Last Updated on November 24, 2020 by JaimeSays
‘Tis the season for holiday celebrations, be it via zoom or in person. As with any celebration, there is much preparation and thoughtfulness into planning the meal. Perhaps the drinks are just an afterthought of what you have available, and to that I say, a resounding, “no longer!” The beverages you serve at a holiday or celebratory meal have the potential to spoil the festivities, so why not make sure you are prepared. Just think: have you ever been to a party where your brand of choice was unavailable? Maybe it was a liquor, or maybe even the sparkling water you prefer. It makes a difference. If you are planning for a holiday gathering this season and don’t want to break the bank, a diverse and surprising choice is German Riesling Wines.
Disclosure: Some, but not all, of the wine and accoutrements featured in this post were supplied by German Wines USA.
Why Serve German Riesling Wines
- Wallet Friendly: For Illinois readers: Of the 337 German Riesling Wines available on Binnys.com, 317 are under $50 and 235 are available under $25.
- Diversity of Styles: Available from bone dry to dessert sweet, sparkling and still. Learn more about deciphering and understanding German wine labels here.
- Availability: Because German wines are synonymous with Riesling, you will be able to find a bottle at both your nearest grocery store and specialty wine shops.
1. Still German Riesling Wines Pair With Just About Anything You Prepare
Riesling is a wine that pairs excellently with both highly seasoned and bland dishes. It’s also great on its own. If you are serving a traditional turkey or poultry dish for Thanksgiving, look for a trocken, dry style Riesling. If you are having something a bit sweeter or spiced, say a Honey Baked Ham, look for a Spåtlese or Auslese with a slightly lower alcohol level ( I like 11-12%) to create a well paired meal.
2. Recreate European Christmas Market Gluhwein
The joy of the holiday season is truly cemented when I visit a Christmas market with my family and friends. While Christmas markets appear to be off the menu in 2020, there are certain things I can do to recreate the nostalgia. Lit Christmas wreaths at my home, Frasier Fir scented candles, and Gluhwein on the stove are how it is done in my house. It wasn’t until I was in Alsace that I tried white Gluhwein, but once I did, I was hooked. Since sugar is added to the recipe, taste test as you go, especially if you start with a sweeter Riesling. This is the easiest recipe I could find, and the exact one I used (paired down for 4). Grab those collectible wine boots and mugs and enjoy a festive time at home.
3. Consider a Low Alcohol, Batch Made Riesling Cocktail
About a month ago, I had the privilege to experience a few German “Wine from Home ” seminars, hosted by German Wines USA. After a year without in person wine tastings, this was exceptional. One such seminar, led by The Lush Life‘s Sarah Tracey, showed us how to create delicious German Riesling wine cocktails. Besides being tasty, the presentation as done by Sarah was truly breathtaking. Using the guidance as provided by Sarah, I tweaked a recipe to best suit what I had in my bar. A quick mix over ice, and voila! Another easy at home cocktail to add to the repertoire.
Ginger Cranberry Riesling Spritz
- 1 Bottle Dry or Off-Dry German Riesling Wine (I recommend Clean Slate Riesling from Mosel or Allendorf Save Water Drink Riesling from Rheingau)
- 1 Can (or more to taste) Ginger Beer (I love Regatta’s Classic Bermuda Style Ginger Beer)
- 15-20 Dashes Fee Brothers Cranberry Bitters
In a large punch bowl, combine chilled Riesling and Ginger beer. Add 15-20 dashes of Cranberry Bitters and stir. Add a festive ice float to keep the cocktail cold, and add cranberry + rosemary garnishes.
4. Don’t Forget the Bubbles
A pet peeve of many in the wine world is when all sparkling wine is listed as Champagne. German bubbles are not Champagne, but they are instead known as Sekt. While many people have tried still Riesling, prepare to really wow your friends, family, or yourself with sparkling Riesling.
5. If You Can’t Drink it…
Perhaps this holiday season you are pregnant, sober, or just trying to cut out alcohol. Surprisingly, you can still enjoy the flavor imparted by Riesling without the alcohol. Thanks to one of my followers, I learned about this Coq Au Riesling recipe from Nigella Lawson, as shown above via the New York Times. In order to ensure that all of the alcohol is cooked out of the dish, keep the dish uncovered and simmering until the scent of alcohol is no longer detectable.
I hope you all have a healthy and happy holiday, and do let me know if you try any Riesling at home!
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