Holidays around the world are almost universally celebrated with special food and drink. This year’s Christmas season arrives with lots of us having spent more time in the kitchen than usual these last few years. And, what with COVID still lurking about, maybe you’re still cooking more at home than you used to. Anyway, here are a couple of food items and some libations we discovered recently that could help raise your holiday spirits.
BAKON™, by Thrilling Foods, is a new meat substitute that actually chews and tastes like real bacon. It’s made with tofu that’s dry-salt-cured and smoked to produce very nearly the taste, texture, and mouthfeel of the real thing without the harm to animals and the environment. It even looks like bacon and, like bacon, produces fat in the skillet. Just handle it delicately and be sure to watch their video on how to cook Bakon so it’s done the way you like your bacon. If you could help the planet and enjoy “bakon” guilt-free, why not? Spaghetti carbonara, anyone? Or how about this Easy Breakfast Casserole? SRP ~$13 for 8-oz pkg of 8-10 thick strips.
Lot 40 Rye Canadian Whisky, by Northern Border Collection. Distilled in single batches in copper pots, it’s got smooth notes of oak and vanilla and toffee that make you feel like sitting down with a fireplace and some holiday music and maybe, if you are so inclined, a fine cigar. A refreshing and zesty mix. 43% alc. SRP ~$30-40. Prices vary so shop carefully.
Safe Catch Sustainable Seafood. Tuna, salmon, mackerel, sardines – all fished for in sustainable ways and packaged in individual servings and in cans. A single-serve envelope in one of their many different flavors makes an easy, protein-rich lunch or snack. Delicious and so convenient – zip open the envelope, drain, and pour out on top of your plate of, maybe, potato-green bean salad. The tuna in cans is firm and solid and makes maybe the best tuna salad we’ve ever tasted – try this recipe from Culinary Hill. I’m imagining using the canned tuna as a nutritious, delicious sustainably sourced substitute in any casserole or other dish that uses cooked chicken. Oh, yeah, fish tacos, etc. All their products meet much stricter-than-required limits on mercury and are certified safe for pregnant people and children. Salt-free versions available. Sold at Mariano’s, Foxtrot and dozens more. SRP for Elite Tuna ~$22 for 6-pack of 5 oz cans. Check here for other pricing.
Besamim Artisanal Liqueur, by Sukkah Hill Spirits. Absolutely perfect for the holidays – or really any time. “… cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove with a silky, moderately sweet medium body and a gently warming frosted carrot cake and candied spiced nut finish,” says Beverage Tasting Institute. What’s not to love? Now, imagine this in your Santa mug full of egg nog… 37% alc. ~SRP $22+ for 375 ml.
Fireside Straight Bourbon Whiskey, by Mile High Spirits. Distilled in copper in downtown Denver and aged at least two years, this expression is one of a selection of bourbons at Mile High. This version, made with 70% corn, 20% rye, and 10% chocolate malted barley, radiates notes of dark caramel, roasted coffee and smokey brown sugar. Perfect for Old Fashioneds and not bad to sip on its own. It’s not sophisticated but does offer plenty in the its layers of flavor. In a nice nod to sustainability, Mile High says BYOB – bring your own (empty) bottle back to their tasting room and get a drink on the house. 40% alc. SRP ~$50.
Elevate, 6x Distilled Vodka (gluten free), also by Mile High Spirits, A local-corn distillate cut with Rocky Mountain spring water, this expression is smooth and versatile – in your Bloody Mary or any mixed drink. Smooth enough to drink on its own, too. Same deal with returning the bottle for a free drink. Nice move from the Denver area green people who adore their mountains and want to make sure they’re around for eons to come. 40% alc. SRP ~$20.
Whatever you decide to try, have a good December.