Cookie Exchanges are back again this holiday season, and it seems more people are baking in their own kitchens this year. Everyone has their favourite cookie for Christmas, or something they leave out for Santa, but you don't have to eat that cookie with a glass of milk!
Growing up in an English household, we always left Santa a Mince Pie, or Shortbread Cookies with a nice cold beer. In the morning, we'd know "he'd been" not only from the loot left under the tree, but by the few crumbs and one last flat sip of beer left in his mug.
This year, let's look at pairing cookies with some wines and spirits. Some of these ideas have been borrowed from an article in Keys Weekly. I've added some suggestions for other potentially good pairings too.
What's your favourite? Share with us in the comments below.
Sugar Cookies & Rosé Wine Alison’s Pick - Sparkling Rosé
Sugar cookies present a challenge as they are essentially globs of grainy sugar coated with glossy sugar. The accompanying wine can’t be sweet, but a bone-dry wine would not offer the perfect solution. Overly dry wines, paired with sweets trick our tongues into creating a bitter taste. Rosé to the rescue. Light and floral without being overpowering, a solid Provencal Rosé is your best friend in this scenario. Look for a very pale peach tint. Being a Bubbles lover, choosing a Sparkling Rose just adds to the festive feel of this pairing!
Gingerbread, Vidal Ice Wine (Riesling in a pinch) Alison’s Pick Speyside Scotch
The arguable number two in the Christmas cookie world, gingerbread offers a snappy retort to all the brazenly saccharine treats available this time of year. If you can handle some sweetness in your wine, this is place to drop in a steel-cask Riesling. A proper Riesling isn’t overly sweet, but carries some citrus and acidity on a ribbon of honey. If you’re up for a real treat though, the best bet though would be to go full dessert wine on these spice monsters and find an ice wine. Might seem counter intuitive to have Scotch and a gingerbread, but the exaggerated burn from the whisky and the spices in the cookie can be a pleasurable experience. Choose a scotch with citrus and honey notes to extract the real deal.
Linzers, Pinot Noir Alison’s Pick Beaujolais
Originally created in Linz, Austria, these little tarts, with their buttery edges and jammy centers, have earned their tenure at the cookie table. Here, we have bastardized them into the thumbprint cookie, the Linzer’s slightly rumpled American cousin. Either version offers shortbread goodness with a side of sweet fruit, ideal elements to bring out the best in a Pinot Noir. A perfect California specimen will fit the bill without breaking the bank. Something medium-bodied with light tannins and whiffs of berry, can be found just about anywhere. A light and fruity French Beaujolais would work equally as well in my opinion. Perhaps open a bottle of each and do a comparison?
Chocolate Chip, Sauvignon Blanc Alison’s Pick Sangster’s Rum Cream
You could argue that a chocolate chip cookie is not a Christmas cookie, but why would you? This is the quintessential classic. This coupling is all about mouthfeel. Chocolate chip cookies are rich and buttery, dotted with bits of the most indulgent substance on Earth. Any wine standing up to that needs to be dry and zesty, with the lowest possible viscosity. There’s nothing worse than a swig of full-bodied wine to wash down the sweet oiliness of a great cookie. Enter Sauvignon Blanc — zesty, crisp and acidic. The best options are light-bodied, herbaceous wines from New Zealand. For me, the creaminess of the Rum Cream is like an adult version of milk with the cookie. The oatmeal, chocolate and crunch with the creamy smooth bite of the rum cream is exquisite. This would be a winner on Santa's plate before he flys away from your home on Christmas Eve.
Mince Pies and Fruitcake Alison's Pick Brandy & Eggnog
Yes, old fashioned, back to my English roots and certainly not everyone's cup of tea. The indulgence of a warm mince pie out of the oven, or a slice of Dad's rum and brandy soaked Christmas cake evokes wonderful memories. My preference here is Brandy and Eggnog with some freshly grated nutmeg on top. Brandy rather than rum has a firey kick which I enjoy rather than the sweeter molasses flavour the rum imparts. Makes a good foil for the rich fruity mince pie or slice of dark Christmas cake. Who needs dinner?!
Peanut Butter Kiss, Port Alison’s Pick Keep the Port, pair with Stilton Cheese, Walnuts and good Crackers!
Let’s end this thing on a bold note, shall we? Dessert on the plate, dessert in the glass. Peanut Butter Kiss cookies. It’s genius in its simplicity though; a standard peanut butter cookie with a chocolate candy smashed into the center. No subtle notes here, so it’s time to go all in. Grab a bottle of rich Port, preferably a tawny from Taylor Fladgate, and prepare to indulge. Tawny Ports reek of Old-World oak, roasted nuts and allspice — Christmas in a glass. This pairing is best enjoyed in front of a roaring fire, but an artificial tree and a rerun of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” will also work.
Tired of sweet treats? Then enjoy your Port with some creamy blue cheese, nuts and crackers. It's a pairing made in heaven. If you can splurge, go for a 30 Year old Tawny for this sinful indulgence. Keep the roaring fire part, and replace Charlie Brown with some sexy, warm jazz music.