March 3, 2024

Deck the Halls with Decadent Drinks

10 local beverages to elevate the holiday season
By Jillian Manning | Dec. 10, 2022

We all know we can get a good box of wine for everyday occasions, but around the holidays, we feel compelled to step up the game. When you want to give the perfect gift or impress your guests—all while supporting local makers—here’s what we recommend.


TC Whiskey Co.’s Barrel Proof Bourbon
A limited release and aged for four years, this signature edition straight bourbon whiskey was a double gold winner at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. You’ll get rich, potent flavor notes from both the whiskey and the barrel—not to mention higher ABV, so sip slowly. Gift to your whiskey-loving father-in-law to help the holidays go down smooth. ($84.99 for 750ml bottle)

Northern Latitudes Distillery’s Jack Pine Gin
Gin may be polarizing, but the Jack Pine Gin from Northern Latitudes brings everyone at the table together for an award-winning rollercoaster of flavor. First, you’ll get the traditional pine and juniper, followed by a touch of citrus, and finished with lavender. Mix, drink on the rocks, or just enjoy the aesthetic of that beautiful bottle. ($48 for 750ml bottle)


Left Foot Charley’s 2017 Blaufränkisch Reserve
The Christmas dinner wine list never looked so good. The Reserve comes from the best seven barrels from the winery’s 2017 Blaufränkisch, made with Pinot Gris and Blaufränkisch grapes grown on a single acre on Old Mission Peninsula. The ensuing years have provided a stunning, rich palette of black pepper, earth, and brambleberry. ($65/bottle)

Aurora Cellars’ 2017 Cabernet Franc
Seems like 2017 was a good year for wine, at least according to the judges at the 2021 TEXSOM International Wine Competition, who gave this vintage the Judge’s Selection award. You’ll get hints of plum, blackberry, and fresh herbs in this medium-bodied red that pairs well with most of the dishes on your holiday table. ($50/bottle)


Rove Estate’s 2021 Unoaked Chardonnay
Rove knows their whites, so it’s hard to just choose one for their list. But a sure party-pleaser or go-to hostess gift is the 2021 Unoaked Chardonnay. This highly-decorated wine is popular in the tasting room and with wine competition judges for its silky palette and notes of pineapple, white peach, and elderflower. ($24/bottle)

Bonobo Winery’s 2021 Fumé Blanc
This wine is new to the Bonobo catalog and undergoes a partial aging process in oak barrels (thus the fumé—French for smoked—name). The grapes are a Sauvignon Blanc varietal, but this wine takes on a whole new flavor from its barrels. The vintners also promise tastes of charred lemon, almond croissant, and green fig. ($35/bottle)


Mawby’s Talis
Perfect for ringing in the New Year, Talis is the most elevated sparkling from Mawby’s impressive collection. We love the description—“estate grown, toasty brioche aromas, distinguished, French kiss”—and it’s clear that this baby only gets better with age, with a minimum of 36 months from press to shelves. Best of all, it won’t break the bank at $39 for a bottle or $82 for a magnum.

Brys Estate’s Signature Reserve Rosé
Perfectly pink and delightfully drinkable, this rosé from Brys stands above the rest. The lightly floral, fruity palette (think strawberries and raspberries) transports you to summertime in the midst of the winter doldrums, making it a great wine for sipping with friends over the next few weeks…and beyond. ($30/bottle)


Walloon Lake Winery’s Three Sheets
This dessert wine says it all in the name. The winemakers call it an homage to tawny port, a dessert wine aged in Bulgarian oak for over two years. The grapes are from our northern friends in Marquette, and this warming beverage is fortified to 18 percent alcohol. ($69.99 for 750ml bottle)

Chateau Chantal’s Entice
If ice wine and oak-aged brandy had a love child, it would be Chateau Chantal’s Entice. The combination is, well, enticing, and is especially lovely when served chilled with dessert. You’ll get the best of the sweet, frozen grape wine alongside the richness of the brandy. ($35/bottle)


Building the Party

In a recent opinion column, small business ownership expert Mary Keyes Rogers adeptly diagnoses several problems in our Un... Read More >>

Film Review: Bob Marley: One Love

Perhaps the first sign that Bob Marley: One Love might be a suspiciously polished and glowing take on the pop culture icon... Read More >>

The M-22 Chili Challenge

Chill(i) out at the 2nd annual M-22 Chili Challenge at Leelanau Sands Casino on Saturday, March 9, from noon-4pm. This coo... Read More >>

Just Keep Skiing

Don’t let the intermittent snow fool you—there is still plenty of ski hill fun to be had! Crystal Mountain in ... Read More >>