Deck the halls with growlers and sifters, sip, sip, sip, sip, sip, sip, sip, sip, sip!
'Tis the holiday 'saison' to be 'mulled-y' as the Lake County Libation Trail is making SPIRITS bright. Many of these participants on the trail have prepared holiday libations to capture their interpretation of the season in liquid format.
These Lake County artisans of suds, spirits and vino have all of the festive feels for visitors during the brisk winter times.
There's a lot of family time, shopping and stress that comes along with the holiday season and sometimes you just need a break. These Lake County makers have received the message as creators pack a special holiday punch through the good, bad and tough times. If you haven't indulged, now is the time.
Here are 12 Lake County holiday libations you need in your life right now.
Outlook: This 4.7 percent ABV lager-pale brew was introduced in November for Thanksgiving and Christmas. The naturally carbonated fruity lager contains a subtle tartness due to the melody of Bosacki hops and cranberry. The Cranberry Wheat Lager provides you and the family with a splendid complement to appetizers and dinner entrees.
Bosacki's Home Brew, 610 E. Hawley St., Mundelein.
Outlook: This delectable Russian Imperial Stout is perfect for the holiday season. The Hallows is a barrel-aged brew and is a tasty treat from start to finish.
Buffalo Creek Brewing, 360 Historical Ln., Long Grove.
Outlook: The Fyren Gin (pronounced Fire Engine) is not necessarily a holiday spirit, but the 'spicy' concept is very unique. The Fyren Gin is an excellent drink to make Bloody Marys, cosmos, martinis and other types of spirits. The libation is created with a charred, roasted and gill cut serrano pepper which provides the perfect contrast of flavor and heat (especially when paired with Copper Fiddle's Fiddle Gin).
Copper Fiddle Distillery, 532 W. Route 22, Lake Zurich.
Outlook: The Barrel Aged Warrior Paint Imperial Coffee is taking a victory lap through the holidays as the Lincolnshire brewing company retires the drink. The 11-percent ABV stout is brewed with Mexican coffee beans from Bannockburn's Newport Coffee House. Wonderful aromas of molasses and coffee waft from this libation and the scents are paired with hints of oak and vanilla. The Olde Half Day Road company is being pulled, so be sure to grab your bottles of the brew on December 19. It's the perfect holiday present for a parent or pal.
Half Day Brewing Co., 200 Village Green, Lincolnshire.
Outlook: This treat is served for vino fans annually at the Wheeling mainstay. The Christmas Red and White Spiced Wines are mulled libations jam-packed with aromas of cinnamon, cloves and gingerbread cookies. The red drink obtains a tad more cinnamon while the white has a bit more cardamom spice. The red and white is a perfect complement to chocolate cranberry and coconut oatmeal cookies.
Lynfred Winery, 971 N. Milwaukee Ave., Wheeling.
Outlook: This Belgian strong ale in Illinois's oldest brewery has a light body, but the flavor is spicy, and the aroma has a complex scent of spice and fruit blend. The Libertyville brewery's most popular seasonal ale contains honey and dark Belgian candy sugar. The seven percent ABV magic in a glass can be compared to the similar tastes of Chimay and Duvel.
Mickey Finn's Brewery, 345 N. Milwaukee Ave., Libertyville.
Outlook: The Eye of Newt from the Green Oaks distillery is not necessarily a holiday drink. However, it was just released in the winter season and contains an explosion of flavors in this new spirit. The North Shore artisans experimented with mustard seeds, turmeric, garlic, dill, honey and a touch of wildflower. Yours truly sampled this unique 80-proof spirit, and while confused about the taste initially (in a good way), the aftertaste made my arm extend the glass for second and third helpings.
North Shore Distillery, 13990 Rockland Rd., Libertyville.
Outlook: This brown ale from the Wauconda brewery is the extended family of another cup of suds that they serve: the Smokin' Squirrel Ale. The Molé Squirrel contains cocoa powder, cinnamon sticks, sesame seeds and roasted ancho chili. Molé Squirrel is a 7.4 percent ABV drink.
Upcoming Release: Imperial Russian (December 15)
Side Lot Brewery, 110 Slocum Lake Rd., Wauconda.
Outlook: This Belgian Trappist-style tripel sits at 8.9 percent ABV. The suds are brewed with European pilsner malt, aromatics, sterling and Czech Saaz hops. The style of brew is an ode to the Trappist monks who have concocted this drink for centuries. Your goal is sip on three because that's the magic number of the Hat Trick. The can release occurs December 15.
Tighthead celebrates their six-year anniversary party on December 23.
Tighthead Brewing Company, 161 N. Archer Ave., Mundelein.
Outlook: The Antioch winery offers two delicious reds for the holiday season: the Blend Wind Punch and Rachel's Red Frontenac Mulled Wine. The Rachel concoction is the winery's most full-bodied red wine created from a French hybrid grape, black cherry and red currant. The Holiday Bino's Blend Wine Punch tastes like a champagne punch with fresh cranberry and Sprite.
The Vigneto del Bino Vineyard and Winery is hosting their Holiday Celebration December 9. Continue here to learn more.
Vigneto del Bino Winery, 42150 Crawford Rd., Antioch.
For more information about the 12 Lake County holiday libations you need in your life, continue here.