drink local

Drink Local: Holiday Cocktails

It’s always a good time to Drink Local. This holiday season there are many local options with which to craft your holiday cocktails and mocktails. You’ll find all of the alcoholic spirits listed here in the North Carolina section of your local ABC store – the very best selection of North Carolina spirits I’ve found is at the ABC store in Charlotte’s Southend neighborhood.

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It was my pleasure to talk about each of these local products on a Dec 19, 2018 appearance on WCNC’s Charlotte Today. In case you missed the live appearance, here is the video from the segment with a bit about each of these wonderful ways to drink local.

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Drink Local with Canned Cocktails, Cucumber Vodka and Conniption Gin from Durham Distillery in Durham NC

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Its been my pleasure to write about the wonderful products at Durham Distillery in past Drink Local posts. Today, I’m pleased to introduce a new member of the Durham Distillery family –  the canned cocktail! Also Durham Distillery is running a cool cocktail crafting contest you’ll most certainly want to enter – details here.

Check out a new featured blog post for more on all the Durham Distillery spirits.  The post includes recipes for cocktails, stuffed pork chops, homemade limoncello and more!  

Drink Local with Homestead Creamery Eggnog, Egg Cream and Heavy Cream from Wirtz, Virginia

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Lots of local dairies to choose from with milk products available in and around the Charlotte area.  Today the spotlight is on Homestead Creamery in Wirtz, Virginia. This milk is available in glass bottles – which you may return for a deposit. 

Homestead regularly offers cream top milk, homogenized milk, buttermilk and chocolate milk. For the holiday season you can also drink local with their eggnog and  egg cream. The heavy cream is available year round as well and you’ll want to use it to top everything! Homestead Products are available at Whole Foods, EarthFare and several small farmers market stores in and around Mooresville, NC.

For more info and some great recipes,  visit Homestead Creamery online! 

Drink Local with White Rum, Amber Rum and a unique Rum au Cafe from Lassiter Rum in Knightdale, NC

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Three different varieties of Lassiter’s Rum, afford you the occasion to drink local in a number of ways. Aside from your favorite rum cocktails, I suggest Lassiter’s Amber or the coffee rum to spike this season’s eggnog.  And know that, the Rum au Cafe also makes a great marinade for steak or burgers on the grill. 

For more info on all Lassiter’s brings to your cocktail glass, visit them online!

If you are in Charlotte and want to taste a fabulous cocktail ( or two) crafted with Lassiter’s Rum, there are two on the bar menu at SeaLevel on 5th Street in Uptown Charlotte. I was lucky enough to try them both with Rebecca Lassiter when last she was in town.

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On the right, (thats Rebecca’s left), is “I Like My Whiskey With Coffee and Cream” a delicious blend of Lassiter’s Rum au Cafe ( tastes like a unsweetened cold brew with an extra kick) mixed here with cream, Amaro and Whiskey, oh my, it’s that good!
. . . 
On the left ( that’s Rebecca’s right) a way too delicious blend of Lassiter’s clear Rum with Blood Orange simple syrup, Solerno ( a blood orange Liqueur) , lime, and egg white to make the fun foam. It’s SeaLevel‘s play on a Hemingway-style Daiquiri and it’s aptly called, “Old Man Winter And The Sea”… It’s definitely one you’ll want to order again and again

And if I could just add – kudos to the team at SeaLevel for making the move to paper straws…its the right thing to do! Cheers!

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Drink Local with Krupnikas Honey Spiced Liqueur and the Cranberry holiday version of the same

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The Brothers Vilgalys Spirits Company in Durham NC was the first to produce Krupnikas in the U.S. It’s a deliciously unique traditional Lithuanian liqueur.  This season they upped the game with a cranberry version of the age old recipe. Sip over ice, drizzle over desserts or use to spice up your next cocktail blend. Check out Recipes and lots of other info about all the other cool spirits produced by The Brothers Vilgalys Spirits Company here.

Drink Local with Windy Hill Orchard Apple Cider, Hard Cider, Wassail, and Apple Cider Vinegar from York, SC

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South Carolina’s Windy Hill Orchard makes fruit-flavored hard cider with local peaches, blueberries and strawberries, too. This time of year, though these three blends are their signature hard cider pours. Taste for yourself at the farm’s Cider bar every Thursday – Sunday till Sunday Dec 23, 2018. The Orchard and Cidery is just a short drive from Charlotte at 1860 Black Highway in York, SC.  More on Windy Hill Orchards Here.  

After the 23rd, know that Windy Hill Hard Ciders are available at Total Wine and a several other locations in and around Charlotte.

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Windy Hill Orchards also offers several non-alcoholic ways to Drink Local. Enjoy fresh pressed cider, spiced wassail and apple cider vinegar too!  Even ofter the orchards closed for winter on Dec 23rd, you can still pruchase these products at the The Olde English District Market & Gift Shop – 3200 Commerce Street in Richburg, South Carolina – Just off I-77, 25 mins from Charlotte. 

If you like shrubs, you’ll love a tasty apple cider vinegar drink called Switchel.  To one cup of water, add tablespoon of Windy Hill Farms Apple Cider Vinegar and a squeeze of lime. Serve over ice and enjoy!

In season on the weekends – look for homemade Apple Cider doughnuts and Apple Cider fritters at the Orchard…now we’ll just have to wait till spring 2019 for these delicious babies!

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Drink Local with Defiant Whisky and Rye from Bostic NC

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“And good ole boys are drinking whisky and rye….”  The secret to fine whisky is in the water; and that’s why the Blue Ridge Distilling Company set up shop in Bostic NC. They dig deep for the pure mountain water; then age in oak to give the Defiant whisky and rye the distinctive difference.

Now, here is a recipe for a wonderful seasonal sip.  Simply, combine a splash (or two) of Defiant whisky or rye with Homestead Creamery’s egg cream or the eggnog.  Either of the rich dairy products is the perfect foil for the warm toasty taste of Defiant. More on all that happens at the Defiant Distillery in Bostic Nc here.

The Sweet Treat at the end…

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Drink Local and Eat Local with this collaborative effort from Muddy River Rum in Belmont, NC and Potts Chocolate in Charlotte NC.  Proud to say I brought these two great local companies together and now just look at what they have gone and done. You’ve got Muddy River Queen Charlotte Rum in my Potts Chocolate – and its delicious! Custom made boxes of 8 crown shaped chocolates are available at the Muddy River Distillery in Belmont through the holiday season or until they sell out. Don’t miss it! #TellThemHeidiSentYou


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