With winter setting in we all have a go-to when it comes to drinking. Whether it is sipping on your favourite dark spirits to warm up the mind, body and soul or getting slightly drunk every day on some mulled wine, we’ve all got our plans set for the festive season! A personal favourite has to be an Old-Fashioned Christmas: Christmas carols with the family, a candlelight dinner, making snow angels, classic movies and an old fashioned to sip on at all times.
However, while we've all got our traditions on lock, there’s always “facts” going around about spirits on our dinner tables of how brandy and rum are “good for us”. While the discussion if that is a fact or myth remains a conversation for another time, we’ve got some facts about drinking in the winters for you until then.
1. As temperatures go down, alcohol consumption increases on average.
As temperatures go down and the sun starts setting earlier, the average consumption of alcohol goes up, according to research done by the journal Hepatology. While there are several occasions to give us an excuse to raise a glass, cold weather is usually combatted with a lovely bottle of bourbon! This really explains why the Russians drink loads of vodka.
Tip: If you’ve got yourself loads of alcohol to sip on this Christmas season, make sure you keep a check on how much you drink!
2. Alcohol increases blood flow to the skin which helps with feeling warm.
The big topic of drinking alcohol in the winters, does it really help with keeping you warm? Well, alcohol does help you feel warm, because it increases blood flow to the skin. We’ve all had memories from countless winter drinking nights when we’ve taken a sip of our favourite dark spirits and felt an instant warmth pierce straight through, but is it still good for you?
Tip: Find better ways to stay warm, like a jacket. Maybe an ugly Christmas sweater.
3. It is, breaking your bubble, a false sense of warmth!
While alcohol during the winters does help you feel warm, the overall temperature of your body still drops with drinking! It is incredibly important to watch out for the amount of alcohol you’re consuming, because it could get real bad, really quick.
Tip: Keep track of how much you’re drinking, which you should always do anyway!
4. Bourbons and Red Wine: A Very Boozy Christmas
Speaking of consumption it goes without saying that winters are definitely for a good whiskey or wine, with them being the top choice of beverages consumed. Red wines start coming out as soon as Thanksgiving comes around the corner and bottles start finding themselves empty as mulled wine starts being served! Bourbons. Don’t even get us started on a good bourbon in the winter.
~ “Grand Cru Syrah ASV” by Siren Song Wines (Red Wine of the Year BTG, Sommeliers Choice Awards 2022: 94 Points)
~ “Borchetta Bourbon” by Big Machine Distillery (Gold Medal winner, Bartender Spirits Awards 2022: 94 Points)
5. The Rise of the Home Cocktails
Lockdowns and quarantines saw the rise of several home bartenders and mixologists. And with them came some cocktails, good, bad and ugly. It does seem like we’re finally through with the pandemic but we’ve stayed loyal to the home mixes, cocktails we fell in love with in the past two years! Home cocktails, definitely a trend that’s rocking the spirits industry.
~ Mulled Wine
~ Eggnog (of course)
~ Caramel Espresso Martinis
~ Winter Negronis
6. The Mulled Wine scene
Mulled Wine, a winter classic. A return of the red wine bottles at home and nostalgia and memories seep through from last Christmas when a little too much mulled wine was consumed. But how can you not?! Red wine mixed with cinnamon sticks and other mulling spices, served hot, WOW. Drunk more around in Europe, they go by several names: “Glühwein” in Germany, “Vin Brulé” and “Bisschopswijn” (bishop’s wine) in the Netherlands are just some of the names for our winter favourite.
7. White Christmas with Dark Spirits
Dark alcohol, like red wine, scotch, bourbon and whiskey, are all time favourites when it comes to winters! There’s some facts about our favourite winter pastime that might shock you though. Did you know dark alcohol tends to contain more toxins and impurities, congeners that can impact the effect the alcohol has on you. They are also more likely to cause hangovers, so be prepared the next time you’re opening a bottle of bourbon by the fireplace!
~ Blackadder Raw Cask: Peat Reek 10 YO Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky (Silver Medal winner, Bartender Spirits Awards 2022: 87 Points)
~ Castle & Key Small Batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey (Gold Medal winner, Bartender Spirits Awards 2022: 94 Points)
Written by Jason Shepherd, Beverage Trade Network.