By Jesse King

Hey guys, if you have been really good this year then I bet you have (or will soon get) some gift cards to your favorite wine and spirit shop. This is a great opportunity to step outside of the box and try something new and exciting!  Remember, even your favorite tried-and-true beverage had to be tested the first time.

If Cognac is your jam, enjoying product mainstays like Hennessy and Courvoiser, you might like Armagnac. Both are French brandies distilled from grapes (albeit different grapes). Cognacs aim to keep consistency among spirits while older brother Armagnac likes branching out with different kinds of flavors. Le Marque and Larressingle are two wonderful examples that might just make you a convert!

Everybody loves margaritas and Triple Sec is in most recipes. In addition to the 'Rita, Triple Sec is super important to any home bar. However, have you thought about upgrading to a nicer orange liqueur? A little pet peeve of mine is when someone wants a bottom shelf product because "it's just going to be mixed anyway." Well, if your mixed drink is two thirds crap mixed with one third crap you will have 100 percent crap in a glass. Treat yourself and your guests this year, and see what a difference a couple of extra dollars can make. I suggest Mathilde, Cointeau, or Grand Marnier. Liqueurs like that demand you try a bit in a glass by itself first to see how wonderful "Triple Sec" can really be.

Ok, this is going to be a challenge but I'm up for it! Jagermeister has been popular forever. Everybody loves it. It’s a sweet herbal liqueur best enjoyed ice cold in a shot glass. As you grow older and more mature or simply look at Jager with feelings of nostalgia and nausea, consider trying a bottle of one of my favorite things in the world, Amaro. I describe Amaro to people as Jagermeister without the sweetness. It's spicy, it's herbal, it's absolutely luxurious on the tongue. You can use Amaro in a variety of cocktails as it plays very well with whiskey for starters, and you can use it as a digestif to settle your stomach after that big holiday meal. (It works, no kidding!) I recommend the lovely cola notes of Ramazzoti, or the beautifully crafted Montenegro, bursting with floral notes and smooth as silk on the palate.

Finally, we come to Tequila. I remember many nights (and occasionally not remembering a few) enjoying Tequila Blanco. This is because Blanco is great for shooting; it has spent little time in oak barrels so it is a pure expression of the spirit. If this is what you are used to, then why not live a little and get some Reposado and Anejo in your life.  Buy the aged versions of your favorite go-to Blanco to see how time in barrels have affected your juice. Of course, you can still shoot Reposado or make Margaritas with Anejo (it'll be a damn good 'Rita!) but I suggest enjoying these new versions neat or on the rocks to truly see what makes them unique. Most Tequila brands offer all three, but for a place to start I enjoy the differences between Don Julio, and Tres Generaciones.

Come see me and our knowledgeable staff for more recommendations on how to celebrate more this holiday season!

All sizes and vintages are in stock at the time of publication. In the event advertised vintages sell out, substitute vintages may be offered at the same price.

Clark Trim