Photo of mulled wine

Star-studded sips

Celebrity-created and -endorsed beverages are so popular, there’s an app (GrapeStars)
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Canadians were among the pioneers of the celebrity-drinks trend: 15 years ago, comedian Dan Aykroyd launched Crystal Head vodka, around the time hockey star Wayne Gretzky released his namesake Niagara wine (and today offers everything from whisky to cream liqueur, too). Recently, Vancouver-born actor Ryan Reynolds rocketed Aviation Gin to new fame, and Alberta-born former Bachelorette Kaitlyn Bristowe got into the game with Spade & Sparrows wine. Today, Canadian music fans can rock to Tragically Hip wine from Ontario’s Stoney Ridge Estate Winery or Rush beer, created in collaboration with Toronto’s Henderson Brewing.

For the sports fan, a bottle of full-bodied, fruity J-Harden Cabernet Sauvignon created by NBA star James Harden could be just the ticket. (Though upscale ballers might prefer a bottle of LeBron James’s Lobos or Michael Jordan’s Cincoro, both premium tequilas.) Movie lovers can sip Miraval, the rosé from Brad Pitt’s south-of-France wine estate, while watching holiday flicks at home.

Soundtrack your holiday entertaining with Bob Dylan and serve his Heaven’s Door whiskeys, or turn up the Pogues and pour the band’s eponymous Irish whiskey. Hip-hop devotees can rap along with Snoop’s 19 Crimes Cali Red wine bottling, and SelvaRey Rum is the perfect sunny, tropical gift for followers of pop star Bruno Mars, a new owner of the brand.

Your non-alcoholic options can have star quality, too (sites like shopmayple.com are a good source). Singer Katy Perry created De Soi aperitif-inspired non-alcoholic beverages. Supermodel Bella Hadid endorses Kin Euphorics, drinks with functional ingredients like adaptogens and nootropics for a little non-alc buzz. B.C.’s favourite homegrown stoner, Seth Rogen, has his own line of cannabis drinks called Houseplant, with flavours like grapefruit, lime and lemon and 2.5 grams of THC per can.

Mulled wine

Along with spiking coffee, hot chocolate or eggnog, spirits give a dash of flavour to mulled wine. Here’s a versatile recipe to try over the holidays:

For every bottle of fruity, dry red wine, add 2 ounces (60 mL) of liquor: Brandy is traditional, but whisky, gin and even tequila are tasty options. Use a peeler to carve large strips off two citrus fruits, then add a palmful of whole dried spices (such as cinnamon sticks, cloves, star anise or cardamon pods), first crushing them lightly in your palms or using the back of a knife. Sweeten to taste with up to 1/2 cup (125 mL) of maple syrup, white or brown sugar, or honey. Cook over medium heat until sweetener dissolves, then reduce heat to low for about 30 minutes. Garnish with a cocktail pick of fresh or dried cranberries, a clove-studded orange peel or a cinnamon stick before serving in heatproof glasses or mugs. Makes 6 servings.

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