Break out of the New Year's Eve (wine) box

Traditional picks still reign, but some retailers offer more diverse choices


Published: Wednesday, December 26, 2012 at 3:15 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, December 20, 2012 at 3:12 p.m.

For fun on New Year's Eve, knowing what's best to drink is key to having a good time.

The obvious choices are wine and champagne, but some hot spots in the Spartanburg area are offering up a diversity of beers, shots and mixed drinks.

Sparkling wine and champagne are the celebratory staples, and according to Tony Forest, owner of Carriage House Wines in downtown Spartanburg, Moscato d'Asti and Prosecco wines have caught on in recent years. Moscato d'Asti is a lightly sparkling variety of Muscat, made from the Moscato Bianco grape of the Piedmont region of Italy. Prosecco is a generally dry or extra dry sparkling Italian white wine made from Prosecco grapes. Prosecco is the main ingredient of the Bellini cocktail and has more recently become popular as a more affordable substitute for champagne.

Orange-cherry champagne cocktails have also caught on as popular drinks, as citrus is seen as a sign of prosperity for the new year in China.

At the Nu-Way Lounge & Restaurant on Kennedy Street, owner Becky Myers says locally brewed RJ Rockers brand craft beer is a favorite. Shots are also to be expected, with the Fireball getting a lot of attention. Not for the faint of heart, as it tastes like a Red Hot candy mixed with jalapeno. It's one part cinnamon schnapps and one part pepper vodka.

At MESH, the Spartanburg Marriott's bar, Lindsey Lail will be bartending her seventh New Year's Eve and says martinis are the drink of choice.

“Grey Goose, Chopin and Belvedere vodkas are top choices,” Lail said. “Manhattan cocktails are also big,” she says, “and so is the Hot Toddy.”

The former is a cocktail made with whiskey, sweet vermouth and bitters, while the latter mixes bourbon, boiling water or warm milk, lemon and sugar or honey and is served hot, traditionally to soothe colds.

No matter what alcoholic beverage you imbibe on, the best bet is to pace yourself and know your limitations. Wine can go to your head quicker, beer can make you drowsy, and liquor might make you sick, so take all things in moderation.

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