My immediate family has the oddest assortment of our “traditional” Christmas cookies. And when I say odd I don’t mean the cookie is weird, I mean it’s odd that my family makes them. Take Greek Kourabiedes. There is no one Greek in my family, but I think I had like a great-grandmother who spent time there? Maybe? Thanks to her there’s also an assortment of pearls I’ve had passed down because I think she hung out with oyster divers there? Maybe? Which is the least me-like statement ever. But it’s Kourabiedes, those amazing clove scented cookies that get us going.
Then there’s our family “chocolate spritz” cookies. They are nothing like the pressed spritz, and are more of a cocoa powder/almond extract flavored shortbread-ish recipe shaped in balls and topped with sprinkles. I have no clue why we make these. And I should dig into why I inherited Springerle presses from my dad’s mom, who had German roots, but my mom has a Springerle rolling pin—pressure to fit into my dad’s side? So many mysteries.
Anyway. All good cookies lead to thirst, and I love a good cookie n’ cocktail (or wine or whatever) pairing. Granted, in my home we make Brandy Alexanders on Christmas Eve (I think it was a third cousin thing my mom co-opted?) and that seems to pair well with everything! But we can always do better.
I’m a sweet tooth in love with these matches.
GINGERBREAD PEOPLE (OR DINOSAURS)+ SAUTERNES
Yes, I love my dinosaur cookie cutters and believe Brontosauruses are real. Moreover, I LOVE gingerbread cookies no matter the shape, and Sauternes has earthy and ginger-laced notes that are a home run with your gingerbread treat of choice, whether it be Allosaurus, or mere gingersnap, or gingerbread.
I went with 2018 Château Laribotte Sauternes . I almost never drink Sauternes, but when I do, the nose alone makes me swoon. What seals the deal is how light on the palate it feels, despite spilling forth ultra-ripe nectarines, marmalade, mushrooms, earth, tarragon, white pepper, and more. It is sweet but not cloying, rich but not weighty. I think several more years would be supes awesome for this bottle, but it is drinking swimmingly now too.
SPRINGERLE AND/OR BIZCOCHITO + LO-FI DRY VERMOUTH
Anise is the driving flavor force behind these two cookies, the first hailing from Germany and the second is the state cookie of New Mexico, and both have a dry but open nature about them crying out for a complimentary drink.
I’m all about Lo-Fi Dry Vermouth that really dials into the anise notes with a floral hint that ups the ante. In this application, I’d suggest a dose of the Lo-Fi on the rocks topped with something bubbly—sparkling water or wine.
ITALIAN SPRINKLE COOKIES + LIMONCELLO
These were one of those late joiners to my family repertoire, after I made them one Christmas from a random recipe and everyone wanted them every year after. It’s an egg-rich dough enhanced with extracts of both lemon and almond, dipped in a glaze and then (duh) sprinkled.
They cry out for the sour-sweetness of a limoncello such as Caravella . I also love to make my own, or if I’m in Italy or at an expat restaurant here in LA, try a homemade one, but I can get into almost any limoncello I’ve tried, preferably served chilled.
PEPPERMINT CHOCOLATE CHIP MERINGUES + KENTUCKY COFFEE CHECKKKK
My family favorite is a recipe called Peppermint Nighty-Nights, given the night in the oven, and ours, in addition to all the crushed candy cane (who eats those things whole anyway) has chocolate chips folded in. And they are the best. I also loved that they came out of the oven in the morning, making the egg white-rich breakfast of champions.
This may sound weird, but my adult pairing is with a ready-to-drink Trusted Friend Kentucky Coffee. It’s a whiskey drink rich with coffee and who knows what else, but it is mellow and coffee-mallow (just invented the term for smooth rich coffee) and I can’t imagine anything better in my morning mug with a peppermint chocolate chip meringue.
MINCEMEAT PIES OR FRUITCAKE + RUBY RESERVE PORT
Both mincemeat and fruitcake call to mind tired tradition, but they can be rich, yet fresh and exciting as perfectly timed Ports.
For this I am going with Cockburn’s Special Reserve Port , whose nose is the combo of dried prunes—no wait prunes are already dried—but that vibe, and spice. It really does mirror the dried fruit element in the pie and/or fruitcake dance.
If I didn’t hit your favorite (sugar cookie cut-outs? Pfefferneuse?) I’ll try to get to them next year! Or slide into my DM’s, and I’ll try to make a suggestion. It IS the season of giving!
Still young but on the wayyyy baby. Maybe I should drink Sauternes more often but generally I swoon just a bit on the overripe nectarine-ginger-lemonade marmalade medley. Perfect with gingersnaps and rye. Both of switch get it — a year ago