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In the Spirit: What Would Santa Drink?

Here we are again, in the middle of the Holiday Season… The shopping has begun and with it the search for the perfect gift for our loved ones and for those who made Santa’s nice list. He is also getting busy planning his route during Christmas Eve. Now, tradition has it, that we will leave him a glass of milk and some cookies, but what if Santa has been really good this year and we decide to leave him something extra to make his evening more special. As he is making his way from east to west, “Papai Noel” (which is his name in Brazil), might enjoy an adult beverage as he is traveling across the globe. Granted, he will have a Designated Flyer this year so he won’t get a F.U.I

Let’s start our journey!

New Zealand will be his first stop, now remember, it’s summer down under, so a chilled glass of Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough will be a good choice. From there, a fast flight to Australia where the country is big and diverse. The Aussies are known for their big and bold Shiraz but remember it is still summer so maybe a cold beer would refresh him. Australia is actually great at making beers and brands like Coopers Brewery, James Boag and Tooheys, aside form the very well known Fosters, are amazing choices. 

China will be next stop and meanwhile the country is actually one of the biggest importer of international wines, there is a distilled beverage called Baijiu or shaojiu which is Sorghum based and all typically have an alcohol content greater than 30% and are so similar in color and feel to vodka that baijiu is sometimes known as “Chinese vodka” and they also have some flavored ones too. 

Since Japan is right next-door, Kris Kringle might want to refresh his palate with some sake. From the floral and light Ginjo style to the unfiltered and cloudy Nigori, he’ll probably grab some spicy tuna rolls with it to fill his belly cause his next stop will be in the middle east. He will be drinking some Arak witch is a Levantine alcoholic spirit. It is a clear, colorless, unsweetened anise-flavored distilled alcoholic drink. Arak is the traditional alcoholic beverage in Lebanon, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Palestine, and Israel. 

Now flying over to Europe, he will skip some great places like Chianti, Barolo, even Burgundy just to land in London and have a drink with the Queen. After all, since Brexit became a reality, he might even need a visa during future visits. Dubonnet and London Dry Gin is her favorite. So they will chat for while then Pelznickel will make his way to the Americas.

First up is Brazil and as expected, caipirinhas will be the drink of choice. Nothing better then a mash up of crushed fresh limes with some sugar and cachaça (distilled from sugar cane) where Copacabana Beach will be lit up with colorful lights and a warm breeze from the ocean. 

Before he makes his way up north, Santa will go west and will be very curious to try Pisco, which has been made for centuries in both Chile and Peru. Both countries claim the creation of this distilled spirit from grapes but no proof so far of it’s origin’s has been made. 

The Caribbean will be his toughest task with all the different styles of rum. But maybe he can just grab a few bottles to go and enjoy them during the summer months in the North Pole. 

Mexico… I’m sure he will have some shots of tequila and will try some mezcal which is the hottest beverage being produced right now made from roasted agave of any species rather than baked as in tequila style. 

St. Nick, better make sure his reindeers can fly high enough in the U.S. so he can experience the abundance of different adult beverages we can offer. Of course, he will be getting tired by now, but that is why his Designated Flyer is in control. Not only, every state is now making wines, but there are several small distilleries making every type of spirit across the country, craft beers are now so popular, he will have a hard choice to make in which one to try. Don’t forget the Bourbons…

But now, his voyage is coming to an end, so maybe a sweet glass of Inniskillin Ice Wine from Niagara-on-the Lake would warm him up a bit.

I know we might have missed a few important spots this year but old St. Nick can plan the visit for next year. The important thing here is to remember that, no matter where you go, there will be a local specialty concoction for you to enjoy with your friends and family. 

I hope you all enjoyed the trip and also wish you all an amazing holiday season, with a lot of great food and drinks. Remember to stay safe! Cheers!

– Robert Aquilino – Manager and Sommelier at Sam Sneads at The Greenbrier 

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