By Peter Rockwell
Roll out the glassware
While most Nova Scotians will say that any glass is a rum glass, the Final Touch Rum Roller ($30, chapters.indigo.ca) will put a new spin on their favourite spirit. Resembling a stubby wine decanter, its wide bottom has enough space for two stainless steel chilling balls (included) that, when frozen, keep rum at its ideal serving temperature without diluting its flavour à la ice cubes. The glass’s curved body and wide brim funnels all the rum-tastic aromas for maximum olfactory enjoyment.
In a kitchen not so far, far away
As sci-fi fans wait with bated breath for the release of the next Star Wars adventure, Rogue One, this December, they still have to eat. With the Millennium Falcon Chopping Board ($49.94, amazon.ca) even the most mundane food prep feels like you’re making the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs. Whether it’s a stir-fry or rootleaf stew (Google it), dinner will get made in lightspeed. It’s even portable enough to use as a serving tray while you’re camping out to be first in line for the new movie.
Making scents of whiskey
After torpedoing the snobbery of wine with his first scratch and sniff book, author Richard Betts turns his attention to brown spirits with the highly entertaining and lovely illustrated, The Essential Scratch & Sniff Guide to Becoming a Whiskey Know-It-All ($31.00, amazon.ca). Aimed squarely at beginners, Betts’ humorous take on the basics will also appeal to the expert on your holiday gift list who will love the detailed pullout flavour wheel and buying guide.
Cool for cat lovers
Felines rule the Internet so why not the wine industry? The labels of Félicette Grenache Rouge ($16.99) and Grenache Blanc ($16.99) pay homage to Félicette and Félix — France’s fi rst cats in space. (Actually only Félicette made the trip after Félix aborted his mission by running away). Soft, balanced and fruit-forward, they’re both purr-fect with turkey. New for the holiday season are the Red ($13.99) and Black Cat Riesling ($13.99) from Germany’s Moselland. Inside their statuesque bottles is an off-dry, poultry-friendly white wine that’s a guaranteed crowd-pleaser.
Brews for two (or more)
The holidays are a time for sharing, especially when it comes to these full-bodied, large-format beers. Available in limited quantities at select NSLC stores, each is a bottle fi lled with complexity that will pair well with a roaring fi re and casual conversation. For a larger crowd, Unibroue 17 Grand Reserve (6 litres) $199.81 is available exclusively at The Port.
- Brasseurs RJ Cheval Blanc Double Blanche Belgian IPA 750 ml, $7.48: From Quebec, this Belgian-style India Pale Ale is layered with refreshing citrus flavours that finish lightly hoppy.
- Hell Street Barrel-Aged Doppelbock 750 ml, $11.95: Made by the P.E.I. Brewing Company and named for local boxing Legend Tom McCluskey, this is one muscular ale that, at 8.1 percent a/v, packs a robust fl avour punch.
- Muskoka Winter Beard Double Chocolate Cranberry Stout 750 ml, $15.99: A thick and chewy stout from Ontario that’s brewed with chocolate and cranberry. Big and creamy, it’s quickly becoming the season’s quintessential sipper.
- Belgh Brasse Mons Abbey Quadrupel 750 ml, $11.99: Loaded with deep fruit flavours and rich malty undertones, this Belgian-influenced ale from Quebec makes a great mate for blue cheeses.
- Beau’s ‘New Lang Syne’ Extra Strong Belgian Tripel 750 ml, $19.99: Made in Ontario, but defi nitely Belgian in style, this wine-esque, fruit-forward ale is a powerhouse that, at 9 percent a/v, is suitable for aging.
Peter Rockwell is a Wine Category Manager at the NSLC. In each issue he will be serving up entertaining ideas and tips that are ‘freshly pressed.’