Erin’s Holiday Picks
BEST HOLIDAY WINE SPARKLERS FOR UNDER $20
SEGURA VIUDAS RESERVA CAVA BRUT
Arguably the best quality-to-value ratio in the sparkling wine section on PEILCC shelves. This Catalonian (Spain) sparkler brings a measure of finesse and elegance that far exceeds the expectations of its under $20 price point. Dry (9.9g/l residual sugar) and crisp with well-integrated toasty complexity (15 month matured on lees), these outstanding Cava Reserva wines may or may not be the best kept secret of the sparkling wine world.
The perfect bottle to celebrate the holidays and pairs with any and all types of food.
Fun and fizzy, this dessert-style, sweet red sparkling wine is the perfect special occasion bottle to toast the holiday season. Candied fruit character is balanced by bubbly freshness that follows through to a seductively sweet finish. With origins in the famed area of Emilia-Romagna, Italy, the vineyards for these unique and regionally distinct Lambrusco wines are tucked in among many of the well-known signature culinary treasures – Parmigiano-Reggiano, prosciutto di Parma and balsamic vinegar.
Riunite is the region’s largest wine exporter and is a trusted brand for their commitment to quality. Enjoy this wine well-chilled and poured over ice with all your favourite sweet and chocolatey holiday treats.
HOLIDAY SPIRIT PICKS
DEEP ROOTS LIMONCELLO
The first batch of island-made Limoncello is now available from Deep Roots – a family-run, small-batch, award winning local distillery. Limoncello is a classic Italian liqueur with a luscious balance of sweet and tart lemon flavours. It is traditionally served well-chilled and sipped as a digestif but it is also a highly versatile cocktail component.
Mix your favourite bourbon with limoncello and iced tea by the pitcher, or use it to add a citrus-kiss to a classic vodka martini. For a more hearty and festive drink mix 3 parts RumChata to 1 part Limoncello and pour over ice in a rocks glass for a creamy, dessert cocktail.
For a small gathering try this warm, soothing sipper: Hot Lemon Drop
- 4 lemons – sliced
- 4 whole pieces star anise
- 4 pieces – peeled fresh gingerroot
- 1 cup honey
- 1 Qt hot water
COMBINE and SIMMER over medium heat 3-5 minutes:
ADD and SERVE IMMEDIATELY into pre-warmed mugs
4 oz Deep Roots Limoncello
SIGNAL HILL WHISKY
Smooth and balanced, this blended Canadian whisky is sure to deliver more warmth than the prevailing weather it surely suffers during its unique three-barrel maturation in the famed and sustained rain, drizzle and fog of Newfoundland, Canada. Decidedly on-trend with their non-chill filtration approach (making this akin to the ‘natural wine’ of whisky), this corn and barley-based blend retains a greater depth of flavour and concentration to deliver a complex, full-bodied spirit.
A combination of New White Oak, First-Run Bourbon and Canadian Whisky Casks are blended perfectly to showcase classic sweet caramel and vanilla spice flavours together with balancing dried fruit and toasted grain notes for a soft and approachable expression. If you’re new to the whisky category, let this be your gateway brand.
CRUZAN BLACK STRAP RUM
Looking for a fun and festive way to elevate your holiday décor together with bold and fresh flavours and a healthy dose of vitamin C?
Pineapples! Not only do they make a great centerpiece, they’re conveniently non-denominational, fun to decorate, and delicious with all things rum. Tiki-style cocktails are making a comeback (you heard it here) and can bring a decidedly fun-loving theme to any holiday celebration. Add to the festivities with a classic pineapple upside-down rum cake dressed with baked pineapple rings and maraschino cherries drizzled in a Cruzan Blackstrap Rum Syrup.
Cruzan Black Strap Rum is a brighter and lighter take on the blackstrap molasses rum category. The Cruzan production champions a signature five column distillation process to deliver an elevated series of uniquely refined rums across their portfolio. This rum adds complexity and robustness as a finishing element to many cocktails and brings a next-level richness in a more prominent role in tiki-style cocktails classics like the Jungle Bird.
Classic Tiki Cocktail: Jungle Bird
Makes 1 cocktail.
- 1 ½ oz Cruzan Blackstrap Rum
- ¾ oz Campari
- 1 ½ oz pineapple juice
- ½ oz lime juice
- ½ oz simple syrup
Shake well with ice and strain into rocks glass over fresh ice. Garnish with a pineapple wedge.
Pineapple Rum Upside-Down Cake
- ½ cup Cruzan Blackstrap Rum
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp melted butter
- 2 Tbsp pineapple juice
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
1. Simmer over medium-high heat until slightly thickened (about 3 minutes) and set aside
- 1 ½ cup butter – unsalted room temperature
- 2 ¾ cup sugar – refined white
- 5 whole eggs – room temperature
- 3 cups cake flour – sifted
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup sour cream
- 4 Tbsp crushed pineapple
- 2 Tbsp Cruzan Blackstrap Rum
- 8 whole pineapple slices
- 8 halved maraschino cherries
- 1. Preheat oven 350°C and line a 9 x 13″ baking dish with parchment paper
- 2. Beat butter on high speed for two minutes
- 3. Add granulated sugar slowly and once incorporated mix thoroughly for five minutes at high speed until mixture is pale yellow and fluffy
- 4. Add whole eggs one at a time scraping down sides of bowl to thoroughly incorporate
- 5. Combine cake flour and salt and with mixer on low speed add dry mixture in two batches to just incorporate – do not overmix
- 6. Dress the baking dish: Drizzle half of Rum Syrup into lined baking dish and then arrange pineapple rings with maraschino cherry in each centre
- 7. Pour cake batter over arranged pineapple slices and carefully spread to evenly distribute
- 8. Bake 70-80 minutes – toothpick inserted in centre of cake can come out ‘mostly’ clean and still moist
- 9. Rest the cake for 10 minutes before inverting onto serving dish
- 10. Heat up remaining Rum Syrup and with a pastry brush evenly distribute over the top of warm cake
- 11. Allow cake to cool and fully set before serving
DISARONNO FIZZ GIFT PACK
Be it before or after dinner drinks for this holiday season, bookend your evening with the versatility of the world’s favourite Italian liqueur, Disaronno. With origins dating back five centuries, the original amaretto liqueur is unequivocal in its distinctly sweet almond (think marzipan) flavour. This season’s Disaronno Fizz gift pack subscribes to the apertivo end of the amaretto reach and comes with appropriate stemware and convenient ‘add ice, lemon and soda water’ directions written right on the back of the box for a light and zesty pre-dinner option.
- 2oz Disaronno
- 1oz fresh lemon (half a lemon)
- Top with soda water
Use Glassware included and garnish with lemon zest.
Keep the Disaronno handy for an easy after dinner option and mix it with equal parts Grand Marnier and hot tea for the classic Blueberry Tea cocktail sipper. Soothing and oddly deceptive, the magic of bringing the almond sweetness of Disaronno together with the orange flavour of Grand Marnier somehow manages to bring a surprisingly delightful blueberry flavour into the equation. It’s a mystifying mélange that is sure to satisfy the after-dinner sweet tooth when there is no room left for dessert.
- 1 oz Disaronno liqueur
- 1 oz Grand Marnier liqueur
- 4 oz regular black tea – hot
Serve in brandy snifter OR pre-warmed mug and garnish with an orange slice.
ON THE ROCKS – COSMOPOLITAN
The Texas-based On The Rocks brand has officially brought the ready-to-drink category into the luxury segment. Their meticulously crafted, spirit-based, pre-mixed classic cocktails are made with natural premium ingredients and sweetened with pure cane sugar.
The recently released 100ml COSMOPOLITAN makes the perfect add-on to any gift bag this holiday season. Mixed with premium vodka, Triple Sec, elderberry extract and natural flavours this has all the balance and complexity of a craft cocktail and delivers a true artisan touch to this single-serve marvel of sophistication and freshness.