple cider and a drizzle of caramel syrup.
The Occasion: New Year’s Eve | The Beverage: Cava
When the clock strikes midnight on December 31, it is common to pop bottles of Champagne for the purpose of ringing in the new year. But what if there was a more affordable alternative to the most coveted (French) bubbly in the world? There is, and it is Spanish Cava. Hailing from Penedes, Spain (just 45 minutes west of Barcelona), Cava is made using the same traditional method as Champagne, but with different grape varieties. For a pre-party toast, Avinyo Reserva Brut Rosé Cava is a perfect way to get the night started on the right note. Whether you’re making an end of year meal at home or grabbing a table at your favorite BYOB restaurant, Segura Viudas Brut Reserva Heredad makes for a wonderful accompaniment to a New Year’s Eve dinner. And finally, a bottle of Juvé y Camps’ La Capella (made from the Xarel-lo grape) provides a taste of elegance and effervescence that will help ring in the new year.