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WHAT YOU SHOULD BE THINKING WHEN IT COMES TO HOLIDAY DRINKING

By Alex Russell Instagram @ozwineguy on December 22, 2016 in Food

Photo:  Rosé Gonzalez

Photo: Rosé Gonzalez

December is a great time to buy booze. Here are a few quick Christmas shopping tips…

1. Look around. Keep in mind that different shops will generally have different things on special, to differentiate themselves. So if you go to one shop and see a particular wine on special, another shop down the road will often have something different on special. Explore a few different shops and take advantage of the variety and discounts.

2. Stock up. December is the busiest time of year for retailers, as people are buying for Christmas presents, as well Christmas lunch and New Year’s Eve. Because it’s busy, shops buy in bulk and get great prices, which translates into great prices for you. So if the budget allows, consider stocking up now with a case or two.

3. Gift suggestions. Booze is a great gift. Feel free to ask for suggestions from the staff at your local bottle shop and let them know your budget. If you say you want a $30 bottle of bubbles for someone, they’ll help you find the best value for money. If you don’t know what to get, there are certain rules of thumb that retailers will resort to: generally bubbles or white wine for ladies, and red wine or whisky for gents. Remember, they don’t know your friends and can only guess. If you can, ask the recipient what they like to drink. If you do want help with your choices, try to do your shopping before December 24. Retailers will generally be run off their feet that close to Christmas.

4. New Year’s Eve. If at all possible, try to buy your booze in the days leading up to December 31. If you’re buying wine on the way to your party, don’t expect it to be cold. A bottle of wine takes a couple of hours in the fridge to cool down, and lots of other people will have beaten you to it.

5. What should I drink? Whatever you want! Feel free to splash out and get something fancy, or drink the cheapest, nastiest drop you can. Drink whatever you like, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. That said, my tip for Christmas lunch would be a Hunter Semillon or Clare Riesling with a prawn salad, then a sparkling red with ham and turkey. All of that leads to a lovely afternoon nap, before leftovers for dinner with a really nice big red. Maybe a Barossa Shiraz.

For New Year’s Eve, a session beer is a good option. Little Creatures ‘Rogers’ is a favourite of mine, as it’s a little lower in alcohol, so you can go a little longer. Bubbles are always a lot of fun here, too.

For me, this Christmas/New Year period will be a quiet one. Our second child is due on December 16, so we’ll toast him with a couple of quiet Belgian ales – Tripel Karmeliet, to be precise.

Have a safe holiday, thanks for reading, and I’ll see you all in January for some essential hangover suggestions.

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