BY BAYLIE SCHWAMBERGER
Are you looking to step up your football pregame at home or at the bars? Getting tired of all the Natty and Bud Light hangovers from Beat the Clock pitchers? Are vodka sodas giving you late night dorm party flashbacks? If you answered yes to one or none of these questions, you, my friend, have come to the right place. Take your drinking game up a notch if you have a few more dollars to spend or if you want to show off your fake bartending skills at your next house party. Here are two fall drinks that are sure to liven up your chilly nights out (or in). Don’t worry, you can try them for one weekend and go back to the cheap stuff the next; we won’t judge.
Christmas Ale: Great Lakes Brewing Company
Being a native Clevelander, I hear people rave about Great Lakes Christmas Ale every holiday season. I tried removing my biases for this month’s installment and alas, it still wins. Sorry guys. I know Christmas is still a month away, but everyone knows Christmas season starts on Thanksgiving at midnight or when the first snowfall arrives. Every year people whine about having to spend a few hours with the family, where topics of conversation like your progressive political agenda and what you plan on doing for the rest of your life come up. Great Lake Christmas Ale says, “Worry not; laugh it off!” Because at 7.5% ABV a bottle, this beer will make any excruciating holiday small talk ten times more manageable. An ale with honey, cinnamon, and ginger flavors, Christmas Ale is a flavorful spin on your favorite dark beer. I had another writer (who hates beer) try it after taste-testing a less satisfactory local brand, and she said, “I still don’t like it, but I like it better than the first one.” It’s like when frappuccino drinkers say they actually like a brew of black coffee better than another. It’s a small, prestigious win for those who are in the know. Pick up a six-pack for the whole family!
Let’s be honest: whiskey is not usually the best on its own, unless it’s super expensive or you enjoy it on the rocks…or maybe you like it with a pickle juice chaser. No matter how you feel, you can easily mix it up with a few fruit flavors and voila! You’ve got yourself a simple, yet delicious, citrus concoction. Whiskey sours are super easy to make at home if you have some whiskey you’re looking to get rid of, leftover fruit, and other general mixers, or you can head out and let the bartenders take care of it for you. Combine bourbon with lemon juice and simple syrup, then top it with an orange peel and/or a cherry if you feel like being extra. If this drink has too much citrus for you, try asking the bartender to add some grenadine (a non-alcoholic syrup that tastes like a sweeter pomegranate, not cherries despite popular belief) to tone it down a bit. Add some Sprite if you’re missing your soda bubbles. If you’re making it at home, do whatever you like best, even if that means using lime juice leftover from your last marg-night-in instead of lemon.