Drink Up, Grinches, it's the holidays. School's out, it's cold outside and everyone is stuck indoors. You're cooking, you're shopping, and damnit you're going to have the picture-perfect holiday if it kills you. Have no fear I'm here to help you take the jingly edge off the holidays with some cocktails and wines pairings.
Candy Canes & Vodka
Candy canes are everywhere during the holidays. If your kid is anything like mine, they open one up, take two licks and put the sticky, half-wrapped remainder down on an expensive piece of furniture. Lucky for you, those slightly-eaten minty treats make for some fun cocktail recipes.
Start by collecting candy canes in a mason jar. Six or so should do it. Top the mason jar with your favorite vodka. Let it sit for at least a day but the longer the better—up to a week if you can. After the vodka is infused with the candy canes pour 2 oz into a shaker with 1 oz of Crème de Cacao. Shake with ice. Rim a Martini glass with a lemon and dip into Crushed Candy Cane pieces. Pour the shaker into the martini glass for a minty cocoa treat.
Cheese Balls & Boxed Pinot Noir
You bought a cheese ball for your friend's party but you're lacking a little self-control and want it to yourself? No problem; we've all been there. Who says wine and cheese must be fancy? Grab a box of pinot noir to wash that giant ball of cheese down. Yes, I said box. Gone are the days of this convenient container only holding sub-par offerings. Ask around at your local shop. You'll be surprised. Nothing sounds more like a holiday treat for moms than cheese and wine. Just don't slap the bag. Those days are behind you, right?
Tree Decorating & An Entire Bottle of White Wine
Tree decorating with the kids is one of my absolute favorite activities of the season. Like most holiday fun it's a great chance to honor old traditions and make new ones. However, the Instagram pics usually look better than the reality. My memories seem to gloss over the broken balls, tinsel everywhere, and a small cluster of ornaments right at your kid's height. You'll need at least a bottle to yourself to watch your kids decorate the tree. I recommend something with high acid like a pinot gris for tree sipping. If you're a perfectionist with even the slightest bit of anxiety, you might want to grab two. Once the vacuum's full of broken glass and wire hooks, snuggle by your yule log on the tv and bask in the warm glow of your perfect tree.
Ginger Bread House & Eggnog
Your three-year-old is hell-bent on making the ginger bread house they saw at in the checkout line at TJ Maxx. The problem is, they ride the struggle bus with even a basic Duplo Lego set. Grab a bottle of Eggnog. The premade version at the liquor store has never killed anyone. Pour it into a coffee cup, top with Whip Cream (take a hit of that straight to the face while you're at it), dust with some ground cinnamon and you're ready to build Santa's entire village. Eggnog also pairs nicely with all the ginger bread crumbs all over your table.
Elf on the Shelf & a Cran-Mosa
You wake up to screaming on a Saturday morning. Your first reaction is to think the worst but the true reason for the sonic assault interrupting your beauty rest is the kids' realization that Mr. Sugar Plum Pants (your Elf on the Shelf) didn't move as desired. Avoid the meltdown and head straight into the kitchen, pour a glass full of prosecco, take two big sips to make some room and top off with cranberry juice. Toss in some rosemary if you're feeling extra festive.
Little Debbie Christmas Tree Cakes & Irish Coffee
Remember those adorable Little Debbie Christmas Tree Cakes you used to eat in elementary school around the holidays? It was funfetti before funfetti even knew it was a thing. Having kids led me to discover these nostalgic magical little treats still exist. Sure, they're processed and full of sugar but hey, it's the holidays, isn't it? And these little treats are killer with an Irish coffee.
Santa's Cookies & Spiced Rum
After spending a delightful Christmas Eve at your in-law's house, Mommy Claus must now bake some cookies for Santa, do bath time, bedtime and then stay up until 3am setting up Santa's gifts and running around throwing half-eaten carrots in the yard so it looks like reindeers came running through. Go on with your bad selves, Santa and Mrs. Claus. Might as well make a date night out of it. Grab that milk and cookies, a bottle of rum and a few drops of chocolate syrup and you got yourself a hot little dessert. Heat it up if you like, go crazy add some of those adorable tiny marshmallows. Just don't go overboard with the rum. You still have a reading tent and two bicycles to put together in the morning. Also, Christmas morning hangovers are no fun.
Leftover Ham & Cabernet Franc
So you overestimated the size of your holiday ham to buy. You're looking at the next few weeks of ham sandwiches, ham salads, and ham and eggs. Cab Franc—the slightly spicy, herbaceous wine from the Loire Valley—can brighten even the most repetitive of dishes.
Happy holidays, everyone! (And don't beat yourself up on over-indulging a little during the holidays. That's what New Year's Resolutions are for.)