Get loose, but do it safely

Get loose, but do it safely

For those who want to bring in 2017 in the friendly confines of their own home or set sail to a house party, there are plenty of drink options available at your local liquor store. And of course, we recommend any of the Messina brothers’ stores, with five great locations throughout Southeast Texas including three in Beaumont (2525 College; 6666 Phelan; 1412 Magnolia) and two in Port Arthur (3748 Gulfway and 2606 Memorial).

Flavors continue to be a hot trend in both vodka and whiskey, and the hot seller is Western Son, which has become very popular not only in the area but across the state. The head distiller is Vinny Messina.

In addition to the original Texas vodka, there are also South Plains Cucumber, Hill Country Peach, South Texas Texas Prickly Pear, Apricot and Ruby Red Grapefruit, as well as Piney Woods Blueberry, Western Son’s No. 1 selling flavor.

Western Son’s Blueberry has become so popular that folks from as far away from Lafayette, Louisiana, are driving to Texas to purchase it.

And who would have thought that Fireball Cinnamon Whisky would continue to be a hot commodity. If you have never had it, its website reads, “Just imagine what it feels like to stand face-to-face with a fire-breathing dragon who just ate a whisky barrel full of spicy cinnamon.” Fireball was introduced back in 1984 but has never been more popular than over the last few years. It’s not expensive, either. A 750ml bottle is less than $20.

And now Fireball comes in a box that contains two 1.75 liter pouches with a retail price of $60.

Another popular liquor is moonshine. Yes, the legal kind, and most of them come in a jar. One of the best, according to locals in Southeast Texas, is Ole Smoky Tennessee Moonshine

If the cold weather returns for New Year’s Eve, then it’s never too late for some Pennsylvania Dutch Egg Nog, which is whiskey, rum and brandy blended with fresh dairy cream. Delish.

Of course there are the favorites like Crown Royal, Maker’s Mark, Jack Daniel’s, Jim Beam (which now has an apple flavor), Knob Creek Bourbon Whiskey, Patron Tequila, Basil Hayden’s (bourbon), Blanton’s (single barrel bourbon) and Remy Martin (cognac).

Crown Royal also continues to sell its popular Crown Apple.

Let’s now forget the bubbly — champagne. There’s plenty to choose from like Mumm Napa, Moet & Chandon, Roederer, Veuve Clicquot and the high end Dom Perignon, which is $219.99 a bottle.

But you really can’t go wrong with a $14.99 bottle of Korbel.

Want to be a hipster bartender, then how about a Champagne Margarita? All you need is a 1/2 cup of fresh lime juice; 1 cup of silver tequila (we recommend Silver Patron); 1/2 cup orange liquer; 1 bottle of Korbel champagne and salt, for the rim. Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher and stir well.

Remember, do not drink and drive. If need be, call a taxi, Uber or do the watermelon crawl.

New Year’s Day

Now, if you wake up with a dreaded New Year’s Day headache, you can always go with a Bloody Mary, and we recommend you get Western Son’s Cucumber with Zing Zang Bloody Mary Mix. You will be the star of the party.

Why not take it a step further and make a Spicy Michelada? What’s needed is two teaspoons of honey, spread into a thin layer on a plate; 1/4 cup kosher salt; 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika; 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional) ; 2 limes, juiced (plus extra lime wedges to garnish); 2 cups light Mexican beer (Corona or Tecante); 2 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce; 2 teaspoons hot sauce (preferably a vinegar based hot sauce such as Tabasco or Cholula); 1 teaspoon low sodium soy sauce; 1/2 jalapeño, seeded and diced (optional); and freshly cracked black pepper.

Dip the rims of two glasses into the honey into a very thin layer; place salt, paprika and cayenne (if using) onto a plate and stir together with a fork until combined; finish rimming glasses with salt mixture, fill with ice and set aside; fill a large shaker partially with ice followed by the remaining ingredients, except for the jalapeño; close and shake until well mixed; divide mixture among the two prepared glasses and finish with lime wedges, black pepper and jalapeños (if using).