Local liquor stores have the selection and advice to properly ring in the New Year
Published 6:48 pm Friday, December 30, 2016
As the clock strikes midnight Saturday, celebrating the New Year may include the clinking of glasses, a toast and sipping champagne.
Local liquor stores have been stocking up on the bubbly in preparation for what has traditionally been a big night for those enjoying an adult beverage.
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“We sell more than 75 cases of champagne this time of year,” The Liquor Store employee Melissa Mullen said.
Technically, champagne is a sparkling wine that comes from the Champagne region of northeastern France, but many people refer to all sparkling wines as “champagne.”
According to mentalfloss.com, the French have maintained their legal right to call their wines champagne for over a century. The Treaty of Madrid, signed in 1891, established this rule, and the Treaty of Versailles reaffirmed it.
One of the most recognizable champagnes is Dom Perignon.
Named after the French Benedictine monk who improved the quality of his abbey’s vineyards and its wine, Perignon began packaging the product in bottles, which helped to maintain its sparkle, and he also figured out how to stopper these bottles of sparkling wine with corks and how to secure the corks with string.
The Liquor Store carries Dom Perignon, Mullen said, and a bottle sells for $179.99 with a bottle of the Dom Perignon Rose’ selling for $319.99 — the most expensive bottle of champagne the store carries.
Although the Champagne region of northeastern France has dibs on the “champagne” name, there are many other regions including California, Spain, Italy and Australia that produce tasty sparkling wines of their own.
Far East Liquor employee John Doland said a favorite of the locals is Andre’.
The California grown sparkling wine comes in eight flavors, Brut, Extra Dry, Blush, Moscato, Peach Moscato, Strawberry Moscato, Cold Duck and Spumante.
Mullen concurred with Doland saying the Andre’ is also one of their most popular “champagnes.”
For those looking to sip the real deal this New Year’s Eve, Mullen said they also stock Armand de Brignac, also known as Ace of Spades, Krug Grand Cuvee Brut, Louis Roederer Crystal Brut, Krug Grand Cuvee Brut, and Veuve LaGrand Dame, all of which hail from Champagne, France and sell for more than a $100 a bottle.
In addition to the Andre’, other brands sold at The Liquor Store that are a bit more palatable on the pocket book include Veuve Cliquet, Moet & Chandon Imperial, Perrier Jouet and Taittinger, all of which are less than $100.
Drinking champagne to celebrate special occasions began prior to 1789 in the royal courts of Europe, and the expensive drink was viewed as a status symbol. However, by the end of the 19th century, champagne had become popular worldwide, according to livescience.com.
For those wanting to celebrate in a large way without sipping champagne, The Liquor Store has a pricey cognac that hails from the same region.
The Louis XIII Remy’ Martin Grande Champagne Cognac sells for $2,999.99, which includes the individually numbered and hand-blown Baccarat crystal decanter with a 24-carat gold neck.
According to an article written by historian Paul Dickson and published on npr.org, toasting — a pledging of honor with a glass —has been a part of almost every culture.
However it was not until the late 17th century, Dickson writes that it was actually called a toast.
“In the same way you throw a lime in tequila, it was customary to plop a piece of toast or crouton in a drink. Think of it as an early form of a cocktail snack. It may have been a flavoring device. The practice was common, and virtually anything found floating in a drink was referred to as toast.”
Clinking of glasses
Dickson gave three theories as to how the clinking of glasses with a toast may have originated.
“Many believed the bell-like noise would drive off the devil — which was most dangerous in times of drinking and reveling. Another legend contends that by adding the clink, toasters could get the greatest pleasure from a drink. Before the clink, toasts only satisfied four of the five senses.”
And his third theory, which according to the website says his research could not confirm or deny, is that the clinking of glasses began as a way for nobles to avoid being poisoned.
“The tale goes that the clank would slosh liquid from one drink to the other, reassuring the guest that his or her drink was safe and untouched.”