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Wine Pairings for Your Holiday party

To think we have made our way this far through 2020 already! How time flies. Many of us are well into holiday planning mode, now that we’ve long said our final goodbye to summer. It’s time to gather your dearest loved ones, and indulge in great food and even better wine. Follow along for some WineCollective holiday party wine pairings.

Pinot Noir Wine Pairing: Spicy-ish Honey Mustard

homemade spicy mustard wine pairings

(Yield: 3x 500mL jars)

Although this is not a main dish or focal point during a cocktail party, this is a must-make at the beginning of the holiday season. It is great to pull out for a sandwich bar for a midday get together, amazing as dip for savoury meats, or on a charcuterie board. 

This honey mustard pairs great with Pinot Noir thanks in part to the sweetness from the honey. Pinot Noir is also great with charcuterie and the many possible mustard-pairings you create.

Ingredients:

  • 1 c. Mustard Seed
  • 1 c. Beer (stout or a heavier wheat beer)
  • 1 c. Mustard powder
  • 1 ¾ c. water
  • ¾ c. White vinegar
  • ¾ c. Apple cider vinegar
  • 4 tsp flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp paprika
  • ¾ c. Honey

Getting it done:

The night before you make the mustard, combine the mustard seeds and the beer in a bowl. Let them soak overnight. The next morning strain the seeds, use a mesh strainer as the seeds are quite fine, make sure to capture the excess beer into a measuring cup – you should have about 1/4 cup of excess beer.

Blend the seeds into a paste using a full size blender or hand blender, whatever is accessible or easiest for you.

Next is the easy part! Throw everything in a pot — except the honey. Place the pot on the stove over medium heat and allow it to come to a boil while you whisk everything together. Turn it down to low and set a timer for between 7 and 10 minutes. If you like really spicy mustard, you can turn it off at 7 and if you like it a little milder turn it off at 10 minutes.

Once the stove is off, you can whisk in the honey. Allow the mustard to cool for about 30 minutes in the pot before transferring into jars. Make sure that your jars have been cleaned thoroughly prior to use. In the fridge, this mustard should keep for up to 6 months, but we’re sure you’ll eat it all before then!

Merlot Wine Pairing: Pistachio Mustard Crusted Lamb Pops

lamb pops recipe wine pairings

Lamb is lovely to serve over the holidays, as it has a unique flavour that pairs so nicely with holiday spices, nuts, and aromas. It is also a dish that warms you up and can be served both as a great main or in this case an awesome appetizer! In this recipe we use our homemade mustard. If you are not that adventurous, or just don’t have the time, any grainy or spicy mustard will do!

Merlot is a wonderful match for this mustard crusted lamb dish. Its inherent sweetness works well with the umami of the lamb and the spiciness of the mustard. A match made in dinner heaven!

Ingredients:

  • 1 rack of lamb
  • ¼ c. Pistachio (finely chopped)
  • 4 tbsp Mustard (homemade mustard or any spicy mustard will do)
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper for seasoning

Putting it together:

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Prepare the rack of lamb by patting it dry with a piece of paper towel. Once it is dry it can be rubbed down with the olive oil and seasoned with the salt and pepper. 

In a bowl place the finely chopped pistachios with the mustard. Mix together to form a paste. This paste can be spooned and spread around the meaty end of the rack of lamb. Make sure to spread the paste across the whole rack evenly, but try not to make the layer too thick. A thick layer might fall off during the cooking process.

Place the rack in a shallow baking tray lined with parchment, leaving uncovered while in the oven. Cook for 25 minutes for a medium rare rack. Once the desired cook is reached, remove from the oven and cover with a foil top for about 5 minutes to naturally finish the cooking.

To serve, slice the rack between each rib and display on a plate as you see fit. Serve with a small bowl or ramiken of mustard!

Sauvignon Blanc Wine Pairing: Pomegranate & Pine Nut rolled Goat’s Cheese

holiday goat cheese recipe wine pairings

To round out your holiday party, offering a soft cheese with a crisp fruity kick is always a nice touch. This holiday season we have the fresh flavour of pomegranate with a little crunch from pine nuts to create this festive cocktail party pairing dish.

Share this delicious Goat Cheese on your charcuterie or as a light hors d’oeuvre, with a nicely chilled bottle of Sauvignon Blanc. The acidity from both the cheese and wine are a wonderful match and Sauvignon Blanc is an adaptable wine that will suit the added pomegranate and pine nuts.  

Ingredients:

  • ¼ c. Frozen pomegranate seeds
  • ¼ c. Pine Nuts
  • ⅛ tsp black pepper
  • ⅛ tsp cinnamon
  • Goat’s Cheese Log (long)

Putting it together:

Remove the goat’s cheese log from the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes before working with it. It should be soft and malleable.

In a food processor using the stainless steel blade, pulse together the frozen pomegranate seeds and pine nuts until they are almost a powder. Add the pepper and cinnamon, pulsing a few more times to mix in.

Lay a piece of saran wrap flat on the counter, then pour the pomegranate and pine nut mixture on it. Spread it out (try and keep the edges of the saran clean of mixture, at least 1”), about the width of the goat’s cheese log and as far up the saran as you have mixture for.

Lay the goat’s cheese along the edge of mixture on the saran, width wise, as you have spread it out to fit. Pull the saran up over the goat’s cheese and start to roll it along the mixture. Since the goat’s cheese has been sitting at room temperature it will be malleable, so feel free to gently push along the saran as you are rolling to ensure the mixture attaches to the cheese. Display the cheese on any serving tray and serve with a cracker of your choice.

Share the Pair(ings)

Holiday Recipes

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Wine Cocktails for Your Holiday Party

Dust off your best cocktail shaker, break out the shot glass, and get ready to serve! We know the holidays can be an overwhelming time to create fun, new menus— that’s why we’ve put together three amazing recipes for the most delicious wine cocktails. We know your guests will love sipping these great drinks as you pass around great food and play your favourite games. 

Sparkling Wine Cocktails to Serve at Your Holiday Party

Popping the cork isn’t the only fun part of sparkling wine! Nothing is more refined or enjoyable than a fancy sparkling wine cocktail. And the best part is: this one is so easy to make! Impress your guests by serving a Sparkling Wine French 75.

French 75 Cocktail Recipe

bottle of sparkling wine with two glass behind it, to the right

Ingredients:

  • 1 lemon
  • 1 ounce gin
  • 3 ounces dry sparkling wine, very chilled
  • 1 tablespoon simple syrup or agave nectar
  • 1 cup ice cubes

Instructions:

Squeeze and juice 1 lemon into the cocktail shaker. Do this over your hand or a strainer so that you catch any seeds. In a cocktail shaker, combine gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup. Add ice and shake vigorously for 15-20 seconds.  Strain into chilled champagne flute and top with sparkling wine. Garnish with a thin lemon peel, if desired.

Dry sparkling wine works best with this recipe. This allows you to add some bubbles, without adding any unnecessary sweetness. The drier the sparkling wine, the less sugar!

Red Wine Cocktails to Serve at Your Holiday Party

If there was a ranking for “most traditional holiday drink”, it just might be this one. Nothing says winter or holidays more than a steamy cup of mulled wine. This festive beverage has been around since the 2nd century and we aren’t surprised it’s stuck around! Warm and spicy in the best way, our mulled wine recipe will keep everyone feeling grateful.

Red Mulled Wine Recipe

Glass of mulled wine on a wood block, surrounded by ingredients like cinnamon sticks and clove.

Ingredients (serves 6):

  • 1 x 750-ml bottles of Merlot
  • 250 mL water
  • 10 whole cloves
  • 2 clementines or medium orange
  • 2 cups fresh apple cider
  • 4 apples (optional)
  • 2 cinnamon sticks (and 6 for optional garnish)
  • 1 tsp vanilla 

Instructions:

Press the pointed end of cloves into each clementine/orange through the skin. Place clementines/orange, wine, cider, apples (if using), cinnamon sticks, and vanilla into a large pot. Bring to a slight simmer over medium-low heat, cooking gently for 20-25 minutes. Cover and let stand at room temperature. Rewarm gently over medium-low heat before continuing. Serve and garnish with a cinnamon stick and slice of apple, if desired.

Merlot is the preferred red wine for making mulled wine. This is largely because it is more fruit-forward, has higher alcohol content that can handle being cooked off, and typically has a bold flavour palate that can stand up to the spices.

White Wine Cocktails to Serve at Your Holiday Party

Looking to go a little beyond tradition? Mix things up with white wine Sangria — holiday-style. This refreshing, light cocktail is synonymous with warmer weather. We might be knee-deep in snow in most of the country over the holidays, but that doesn’t mean we have to avoid delicious Sangria. Add a seasonal twist to this white wine favourite and have your holiday guests asking where you got such a great idea!

Cranberry & Rosemary White Sangria Recipe

Bottle of white wine beside chopped apple and a glass with sprigs of rosemary

Ingredients (serves 4-6):

  •  2 x 750ml bottles Pinot Grigio
  •  1/4 cup sugar
  •  250 ml sparkling water
  •  1/2 cup apple cider 
  •  1/2 cup cranberries
  •  2 Granny Smith apples, chopped
  •  3 rosemary sprigs
  •  Garnish: rosemary sprigs

Instructions: 

Chop apples into small cubes. Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher. Stir together with a large spoon until the sugar is dissolved. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving. Serve chilled and include fruit from the pitcher in each glass!

This refreshing yet festive sangria will be everyone’s favourite drink in no time. The Pinot Grigio is so light and bright, while the rosemary and apple cider adds some spice.

Holiday Party Cocktails to Remember

two glasses with clear cocktail, topped with a thin lemon peel

There is something special about visiting with loved ones this time of year. And nothing adds to a celebration quite like having a special cocktail in hand. We’re happy to share these recipes with you and hope to bring some extra cheer your way, in a glass, this holiday season.

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