Have you ever walked into a liquor store to buy alcohol and felt completely overwhelmed? Yes. Me too. Throw in the challenge of hosting while appeasing many tastes and preferences, and it’s enough to drive anyone crazy. Have no fear – your local liquor store establishments are at your rescue with a roundup of seasonal beverages and tips for Thanksgiving to New Year’s and every holiday, party or gathering in between.
1376 Cape St. Claire Road, Annapolis
When planning for Thanksgiving, Julianne Sullivan, owner of Bella’s Liquors, shared that Pinot Noirs go great with turkey and many of the traditional side dishes. Her staff recommends anything from Oregon, specifically the famous Willamette Valley region.
“We also recommend a nice Riesling for those that prefer white wines. While these tend to be on the sweet side, they pair well with most dishes served,” Sullivan said. “Sparkling wines were made for celebrating, but many people don't know they pair well with many dishes. You can pair with appetizers ranging from raw veggies, hummus and salami. Fun fact, champagne pairs excellently with fried chicken, so don't sleep on the bubbly.”
Bella’s Liquors also stocks a variety of kosher wines. South Africa vineyards produce a great quality for a nice price point.
Further, if you’re hosting and don't want to hire a bartender, ready to drink (RTD) beverages are at your disposal. Bella’s Liquors offers these “cocktails in a can” from your basic rum and coke, vodka soda, gin and tonic to margaritas, white Russians and beyond.
Mark your calendar for Bella’s annual champagne tasting on December 18 for anyone 21 and older. The event costs $5 and all proceeds will go to My Brother's Pantry. Participants can save 15% off featured items from the tasting. Finally, active and retired military, first responders, seniors (65+) and teachers all receive a 10% discount on all non-sale items on Mondays. On Tuesdays, Bella’s Liquors offers 15% off all non-sale wines.
Harbour Wine & Spirits
527 Benfield Road, Severna Park
Port Tack Ltd. Wine & Spirits
1246 Bay Dale Drive, Arnold
“Champagne is great for every holiday meal and occasion, from brunch to dinner and dessert,” said Donald MacMurray, the son of Don MacMurray, owner of Harbour Wine & Spirits and Port Tack Ltd. Wine & Spirits.
Donald shared how one of his favorite holiday traditions is champagne on Christmas Eve. He remembers from a young age going to his grandparents’ home with his mom and dad. The adults always had a bottle of champagne just before it was time for bed.
“Now, I look forward to having that bottle with my wife and parents after our children go to bed,” Donald said.
A current MacMurrary family champagne favorite is Laurent-Perrier, available at both stores. However, with champagne in higher demand these days, combined with supply chain issues, some favorites might not always be available.
“Don’t be discouraged if your favorite [champagne] is not on the shelf; there are lots of great options for sparkling wine from California, and we will be happy to help find an alternative,” Donald added.
One of the MacMurrary family’s sparkling wine favorites is Domaine Carneros, offered for $29.99 at their stores.
501 Leelyn Drive, Severna Park
“Goska's Liquors is available to provide both product and guidance for all holiday needs,” said Kevin Sosnoski, owner at Goska’s Liquors. “We offer party planning suggestions and have a good background in cooking and drink recipes.”
Last year, Sosnoski made a traditional Christmas pudding using brandy-soaked fruit and made eggnog using brandy, rum and whiskey. This year he’s planning on mixing a batch of rock and rye using rye whiskey, rock candy and fruit.
In addition, he plans to make homemade wassail — a delicious warm cider drink — to offer family and guests as a warm welcome into his home.
Magothy Wine & Spirits
147 Governor Ritchie Highway A, Severna Park
Magothy Wine & Spirits offers several options that will keep your spirits warm as the weather gets cold.
Pinot Noir and Zinfandel are classic matches for the rich, savory fare of the season. Pinot Noir is lighter bodied with good versatility and won't overshadow leaner fowl or game dishes. Zinfandel offers lots of fruit and spice, but doesn't overload with tannins, making it a bolder option. Try Winderlea's Willamette Valley Pinot Noir or the Bliss Vineyard Zinfandel from Brutocao in Mendocino.
Looking to drink your dessert? Look no further than Southern Tier Brewing Company's Warlock Imperial Stout. Brewed with pumpkins and winter spices, this limited seasonal release features heady aromas of deeply roasted malts, sweet spice and, of course, pumpkin. The palate follows with notes of coffee and dark chocolate, finishing smooth and velvety. A perfect dance of sweet and savory.
“With holidays right around the corner, there is a plethora of fantastic seasonal beverages that are already hitting our shelves,” said Pete Rutski, manager of Magothy Wine & Spirits.
Now that you’re armed with great beverage advice, head over to your local businesses and start crossing items off your holiday checklist. Finally, wishing everyone a happy and safe holiday season, without a holiday hangover, of course. Cheers!
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