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For revelers and gift-givers alike, alcohol warms the season

Published:   |   Updated: March 11, 2013 at 09:28 PM

Liquor sales are in full swing for the holidays as folks shop for eggnog with a kick in it, spirits for holiday parties and meals or a flavorful gift that comes in a variety of sizes and styles.

At the Sebring ABC Fine Wine & Spirits Monday, Roger and Barbara Desjardins shopped for bottles of rum and scotch and ordered a bottle of a seasonal item — pumpkin Irish cream.

Susan Eberhart picked out a gift package that contained a bottle of wine, cheese, crackers and chocolate-covered cashews.

She will be going to Tarpon Springs on Christmas Eve, where family tradition includes a Christmas Eve "Secret Santa" gift exchange.

It's "all hands on deck" until the end of the year, said ABC Fine Wine & Spirits Marketing Communications Manager Lorena Streeter.

"The holidays are the time people are aiming for top-shelf things because they are giving them as gifts," she said.

New flavors are coming out all the time and there is always a new combination of flavors, she said, specifically noting that Crown Royal recently introduced a maple flavor.

It's called Crown Royal Maple Finished Whiskey, which blends the signature caramel and vanilla nose of Crown Royal with a warm and woody maple touch, according to the Crown Royal Company.

Holiday gift set packages are popular because they are priced the same as the bottle, but include glasses or a flask or a small bottle of a flavored version of the spirit, Streeter said.

ABC Regional Manager Bill Jackson, said flavored vodkas, including whipped cream, peach and citron, are real big right now.

Also, cordials like the Irish whiskeys are popular this time of the year along with seasonal beers and eggnog blended with the alcohol, he said.

"They can come in here and design their own gift basket," Jackson said. "They can just pick out what they want and we will make a basket for them."

Craft beer is still a huge trend, both Jackson and Streeter said.

Bob and Sally Sesko simplified their holiday shopping, buying four identical bottles of wine to give as gifts.

With the arrival of a large shipment of spirits, ABC staff member Gary Minor used a hand truck to restock the shelves.

The Italian moscato wines seem to be the new trend right now, he said. It's a sweet dessert wine that also pairs well with spicy or Chinese food.

"We are selling a lot of that, and we are selling a lot of blend wines, which are blends of different types of grapes," Minor said. (863) 386-5826


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