Summer has long been gone but hosting never stops. Winter is jam packed with events and the holidays aren’t the only reason to celebrate. A good host knows that a great cockail is the staple to any celebration so ee’ve put together this list of amazing winter cocktails that you just have to try!

 

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Pomegranate Mimosa

Sweet and slightly tart, these ruby-red mimosas are classy for any party.
TOTAL TIME: 
PREP: 
SERVES: 4
INGREDIENTS
  • 1 c. sweetened pomegranate juice
  • 1 bottle champagne
  • Pomegranate seeds, for garnish
DIRECTIONS
 In champagne flutes, fill with 1/4 cup sweetened pomegranate juice and top off with champagne. Garnish with pomegranate seeds.

 

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Holiday Spice Mulled Wine

TOTAL TIME: 
PREP: 
SERVES: 4
INGREDIENTS
  • 1 (750 ml) bottle Entwine Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 1/4 cup honey or agave nectar
  • 2 cups apple cider
  • 1/4 cup Grand Marnier (or other orange liqueur, optional)
  • 1 orange, sliced
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • Star anise, oranges, lemons, and cinnamon sticks for garnish (optional)
DIRECTIONS
Combine wine, honey, cider, orange liqueur, sliced fruit, cloves, and cinnamon sticks to a sauce pan and heat to medium high heat. Once simmering, reduce to medium-low heat and continue to simmer for about 30 minutes.Strain and serve, garnished with more fruit, star anise, and cinnamon sticks if desired.Enjoy!
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Apple Cranberry Moscow Mule

Prep time: 0:
Total time:  0:
Serves: 2
A gingery “Mexican” Mule updated with the Autumnal flavors of apple and cranberry!
INGREDIENTS
  • ice
  • 4 ounces Tequila
  • ¼ cup cranberry juice
  • ½ cup sparkling apple juice
  • 2 ginger beers
  • fresh cranberries for garnish
DIRECTIONS
Fill two large glasses with ice. Add the Tequila and cranberry juice. Add the sparkling apple juice and then fill the rest of the way with the ginger beer. Stir gently to combine and serve immediately.
Cranberry And Lime Margaritas

Cranberry Lime Margarita

TOTAL TIME: 
PREP: 
SERVES: 4

INGREDIENTS

3 cups cranberries
1 cup water
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup agave
3 cups cranberry juice cocktail
1 1/2 cups fresh lime juice
1 1/2 cups Tequila
1 cup orange liqueur – Triple Sec
Ice
Extra cranberries for decor
DIRECTIONS
 In a large pot bring cranberries, water, lemon juice and agave to a boil until all the cranberries have swelled and burst. Then blend them. Put the cranberry mixture through a strainer twice to make sure you only get the juice and no chunks! Combine homemade cranberry juice, cranberry juice cocktail, lime juice, tequila, and orange liqueur. Add ice and pour into a salt rimmed glass.
Garnish with extra cranberries and slices of lime and ENJOY!

SPICE ME UP

TOTAL TIME: 
PREP: 
SERVES: 1 

INGREDIENT

2 oz bourbon
.5 oz allspice dram
.5 oz simple syrup
.5 oz lemon juice
Angostura bitters

DIRECTIONS 

Add all ingredients to a shaker with ice and shake well. Double strain into a rocks glass with a big ice cube. Garnish with a lemon segment on top of the ice cube.

 

14 Flavor-Packed Fruit Infused Water Recipes

 Strawberry Mint Water

Put this fruity water in a pitcher at your next party, or fill up a water bottle for the next time you hit the gym. Simply slice a few berries and drop in a few mint leaves. Expert tip: Tear the leaves before you add them to the mix to release even more robust flavor.

 

14 Flavor-Packed Fruit Infused Water Recipes

 Citrus Mint Water

This recipe features thick slices of antioxidant-rich grapefruit. Snack on the slices while you hydrate and you’ll get a dose of immunity-boosting lycopene. Lemon rounds out the citrusy taste, while mint and cucumber deliver a note of freshness.

 

14 Flavor-Packed Fruit Infused Water Recipes 

Mojito Water

Come happy hour, nix the alcohol and opt for this mojito water instead. Mint and plenty of lime (the more, the better!) team up for a light and tart beverage that won’t leave you with a hangover.

 

14 Flavor-Packed Fruit Infused Water Recipes

Rainbow Citrus Water

For this recipe, you can add as many different types of citrus as you please. (Think: Grapefruit, oranges, lemons and limes!) The result: A gorgeous spectrum of color filling your glass to the brim.

 

Strawberry, Basil & Cucumber Water

This recipe includes 3 basil leaves, roughly chopped, 1 strawberry, sliced, 3-5 slices of cucumber, Ice and Water. Combine all the ingredients in a large glass, and let sit for at least 5 minutes before enjoying.

Raspberry & Lemon Water

Add 2 cups organic raspberrie, 8 cups spring or filtered water, 1 large organic lemon, cut into half-inch slices,  1 gallon clean glass jar with lid 1. Place raspberries into the bottom of your jar. Add the dates, then layer the lemon slices on top. Pour water into jar and place lid on top. Place water into the refrigerator and let infuse for 1 hour.

 

Pineapple & Ginger Water

1 cup fresh pineapple pieces (crushed for a sweeter taste/ 1-inch piece ginger, thinly sliced. 2 quarts filtered or spring water/  Add the pineapple and ginger to a 64-ounce mason jar or pitcher. Pour the water over top and refrigerate until cold. Serve over ice

Who doesn’t love wine. Wine conossieurs everywhere can now rejoice. FOOD & WINE Magazine has put together this expansive list of 50 affordable wines all under $20. So whether it’s for your next dinner party or simply a night in grab a bottle and pour it up.

Columbia Crest H3 Cabernet Sauvignon

4. Columbia Crest H3 Cabernet Sauvignon ($15)

The H3 stands for Horse Heaven Hills, the remote Washington State region where the grapes for this perennially impressive value red are grown. It’s substantial, with ripe black cherry fruit and substantial but streamlined tannins—a great steak wine for less than the price of a great steak, in fact.

Foxglove Central Coast Chardonnay

5. Foxglove Central Coast Chardonnay ($17)

Brothers Bob and Jim Varner made their name with high-end, single-vineyard Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs before branching out under their Foxglove label to more affordable offerings. This Edna Valley offering always overdelivers, and is full of vivid mango and citrus fruit.

 

Hess Select North Coast Cabernet Sauvignon

6. Hess Select North Coast Cabernet Sauvignon ($17)

Although most of the great wines of the world come from specific vineyards, most of the great affordable wines of the world are a blend of grapes from many different sites—as is the case with Hess’s spicy, black cherry–rich Hess Select Cabernet Sauvignon.

 

J. Lohr Estates Seven Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon

7. J. Lohr Estates Seven Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon ($15)

One of the biggest growers in the Central Coast, the Lohr family farms more than 3,600 acres of vines in Monterey County and Paso Robles. The latter vineyards are the primary source for this finely made, incredibly reliable red. It hews to a a crowd-pleasing style, with sweet American oak accents and plenty of aromatic, juicy cherry fruit.

 

Kendall Jackson Vintner’s Reserve California Chardonnay

8. Kendall Jackson Vintner’s Reserve California Chardonnay ($14)

Here are two things to know about Kendall Jackson’s Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay: More than two million cases are made each year, and every single grape that goes into those bottles comes from vineyards owned by Kendall Jackson. (This is why, when you take a tour of the Kendall Jackson vineyards, you do it by helicopter.) Vineyard ownership means control over viticultural practices, and that’s why this wine—despite its vast production—remains delicious: rich but finely focused, its flavors suggesting ripe mangoes and pears.

 

Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc + Viognier ($15)

9. Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc + Viognier ($15)

Year in and year out, this is one of California’s top wine values. Winemaker Michael Beaulac blends Chenin from the Clarksburg region with Viognier from Lodi, ages it in stainless steel to retain its freshness, and comes up with a white that tingles on the tongue, with vibrant mandarin orange and melon flavors.

 

Rancho Zabaco Heritage Vines Sonoma County Zinfandel

10. Rancho Zabaco Heritage Vines Sonoma County Zinfandel ($14)

Rancho Zabaco is one of many labels owned by Gallo. The company also owns a vast range of vineyards, including many long-planted to Zinfandel. Its Heritage Vines Zinfandel takes advantage of the old vines’ intensity of flavor, and while it may not be as inexpensive as Gallo Hearty Burgundy was in the 1970s, it’s still a steal.

 

Ravenswood Old Vine Lodi Zinfandel ($14)

11. Ravenswood Old Vine Lodi Zinfandel ($14)

Not so long ago, Ravenswood founder Joel Peterson remarked that when he started out, his wines were considered high-alcohol. These days, Ravenswood’s Zinfandels seem positively graceful compared to some of the galumphing Zin-monsters out there—and that’s why we still love them. Of particular note is its Lodi Zinfandel, a shade pricier than the company’s ubiquitous Vintners Blend, but with a depth of blackberry richness that’s well worth the few extra dollars.

 

Robert Mondavi Winery Napa Valley Fumé Blanc ($16)

12. Robert Mondavi Winery Napa Valley Fumé Blanc ($16)

Though no longer owned by the Mondavi family, this is still one of Napa Valley’s defining estates, producing wines ranging from its age-worthy Reserve Cabernet to its citrus-scented Napa Valley Fumé Blanc. Robert Mondavi coined the term “Fumé Blanc” for his Sauvignon Blanc wines in 1968 (French Pouilly-Fumés are made from Sauvignon Blanc), and winemaker Genevieve Janssens still uses French techniques—partial fermentation in barrel, the addition of a touch of Sémillon—to add complexity to this zesty white.

 

La Crema Sonoma Coast Chardonnay ($19)

14. La Crema Sonoma Coast Chardonnay ($19)

La Crema makes a range of subtly expressive Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs, but the Sonoma Coast Chardonnay, one of the winery’s most widely available bottlings, is also one of its best. It’s round and rich, with ripe pear and caramel-vanilla flavors.

 

Brancott Estate Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc ($10)

15. Brancott Estate Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc ($10)

While Cloudy Bay is still the most famous Sauvignon Blanc made in New Zealand, the much larger producer Brancott Vineyards deserves recognition, too. With properties in regions on both the North Island (Gisborne and Hawkes Bay) and the South Island (Marlborough), Brancott turns out a broad range of wines, including this compulsively drinkable Sauvignon Blanc.

 

Giesen Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc

16. Giesen Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc ($15)

Grapefruity and intense, with a distinctive peppery-lemon grass edge, this is classic New Zealand Sauvignon from one of the region’s top family-owned producers (Theo, Alex and Marcel Giesen founded it in 1981, after immigrating to New Zealand from their native Germany.)

 

Jim Barry The Cover Drive Cabernet Sauvignon

Champagne wishes, Cavier dreams, Beer budget? No Problem. We’ve put together an amazing list of champagne favorites that anyone can grab, because these bottles are only $30 or less! Yes you can pop bottles without breaking the bank and for my budget concious we’ve put them in order from lowest to highest.

1.Freixenet Carta Nevada Brut

Spain

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$8.99

Another region of the world that shouldn’t be ignored is Spain, and Freixenet offers a quality taste with a terrific value. Their Carta Nevada Brut is refreshing, light and slightly sweet with fruit and vanilla flavors.

 

2.Poema Brut Rosé Cava

Spain

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$12.99

Rosé, like prosecco, might not be a traditional wedding beverage but this Spanish cava’s tasty aromas of strawberry, raspberry and rose petals, not to mention to pretty color, make it worth including.

 

3.Korbel Chardonnay Champagne

Sonoma Valley, California

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$14.00

The drinkable sparkling wine combines the flavors or apple and pear with warm, buttery flavors. It’s the kind of champagne wine lovers love to drink because it blends champagne with a traditional table wine.

 

4.Gruet Blanc de Blancs

New Mexico

  • gruetblancdeblancsbshrjpg_91$15.99

    New Mexico isn’t the first place that comes to mind when I think of great wine states, but Gruet Winery has been getting some good buzz lately, particularly for this affordable sparking wine. Its mature taste has a core of pear, apple and tropical fruit.

    5.Martini Prosecco

    Veneto, Italy

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    $16.99

    Most people don’t think of prosecco as an option for wedding toasts, but it is a lovely, gently sparkling wine. This is a drinkable clean, crisp and light sparkler with a mix of fruity peach and apple.

6.Chandon Sweet Star

California

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$21.99

My absolute favorite Champagne on the market right now. Sweet Star is a sophisticated and vibrant sparkling wine that enlivens all occasions. Sweet Star pops with aromas of bright peach, nectarine, grapefruit and tropical fruits complimented by floral notes. The fruit aromas extend onto the generous palate which is rich and sweet but with a distinctive, refreshing acidity that brightens the mouthfeel. You can find this bottle for as low as $19.99 but I tend to find around $21 to be the average price.

 

7. Roederer Estate Brut

Anderson Valley, California

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$21.99

This delicious California sparkler starts off toasty and nutty, then reveals flavors of citrus, green apple, and pear. Incidentally, Roederer is also the same company who produces the champagne of choice for celebrities, Cristal, making this a rock-star champagne for a rock-bottom price.

 

8. Mumm Napa Brut Prestige

Napa Valley, California

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$22.00

A crisp, dry sparkling wine that combines the flavors of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Mumm Napa exudes flavors of creamy vanilla, citrus and melon, and it finishes off rich and smooth. It also pairs well with all types of dishes.

9. Argyle Brut 2011

Oregon

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$27.00

One of the most respected sparkling wines in this country, this champagne features coveted small bubbles and hints of spice, citrus blossoms and toasted brioche. A sophisticated sparkling wine, it’s fruity with only a hint of sweetness.

 

10. Belaire Rose

France

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$29.99

Feeling like a boss? Go for Belaire. Made popular by rap artist’s and clubs alike this bottle is definitely a top tier option and it only costs $30. This rosé is handcrafted from a blend of three grapes. Aromas of fresh strawberry and blackcurrant, an elegant effervescence, and a striking deep pink color combine to make Belaire Rosé a uniquely exquisite experience, with a perfect harmony of aroma, taste, body, and finish.

So live it up, Do it up. Now there is no excuse.
Happy Bottle Popping,
Cocoa