Santa doesn't get milk in my house. Instead, on Christmas Eve my family always sets out a plate of cookies with two glasses—one filled with sherry and the other with port. Growing up in Sonoma County, it always seemed perfectly logical to me. No one in my family drank milk—we drank wine with dinner and on special occasions, like birthdays or Christmas, we drank port with dessert. Why anyone would force Santa to eat his cookies with a bland glass of milk rather than a sweet and supple glass of port that so perfectly paired with my mother’s peanut butter blossom cookies was beyond me. But I figured my parents just knew Santa (and wine) better than other families. The port also provided an explanation as to why Santa never wrapped the presents for my siblings and me—he was too buzzed to even attempt it. Read more >
Thanksgiving is undeniably a holiday that celebrates cooking. But that doesn’t mean bartending should be forgotten or brushed aside. Along with baking and roasting, Thanksgiving is a great chance to perfect your mixology skills. Here, five festive drinks so good they’ll rival the pumpkin pie.
Sparkling Pomegranate Punch: Easy to make for a crowd, this bubbly, sweet-tart cocktail combines sparkling wine, dessert wine and deep-red pomegranate juice.
Pomme en Croute: This apple-scented cocktail is a riff on the Brandy Crusta, a classic Cognac cocktail first made in New Orleans in 1852. This version calls for appley Calvados in place of the traditional Cognac.
Rosé Sangria with Cranberries and Apples: Strong but not overly sweet, this seasonal sangria is nicely spiced with cinnamon, anise and cloves. It includes just enough crushed red pepper to give it a tiny kick.
Pomegranate Margaritas: It may not seem like the season for margaritas, but it definitely is the season for these sweet-tart margaritas made with ruby red pomegranate juice. Make one big batch and serve in a pitcher at the table.
Gaelic Punch: A terrific end-of-the-meal cocktail, this hot whiskey punch is best made with a young Irish whiskey. Heat intensifies the tannic edge of older whiskeys; young ones stay smooth.
Tart, vibrantly colored cranberries aren’t strangers to cocktails. While the age of the Cosmopolitan may be over, you’ll still see someone sipping a vodka-cranberry at almost any bar in the country. But now that cranberries are in season, creative bartenders across the land are using the Thanksgiving staple in ways that will get seasoned cocktail drinkers to take notice. READ MORE>>
It’s a good time to be a cider drinker. Between the craft ciders coming out of the Northeast and Pacific Northwest and the funky, tart bottles finding their way here from Spain, there’s a wide variety to choose from. One of the newer trends is hopped cider, which is flavored with the same types of hops used in beer. Here, five hopped ciders to try now. READ MORE>>
The blushing skin and crisp, sweet aroma of a fresh apple is as much a symbol of autumn as a knitted scarf. Apples get a lot of play when the weather cools, baked into buttery pies or juiced and mulled with cinnamon sticks for warm cider. But the fruit also has a long history in distillation. And for those of us who prefer to drink our apple-a-day, fall is a great time to explore these complex pours. Read more >
Pulling off a great Halloween costume means getting into character. Here, cocktails worthy of pop culture icons, politicians and notorious horror movie villains. READ MORE >>
F&W's executive wine editor is truly a good sport. He broke out his weekend gear (left) and popped by the Today Show this morning to drink Green Goblin Cider and The Velvet Devil Merlot with Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb. Here, some of his top bottles to buy this Halloween.
Angry Orchard Crisp Apple: Cider has exploded in popularity over the past couple of years. Angry Orchard is from the same people who make Sam Adams. Widely available, it's an American type cider—that is, lightly sweet and crisp. Plus it's got spooky trees blowing in the wind on the label ($9 suggested retail for a six-pack).
Green Goblin Cider: How can you argue with a goblin-labeled cider for Halloween? He's a creepy looking creature, but the cider's great, in a classic English dry style ($5 for a 500ml bottle).
Charles Smith The Velvet Devil Merlot: A perfect Halloween wine, because (a) it's got a big black pitchfork on the label and (b) it's really rich and silky (or velvety), with lots of dark fruit flavor. It's from Washington State ($12).
Watch Ray bob for cider with Today's Kathie Lee and Hoda, here.
Related: Halloween Cocktails
Throughout October, F&W is squash-spotting on Instagram using #FWMuse. Awesome chefs like Marcus Samuelsson and Stephanie Izard are posting gorgeous shots of their new gourd-filled dishes. Per usual, we headed to the bar. The micro-season for pumpkin drinks is upon us and F&W’s not wasting time. Here, the best alcoholic ways to consume pumpkin, from expert pumpkin beers to pumpkin juice cocktails. READ MORE>>
Bolivia is home to some old vineyards at altitudes of more than 10,000 feet (reportedly the highest vineyards in the world). Initially, producers made wines with the Moscatel de Alejandría grape to distill into singani, Bolivia's version of eau-de-vie. Today, they are increasingly growing international varieties but using the high altitudes to coax out new, marvelous expressions: white wines with a sweet, floral nose and very high acidity, and big, spicy reds with good structure but gentle tannins. However, approximately 99 percent of Bolivian wines stay in the country, and they are extremely hard to find in the United States. Here are a few of Gustu sommelier Jonas Andersen's favorites. Read more >
From garlic beer to kale cocktails, vegetables are taking over the bar. The latest example is the Deadly Nightshade, an eggplant-based drink at New York’s Henry, A Liquor Bar. “I’ve always been of the opinion that nothing’s out of bounds in a cocktail as long as it’s edible,” says its creator Ryan Chetiyawardana. READ MORE >>