Allison Markin is the food and libations columnist for the Penticton Western News.

Okanagan Taste: Seasonal twist on usual libations

Christmas is a few days away and maybe we all need a reset from our usual holiday libations.

Christmas is a few days away, 2017 is upon us, and after the odd year 2016 has been, maybe we all need a reset from our usual holiday libations.

Skip the usual, and give the season a bit of a twist with these options, and as always, take care out there and give your designated driver a hug.

Mulled white wine: traditionally made with red, last year the folks at Vin Amité introduced me to mulled white. Lighter in style, use chardonnay or viognier, and mull with star anise, fresh orange peel (use the slices for garnish), cloves, and maybe a bit of brandy.

Eggnog and bourbon: that about sums it up. Replace the rum with a good bourbon for a change. Non-boozy treat? A shot of espresso in a cup of nog, or half nog and half hot chocolate.

Hot gin and tonic: a discovery at the newly opened Knotweed at Legend Distilling. The trick is using tonic syrup. An ounce and a half, equal parts gin (more or less), top with hot water and a cinnamon stick. Throw in a lemon slice for vitamin C.

Alchocolates: the combo of hot chocolate and a libation, or combo of libations. Don’t be stingy with the whipped cream on top of good hot chocolate with a shot of kirsch, peppermint schnapps, Frangelico. I may try one with the brand new Lady of the Cask brandy from Maple Leaf Spirits this Boxing Day.

Okanagan Mimosa: pour a splash of a late harvest wine, preferably a red for some colour, in the bottom of a glass, top with a sparkling wine, maybe a splash of the nearest fruit juice, for your health. My favourite combo: Rustic Roots Santa Rosa sweet plum wine, Bella Wines sparkling rosé (if you can find a bottle) or 8th Generation Confidence.

Apple Pie Punch: for the non-imbibers, combine apple cider, ginger ale, apple slices and a cinnamon stick for garnish, and for the kids, turn this into an apple pie float with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.

Here is a Christmas recipe favourite of mine that I wanted to share Pair with a bottle of Prosecco or a crème de menthe cocktail!


Two packages (three oz each) lime-flavoured Jell-o

2 cups boiling water

2 cups cold water

¼ teaspoon peppermint extract

1 envelope Dream Whip or one container (4 ½ ounces) Cool Whip

8 cream-filled chocolate cookies (Oreos), finely crushed

Dissolve Jell-o in boiling water, then add cold water and peppermint extract. Chill until slightly thickened, about 60-90 minutes. Prepare Dream Whip as directed on package if not using Cool Whip. Measure 1 ¾ cups gelatin and pour into a 9×5 inch loaf pan and chill 5-10 minutes. Meanwhile, blend whipped topping into the remaining Jell-o.

Carefully spoon 1/3 of creamy mixture into the pan, on top of the Jell-o. Sprinkle half of the cookie crumbs on top. Repeat these layers and spoon the remaining creamy mixture on top. Chill until firm, about four hours.

Unmold from the pan, garnish with cookie crumbs if desired. Makes six cups or about 10 servings.

Cheers to the season!

Save the date:  New Year’s Eve edition

All of these events take place on Dec. 31, except where indicated. Happy 2017!

A New Start Party: co-hosted by the Penticton Arts Council and the Penticton Art Gallery, with 1960s lounge theme, live music plus a DJ at the art gallery. Complimentary appetizers, cash bar. Tickets $35 at the PAG and Leir House, $30 for members.

NYE celebration: the Barley Mill Brew Pub and Sports Bistro has a three-course candlelit dinner (5 p.m. to 9 p.m., reservations in advance), for $35, and a champagne toast at midnight. Live music begins at 8:30 p.m.

Blind Beer and Cheese Tasting: Tug’s Tap House, featuring a comedy show by Matt Billon. Limited tickets, $35. Party favours, food and drink specials.

Masquerave: Lee Holland and the Van Horne Trio provide entertainment at Mile Zero Wine Bar. Enjoy light snacks and a glass of bubbly or port at midnight.

NYE at the Lakeside: Celebrate in the Grand Ballroom at the Penticton Lakeside Resort with a dinner buffet, DJ, party favours, and a midnight toast with bubbly. $55 per person.

Jan. 1, New Year’s Brunch: Terrafina Restaurant at Hester Creek in Oliver host three brunch seatings, 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., and 2:30 p.m. $32 per person plus taxes and gratuity. Reservations: 250-498-2229.

Allison Markin is the food and libations columnist for the Penticton Western News. She can be reached at and on Twitter @OkanaganTaste.


Just Posted

Cannabis framework adjustments could allow up to 14 stores in Penticton

The city policy on retail cannabis stores could see some changes as council examines amendments

Road closures for Penticton Peach City marathon

Road closures will be in effect for parts of Penticton on Sunday

Update: Mother dead, youth in critical condition after carbon monoxide poisoning at Sandy Point Campground

The woman was found unresponsive insider her tent and the youth was taken via air ambulance to hospital

Penticton offers free social and fitness program

Weekly program designed for adults aged 55 to 70 with cognitive or developmental disabilities

Penticton Indian Band councillor trying for federal seat

Joan Phillip acclaimed as NDP candidate for Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola

Video: Boating season launches at Penticton’s Skaha Marina

Skaha Marina has new owners, a new plan, and a new attitude

Okanagan adventurer continues motorcycle trip around the world

Vernon local James Leigh recently completed the third of five legs of the journey, travelling through China and Kazakhstan

Riders “step up” their game at Coldstream Equestrian Clinic

Riders from across the Okanagan travelled to Coldstream to train for the 2019 55+ Senior Games, which take place in Kelowna this fall.

Canada’s parole officers say correctional system has reached breaking point

About half of Canada’s federal parole officers work inside penitentiaries and correctional institutions

Montreal researchers create audible hockey puck for visually impaired players

Three years ago, Gilles Ouellet came up with the idea for a puck that makes a continuous sound

Boy, 12, arrested after allegedly pulling a knife on another child at a Surrey park

The child was later released into his parents’ custody as Surrey RCMP continue their investigation

ICBC urging drivers to slow down this May long weekend

Speed is number one cause of car crash fatalities: ICBC

Bucks hammer Raptors 125-103 to take 2-0 playoff series lead

Toronto heads home in a hole after second loss to Milwaukee

Full-scale search underway for missing kayaker on Okanagan Lake

Kelowna Paddle Centre member Zygmunt Janiewicz, 71, failed to return from his ‘daily kayak’ on the lake

Most Read