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.


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