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Raise a Glass

Local restaurants and wine stores reveal what holiday drinks they’ll be serving this season


(page 1 of 3)

In New Canaan…

Cava Wine Bar & Restaurant
2 Forest Street, New Canaan; 203-966-6946

Pumpkin Pie Martini
This drink tastes like liquid pumpkin pie and is fun and festive: 

1.5 oz Kahlua Pumpkin Spice
1 oz Dekuper Buttershots
3 oz cream 

Shake well, then strain into a cocktail glass with a cinnamon sugar rim.

Monkey Jam Sour
This pairs nicely with cheeses like brie or gouda, or with an apple or pear tart or a bittersweet chocolate dessert. 

1 1/4 oz Monkey Shoulder Scotch

1/2 oz lemon juice

2 spoonfuls raspberry jam

Dash of sugar

3 dashes of orange bitters

Shake very well, then strain into a cocktail glass. Serve with an orange garnish.

Chef Luis
129 Elm Street, New Canaan; 203-972-5847

Chef Luis Hot Toddy
1 3/4 oz Aged Venezuelan Rum (such as Pampero Aniversario 7yr)

1 oz Kirschwasser (such as Clear Creek Distillery)
1/2 oz Sweet Vermouth (such as Carpano Antica)
3 dashes of cinnamon bitters
1 large orange twist
3 oz  boiling water
In a snifter glass, combine the rum, kirschwasser, sweet vermouth, and bitters. Squeeze the orange zest, pith side facing up into the glass. Add the boiling water and a dash of Mexican cinnamon on top.

Franco’s Wine Merchants
130 Elm Street, New Canaan; 203-966-9571

“For Thanksgiving, people traditionally tend to choose American wines like Pinot Noir, because it can stand up to a meal with a variety of flavors,” explains Carl Franco, co-owner with Rick Franco of Franco’s Wine Store. Given that, he recommends Gavilan by Chalon Vineyards Pinot Noir ($22.99). If you prefer a more full-bodied wine, Carl likes the Clos Du Val Cabernet ($24.99). For white wine fans, try choosing a classic California Chardonnay like Ramey Russian River or Ramey Sonoma Coast Chardonnay (both $29.99). These white wines offer a good balance between oak and fruit and go well with root vegetables, which are sure to grace your table this Thanksgiving or Christmas.

New Canaan Wine Merchants
36 Pine Street, New Canaan; 203-972-0100

“Champagne is always a favorite during the holidays, particularly at Christmas,” says owner Jeff Barbour. He recommends Pierre Gimonnet ($39), a premier cru of bubbly (a designation bestowed upon top notch vineyards).

Joseph Swan Vineyards Pinot Noir ($34) is Jeff’s choice for red wine at a holiday meal because it’s not too “bulky” of a wine. “Pinot Noirs in general offer themselves to a more broad spectrum of foods like poultry, ham, fish and duck compared to a heavier wine like Cabernet,” he says. Salmon and Pinot Noir is a classic pairing for the holidays. Reverdy-Ducroux Sancerre ($20) is his choice for those who prefer white wine. Jeff explains that this Sancerre has good body, isn’t too tart and goes well with lighter, white fish. It makes a great aperitif wine and is wonderful with oysters.

South End
36 Pine Street, New Canaan; 203-966-5200

This cocktail is sure to add a spring to any holiday reveler’s step this season.

South End’s “Toast of the Town”
1.5 oz. Comb Gin from Port Chester, NY

Muddled rosemary
Splash freshly squeezed lemon juice
Splash simple syrup
Splash Pom Juice
Shake and strain into a champagne flute. Garnish with a lemon wheel.