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Drinks to Welcome in the New Year

By Alex Russell (@ozwineguy) on January 17, 2019 in Food

Bloody delicious, by Benedict Cumberbatch

Right, so you’ve blown all your money buying gifts at the end of 2018 and you also treated your- self to some fantastic wine (well done you). The booze budget is a bit tight, but the weather is warm and everyone seems to be on holiday, so there’s still some shopping to do! What should we drink?

The obvious answer is to crack open some beers, ciders or even tuck into a great G&T. There are some amazing Australian gins around at the moment. Applewood, Poor Tom’s and Four Pillars are some of my many favourites. Do try Four Pillars’ Spiced Negroni Gin in a G&T – I guarantee it will change your life, and if it doesn’t just send the remainder of the bottle to me. No harm done.

For beer, if you feel like travelling over to the Inner West there are now about half a dozen or so breweries in a very small area, which makes it easy to brewery- hop. Start at Batch (near Sydenham Station), then wander along Victoria Road a little until you reach Sauce, then a little further until you hit Grifter. Cross the train lines for Willie the Boatman. All have a decent selection on tap (and takeaways), along with a great environment to just sit down and enjoy some time with your mates. You’ll often find food vans here too, and the selection of food is different each day.

Red wine sales often drop during summer as it’s not particularly pleasant to drink a red on a 40-degree day. Having said that, you can always pop a red in the fridge, and some styles do well with a little bit of a chill on them – not too much as all the interesting flavours will be masked, but a decent 15 minutes in the fridge before opening it and you can certainly enjoy a nice Beaujolais, or even a funky little wine like Spinifex Papillon, in the backyard with a snag or a rissole.

Let’s face it, though, it’s mostly whites and perhaps even bubbles that we’re going to go for at this time of year. The great news is that summery whites are often fairly cheap to make, so you can get great value on a budget. Riesling, Semillon and even Pinot Gris/Grigio of great quality can often be had for around the $20 mark. Do look for aromatic blends of Riesling, Gris and whatever else the winemaker has on hand, which are really nice food-friendly styles. And for a bit of fun, a rosé-like Gewurztraminer often gets people to stretch out and try something a little different because it just smells so interesting.

Many bottle shops will have a little bit of stock leftover after Christmas and New Year, so you may still find a few of them doing specials to get rid of the excess. This will be the case more towards the start of the month rather than the end, and you may have to do a bit of calling around, but specials can be found. Also remember that many shops deliver.

Happy New Year!