While dysfunction is the name of the game during the holiday season, we recommend the following coping methods to stay ahead of the game for the end of Summer:
The lesser expensive cousin to Cognac, this smoother, less oaky, fruitier eau du vie serves as the perfect compliment to many of the holiday desserts, especially perfect with anything chocolate. And, not to hammer home complete and utter lack of sobriety, the alcohol level in Armagnac is surprisingly high for such a smooth tasting bevy. Distilled from grapes in a provincial and quite sexy region of France, Gascony (southwest), the soil types are rich and fertile which means a full drink that doesn’t require much attention to discern the various notes. And if you can’t finish a bottle in one night (lightweight) a stopper need only be inserted into the bottle and it will stay drinkable for years.
2. Barossa Valley Shiraz of any kind (or similarly strong, port-like wine)
These wines, in their hot climates having extremely long growing seasons and the grapes turn into monstrously robust fruit bombs with alcohol levels that border on a poor man’s Cognac. Not just serving to help drown out crabby Aunt Marge, the wine will keep you toasty in these chilly days (unless you live in Palm Beach, in which case, we don’t like you).
3. Bubbles, Bubbles, Bubbles
This has been (literally) the medicine of Kings and the only beverage the Tsars would serve at their most important feasts. We take a cue from the monarchs and admit: the stuff is pretty damn good. Louis XIV was prescribed Champagne whenever he was taken ill and toward the end of his life, as he lay on his deathbed, he was given a new doctor who prescribed the wines of Burgundy. Shortly after this change, the Sun King perished. They say it wasn’t ill-health but a broken heart that made him pass from this life into the next. He missed his champy-champs.
Champagne has the greatest concentration of limestone in the world and the minerality of the fine mousse from the greatest Champagnes is what keeps this bottle at the highest price in the world, over-all, for any alcoholic drink. Notoriously, the people of Champagne have given their lives to protect their land, whether from the Prussians or Nazis, and this history stands as a testament to the richness and mystical quality to what lay beneath the surface.