Drinking in the New Year

Kim Devore/Staff Writer

Whether it’s a Shirley Temple, Slippery Nipple, Snake Bite or Singapore Sling, libations abound this holiday season and everyone has their favorite when it comes to a little something liquid.

For wine-lover Rachel Peters, it’s a delightful blend called Quintessa.

“That’s what I’ll be having on New Year’s Eve. It’s a really beautiful Bordeaux from the Napa Valley–very elegant,” said Peters.

Duke’s bar manager, Andrew Feinstein, on the other hand, is an island purist. “Got to be the Mai Tai. It’s our own concoction–like the classic, but just a little bit sweeter.”

Feinstein says four secret ingredients called PPOG make this mix a best seller. “It’s passion fruit juice, pineapple juice, orange and guava.”

For the Duke’s crowd, it’s the only way to say, aloha.

John Rattner likes to spread color as well as cheer. The local importer of Rodnik Vodka makes merry martinis in both red and green.

“We’ve come up with something called the Hot Rod,” he explains. “That’s vodka and cinnamon schnapps. We match that with our Jolly Rodnick, which is like a green apple martini, so you have one drink that’s sweet and one that is sour and together they’re very Christmas-y.”

Local distributor Natalie Pringle says Pol Roger non-vintage champagne is a good choice for high-end bubbly.

“We sell a lot of it. It’s about half of what you’d pay for Cristal or Dom Perignon so it’s the best tasting and best value.”

But it’s a good year for champagne in general, especially if you’re a consumer.

“These are the best prices we’ve seen in four years,” says wine merchant Arthur Bright. “There was a lot of hype about a champagne shortage during the Millennium and it backfired.”

Bright says much of that champagne stock remained unsold and now producers are trying to unload their inventory at a discount.

“The major champagnes that were $150 last year are $80 today. But there are some very good quality champagnes in the $20-$30 range.”

Restaurants and bars, meantime, let their customers call the shots. When the clock strikes twelve, local eateries like BeauRivage, Guido’s and Granita will be shaking it up with everything from Manhattans to Margaritas.

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