It is that time of year again, when the first snow is coming, the decorations are going up, the music is playing, the fires are being started, and all we want to do is cozy up on the couch and enjoy. Like I said that is all we WANT to do, but the things we feel we HAVE to do would put Santa’s list to shame… Oh yes that inevitable holiday stress may be frightful, but we have something here that is sure to make you feel quite delightful. Our 2021 guide to having the perfect boozy Christmas.
Throughout the regions of York, Durham, and Headwaters there are some truly special and one-of-a-kind spots; from must visit hidden gems, to wildly popular joints ready to serve the masses. This list is dedicated to them all. These special locations are ones we hold dear to our heart when this time of year comes along. They are the ones that make gift giving easy; almost anyone would enjoy a locally made product that you love gifted to them. They are the ones that make an evening snowed in feel like a romantic get away, a party, a posh restaurant, or a dive bar if that’s more your scene. But most importantly these magical places are the ones that can and will come to the rescue of any family holiday disaster. Father-in-law talking politics again? You have to host your vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy-free sister, and her kids that only each chicken nuggets? Do not worry a second longer, sit down, deep breaths, and get ready to be amazed because YDH has the solution to it all. With these amazing products at your side, you will be ready to turn up the holiday cheer and turn down the holiday fear:
Adamo Estate Winery
This stunning winery, nestled in the rolling hills of Hockley Valley (a newly emerging wine region) uses a terroir-focused approach that reflects their deep respect for the environment, climate and the region. We picked this wine for your Christmas dinner for 4 good reasons. Adamo focuses on cool climate Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, making it one of their principal varietals, it also happens to be one of their most popular wines! Further, this Pino Noir, like many others pairs phenomenally with turkey, chicken, and pork dishes; great for your holiday dinner. Lastly, this wine is so good it can be enjoyed on its own making it a perfect gift.
Wine- 2019 Red Head Pino Noir
Windrush Estate Winery
This winery, in Headwaters, boast amazing views and great wines, and boy were they right. Looking over the stunning Hockley Valley, sits the glorious Windrush Chateau, where you can enjoy the view and sip on your new wine on the terrace. These wines are definitely something to write home about, and bring home for that matter! Whether you are brining it as a host gift, or supplying your own Christmas party it is sure to be a hit. Especially the VQA Jim Warren’s Classic Chardonnay. This Full-Bodied Chardonnay should pair nicely with your appetizers or the main course!
VQA stands for Vintners Quality Alliance and means that all the grapes in these wines are 100% Ontario Grapes- Even better!!
Wine- VQA Jim Warren’s Classic Chardonnay
Holland Marsh Wineries
This winery is nestled in Canada’s premier historical farming community, The Holland Marsh (fitting name) in York Region. This passionate, traditional, and knowledgeable family started Holland march Winery in 2008 with some old-world techniques paired with new world pizzazz. Add in an unparalleled soil composition and you get some one-of-a-kind wines. With so many amazing wines to choose from we couldn’t narrow it down to just one to show off this holiday season. So instead, we decided to feature Holland Marsh Wineries Best Sellers Box “Taste your way through our best selling Ephemere and Select wines!” Each box also includes tasting notes for each of the wines with pairing recommendations.
Wine- Best Seller Box
Archibald’s Orchard and Winery
Originally the Archibald’s Orchard was planted by the family in 1968 in the Durham Region. Fred and Sandy took over in 1981 and opened up to the public with Pick Your Own apples in 1983. At the beginning wine making was just a hobby, but when Fred began experimenting with his apples, he found that he could make a fruit wine that defies the odds. Archibald Orchards & Estate Wineries wines range from dry to sweet, and should not be forgotten this holiday season. The wine we recommend does happen to be sweet… very sweet; the perfect dessert wine in fact. This wine is delicious over ice cream, dessert cheese, fruit cake, or any other extravagant desert you’ll be having this season.
Wine- Spiced Winter Apple Wine
Spirit Tree Estate Cidery
Spirit Tree Estate Cidery is another stunning location in the hills of Headwaters region, with a cidery, apple orchard, patio, wood fire pizza, a pantry, and bakery on site, they are sure to have something there you love. However, in the cold winter months there is one thing there that is loved above all else the Winter Bliss Cider “This dark gold colour and caramel-orange flavour of this heritage cider will warm your soul on a cold winter’s day. Winter Bliss is our interpretation of the New England style ciders made by early settlers and is a taste of tradition for the modern palette.” Pick these ciders up to make sure your guests’ souls are warm and toasty for the holidays.
Cider- Winter Bliss Cider
This newer cider company in Durham Region has a pretty significant goal in mind; their mission is to create cider that would make your great granddad smile. We for one think they have succeeded. Quickly becoming one of the most popular cider companies in the area, with a killer menu featuring local farms, a spectacular patio, and kick butt, super unique ciders, it is hard to stay away. You can try ciders like Mint Cucumber, Honey Habanero, and much more. However, for all your holiday needs we are suggesting their small batch Maple Bourbon Cider crafted in maple-soaked bourbon barrels, this cider is the perfect drink for sitting around the fire.
Cider- Small Batch- Maple Bourbon
Two Blokes Cider
Years ago when these two blokes created this wonderful cider company, they had two things in mind; make delicious cider and make it sustainably. Now their ‘heaven in bottles’ comes in many fun flavours, and they are always trying something new. Now I know you may a little thrown off by the name of the cider we chose but just hear me out. Do we really think cranberries, walnuts, and vanilla belong solely to fall? I don’t think so… I don’t know about you but cranberry sauce and crackable walnuts are a staple at my Christmas dinner. Now it can be at your dinner too, with this magical cider that tastes just like Christmas! Visit them in Northern Durham Region.
Cider- Fall Feels – Cranberry, Walnut, Vanilla Cider
Applewood Farm and Winery
This unique fruit winery located in Brock Township, Durham Region has a lot to offer! Not only do they have delicious fruit wine made with fruit from their family farm, and other local farms around them, they also have wonderful ciders and mead to enjoy! Experience a bit of country so close to the city at Applewood Farm and Winery. For this holiday season pick up their renowned Apple Jack. “Our Apple Jack is delicious and a real crowd pleaser. It is made of fresh picked apples, think Iced Apple meets Bourbon Whisky. It’s best served chilled or warm with a stick of cinnamon. A must try by the lake or fireside. It’s so good that it has its own website – www.applejack.ca
Cider- Apple Jack
Market Brewing Co.
This hometown Newmarket Brewery in York Region realizes that when others succeed everyone succeeds, that’s why this year they are doing something very unique. This year in collaboration with new up and coming breweries in the neighbourhood (Old Flame Brewing Company, The George Brew House, and Turkey Stout Brewing Company) they have created the Newmarket Pilsner, and this collaborative effort is available at all four breweries in cans and on tap today! For your ultimate holiday bar pick up the Newmarket Pilsner. As the most commonly enjoyed beer in the world a pilsner at your party will not disappoint.
Beer- Newmarket Pilsner
The Strong Stuff
Last Straw Distillery
This self proclaimed “little distillery that could” is one of Ontario’s smallest production distilleries. They are making a name for themselves through their perseverance, goals to support local, and their amazing products. “We aspire to source from as close to Vaughan as possible – ingredients from farmers with regenerative practices, services and supplies from community-focused businesses. We’re focused on what goes in the bottle, not what’s on it. When you buy a bottle of Last Straw spirits, you’re not paying for fancy packaging or marketing gimmicks. We think our spirits speak for themselves.” One of the many amazing products Last Straw Distillery offers is Gin, and here they are making it known that it’s not just for summer. By creating delicious cocktails, you can make your spirit go from a casual summer sipper to the perfect belly warming touch at your holiday party.
Drink- Gin Twenty-One
Sheldon Creek Dairy
Okay okay we know this isn’t alcohol. But Sheldon Creek Dairy does something very special during the holiday season. They make the regions most delicious, creamy, mouth-watering egg nog! Available now, all you need is a bit of the strong stuff to get this egg nog to the top of this list.
Drink- Sheldon Creek Dairy Seasonal Egg Nog
Whether you are looking for the perfect gift, or you need a bit of help hosting the family this year, these locations around York, Durham, and Headwaters are here to help!
By: Jessica Elliott