The Best Bottles to Ring in the New Year
We know, we know: It’s not technically the start of a new decade just yet—officially, we have to wait until 2021 for that. But with the calendar switching over to 2020, it promises to be an even more momentous New Year’s Eve celebration than normal. Our advice: new decade or not, you’ll want to ring in the ’20s in style. To help decide how, we’ve put together this list of stylish, and celebratory bottles for all of your holiday party needs.
For a wine that’s dressed to party: Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc
You spent hours picking out the perfect New Year’s Eve look, and so did this festive bottle, which will look extra glam in your Insta feed alongside sparkly party decor. Its vivid and refreshing character also makes a stylish addition to any holiday dinner table. And since Kim Crawford is Canada’s most popular Sauvignon Blanc, you’ll be hard pressed to find a friend who wouldn’t enjoy a glass. $19.95, lcbo.com.
For those who always choose grape over grain: CÎROC Vodka
It’s a well-known fact that French grapes are pretty incredible. Turns out, those succulent beauties aren’t just for wine: They’re also the base for ultra-premium CÎROC Vodka, which has been redefining what it means to be a vodka since it was created in 2003. It’s the rare vodka that’s smooth enough to serve straight or on the rocks, and it’s a smart bar-cart anchor for its versatility in cocktails, from Martinis to Moscow Mules. And since it’s not made from wheat, as most vodkas are, it’s an inclusive, gluten-free option for discerning guests with dietary sensitivities. $44.95, lcbo.com.
For a toast to the year ahead: Le Clos Jordanne Chardonnay and Pinot Noir
Long regarded as some of the best ever produced in Ontario, Le Clos Jordanne’s ultra-premium Burgundian wines are back in the Canadian spotlight for the first time since the release of the 2012 vintage. Elegant and complex, the 2017 Le Grand Clos Chardonnay and Le Grand Clos Pinot Noir are true expressions of the unique terroir of the Jordan Bench, and very deserving of a toast to 2020—and beyond. $44.95, leclosjordanne.com.
For a taste of Carnival on New Year’s Eve: LEBLON Cachaça
December 31 in Canada is a uniformly chilly experience, but in the southern hemisphere, it’s peak summer. So take your gathering about 8,000 kilometres south in spirit with a round of super-refreshing Caipirinhas, made using Brazil’s iconic version of rum. (The difference? It’s made with sugar cane juice instead of molasses.) Just add 1.5 ounces of LEBLON Cachaça—produced at the famed Maison Leblon in Minas Gerais using a 500-year-old artisanal process—add ice to a glass with muddled lime and an ounce of simple syrup. Stir, and you’re all set for carnival-themed New Year’s Eve party. $34.95, lcbo.com.
For a statement-making BYOB pick: Robert Mondavi Private Selection Bourbon Barrel Cabernet Sauvignon
As New Year’s Eve invites roll in, avoid the embarrassing faux-pas of showing up to the shindig empty handed—and, at the same time, dazzle your friends with a unique bottle of red that doesn’t break the bank. Robert Mondavi Private Selection Bourbon Barrel Aged Cabernet Sauvignon is aged in bourbon barrels, giving it a rich, bold texture and complex flavour profile that stands out from your typical California cab. It pairs perfectly with charcuterie boards and good conversation, making it the quintessential kitchen-counter centrepiece this New Year’s Eve. $20.95, lcbo.com.
For a grand tour of Scotland in your glass: Johnnie Walker 18 Year Old Scotch Whisky
Every New Year’s Eve gathering worth its salt needs a smooth-sipping whisky, and when you take a sip of Johnnie Walker 18 Year Old Scotch Whisky, you’re not only tasting the result of 18 years of slow, easy maturation, you are also tasting a carefully chosen blend of up to 18 different whiskies from all over Scotland including Cardhu, Glen Elgin, Auchroisk, and Blair Athol. Think of it as a Scotch all-star team, with a roster of talents selected for taste, quality and pedigree, and an array of flavours and aromas that includes citrus, almond, vanilla and tangerine. $149.95, lcbo.com.
For a sparkling sip at any hour: Ruffino Prosecco
A New Year’s countdown isn’t complete without friends, family and a midnight toast. Ring in the New Year with Ruffino Prosecco’s crisp, clean bubbles and tasty notes of citrus, apple and peach. This Italian sparkling wine is a perfect guest at any New Year’s party: it’s light, well-balanced and pairs perfectly with crunchy snacks. It’s also perfect for mixing into bubbly cocktails, and a lovely addition to New Year’s Day brunch mimosas, so grab an extra bottle or two. $17.95, lcbo.com.
For a forward-looking cocktail: ST~GERMAIN Elderflower Liqueur
New Year’s Eve is all about looking ahead—and if you squint really hard, you can already see the outline of spring on the horizon. Pair these fantasies of T-shirts and sandals with the delicately floral flavour of ST~GERMAIN Elderflower Liqueur, which gets its signature je ne sais quoi from the 1,000 hand-picked wild elderflower blossoms in each bottle. Add 1.5 ounces of ST~GERMAIN to 2 ounces of sparkling wine and 2 ounces of sparkling water, and serve over ice with a lemon twist for a ST~GERMAIN Spritz: it’s guaranteed to give your guests a light, refreshing and lower-ABV taste of warmer days ahead. $49.95, lcbo.com.
For pairing—or not pairing—with food: Josh Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon
The complex flavours of this full-bodied California cab are perfect to brighten any holiday meal, or simply to toast friends and family. It’s dominated by flavors of black cherry and juicy blackberries, accented by delicate vanilla flavors and toasty oak, finishing long with round, soft tannins. And at under $20, it’s one of the best-valued California cabernets you can find. $19.95, lcbo.com.
For a truly rare sip to start the new year: Johnnie Walker Blue Label Ghost And Rare Blend Scotch Whisky
To end the year on a high note, it’s hard to beat a celebratory dram of Johnnie Walker’s finest blend. But this isn’t any ordinary Blue Label: The Johnnie Walker Blue Label Ghost And Rare Blend is a celebration of legendary, albeit shuttered, “ghost” distilleries across Scotland. This one commemorates the Glenury Royal, which shut its doors in 1985, but lives again in this limited-edition release, which hums with smooth, nutty layers of dark chocolate, waves of vanilla, heather honey, dried fruits, creamy toffee and butterscotch—along with the signature rich apple and delicate apricot character for which Glenury Royal was legendary. $549.95, lcbo.com.
For the perfect cocktail recipe
You’ve stocked the bar cart, filled the ice bucket and gathered the cocktail shaker. You’re officially ready to host. But first, you need a signature cocktail recipe. This year, don’t settle for ordinary: Let the LCBO’s epic collection of 76 Holiday Cocktails be your virtual mixologist. It has crowd-pleasing recipes for everything from a Cognac Alexander to a Whiskey Bramble, along with champagne cocktails, warming after-dinner drinks and thoughtful zero-percent cocktails for non-imbibers.