Regular readers of this column know that we have a tradition in the Farlow household: Top Shelf January. The holidays are a time for family and friends—and serving more crowd- pleasing (read: affordable) beverages. Well, everyone’s gone home and it’s time to break out the good stuff that you kept hidden in a locked cabinet away from your Uncle Harry. For those eschewing Dry January, prepare to indulge in a little me time.
Roland Champion Zero Dosage Champagne Brut NV
($60, Kysela Pere et Fils)
We’re pretty sure you’ve had your fill of office party “champagne” and bland, mass-produced Champagne, because that’s what most people buy for New Year’s Eve. But there’s another echelon of Champagne producer above the big labels that buy juice and blend it to their own style—and that’s the Champagne estate producer. These are folks who grow their own grapes and make the wine themselves. Roland Champion is one such producer and this Zero Dosage bottling is just electric.
($17, 12 pack-cans, Legends)
This isn’t a splurge at all, so why include it here? Because holiday parties tend to offer American lager from the big two massive beer companies only. And that’s okay because that’s what masses of people want. But now that it’s just you, wouldn’t you rather crack open a clean, crisp refreshing, no-nonsense lager that actually tastes like beer? Enter Zadie’s. This lager is brewed here in The Land Of Pleasant Living by the folks at Union, so it’s fresh and sup- ports a great Baltimore business. It’s delicious with all manner of snacks, pre-game pizzas, or as a crushable reward for getting all the decorations put away before February 1.
J Rieger Kansas City Whiskey
J. Rieger is a craft distillery in Kansas City, MO, that’s a reboot of an operation that existed before Prohibition. Today they make small-batch spirits, including this Kansas City Whiskey. It’s a blend of straight bourbon whiskey, light corn whiskey, and straight rye whiskey, all aged at least four years, plus a small amount of 15-year-old Oloroso sherry from the Williams & Humbert Bodega in Jerez. Bottled at 92-proof, this is strong enough to mix in your favorite whiskey cocktails, but can also be enjoyed on its own with ice.