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Highlight Your Holidays

Oct 26, 2015 05:32AM ● Published by Family Features

The highlight of the holiday season is often the gathering of friends and family for a seasonal meal. Whether hosting and planning a full menu or attending a holiday get-together, keep in mind the perfect wine and spirit pairings for either a traditional feast or a more modern soiree featuring a variety of hors d’oeuvres.

Wines, such as La Crema Chardonnay and Liberated’s Cabernet, and spirits or liqueurs, can serve as more than just a terrific accompaniment to your holiday spread; they also make great gifts for those wine connoisseurs and liquor aficionados on your shopping list.

LeCrema Chardonnay

The Perfect Accompaniment to Any Celebration
An elegant choice for your favorite hostess or connoisseur, this limited production La Crema Chardonnay is a true expression of the Russian River Valley in Northern California. Complex and nuanced, with flavors of ripe pear, nutmeg and hints of nougat, this lush wine is the perfect accompaniment to any holiday celebration and pairs well with roast chicken, creamy cheeses or seafood. Learn more about La Crema and their hands-on, artisan winemaking techniques at lacrema.com.

Liberated Wine

Reach Your Potential with Something Different
Liberated wines are for anyone looking for something a little different, whether for themselves or as a gift. This new collection celebrates individuals that break free from boundaries to reach their full potential with nine stunning labels, all featuring a unique personality archetype. The Cabernet is a favorite for the holidays with hints of black cherry, a rich, silky texture and three labels to choose from: the Explorer, the Business Man and the Adventurer. Learn more at liberatedwine.com.

Godiva

The Art of Chocolate in a Bottle
One brand is recognized all over the world as the ultimate expression of the art of chocolate – Godiva. Belgian Master Chocolatier Joseph Draps developed a unique rich chocolate with unparalleled smoothness more than 80 years ago, and Godiva Chocolate Liqueur is the ultimate embodiment of the original chocolate collection. Each bottle combines chocolate with enticing flavors from around the world that mix well with a variety of spirits. Find more ways to enjoy Godiva Chocolate Liqueur at godivaliqueurs.com.

Baileys

A Blended Ready-to-Serve Delight
Since its first introduction in 1974, Baileys Original Irish Cream liqueur has become one of the world’s most popular spirits, currently ranked seventh among globally sold distilled spirits. Its distinctive creamy taste comes from a blend of Irish whiskey, fresh double cream and other ingredients. Baileys’ award-winning recipe, which now also includes Vanilla Cinnamon, Chocolate Cherry, Salted Caramel and Espresso Creme, is perfect as a ready-to-serve cocktail or mixed with coffee. Find out more at baileys.com.

How to Age Wine Gracefully
Whether you plan to store that wine you received as a gift for weeks, months or years, here are a few tips to ensure your wine ages well:

  • Store bottles on their sides. The cork can dry out and crack if not in contact with wine.
  • Keep bottles between 55-65 F. The perfect cellar temperature to store wine is 55 F. Cooler temperatures can slow the aging process.
  • Keep humidity between 60-80 percent. Low humidity can cause evaporation and oxidation while high humidity encourages mold.
  • Keep temperature swings to a minimum. Temperature fluctuation causes wine to expand and contract, damaging the cork.
  • Store in a dark place. Light exposure can cause wine proteins to become hazy and also cause aroma and flavor change.
  • Store in a location free of odor and vibration. Vibration can hinder wine’s development and odors can seep in through the cork.

Serve Spirits Like a Pro
Spirits can be served in a variety of ways, and different people prefer their drinks certain ways, so when entertaining this holiday season it is important to be familiar with some of the most common serving techniques:

  • Neat: When spirits are served and consumed at room temperature with nothing added.
  • On the rocks: When spirits are served and drank over ice.
  • Up: When spirits are shaken or stirred with ice or chilled but drank with the ice filtered out.
  • With a mixer: Some spirits lend themselves well to mixing, with ingredients such as tonic water, cola or juice.
  • With a twist: When spirits are served with a thin strip of citrus peel, traditionally lemon, on the rim of the glass.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images (group of people)

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