Fes­tiv­i­ties of the sea­son yield to indulging in hol­i­day cheer. Hot and cold bev­er­ages, alco­holic and non, have grown up by using bet­ter ingre­di­ents.

Craft cock­tails dis­tin­guish them­selves by their bold inclu­sions of fresh, well-​balanced ingre­di­ents.

Happy hour has got­ten more cheer­ful by elim­i­nat­ing pre­dictable canned juices and pow­dered mixes.

Try fresh blood oranges, tan­ger­ines, lemons, limes, grape­fruits, and even mel­ons for the body or base of a cock­tail or hol­i­day bev­er­age. With purer fla­vors and col­ors, there are no addi­tional addi­tives and preser­v­a­tives to weigh down or mask the drinks. Antiox­i­dants and polyphe­nols from most fresh fruits are just an added bonus.

Small batched drinks using house-​made syrups and infu­sions are keep­ing it real. Shaken or stirred, even the ice mat­ters more these days. Pre­ferred are the large, clean cubes that don’t rapidly melt and dilute the drink.
From mulled wines to sparkling drinks, unpack a lineup of good sips through fresh, sea­sonal and bold fla­vors. Fresh herbs add excite­ment and awaken the senses. Mint, rose­mary and thyme, whole or mud­dle, impart a unique taste pro­file. Pome­gran­ate juice and arils come to mind.
Cran­ber­ries and their juice give a kick and bright color to any glass of bub­bly.

Free of alco­hol doesn’t imply free of fla­vor. Sparklers, spritzers and punches absent the booze don’t leave us feel­ing left out.

Herbal teas of gin­ger, cit­rus, chamomile and the like, lay down a good base to build a hol­i­day bev­er­age. Spicy or sweet nat­ural tea ingre­di­ents make for a good jump­ing off point.

Clas­sics like hot cocoa, dulce leche and egg nogs still get the local treat­ment when regional pur­vey­ors pro­vide the main ingre­di­ents. Superb addi­tions of honey or apple and pear ciders come from notable local farms or brew houses.

Attrac­tive gar­nishes are not always edi­ble. A cit­rus peel spi­ral or twist dresses up most glasses or mugs. No need to over­power the drink. A slice of star­fruit can be most impres­sive.

Sugar rimmed glasses glam up the cel­e­bra­tion. Crushed pep­per­mint bark stands up against boozy favorites on edge. A rub of lime or orange will con­tain the sparkly crys­tals until glasses clink.

The essence of any fes­tive hol­i­day drink is how it sets a wel­com­ing tone for the event. Brunch, din­ner or cock­tail party, take time to sip and savor any bev­er­age. Go slow.

What­ever fills your glass or cup in the next few weeks, drink in the moments. Those shared with friends and fam­ily should bind the heart­strings. Relax and refresh with a toast to good health.

To read the full Mar­ket Report, includ­ing this week’s mar­ket update, see below or click here.