Maybe you’ve seen the Starter Kit memes running around the Internet. Maybe you’ve even created one yourself! Well, we couldn’t let you have all the fun. We decided to create a January Starter Kit to get you all set for New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day and the cold, gray, dreary, bleary, blustery days that round out the month in northeast Indiana. Warm up with us!

 

Sparkling Wine

Bubbly is a must. It goes with everything. A toast on New Year’s Eve, mimosas on New Year’s Day and glittering snowflakes outside the windowpane. The one to your left is a delicious, well-balanced cava, a sparkling wine from Spain. The only thing we get to call Champagne is sparkling wine made from that region in France. Just to make it more confusing, there’s also a Champagne method of producing sparkling wine that may happen in other parts of the world, too. All you need to know: Bubbles are happy. Bubbles look classy. Bubbles go with nachos. Dress ’em up or dress ’em down, you’ll wanna drink ’em down in January.

 

Seasonal Beer

One of the saving graces of January is watching football games. And one of the best parts of watching a football game is beer. And one of the best kinds of beer during this long, cold month is a seasonal stout–rich and hearty, full of chocolate and dark fruit flavors. Bell’s Expedition Stout is just such a beer; and fittingly for January, it starts out quite bitter, mellowing with age. Of course, we have all kinds of styles of seasonal beer, including bright, hoppy IPAs and aromatic ales–whatever floats your toboggan. While you’re at it, you could whip up some comfort food, such as Beer-Fried Asparagus or Three Chile Beef Chili. We’re talking the kind of beer and food that’ll stick to your ribs while you’re shoveling out the drive. And if you believe the The Old Farmer’s Almanac prediction for this winter, you’d better get stocked up.

 

We know that some of our fans have an obsession with RumChata, and hey–we get it. It’s creamy and sweet with a little bit of heat all on its own. And it’s ridiculously good in any number of recipes, not just cocktails but even French toast and cupcakes. Baileys will always be in our liquor cabinet, of course. But we have to admit–RumChata has found its way into our coffee, too. We sometimes add a splash of amaretto to make it extra sweet. We especially love the RumChocolata: Sprinkle RumChata with Ghirardelli Double Cocoa Powder and serve warm. How ’bout that, huh? You like that? What’s that you say? You’re never leaving the house again? Hey–we get it!

 

Whiskey

If you’ve come down with yet another cold this season, you might need some warming up. That January chill settles deep into your bones, doesn’t it? Sometimes you just can’t thaw out, even after spending 20 minutes in a hot shower, curling up under a fluffy blankie and sliding your icy feet under your hapless dog curled up on the floor. (Poor little buddy!) This is why the Hot Toddy was invented. Water heaters in those drafty Scottish castles back in the 1700s just couldn’t handle 20-minute showers. A Hot Toddy is said to cure what ails ya, and we think it might be true. Scotland survived to give us Sean Connery, right? So here’s how it’s done: Round up 1.5 ounces brandy, whiskey or rum; 1 tablespoon honey; 1/4 lemon; 1 cup hot water; and 1 tea bag. Coat the bottom of a mug with honey. Add the liquor and squeeze in the juice of the lemon quarter. Separately, make a mug of hot tea. Pour the hot tea into the mug of liquor and stir. There now. You feel better already, don’t you?