Food & Beverage

The Chi-girl about town’s Holiday Cocktail Guide 2016!

December 7, 2016

It’s that time of the year again so here it is!  Perhaps you have been invited to a holiday gathering, holiday dinner party or just some swanky soiree, you accept the invitation and ask what should you bring.  The host says to you, “Oh, just bring a bottle!” maybe because they know you cannot cook to save your life or you don’t want to cook, whatever the case may be you are stumped and need a few suggestions well here they are!



I have a few cocktails and bottle suggestions that will have them singing your praises!




Ohhhhh baby its cold outside!  I must admit although I have lived in Chicago just about all my life I am still not a fan of the cold so I am offering a few warm cocktails this year!


Spiked Caramel Apple Cider


1 1⁄2 cups apple cider

1 1⁄2 tablespoons caramel sauce or 1 1⁄2 tablespoons caramels, dip

1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla

1 oz. Makers Mark


Combine apple cider, caramel and vanilla into a sauce pan.

Heat over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until apple cider is hot and caramel has melted.

Pour into a mug and enjoy.


Spiked Hot Cocoa


1 1/2 cups milk


5 tablespoons hot chocolate mix (Ghirardelli Double Chocolate, Or mix of your choice)


1 ounces cognac ( Remy VSOP)


1 ounce of Peppermint Schnapps


Mini marshmallows


chocolate shavings


In a small saucepan, heat milk and hot chocolate mix over medium – high heat until it starts to steam (do not boil).

Stir frequently.

Pour 1 oz. of black cherry bourbon into each cup.

Evenly divide hot chocolate between the two cups.

Top with mini marshmallows and chocolate shavings.


Another suggested cocktail, which is one of my favs is the southern charmer, its light and refreshing I suggest using Finn’s not only is it a local gin the floral notes make this a wonderful smelling cocktail as well.



French 75




1 oz. Finns gin (Finns is a local favorite of mine you can buy it at their distillery on Milwaukee or at Binny’s)


½  oz. simple syrup


½  oz. fresh squeezed lemon juice


Brut Champagne or a dry sparkling white wine (Prosecco)


Lemon twist, to garnish




Don’t feel like making a signature cocktail, seems to challenging for you?  Then let’s just keep it simple, and take a bottle.


Here are a few suggested one’s…







Casteggio Sangue di Giuda it is slightly sweet, not dry with a little bit of bubbles and I think it is wonderful chilled.  You can get this at  Pete’s Fresh Produce  priced at $10-13 depending upon the promotion at the time.


19 Crimes it is a blend of Shiraz, Pinot Noir, Grenache and Cabernet Sauvignon, it is  a dry red that got its name from 19 different crimes that could get you transported (via creaky boat) to England’s penal colony. This wine can be found at Jewel, Whole Foods, Binny’s and it is around $10



Rose Cava Segura Viudas light and slightly sweet fruit aromas of strawberry, redcurrant and pomegranate very dry, but not super dry.  I was given this cava as a gift and it has quickly became a personal fav of mine it can be found at Cost Plus World Market and Binny’s  it’s about $12


Decoy Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon A California Cab at heart, this red pours big, bold and beautiful, with pungent blackberry, toasted cocoa and nutmeg on the nose. Full bodied with excellent structure, it delivers a strong finish. Can be found at Cost Plus World Market, Binny’s and Kenwood Liquors.


2013 Sterling Vintner’s Collection Meritage a classic blend, this  Meritage combines five Bordeaux varietals into a wine that is juicy, rich and satisfying. Cedar spices join structured tannins for a long, complex finish.” This can be found at Binny’s for about $10 a bottle.



My new favorite is Meiomi Chardonnay Exotic sweet spice and lively tropical fruit notes, crisp apple and lean minerality. Ripe stone fruit core and round, creamy texture a true smooth finish.  I must add I used to not be a fan of chardonnay this one has me hooked! It’s about $16 and can be found at Binny’s and Kimbark Liqours.



Conundrum is an eclectic blend of Chardonnay, Sauv Blanc, Semillion, Muscat and Viognier mid-range dry white wine I love it with raw oysters but it definitely works well with poultry as well,  it is around $18 and can be found at Binny’s and Kimbark Liquors




Kim Crawford is a Sauvignon Blanc generous amount of citrus-like aromas and notes of dried herbs; bright on the palate with loads of minerals the flavor is bold but not overwhelming it is about $16 and can be found at Binny’s and Kimbark Liquors




Casteggio Pinot Grigio perfectly balanced fruity dry white it is not your typical pinot grigio it is very floral with hints of lavender it is about $8-10 and can be found at Petes Fresh Produce


Rose’ ALL DAY every day!


Graham Beck Rose’ NV this became a fast favorite of mine while vacationing earlier this year in South Africa!   With its charming silver-pink hue and exuberant character this seriously classy Cap Classique is flirtatious and fun – the quintessential accompaniment to any special occasion, or even just as a special spur of the moment indulgence.



Bubbles, Bubbles, Bubbles!




Champagne options



If you are looking to make a grand entrance there are many champagne options to choose  from here are a couple of my suggestions…


Looking to impress?? Then go for the 2007 Perrier Jouet Belle Epoque this prestige cuvée, in its stylish flowered bottle, has been released with good maturity, offering toast as well as fruit and a crisp, tight and mineral backdrop. It goes for about $150 a bottle and can be found in a box set during most holidays with matching flowered champagne flutes.

Perrier Jouet Grand Brut is simple but flavorful Elegant and finely balanced, with a subtle vein of smoky minerality underscoring juicy poached apple, candied lemon zest, gingersnap and honey notes. It is about $35 and is available at Binny’s.


Henriot Brut Souverain appeals with its nose of white flower and citrus fruit notes, then with a balanced, harmonious palate. It is about $40 and can be found at Binny’s, Kimbark Liquors and Kenwood



Veuve is a staple we all love that lil yellow bottle and even the lil accessories that come with it!  You cannot go wrong with this one it is about $37 and is available at Binny’s and Kimbark Liquors


LaMarca Prosecco is an Italian sparkling wine fresh citrus with hints of honey and white flowers. The flavor is fresh and clean, with ripe citrus, lemon, green apple, and touches of grapefruit.  It is about $13  and available at both  Binny’s and Kimbark Liquors.




Enjoy your Holidays and remember to drink responsibly!




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