Holiday Wine and Cocktail Recipes: 90+ Cellars

Turkey day is this week! Although, technically, it was already Christmas the day after Halloween. Give us a break America and let us celebrate one holiday at a time! All the leaves have changed, the air is cool and crisp and that means it’s time for some good Wine, Prosecco and Champagne. Especially for Thanksgiving. I’ve got two wines that will pair wonderfully with any kind of turkey, roast or chicken you may be having for the holiday; spicy or savory. The good thing about serving wine at your holiday gatherings is that you won’t have to stand behind your home bar making drinks all night or even have to make a punch. Just uncork the bottle and set it out for self service. If you want to feel super fancy, decant the bottle. That will impress your guests and you can feel like a Jr. sommelier.

90+ Cellars offers high-end wines that won’t break your wallet during the holiday season. The unique aspect of 90+ Cellars is what they bring to the wine market.  They have been able to convert market inefficiencies into better value for both winemakers and consumers. How you ask? They enable wineries to sell their oversupply without effecting the value of their brand. This way, 90+ can offer customers high-end wine for less! That means we win, guys. We win!

The first wine I’m recommending for Turkey day and beyond is the Pinot Noir.




This is a fabulous Pinot Noir that you definitely want to have on your holiday table. It’s bold but not too bold. Slightly dry and fruity, this Pinot is rich and smooth. There are deep notes of cherry, dried fruits and there’s a certain earthiness that is pleasant on the palate and will keep you going back for another sip and that’s exactly what you want when you’re enjoying your roasted and brined meats and savory and sweet sides. There’s some nice spice notes of cinnamon on the end of this one and for $14.99, you can’t lose. Enjoy!

Next up is the Big Red Blend.


For only $11.99, this one is BOLD. This is a good wine for the intermediate Red Wine drinker. There are a lot of dark fruit flavors in this wine. Such as blackberry, cassis and plum. It’s woody and has a definite spice. It’s a beautiful full-bodied wine with a rich dark color. The blend is of Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Tempranillo and it’s wonderful. The Big Red Blend is the perfect cold weather wine and we’re going to do a couple of special recipes with it since we’re in the holiday spirit.

First is a whiskey sour. Yes, whiskey sour. Better than a New York Sour, we’re heading into Bourbon Renewal territory (a whiskey sour with Cassis) with our Big Red Blend reduction.


The reduction is simple. Add 1 Cup of the Big Red Blend to a sauce pan and begin the reduction on medium low heat. You should have a very light simmer going to cook out the alcohol and reduce by half. You can use your nose for this process. Once the alcohol has evaporated, you’re left with the concentrated flavors of the wine. At this point, when you don’t smell anymore alcohol, you’ll want to add sugar. 3/4 to 1 Cup. Adjust to your likeness but keep in mind that we’re using this as a syrup. The whole process takes about 30 minutes. You’ll know it’s ready when it coats the bottom of the pan, is syrupy and also leaves a light coat on a spoon.


Big Red Whiskey Sour:

2oz. Rye (Or Bourbon)

1oz. Big Red Blend Reduction

1oz. Lemon Juice

1 Small Cinnamon Stick

*Add all ingredients to your shaker, breaking the cinnamon stick in half. Add ice and shake your life away. Double strain over fresh ice and garnish with a lemon wheel.



Finally, we’re going to use the Big Red Blend reduction for dessert. You can get creative here. I’m doing my take on a cheese course. Roasted Figs, Marscapone ice cream and our wine reduction.


The marscapone ice cream is extremely simple:

1 Package of Marscapone (room temp)

2 Cups Milk

1 Cup Sugar

2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract (Vanilla Bean Paste if you have it)

Add all ingredients to a blender and mix. Adjust the sweetness to your liking and follow your ice cream freezer instructions. #SuperEasy


You can add this reduction to any dessert or other recipe you see fit. Try adding some mulling spices to the reduction and drizzle over a cranberry tart, cheesecake or any seasonal fruit that pairs well with wine.

It’s time for some BUBBLY!

Tis’ the season for Champagne and Prosecco. It’s also time for you to stock up and get the home bar ready for your New Year’s Eve celebration. Start by ordering a case of 90+ Cellar Prosecco. The bubbles are perfectly intense in this Prosecco. Citrus, fresh stone fruit and a great balance of dry and sweet are what you get with this Prosecco. 90+ offers a Prosecco that is versatile enough for a pre and post dinner sipper as well as a cocktail ingredient.




A nice seasonal cocktail is in order. A Cranberry Sparkler to be exact.





Cranberry Sparkler:

3/4oz. Light Rum

3/4oz. Lime Juice

1oz. Cranberry Syrup

90+ Cellars Prosecco

Thyme or Rosemary Sprigs (Garnish)

*Add non-sparkling ingredients to a shaker and top with a few ice cubes. Shake and strain over ice in a nice cocktail glass. Top with 90+ Cellars Prosecco and garnish with a fresh, fragrant herb.



Finally, we’re ending the show with Champagne.





Le Cle de la Femme is a newely released Champagne (Nov.). Selected for Magic Door Vineyards, this Champagne is clean, crisp and refreshing. Bright and bubbly (obviously), de la Femme is from the Marne Valley and offers aromas of fresh apple and pear. It’s buttery like a Chardonnay and has some notes of cinnamon and anise. It’s incredibly easy to drink and perfect for The Champagne Cocktail.




The Champagne Cocktail:

1 Sugar Cube (Demerara used here)

2-3 Dashes of your favorite Bitters (Peychaud’s used here)

Le Cle de la Femme Champagne

*Add a sugar cube to your Champagne flute or coupe glass and douse with bitters. Top with Le Cle de la Femme Champagne and serve.


So, here’s to enjoying the best wines, champagne and prosecco that 90+ Cellars has to offer, the holidays, the new year and beyond. Cheers, friends!








Creme de Mure [Weekend] Project

I’m starting to develop a strong affinity for the blackberry. Though I hate the seeds, I love the dark fruit. Especially in cocktails. They’re just so beautiful and their in full swing now. Creme de Mure is blackberry liqueur. A good quality brand of Creme de Mure can be hard to find (here in North Carolina). The cordial isn’t seen much on cocktail menus, outside of the Bramble Cocktail. So, what’s an imbiber to do? Make your own of course! It’s so easy and only takes 3 days. Hence “Weekend Project”. You can get started today! I’m sure you went out to your local market, ogled all of the fruits and dreamed of all the cocktails and infusions to be had. If you’re anything like me, you did 😉


The recipe for the Creme de Mure comes from Serious Eats:


2 cups blackberries
3/4 cup brandy
1 1/4 cups vodka
1/2-inch piece of lime zest without pith (optional)
1 cup simple syrup

*Place the blackberries and lime zest in a sealable glass jar, muddle lightly to release juice, and then add brandy and vodka. Seal and shake. Let mixture steep for 3 days at room temperature away from direct sunlight. Strain through a fine mesh strainer, pressing down to extract juice, then filter mixture through a coffee filter or through two layers of cheesecloth. Discard solids.

Combine blackberry infusion and simple syrup in a sealable bottle or jar, then shake to mix. Let rest for a minimum of one day. Store in the refrigerator for up to two months.

For this infusion, I did not add the lime zest.




Gin & Berries:

2oz. Gin

1 1/2oz. Creme de Mure

1/2oz. Lime Juice


*Add all ingredients to shaker minus Prosecco. Fill with ice and shake until chilled. Double strain over fresh ice (or into champagne flute) and top with Prosecco. Champagne or other sparkling wine will work. Garnish with blackberries. Cheers!



Herbal Syrups

Summertime cocktails are all about the syrups. And, we know there’s a plethora of syrups to be made. Some of my favorites are herbal syrups. The great minds over at have decided to do some research on herbal syrups using Mint, Basil and Tarragon. I must admit, I’ve always been a little leery of tarragon. Some cocktails and foods that are licorice forward can be a little too strong. But, when balanced and done the right way, the results are delightful. So, today we’ll be making three syrups using Mint, Basil and Tarragon. Lets start with the Basil syrup:




½ cup Turbinado sugar
½ cup Boiling water
½ cup Packed fresh basil leaves

Combine the sugar and boiling water. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add the basil leaves and steep in hot simple syrup for 15 minutes. Strain into a clean jar, cover and refrigerate for up to two weeks.

With this Basil syrup, the options for cocktails are endless. I couldn’t help but think TEQUILA. Here, we’re going to be using the Basil syrup in a tequila old fashioned. The old fashioned is one of the world’s oldest cocktails. Sugar, bitters, (a splash of water?) and spirit. In place of a sugar cube is the Basil syrup. Simple syrups always incorporate into a cocktail better that raw sugar.

Basil Old Fashioned:

2oz. Anejo Tequila [Hornitos used here]

1/2oz. Basil Syrup

4 Dashes Jasmine Bitters [Orange or Angostura will work here]

*Add ingredients to mixing glass and top with ice. Stir until chilled and strain over 1 block of ice. Garnish with Basil. Cheers!



For Tarragon Syrup:


½ cup Turbinado sugar
½ cup Boiling water
6 Large, fresh tarragon leaves

Combine the sugar and boiling water. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add the tarragon leaves and steep in hot simple syrup for 20 minutes. Strain into a clean jar, cover and refrigerate for up to two weeks.


For G & T:

2oz. Grapefruit Juice

2oz. Vodka [Tito’s Handmade used here]

3/4oz. Lime Juice

3/4oz. Tarragon Syrup

2 Dashes Peychaud’s Bitters


*Add all ingredients to shaker minus Prosecco. Fill with ice and shake until chilled. Strain over fresh ice, top with Prosecco and garnish with Tarragon and Grapefruit zest. Cheers!


For Mint Syrup:


½ cup Turbinado sugar
½ cup Boiling water
¾ cup Packed fresh mint leaves

Combine the sugar and mint in a bowl. Add water and stir until sugar is dissolved. Steep the mint leaves for 15 minutes. Strain into a jar, cover and refrigerate up to two weeks.


Minty Gin Mule:

2oz. Gin [Hendricks used here]

3/4oz. Lime Juice

3/4oz. Mint Syrup

2 Dashes Grapefruit Bitters

Ginger Beer

*Add all ingredients to shaker minus Ginger Beer. Fill shaker with ice and shake until chilled. Strain over fresh ice, top with Ginger Beer and garnish with bouquet of mint.



SN: The Minty Gin Mule tastes slightly better if you have one of those fancy copper mugs 😉