Local Spirits for the Holidays
Keep it local on your holiday table with these wines and spirits made right here in New Hampshire.
Whether you're looking for a unique host/hostess gift or want to impress your own guests with a well-chosen bottle of wine or spirits, consider keeping it local. New Hampshire has a number wineries and distilleries, with many of their products for sale in New Hampshire Liquor & Wine Outlets. Some, however, are only available in tasting rooms, but really — is it such a bad thing to combine a tasting or two with a holiday shopping errand? Here are a few select choices that are ideal for holiday celebrations.
You should absolutely take the time to visit the lovely tasting room at Hermit Woods Winery, which now includes an onsite deli with sandwiches, charcuterie and even local beer on tap. But if you're on a holiday mission, try one of their sparkling ciders, especially the Hard Cranberry Apple Cider. It's an old-world dry cider made with French and English heirloom apples, cranberries, quince and crabapples. 72 Main St., Meredith
You might be sensing a theme here — perfect for the Thanksgiving table, the Sparkling Apple Cranberry Wine from Flag Hill Winery & Distillery (pictured) is a taste of New Hampshire apples and Cape Cod cranberries with effervescence. It’s available statewide at New Hampshire Liquor and Wine Outlets. When it comes to the distillery part of Flag Hill, try any one (or all?) of these liqueurs for dessert: raspberry, cranberry, blueberry and a particular favorite, the maple sugar variety. There's also the excellent Josiah Bartlet apple brandy. 297 North River Rd., Lee
LaBelle Winery has a sparkling cranberry wine that's semi-sweet, festive and is an excellent choice for the holidays. There are two elegant tasting rooms and retail shops you can visit — the winery itself in Amherst (345 Route 1) and the new location in Portsmouth (104 Congress St.).
Cider is the name of the game at Farnum Hill Ciders at Poverty Lane Orchards. The varieties here are not sweet – most are on the dryer side and are bright, fruity and wonderfully aromatic. They complement food and would make a lovely alternative to the usual red or white wine served with dinner. You can find a number of their ciders in New Hampshire Liquor & Wine Outlets. 98 Poverty Ln., Lebanon
For those who prefer liquid dessert, do not miss the outstanding Vidal Ice Wine at Jewell Towne Vineyards. This sweet wine is made from estate-grown grapes and has flavors of apricot and honey. You may find that you're unwilling to share with guests. 183 Whitehall Rd., North Hampton
Complete the trifecta of apple and cranberry creations with Sweet Baby Vineyard's Apple-Cranberry wine that uses 100 percent local apples from Applecrest Farm. Again, if you're expecting sweet, then you might be surprised to find that this is a dry wine with a clean, fresh finish on the palate. Sweet Baby wines are sold in New Hampshire Liquor & Wine Outlets and a number of other stores. 260 Stage Rd., Hampstead
Visiting this beautiful tasting room is a pleasure, and any one of their spirits would make an elegant gift or an excellent addition to your holiday get-togethers. Gin lovers will be especially pleased here, as Tamworth has created five outstanding versions as a part of the Tamworth Garden collection. For a true essence of New Hampshire and the fall season, consider the unaged apple brandy. The distillers did put several barrels away for aging, but decided to keep one barrel available for immediate enjoyment. We're certainly glad they did. 15 Cleveland Hill Rd., Tamworth
The veteran-owned Smoky Quartz Distillery produces an award-winning bourbon ideal for sipping after dinner. The V5 bourbon, which took home the 2016 American Craft Spirit Association's silver medal, is made from 100 percent locally sourced corn and aged in white oak barrels. It goes down smooth with a minimal burn. 894 Lafayette Rd., Seabrook
Djinn Spirits offers a spin on a classic Polish and Lithuanian treat. The award-winning Krupnik honey liqueur has the distinct taste of honey you'd expect balanced with spices such as nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon and clove. They recommend you drink it neat, but their website has a couple of suggested cocktail recipes as well. 2 Townsend W #9, Nashua