So, you've been invited to a holiday party and at the last second, you feel guilty about going empty-handed. And all you have time to do is stop at your local grocery store or BevMo to grab a bottle of something. Here are my picks for evening beverages that party guests are sure to like. In no way is this a comprehensive list of my favorites, per se, but these are selections that are accessible and safe.
| 1. Golden Star Tea Co. White Jasmine Sparkling Tea ($12) | This is a non-alcoholic bubbly that's much more interesting and sophisticated than Martinelli's. I tend to serve this when I have people over for lunch, but bring this to a party and the designated drivers will thank you for being awesome. It has a delicate floral aroma and finish and the fizz level is lovely rather than overwhelming.
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| 2. Banfi 2008 Rosa Regale ($6) | A dessert wine like this is a safe choice because even people who aren't wine fanatics or generally don't like the taste of red wine can still appreciate it. It's sweet enough to stand up to holiday desserts and the cheery color makes it a festive choice.
| 3. Pomelo 2009 Sauvignon Blanc ($12) | I see this wine all over the place but that doesn't mean it's blasé. Red wines are difficult gifts because you never know if they'll pair well with what your hosts are serving or cater to their preferences. A simple, crisp Sauvignon Blanc such as this is easy to drink with any hors d'œuvre. And it also has a screw top, in case you're bringing it to someone who doesn't own a corkscrew.
| 4. Hendrick's Gin ($31) | I happen to really like gin. Gin is nice for parties because it doesn't take a whole lot of other mixers or syrups to make a quality drink— just a good gin like this, some fresh limes, and some good tonic water (yes, there is bad tonic water, too). Hendrick's is an oldie but goodie known for its cucumber infusion.
| 5. Right Gin ($33) | If you like gin, but you're looking to impress someone with your extensive knowledge of what is up and coming in the world of mixology, then bring a bottle of Right Gin. Right Gin is quite new as gins go (their first run was in 2007) and is being marketed as the peppery gin for non-gin-drinkers.