Move over lime there’s a new — or shall I say several new twists — when it comes to tipples. From crafty concoctions to house-made syrups and dehydrated fruit, garnishes are a fabulous way to up the bar on hospitality this holiday season.

Comedy writer David Sedaris alleged few things are as therapeutic as a well-made cocktail. As we think about dinner parties and festive merrymakings, think about how you can enhance your next gathering. Consider crafting one feature drink - whether that is a cranberry mimosa or an Italian soda for your non-alcoholic guests - like a holiday playlist to rev up the good juju. Here are four trends we’re seeing in cocktails this season.

Fresh herbs.

From rosemary to cilantro, mint isn’t the only herb on the guest list. Fresh herbs can up level any refreshment. Sage pairs well with bourbon, basil with gin, and as you likely know already, mint goes with just about anything from rum to vodka. Combine cilantro and cucumber to mezcal for a smoky, earthy take on your margarita. In fact, just adding mint to soda water feels a little more fun.

A custom wine list.

White for chicken and fish, red for beef is not the only way to serve vino. In fact, a great Pinot Noir pairs well with one pot fish smothered in a savoury tomato sauce. Sweet goes well with sour and the heavier the wine, the heavier the dish can be. Start the evening with a delicious Cava and finish the night with port. And, when considering the drivers, mommas-to-be or anyone who wants a clear head Sunday morning, nonalcoholic wines are easily available.

Keep it simple syrup.

Homemade really does change the flavour of just about anything – from baking to ice cream, salad dressings to tea, a homemade syrup can also enhance your drink menu. And, the good news is that they are really easy to make. Simply put, the ratio is 1:1:1; one cup of water to one cup sugar and one handful of extras – from lavender to lemons, black peppercorns to fennel. Add a pinch to a quarter cup of whatever sips you fancy. Be sure to strain and store in the fridge. Most syrup will last for up to one month.

Last, presentation is everything.

Whether it’s the condition of your car when picking up your boss, or your glass when offering up an Old Fashioned, presentation is king. Or queen. Don’t use a juice glass for a high ball or a pint glass for a pour of prosecco. Presentation is more than the right look; glassware is all part of the experience when it comes to entertaining. So pull out the fat bottomed glasses girls, for your pal the Scotchman; snifters for Brandy, because she really is a fine girl, or a Collins glass for Major Tom, and enjoy. Responsibly, that is. Salut!


Historic Limited Edition 1.0L Reserve Tawny Port just arrived in Manitoba Liquor Mart. This bottle was inspired by the ‘bladder’ shaped wine bottle from the 1700’s. These bladder bottles usually held more than the earlier ‘onion’ style bottles so they could hold around a litre of wine. This is perfect for a dinner party or when friends drop by for a night cap. Rich fruit cake flavours with hints of fig and cedarwood pair perfectly with a cheese board, nuts and dried fruits.


"With a season of entertaining upon us, we have everything you could possibly think of and more to wow every guest!" says Daphne from d.a. Neils. "From original Moscow mule copper mugs and spice packages to every style of shaker you can imagine, we have all the bar tools you need to make mojitos or martinis. From decanters for tequila to rad bottle openers and bar sets, entertaining has never been easier. Bottoms up!"

d.a. Niels, 204-953-2345, 485 Berry Street


Single serving

1 tbsp rosemary syrup*
¼ cup grapefruit juice
¼ cup soda water
¼ cup Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc

Mix Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc with soda water and grapefruit juice. Combine rosemary syrup and wine mixture. Garnish with rosemary sprig.

*For the rosemary syrup recipe, visit


Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc comes from New Zealand’s world renowned Marlborough region where some of the world’s most aromatic and refreshing wines are born. A fresh, juicy wine with vibrant acidity and plenty of weight and length on the palate. Ripe, tropical fruit flavours with passion fruit, melon, and grapefruit. Pair Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc with fresh oysters, lobster, or bruschetta or use it to make an amazing Rosemary Paloma cocktail.

Look for this limited time holiday inspired bottle in Manitoba Liquor Marts this holiday season.


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