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How To Drink Through The Holidays

A Magnum photograph of a 1966 holiday office party taken by Leonard Freed, fr...

Above: A Magnum photograph of a 1966 holiday office party taken by Leonard Freed, from a fun series recently featured on Slate.

Okay, we made it through Thanksgiving. Now, how to make it through the rest of the holidays unscathed? Champagne, darlings. LOTS of champagne. And other stuff too. Keep reading and I'll map out your holiday survival kit.

Here’s the thing. Thanksgiving is about successfully pairing wine with a multitude of stereotypical flavors. Christmas, Hannukah and New Years, on the other hand, are just about having fun. Each person or family has their own set of beliefs, their own religious paradigm, their own traditions, and their own spin on what constitutes a celebratory feast. Personally, my family cooks Italian food on Christmas. And on New Years, there’s not usually an official dinner--we just eat appetizers until we can’t move (bacon-wrapped water chestnuts are always in the mix). But every family is original and particular. That being said, it would be an impossible feat for me to attempt to pair wine with the vast array of holiday meal possibilities. Instead, I offer you this:

The Sarkus ‘Fool Proof’ Holiday Survival Kit:

Drink Bubbly

Bubbles go with everything from no food, to appetizers, to dinner, to dessert. And there are so many fantastic options available these days. Cava, Prosecco, Sekt, Champagne, Crémant, Sparkling Wine….anything, as long as it’s wine and it has gas.

Raid the Cellar

This is the “special occasion” you’ve been waiting for. Go ahead and crack the ’97 Harlan Cabernet and the ’05 Margaux you’ve been squirreling away. Share them in a toast with family or give them as gifts to friends. Don’t over think it--now is the time.


Try something new. Go for that random bottle of Australian Cab Franc you’ve been wondering about. Take a gamble on an “employee pick” at your favorite wine shop. Check out the Israeli wine your friend recommended.

Spring for the Good Stuff

Open up your wallet, folks, and lay down some hard earned cash for a delicious bottle of vino. Nobody likes a Scrooge! If you usually go for Two Buck Chuck, then treat yourself to the $15 bottle of Cotes du Rhone you always pass up. If you usually go for the $25 Oregon Pinot, scoop up the $65 Nuits St. George this time around instead. Or, go on-line and purchase something from the library of your favorite producer.

Stay Lubricated until January 2nd

Start imbibing around December 23rd and do not stop until January 2nd. It is imperative that you begin wetting your palate at least one day prior to Christmas Eve in order to prepare for the insanity. It is also extremely important to give yourself an extra day of padding after ringing in the New Year. Don’t let January 1st guilt you into premature sobriety. You will need a Bloody Mary with your Black Eyed Peas on this day, I assure you.

Listen to These Days today to hear more of Sara's thoughts on wine, along with those of Jim Gordon, the editor of "Opus Vino."

You can find more wine coverage and purchasing tips on The Sarkus, a wine blog written by Sara Hanson and Markus Roessler.

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