’Tis the season to welcome friends and family into your home for holiday festivities and, of course, a cocktail or two. Which means it’s time to stock up on booze.
Liqueur (not to be confused with liquor) is often an overlooked category when cruising down the alcohol aisle. Like food, liqueurs can range from drive-thru to gourmet, so knowing what to pick can be a little daunting. I didn’t think popping bottles at Lee’s was the best way to freshen up my liqueur palate, so several weeks ago I attended Couples Cocktails: Liqueurs and Cordials at STK.
- Couples Cocktails
- STK, 698-7990.
- December 12: Champagne Cocktails, $50 per couple, $30 per person.
Couples Cocktails is a monthly class hosted by Mark Suciu of Southern Wine and Spirits. Each course ($50 per couple, $30 per person) focuses on a spirit or cocktail category and runs about 90 minutes. Noshes like onion cheese tarts are included along with two cocktails, making it an excellent date or girls’ night out.
During the class, we learned that a liqueur is simply a distilled spirit naturally or artificially flavored with sugar added to create sweetness. They can be sipped alone (Sambuca) or play with others in cocktails (Grand Marnier in a Cadillac Margarita or Cointreau in a Cosmopolitan). Suciu presented two liqueurs: Cedilla Açai and Godiva Chocolate. Both are a must for your holiday shopping list. The first is made from hand-picked Sambazon açai berries—fruit-forward with hints of citrus, orange peel and ginger. The liqueur actually has antioxidant qualities, a nice perk to balance holiday gorging, and Suciu suggested pairing it with fresh lime and simple syrup over ice to get the party started.
According to Suciu, Godiva Chocolate liqueur “is the best example of a quality chocolate liqueur, which is the most bastardized area in the way of liqueur. When you are talking Godiva, you are actually drinking chocolate.”
As for those holiday parties, Suciu says “the idea of coming to someone’s home and not being able to have a classic cocktail or good quality cocktail is complete garbage. Show friends, family and guests the best.”