Good Tidings And Spirits To Kick Off The Holidays

unnamed-2A good journalist will do whatever it takes to get the story. Tenacity and great moxie define a reporter’s drive. Sometimes you have to lean on a source to get the information you need. Sometimes you relentlessly pursue a lead until you get results.  And sometimes you need to drink copious amounts of alcohol – all in the name of journalism, of course. It’s rough, but someone has to do it.

The Village Voice recently hosted its second annual Holiday Spirits bash, and “good tidings and spirits” takes on a whole different holiday connotation when taking more than 25 distilleries into account. I felt like I had fallen into a real-life, grownup and slightly surreal type of Charlie in the Chocolate Factory dream come true.  As many festive tastes and cocktails as I wanted?  A moonlit cruise down the Hudson with the city lights twinkling in the background as Lady Liberty kept watch? Um, yes please. It really is the most wonderful time of the year.

unnamed-4 unnamed-5There were truly too many to count, but my favorites among the lineup were:

Scorpian Mezcal tequila, whose motto is “worms are for wimps” – hence the scorpion. I wouldn’t have thought tequila would go well in hot chocolate, but it just goes to show what I’ve been missing. Chocolaty goodness with the golden glow of tequila and whipped cream or marshmallows (but let’s be real, whipped cream and marshmallows) = Come To Mama.

Sorel Artisanal Liqueur. Just saying “liqueur” makes me feel I should be drinking with my pinky up, as if sophistication could be gleaned from proximity to fancy liqueurs — or so it would seem after sipping many cordials and elixirs. Sorel makes an exotic concoction containing Moroccan hibiscus, Brazilian clove, Nigerian ginger, Indonesian nutmeg and grain alcohol to make a liqueur that tastes like Christmas in a glass.

Blat Vodka, the most dangerously smooth vodka I’ve ever tasted, simply light years beyond college days of vodka so egregiously terrible that you’d have to drink it before it ate away the bottom of your paper cup. Or so I’ve heard. The brand touts the slogan “100 percent free of impurities,” and while I don’t know if that’s true, it was certainly smooth sailing.

Dutch’s Spirits, with its glamorous backstory of Dutch Schultz and 1930’s prohibition, when federal agents stumbled upon the biggest bootleg moonshine operation in Dutchess Country ever recorded. Dutch’s still follows that old prohibition recipe, which involves a lot of sugar and fermented champagne yeast in the distillation process.

White Pike Whiskey, proudly described by the bartender as “the Lamborghini of moonshines.” It is indeed a white whiskey, “aged” only 18 minutes (apparently the aging process has a lot to do with a whiskey’s amber hue). The result is a mild flavor, subtle enough for whiskey lovers to drink it in Bloody Mary’s, which is exactly how they served it — a welcome respite from all the sugary, syrupy cocktails floating around.

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There was music, merriment, mounds of hors d’oeuvres, and yours truly imbibed until I made a definitive sloshing sound when walking off the boat. New Yorkers and visitors take note: this is a hit that will surely be coming back around next year to kick off the holiday season right.


p.s. gorgeous boozy video above, right? you can enter to win a weekend in Madrid with your significant other here, yay!

Do you have a go-to cocktail for the holidays?  Share below!

By: Sarah Henry of Written in Chocolate


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