Each year we try to include different elements, whether it is homemade foods, unique beverages, or activities. This way the party never gets stale and the invite is viewed with some anticipation.
This year we decided to focus on beverages and created an activity from one of our ideas. We took the easy road with food so we could focus on socializing and get the most out of our plans.
In my holiday wine advice post I presented a recipe for a mulled red wine. This was new for open houses and it was a hit. I drank the very last glass of it while I was cleaning up. I couldn’t even use the ladle to extract the last bit from the crock-pot meaning my guests had gotten all they could from it. I was so happy. The only tweak to the recipe I made was to add 3 ounces of brandy. I also made a double recipe, requiring two bottles of wine. I used my early bottled (no MLF and limited oak) Chilean Malbec made in May of this year.
The second beverage idea was a holiday beer tasting. Every year breweries all over the world release limited production beers to celebrate the end-of-year holidays. Prior to my research and this tasting I had minimal experience with these seasonal brews. In all of the reading many of the descriptions of the brews intrigued me. The styles span quite a range, with some made merely to celebrate the passing of another year and others representing beers typically consumed during the colder months; with flavors evocative of Christmas. Could I really go wrong?
Some of these beers are not widely available and/or sell out quickly so finding them can be challenge. I lined up the following beers after 6 weeks of searching.
Rogue Yellow Snow
Sierra Nevada Celebration
Rogue Santa’s Private Reserve Ale
Samuel Smith’s Winter Welcome
The order above is the order we tasted them in. I prepared some horseradish cheese and candied pecans to samples with the beers. I always find something to pair add excitement but also helps transition.
A quick break for some food and guest shots.