For wine and cocktail lovers on your holiday gift list, here are a variety of wines, including non-alcoholic and dessert varieties, that also make special additions to holiday events. We also added a made-in-Texas bourbon for this “spirited” gift list.
Garrison Brothers Bourbon is made in Texas, at a distillery in Hye, a small town in the Hill Country near Johnson City. This was the first legal bourbon distillery outside of Kentucky when the Garrison Brothers founded it in 2006. Their award-winning bourbon is handcrafted and bottled at the distillery under the care of Master Distiller Donnis Todd. Their bourbon is an ultra-premium whiskey guaranteed to please any bourbon lovers, cocktail enthusiasts, and home bartenders on your holiday gift list.
Garrison Brothers Boot Flask
The Boot Flask ($45.00) sounds like a terrific stocking stuffer for bourbon lovers. This 375ML Small Batch hand-dipped bottle makes for a great intro to the brand and is easy to tote around. Want something a little bigger? Try Small Batch ($90.99 for 750 ML of bourbon, 47% alcohol and 94 proof), to get into the party going.
A good way to sweeten the holidays is their HoneyDew ($90.99). A milder expression, combining Garrison Brothers Small Batch bourbon whiskey with Burleson’s Texas Wildflower Honey, producing a smooth, light bourbon with a sweet honey finish. At 40% alcohol and 80 proof, it’s perfect for your holiday cocktails.
If you have someone on your list who might enjoy learning how the award-winning Garrison Brothers whiskey is made, gift them a visit to the Garrison Brothers distillery in Hye, Texas. Driving through the Hill Country is a great Texas road trip, and walking through the process of how this special bourbon is made sounds like a fun experience. The tour explains how Garrison Brothers came about, why they choose the grains they do, and how the Texas climate plays into the unique taste of their bourbon whiskey. As a special bonus, visitors can try some fantastic bourbon too. The distillery is open for tours Tuesday-Wednesday (10 a.m.-4 p.m.) and Thursday-Saturday (10 a.m.-6 p.m.).
To reserve a spot for yourself or as a gift ($10) for that special bourbon lover on your holiday list, click garrisonbros.com/visit-hye#tours. Garrison Brothers bourbons are available to purchase online at garrisonbros.com, or locally at Total Wine in Cedar Hill (TotalWine.com).
Starla Non-Alcoholic Wines
Did you know the non-alcoholic wine market grew by 43% in 2021? Apparently a lot of wine lovers are looking for a way to enjoy their favorite red, white or sparkling rose while practicing conscious imbibing during the holidays.
I recently tried Starla Wines, a premium, low-calorie alcohol-removed wine, and was very impressed by the taste. Starla was created for wine lovers trying to “nix the spirits but savor the experience.” They carefully harvest premium northern California grapes, removing the alcohol and blending with fine quality botanicals. The results? A full-bodied wine with a fraction of the calories and none of the regrets.
Starla offers a trio of varietals: Red Blend, Sauvignon Blanc, and Sparkling Rosé, each of them delicious for sipping, socializing, and pairing. The Collection, a trio of all three bottles, sells for $90, or the wines are available for $30 each. Available online at StarlaWines.com with free shipping, and also sold in such retailers as Specs and Central Market.
Round Barn Winery
We were sent three different varieties of Round Barn Wine to try for the holiday season. Consensus was the Round Barn Farm Market Cranberry wine ($15) was the perfect accompaniment for our Thanksgiving dinner. A combination of 50% sweet white wine with 50% tart cranberry juice produces an exceptionally refreshing wine for any time of the year, and was especially good served over ice. Delicious with chicken, turkey, or pork or other holiday fare, it’s also the perfect beverage to add color to your table!
The Round Barn Black Walnut Cream ($28) is composed of a proprietary blend of rich cream, white wine and black walnuts. Just pour it over ice, or add to your coffee for a very flavorful after dinner drink, and at 13.9% alcohol it’s less potent than a liqueur. It’s also very good in dessert cocktails or poured over ice cream. Round Barn Salted Caramel Cream Wine ($30) returned this fall for a limited time. This delicious beverage is a proprietary blend of rich cream, white wine, and natural, salted caramel. We’re told it makes a great aperitif for a party, or added to desserts for extra oomph.
The wines can be ordered online through Moersch Hospitality Group at moerschhg.vinesos.com/roundbarn/. Their website also features some great cocktail recipes for their wines.