If you threw a New Year’s Eve shindig (or maybe snagged a couple of bottles from the bar on your way out), you may be asking yourself in the cold, unforgiving light of 2014: What the heck am I supposed to do with all this leftover champagne? The easy answer is drink it, of course. I was recently listening to an episode of Splendid Table on NPR, and Ed McCarthy, author of Champagne for Dummies, was listing his favorite picks for sparkling wines and was downright, well, bubbly about the stuff and how you don’t need a special occasion to enjoy it. He drinks it almost every day, and while I won’t go that far, I definitely am of the idea that opening a good bottle of anything is occasion enough. But maybe you went a little cheap on those bottles for your party, though, (probably the reason you have so much left over, Scrooge), and you really don’t relish polishing them off. In that case, just brunch it up with some orange juice for the classic mimosa, cranberry juice for a festive Poinsettia, or (my personal favorite) grapefruit juice for a change of pace. You can get more creative than just throwing some citrus in too. If you’ve got some Guinness around, fill a glass halfway with it and float some champagne on top for a Black Velvet. You could go through several bottles by making a punch for your next party. Or you could use the cheap stuff to perfect your cocktail skills with some classics like the French 75, Bellini or Kir Royal.
In case you haven’t heard, the World Beer Festival is coming back to Columbia for the sixth year on Jan. 18. I give you notice now so that you can mark your calendars, and also because if you want a really unique beer festival experience, you should sign up now to volunteer for the festival. Volunteers can pick which shift they would like to work and earn some swag including a festival T-shirt and a six-month subscription to All About Beer magazine (the host of the festival). Most importantly, volunteers are all invited to the private afterparty where you know there will be some really great beers available for tasting. You can find out more info about volunteering for the festival at allaboutbeer.com.
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