Drink up and be merry 

Christmas drink ideas abound

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Last week this space was dedicated to Christmas dinner and this week it is all about the drinks to go with it.

Scot Curry from Alta Bistro created a new favourite this year calling it the Sugar Shack. It is walnut infused bourbon with a dash of maple whiskey, chocolate and orange bitters stirred and served on the rocks with a mist of maraschino liqueur. Curry likes to serve it in a tumbler.

"This is on our cocktail list and on our after dinner list as well," says Curry. "It's great winter flavours, it's got just a little touch of spice from the bitters and it's, of course, got just a little maple. The maple whiskey isn't overly sweet. There's that hint of maple — the walnut is awesome with the maple."

Sounds like the Sugar Shack could pass the test of time to become a classic.

The Rim Rock Café's Anton Fruehwirth laughs when talking about his favourite winter holiday drink.

"We enjoy Santa's Little Helper here," he says.

This little elf makes merry, not toys!

"We use Sailor Jerry's spiced rum, of course, mixed with Mangalore," says Fruehwirth. "It is a cumin and cinnamon liqueur and we steam that up with eggnog and a shot of espresso. It is also nice cold."

He made it last year and people kept coming back for it so Fruehwirth has the kitchen whipping up batches of eggnog every day to keep up with the demand for Santa's Little Helper.

Fruehwirth calls it a fun drink and that he created last year for the holiday season.

With help like that, who needs elves?

Next up is Tia Stonier, the head bartender at Mix by Ric's.

Tia's brand new holiday drink made its debut this season and she calls the warm drink the Buttered Up Honey Bee.

"It is like a hot toddy," she says.

Get set for this. She uses buttered rum with honey Jack Daniels, and lemon along with maple whip cream.

"Its really delicious," she says. "It is ridiculous."

How could any drink with honey flavoured buttered rum and maple whip cream be anything but good?

"The honey Jack Daniels has only come out in the last few months," she says.

Lorien Schramm from the Pemberton Distillery shares a family favourite that includes Pemberton produced Schramm Vodka.

Her family enjoys apple cider mulled cinnamon, nutmeg and other Christmas seasoning along with honey from Lillooet. She adds some Schramm vodka and a splash of apple brandy made with local apples then finishes it with apple juice from Keremeos.

"We produce Kartoffelschnaps, a traditional German potato schnaps, that is hand distilled from organic Pemberton potatoes," she says after sharing her family holiday concoction.

The Kartoffelschnaps is lightly sweetened with Golden Cariboo Honey from Lillooet.

"It is a sipping spirit that is best enjoyed chilled neat," Lorien says. "I would serve it in a small schnaps glass after dinner as a digestive or with desserts and cheese."

He explains that the Kartoffelschnaps was originally going to be a seasonal production, but once the distillery's German customers learned about the product the distillery managers decided to continue producing Kartoffelschnaps all year.

From schnaps we finish it up with beer.

Our friends at the Whistler Brewing Company are once again celebrating the season this year with Whistler Winter Dunkel. Production of the seasonal favourite was expanded this year and made available in 650 ml bottles for take home.

The brewery reports this ale has an orange aroma complemented by chocolate. On the way down drinkers should notice toffee, chocolate and orange mixed in with a rich beer experience.

"The bitterness from the hops is just enough to compensate for the rich malty flavors without leaving a distinct note," says the writer of the brewery's website postings.

The brewers suggest the ale goes well with desserts like Black Forrest Cake and Christmas pudding.

The folks at the Howe Sound Brewing Company offer two winter drinks: Father John's Winter Ale and Pothole Filler Imperial Stout.

Named after the brewery's original brewer, John Mitchell, the winter ale has four different malts, Nugget and Hallertau hops, and a complex blend of spices.

The stout is a dark ale brewed with six malts and blackstrap molasses.

So, with all that alcohol flowing over the margins of this column have a merry Christmas and happy holiday season while drinking responsibly, so we can all get together in 2012 to celebrate the Whistler food and beverage industry through the New Year.

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