The year has flown by! Many of you may already find yourselves in the party planning stages of the holiday season. You may be hosting casual gatherings, cocktail parties with appetizers, traditional spreads or elegant formal dinners.
Our local breweries, wineries and distilleries provide excellent beverage solutions for all occasions.
We have a fabulous array of breweries and cideries. Not just available at their brew pubs, you can easily pick up a selection from our regional standard bearer Mad Anthony’s, newer darlings like Chapman’s or a tasty gluten-free option from Kekionga Cider Company at your nearby store. Others like Trubble Brewing, Junk Ditch, Summit City Brewerks, Fortlandia, 2Toms, Hop River and Ambrosia Orchard, Cidery and Meadery also offer an opportunity to get together out for dinner or an appetizer and a pint with friends. Most have bottled and canned offerings to take home, or you can select a variety of growlers for your cocktail hours, football parties and other casual events. Ambrosia produces a coffee mead named Kaldi which is rich and luscious yet delicately balanced with fruity sweetness perfect for simple or luxurious brunch-time enjoyment.
No cocktail hour is complete without appropriate wines. Lighter dry whites like the atypical Kreibaum Bay Dry Traminette (Indiana’s signature grape) from Satek Winery or the Unoaked Chardonnay from Country Heritage Winery provide lovely options while all of our areas off-dry Traminette selections serve as a tasty treat. For red, Two EE’s winery’s Dolcetto, a classic northern Italian variety will work beautifully as a cocktail or with a wide variety of foods. Cocktails, anyone? You can always feel comfortable picking up your favorites from Three Rivers Distilling Co., meanwhile, Edwin Coe Spirits produces a solid line of excellent products. The Old Coe is a sour mash with lovely caramel and vanilla notes which will have broad appeal for whiskey enthusiasts across the board. As lovely for a Manhattan or with a mixer as it is on the rocks before or after dinner, this is a ringer. Additionally, their Soft Gin is made more in the traditional Dutch, Genever style rather than the pine-y London Dry style we are accustomed to. Lighter in the juniper notes, this has a delicate fruity aromatic balance. For the ladies, serve the distillery’s own “Blackberry Bramble” with Soft Gin, blackberry purée, honey, lemon juice and club soda. For the gents, serve it as a single spirit in the classic James Bond “Vesper,” shaken, not stirred.
The elegant holiday buffet or formal dinner party would not be complete without excellent wine which many believe isn’t produced here. While not available for tasting, Country Heritage has a reserve list comprised of world class varietal wines suitable for the most discerning taste. The Barrel Fermented Reserve Chardonnay grapes hail from Washington’s renowned Horse Heaven Hills appellation. Aromas of apple, vanilla and pear lead into like flavors with a delicate toasty butterscotch and caramel finish. I have tasted hundreds of Chardonnays from around the world at this price point, and there is none finer. Their Vintner’s Cuvée red is a sturdy Cabernet based blend which will also be a sure hit.
No holiday party is complete without dessert, where fortified wines have long been at home. While we have many port style and late harvest wines available in our area, one of the most unique and interesting is the A-Bomb from Satek. This brandy fortified apple wine is dense, rich and layered like a beautiful caramel-apple pie in a glass and is a real value in its class. Delicious!
I hope this leads you, your family and friends to enjoy exceptional holiday living, local style! Happy holidays!