LIQUID COURAGE
Holiday Gifts for Friends Who Love Wine

Not sure what to get for that friend who has everything, especially as your budget tightens up leading to the holidays? Fear not, we have done the legwork for you. Pick up some of these great bottles of wine for an affordable, slam dunk gift giving season. We’ve also suggested some food pairings to go along with each because, you know, we’re awesome like that.

1.) HobNob’s 2013 Wicked

We’ve written about Wicked before, and we think it’s an excellent go-to for wine drinkers of all styles and taste (except those who drink exclusively whites, that could look like you aren’t paying attention). With notes of chocolate, coffee, and bright red fruits, Wicked pairs wonderfully with meats like pork, lamb or steak, though anything on the heartier side would work.

DELICIOUS DEBUTS
A Taste of Bavaria at Paulaner



Earlier this week we had the opportunity to step into a Bavarian world and taste some of the most amazing food and drink around. Paulaner is a modern take on the traditional beer hall with great food and it's conveniently located at on Bowery.

Wolfgang Ban's (also of Michelin-starred Seäsonal) latest contemporary Bavarian restaurant is located directly inside an active microbrewery. Reclaimed wood provides a warm contrast to the industrial chic of imposing copper and steel fermentation tanks. Most impressively, everything from the beer to the bread, the sausage to the schnitzel, the pretzels to the stollen, is made in-house with locally sourced ingredients.

HOW-TO
Hanukkah 2014: Simple Potato Latkes with Sweet Paprika

Hanukkah certainly brings one delicious dish to mind--potato latkes! These simple savory pancakes are not only a staple for the Jewish holiday, they are also the perfect appetizer for any occasion. Many people see potato latkes as tedious and time consuming, but let us be the first to tell you there is no need to be intimidated at all. Think of it as quick workout with the grater, and once you have the potato peeling and onions all done, you're 90% through the battle. These traditional potato latkes are even better when a little sweet paprika is added to the mix! Serve these comforting morsels with the traditional applesauce and sour cream or be a little adventurous and use whole milk Greek Yogurt, which gives a perfect cool and creamy contrast to these sizzling potato pancakes.

DELICIOUS DEBUTS
Freddo: the Best Ice Cream on the Beach

Throughout South America, the name 'Freddo' is synonymous with 'heaven' - at least when ice cream lovers are concerned. The company has been the Argentinean leader in premium helado since 1969. Made from fresh hormone-free milk, pure cane sugar and raw fruits in Buenos Aires, Freddo's helados cover a wide flavor spectrum, from Zabaione (an Italian light custard) to Banana Split to Passion Fruit sorbet. Each day, one of Freddo's original employees (dubbed the 'maestro heladero'), develops and tastes each flavor to make sure it's up to par with the Freddo standard.

HOW-TO
How-to Make a Week of Lunches with One Trip to the Farmers Market


















If you only had to shop once a week for 7 days worth of lunches, would you do it? All it took was $25 and a trip to the farmers market in Union Square to produce these five simple recipes that celebrate seasonal ingredients. Now you can use the money you saved on lunch for a much deserved happy hour!

HOW-TO
Gingerbread: Youtube's Cutest and Most Creative Cookies

Have a look at the gingerbread "mice and men," women, and children, as well as some of their not-so-humble abodes as Youtube's holiday baking videos begin going viral once again this season.

First thing's first, you have to get the basics down:

Fifteen minutes of gingerbread vlogging -- from a wacky Walmart expedition to winter wonderland houses:

Another take -- only nine minutes long this time!

Gingerbread Lattes are the specialty of the "house!"

Mickey & Minnie mouse are in the (gingerbread) house!

We love a double whammy: gingerbread + ice cream, FTW.

;

HOW-TO
Stay Warm With Hot Chocolates From Around the World

Hot chocolate has always been the favored warm treat for the cold winter temps. Whether it’s an elaborate frozen hot chocolate from Serendipity or a good old-fashioned mug of Swiss Miss, you’ll always feel that sense of comfort when drinking hot chocolate. Not only is it creamy and rich but also it’s full of antioxidants, even more so than wine or tea! The secret to a perfect hot chocolate is a little half and half, quality cocoa powder, and chocolate with at least 60% cacao solids. Let’s take a little trip around the world with five hot chocolate styles representing India, Italy, Mexico, Paris and China. Once you have the right ingredients you can make gourmet quality hot chocolate right at home!

HOW-TO
Golden Apple Noodle Kugel with Candied Pecans

Ah yes, it’s time for the amazing smell of sweet noodle kugel baking in the oven. This rich and creamy noodle pudding with a crunchy golden brown layer on top is a favorite staple of Jewish cooking and one of those cherished holiday aromas to look forward to every year. Although there are many tempting variations of kugel, we have a unique recipe with candied pecans, cinnamon apples and a crunchy and buttery corn flake topping that will blow your mind.

Ingredients

½ lb wide egg noodles

1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, softened

2 tablespoons salted butter

SWEET TOOTH
The Ultimate Sweet Tooth Gift Giving Guide

The holiday season here and we can smell the fresh pine, gingerbread lattes, and comforting aroma of a cracking wood burning fireplace. We have reached that day dreaming state of mind where all we want to do is put our projects and work on hold, go home and snuggle up with a cup of tea, our favorite fleece pajamas and a cheesy hallmark holiday movie. One of the only things about the holiday season that tends to stress us out more than anything, is holiday gift shopping. Well, you no longer need to worry because we have created the ultimate sweet tooth guide to holiday gift ideas that we guarantee your friends and family will adore.

LIQUID COURAGE Christmas Cookie Cocktail
Win New Friends by CraftingThese Bomb Holiday Cocktails

1.) Fall Classic

While this piece is aimed at helping you create the most glam holiday party possible, some of your guests might not be ready to dive head first into the December holidays, and that’s okay! For those of us still clinging to fall with tightened, cloyed grips, feel free to mix up a Fall Classic, inspired by the expert mixologists at Gramercy Tavern. Because nothing says fall like a giant martini glass full of boozy apples.

You’ll need:

LIQUID COURAGE
The Village Voice Second Annual Holiday Spirits Tasting Event Came Just at the Right Time

The Village Voice Second Annual Holiday Spirits Tasting Event could not have come at a more perfect time, as last week welcomed the coldest days we’ve seen this fall and people all over NYC were in need of merry distraction. For three hours, we delightfully warmed our bones with unlimited spirits, beer and wines aboard a luxurious yacht while cruising the New York City waterways.

Once we checked into our maiden voyage on The Hornblower Infinity Cruise Ship we were given our souvenir tasting glass and our spirits program book complete with a list of all the featured distilleries as well as map to better guide our drinking itinerary for the evening.