Every year, the alcohol beverage selection grows. It can be challenging to keep up and decide what’s best, especially during the holiday season when there are enough decisions to make for shopping, parties, events and so on. Thankfully, three local liquor stores are here to help guide you down the right path to get you from Thanksgiving to New Year’s.
If you’re seeking advice regarding wine, beer and spirits pairings for holiday meals and seasonal parties, Fishpaws Marketplace owner Kim Lawson suggests patrons come in and speak to each respective specialist in those areas.
“We have an onsite beer manager, wine manager and gourmet cheese specialist,” Lawson said.
After a chat with a Fishpaws specialist, you can peruse the many seasonal drink options available including Devil’s Backbone Cranberry Smash canned cocktails, Peppermint Twist Smirnoff, Jack Daniels Winter Jack Tennessee Cider and RumChata Peppermint Bark. Glühwein is also available for those who want the warming taste of mulled wine without having to travel to the famed Christmas markets in Germany.
Of course, the holiday staple of eggnog is in bountiful supply with Annapolis-based Irish restaurant Galway Bay’s variation that might just have you asking, ‘Where’s my ‘Christmas Vacation’ moose mug?” Undoubtedly, the Hallmark channel holiday-themed red and white wines will make for a perfect holiday movie marathon pairing.
Some upcoming Fishpaws events to mark on your calendar:
All store bottle etching: November 25 and December 17 from noon to 6:00pm. Debra Healy, a calligrapher, will engrave any wine or spirit. This is an opportunity for a one-of-a-kind gift. If you can’t make either event date, you can preorder a bottle by speaking to a Fishpaws manager.
Beam Suntory tasting and bottle etching: featuring Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark, Basil Hayden, and Laphroaig and Cruzan. December 3 from noon to 3:00pm.
Brown-Forman tasting and bottle engraving: December 19 from 4:00pm to 7:00pm. Place a personalized message on any Jack Daniels single barrel, Gentleman Jack or Woodford Reserve bottle.
Magothy Wine & Spirits
Looking for a safe wine choice, be it for a hostess gift, party or formal dinner? Peter Rutski, manager at Magothy Wine & Spirits, says Pinot Noir is best.
“California is juicy and forward, and not too tannic,” Rutski said.
He shared how Oregon’s Pinot Noir is another top selection. Rutski noted that it costs a bit more, but customers should be happy with the choice.
Rutski also shared how brown spirits, whiskey-based cocktails, prove popular during the holiday season. For that, Baltimore Spirits Company is what he recommends as the company makes its “own juice” – distilling spirits in-house.
Corwell & Son Liquors
Ron Corwell Jr., owner of Corwell & Son Liquors, has noticed a common trend these days, and he doesn’t expect it to let down during the holiday season. What he’s referring to are RTD beverages — known as “ready to drink” with popular brands such as High Noon and White Claw.
“It’s the hottest growing drink with new ones coming out pretty much daily,” Corwell said.
In addition to seasonal RTDs, Corwell expects some of the newer craft beers he carries, like chocolate pretzel or salted caramel and coffee flavored, to be popular this holiday season as well. If beer’s not your thing, there’s plenty of bourbon-flavored options available to include barbeque, peanut butter and s'mores offerings.
When Corwell received a limited edition of an eggnog made by the waffle brand Eggo, he sold out quickly. Eggo Nog’s bottle is wrapped like a waffle. Corwell hopes to get more in soon. He’s clearly not alone in this hope.
Another recent popular item? Cookie dough whiskey. Corwell does frequent sales, so his customers can try out new and surprising drinks that they’ll fall in love with.
One thing is for sure. According to Corwell, champagne is out.
“I used to go through 15 to 25 cases between Christmas and New Year’s,” said Corwell about his champagne stock. “The traditional champagne toast is done less and less. People are toasting whatever is in their hand.”
Whatever you choose to toast with this holiday season, may your cup bring joy. Cheers!