Beyond mulled wine
The holidays: time for family togetherness, celebrations, and—if those aren’t quite so delightful as you might hope—a nice stiff drink. I’m not much of a hard-alcohol drinker for most of the year, but at Christmastime a festive cocktail seems de rigueur. I especially like the pure line of flavored vodkas from Domaine Charbay, which has expanded this year to include a pomegranate variety made from whole fruit, with no additives. Charbay suggests spiking it with cardamom syrup and pomegranate puree to make a Moroccan-style cocktail, but it’s also delicious served cold and straight up, with a sprinkling of pomegranate seeds and maybe a lime wheel for seasonal color contrast. Charbay’s pomegranate vodka (as well as many of their other flavors) is available locally at David Berkley Fine Wines & Foods. The family drama or last-minute shopping stress that might make a really good drink necessary is available pretty much anywhere. 515 Pavilions Lane, (916) 929-4422.