Festive Nights

With 2020 being what it is – or isn’t – this year the holidays seem much less festive than they might be otherwise. The economic fallout on the island, from the ongoing pandemic, means many people can’t afford gifts or have drastically scaled down their gift giving. Get togethers with friends and/or family are discouraged, attendees must be limited and many simply don’t feel safe having indoor festivities either way. Does this mean we should let the season quietly slide by? Well, you could and just call it a day, like any other – or you could decide to celebrate anyway. Whether alone, as a couple, or a small, close-knit group, it’s what you make it, within safety considerations and your comfort zone.

Here at Deliciosa, it’s a “CoVID be damned!” mentality. There may not be guests, or even the usual holiday dinner(s) but it’s going to be Buñuelos, Ponche Navideño, fancy cocktails, Christmas music and dancing all the way!

Of course, soon thoughts will turn to this New Year’s Eve and the awareness it will also be a quiet affair – but again, there’s nothing stopping anyone from making the most of it and ensuring it’s a festive evening, even if it’s at home.

Finding a romantic, jazzy, or classic Christmas playlist is relatively easy on Spotify, YouTube or similar music streaming services and making a special dinner, easy tapas, or even something as simple as flavoured popcorn to sit and munch while listening to music or enjoy a crackling fire video helps enhance the mood.

Want to kick up the festivities a notch?

If you’re a beer lover, why not create your own flight? If you’ve never had an opportunity to go to a craft brewery, they offer what’s called a beer flight, which gives patrons the chance to taste more than one or two beers, as a flight is often served with 4 or 5 different beers, in smaller glasses.

Not a beer fan? Scroll down for our wine recommendations.

We asked around and discovered there’s a craft beer expert on the island, Daniel Hernández and we were able to track Daniel down through, Grupo Marea; owners of Kinta, Kondesa, Lobster Shack, Cuatro Tacos, GreenGo and La Classica. By the way, if you’ve seen or tasted Shamanes beer, it is a craft beer made locally here on the island and is the brainchild of one of Grupo Marea’s members, Daniel Burgos.

Daniel Hernández worked behind the bar of arguably, the most important craft beer place of the time in Tijuana, Tasca de la Sexta. Not only was he selling beers from around the world but it was at a time when the popular and highly regarded craft brew industry of Baja California was just beginning it’s explosive growth spurt. For many brands, Tasca was their launch point: Ramuri, Border Psycho, Cucapa and Aguamala are some of the brand’s that first launch their beers there. Daniel’s knowledge is so extensive, he was invited to give a lecture along with Ramuri’s Beer Master, Sergio Mitchell, about “Strategies of the market and sales of Tijuana’s Craft Beer” at the Universidad Autónoma de Baja California (UABC).

We sat with Daniel and asked, “If someone living on the island wanted to put together their own beer flight at home, what would you recommend?” We added one caveat: if possible, beers available from just one, or two locations max. A wild goose chase hunting down beer around the island, isn’t everyone’s idea of a good time. Daniel said, without having a personal discussion to find what beers are best to recommend, it’s a bit of a toss-up but to his credit, he came up with a wide variety of recommendations and they’re all available from just one store, Chedraui on Melgar.

Beer Flight Recommendations
Top row Left to right: Radler Grapefruit / Navideña / Oktoberfest Bier / La Chouffe.
Bottom row Left to right: Honey Dew Organic Golden Ale / Erdinger Weissbier Dunkel / Goose IPA
/ Pilsner / Scottish Ale.
  • Stiegl – Radler Grapefruit.
    Style: Radler (mixed beer drink.) Not explicitly catagorized as a beer to some but delicious nonetheless, it’s real grapefruit juice gives this deliciously light and refreshing Radler its amber natural cloudiness and pleasant tangy taste. The refreshingly fruity taste makes Stiegl-Radler Grapefruit a wonderful thirst quencher. Available in bottle or can, 2.25% ABV (alcohol by volume.) Fantastic with spicy dishes, highly recommendable for fresh-fruity desserts. Beer Advocate score: 86.
  • Minerva – Navideña.
    Style: Stout – American Imperial. A double Stout with roasted malts and traditional Mexican table chocolate. A special one off, seasonal beer available now in a 650 ml bottle, 9% ABV. Serve in a snifter style glass with Foie gras, pecorino, parmesan or gouda. An excellent pairing with semisweet or dark chocolate. Ideal serving temperature 13 – 16°C
  • Paulaner Brauerei – Oktoberfest Bier.
    Style: Lager Marzen. Not available year-round however, October is still close enough to find this beer on shelves. This full bodied golden Oktoberfest lager is the only beer served in Paulaner Oktoberfest tents today, it also happens to be the best-selling Oktoberfest beer in Germany. Wonderfully mellow with a balanced harmonious taste. It has a strong note of malt and the pleasant fragrance of hops.
    6% ABV. Beer Advocate score: 87.
  • Brasserie d’Achouffe – La Chouffe.
    Style: Strong Ale – Belgian Pale. La Chouffe leaves citrus notes on the palate, followed by a refreshing, pleasantly spicy note, giving it a lovely lightness. With its 8% ABV content and slightly hoppy taste, this golden beer has won over beer lovers from all over the world down the years. Its unique taste has won various awards.  Delicious with fennel, broccoli, asparagus, seafood and shellfish, pan-fried veal, chicken, quail, fresh coriander, coriander seeds, chives. Beer Advocate score: 94.
  • Fuller’s – Honey Dew Organic Golden Ale.
    Style: Pale Ale – English. Honey Dew is the UK’s leading organically produced ale, naturally brewed using organic honey, malts and hops and is approved by the Soil Association. Brewed to 5% ABV, Organic Honey Dew imparts gentle honey sweetness both on the nose and the palate. Orange fruit flavours rise from the yeast, while the First Gold hop adds its own citrusy notes. Refreshing and zesty, it’s the perfect companion for salads and Thai foods. Beer Advocate score: 80.
  • Erdinger Weissbräu – Erdinger Weissbier Dunkel.
    Style: Wheat Beer – Dunkelweizen. Carefully selected dark malts with delicate roasting aromas give ERDINGER Dunkel its full-bodied flavor and strong character. This elegant wheat beer has a lustrous, deep dark-brown appearance in the glass. The first sip reveals a harmonious symphony of carefully selected wheat and barley malts with exquisite Hallertau aroma hops. The taste buds detect hints of caramel, nuts and fresh bread, with a molasses finish. The strong, refreshing flavour of ERDINGER Dunkel is particularly well suited to game dishes. This spicy, dark beer can also be used to marinate steaks and other meat dishes – giving them a unique and distinctive flavour. 5.3% ABV. Beer Advocate score: 84.
  • Goose Island Beer Co – Goose IPA.
    Style: IPA – English. Goose Island’s flagship IPA is a six-time medal winner at the Great American Beer Festival. We’ve taken the traditional English Style and created our own fuller flavored IPA with bright citrus aromas and a bold hop finish. With hoppy, bold and smooth flavor, Goose IPA is the perfect beer for hopheads and discovery drinkers alike. 5.9% ABV. Beer Advocate score: 84.
  • Cerveza Bocanegra – Pilsner.
    Style: Pilsner – Czech style. When you think of “beers from Mexico,” pilsner beer may not be the first style that comes to mind, but Monterrey’s Cerveza Bocanegra is worth a try. Pale golden in colour, with notes of bread and honey, floral and herbal. The light and golden pilsen balances the sweetness and bitterness in a refreshing and light beer that goes perfectly with seafood or with the lightest food. Beer Advocate score: 78.
  • Belhaven Brewery Company Ltd – Scottish Ale.
    Style: Scottish Ale. A deep copper ale, smooth, rich and nutty with a satisfying biscuity malt backbone and a finish of spicy hops. Crystal malt adds toffee and caramel taste and black malt contributes a crisp astringent balance. Challenger and Goldings hops add a fresh herbal and resin hop note as well as a refreshing bitter linger to balance with the sweet malt character. Perfect with mature cheeses and roast meats. 5.2% ABV. Beer Advocate score: 86.
Daniel’s advice for building beer flights

You can simply enjoy the beers on their own, or you can pair them with snacks such as fresh figs, apple, hard cured cheeses (such as parmesan), serano ham, bola de cerveza (sliced meat available at Mega) and chocolate (semisweet or dark). Taste the beer first, then try the foods and taste the beer again. For example, a palate full of semisweet chocolate mellows a dark stout, making it smooth and more coffee-like, diminishing the bitterness.

If you’re new to beer flights and tastings, he recommends choosing no more than 5 beers and says there are basically three ways to make your beer flight selections:

Choosing by style. When you have more expertise in beer tasting, choosing beers based on the brewing style may be more appealing to you. Adding in Wheat beers, Sazon, IPA’s, Stouts, etc. In this instance, order them and start from the lightest to darkest in colour. This is not fail-safe as far as “proper” flight order but in general, each style beer has a colour range and this method should order them relatively correctly for you (take a peek at the graphic below and you’ll see what he means.)

One category. Have a thing for IPA’s, or some other beer in particular? Then choose beers only in that specific style category, putting them in tasting order from the lowest ABV (alcohol by volume) to the highest. Another option in case of IPA’s in particular, is to place them in order of IBU (International bitterness units) and start with the least bitter, moving up to the higher IBU.

Random. Simply choose the 5 beers that jump out at you from the shelf. Order them in the same method as described above in the style flight, or by the photo below, starting with the lightest.

WINES

Prefer something special from the wine category? Mulled wine during the holiday season is de rigeur in some families but this year, for a no-fuss New Years Eve, simply a nice bottle and some candles might just make the cut.

We spoke to some of the staff at La Cava del Duero to find out which are their top selling wines. If you haven’t come across it yet, La Cava del Duero is located on 30 avenida, right on the corner with calle 2 (across from the parking of Super Akí.) With everything from beers, coolers, tequilas, mezcal and more, they also have a substantial wine offering, right up to and including Dom Perignon for those wanting something really special.

La Cava del Duero has several sale specials on now, for the holidays. Be sure to check them out online or in-store.

FINCA LAS MORAS

These Argentinian wines may be economical but that doesn’t mean they aren’t delicious or good quality. Check with La Cava del Duero for more of the Finca las Moras wines.

CONCHA Y TORO – Reservado

This Chilean offering stands solidly for quality. For 3 consecutive years, Concha y Toro was distinguished by Drinks International, placing it number one in its annual report of The World’s Most Admired Wine Brands by maintaining its leading position in the Chilean wine industry. According to prestigious magazine Wine Spectator, the icon wine Don Melchor 2010 vintage, was the only Chilean wine among the world’s top 10. Awarded 95 points, placing it at number 9 on the world’s most outstanding wines annual list. The brand has several lines to offer, however the Reservado line in particular are top sellers, according to La Cava del Duero.

Sparkling Wines

Looking for something bubbly without the price tag of champagne? Take a look at some of these sparkling wines available.

Chandon Brut Argentina: Chandon Argentina was founded in 1959 by Moët & Chandon to produce a sparkling wine that combined French winemaking expertise and the passion of Argentina. A blend of the classic grape varietals of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, skillfully blended for a lively wine with fine bubbles and a profile of white peach, notes of red fruits with hints of bread. Smooth and fruity, it pairs well with Mexican food, seafood and Japanese dishes.

Chandon Délice: Bright yellow with some greenish hues. The fineness, structure and silkiness of a great sparkling wine such as Chardonnay and Pinot Noir is accompanied by the expressive tropical and citrus aromas contributed by the late Petit Manseng and Semillon. Pairs with a wide variety of dishes, Asian, Spanish food, desserts, tapas, egg, meat or fish dishes.

Prosecco: Prosecco is a sparkling wine, originating in Italy. Similar to Champagne, but made with Prosecco grapes. Although it’s most often found in the dry BRUT style, it’s fruity flavour and crisp acidity often trick the palate into believing it’s sweeter. However, Prosecco is also available in Extra Dry and Dry for those who are not as keen on the BRUT. Served in a tulip glass to preserve it’s bubbles (same as with Champagne), it’s best served at a cold 3–7 °C and pairs well with spicy asian foods, salty cured meats and aged cheeses.

Moscato: From Muscat Blanc grapes, the bubbly or pink moscato are both light bodied and fresh. Moscato wines have perfumed aromas of mandarin orange, ripe pear, sweet lemon, orange blossom, and honeysuckle and are found in both semi-sparkling and sparkling, if your taste runs to something a little sweeter, this might just be for you! Aromatic and sweet, but perfectly balanced with crisp acidity and a clean mineral finish. Pairs well with light fish, poultry, pork and seafood and shellfish.

Champagne

Feel like going all-out or splurging this New Years? La Cava del Duero carries several options in Champagne.


Moët & Chandon

For just one or two people, the 200ml mini bottles of Moët & Chandon may meet your needs with a Moët Impérial BRUT ($395.44) or the Moët Rosé Imperial ($473mxn.)

For a 750ml bottle of Moët & Chandon you can expect to move into a mid-price range and then up from there, first with an ultra dry Moët Impérial BRUT ($956.58mxn) or the Rosé Imperial Nectar ($1263.18mxn.)  If you’re not a fan of the ultra dry BRUT champagnes, La Cava del Duero also carries a sweeter demi-sec Moët & Chandon Ice Impérial ($1247.98) as well as, the Ice Impérial Rosé ($1524.93mxn).  At La Cava del Duero, you can even find one of the Moët & Chandon Grand Vintage selections, with the 2009 ($2027.05mxn) available.

Dom Perignon

Champagne Dom Perignon Vintage 2009 (description per Dom Pérignon)
“Dom Pérignon is vintage champagne only. Each vintage is a creation, singular and unique, that expresses both the character of the year, and the character of Dom Pérignon. The stretch of excellent weather condition of 2009 was unprecedented, and allowed us to explore new frontiers of grape ripeness in Champagne. The vintage offers a taste of the ripest and richest fruit, grapes in their prime.

Notes of guava and spicy green grapefruit zest combine with stone fruit: white peach and nectarine. The wine opens up, with the whole complemented by woody vanilla and warm, lightly toasted brioche. The fruit is majestic: ripe, fleshy and profound. Beyond the richness and a certain voluptuousness is a strong impression of consistency that prevails. The wine’s power is remarkably restrained. The various sensations – silky, salty, sappy, bitter and briny – converge and persist.

Dom Pérignon Vintage 2009 is a wine that needs to be excited. It needs a framework, it appeals to be stretched with contrasts. 
The champagne reaches out to the “vegetable” and “mineral” worlds, calling out by sea urchin carbonara with cardamom mousse. It works brilliantly when it has something to chew on: octopus marinated in Sicilian orange juice and roasted in butter.”

Not a fan of Champagne? Perhaps it’s simply a matter of trying a different one. Many people assume all champagnes are alike, when this is far from the truth and the level of dryness can have a significant impact on enjoyment. If you’ve only tried a BRUT and found it unpleasantly dry in the mouth, consider a Champagne from one of the higher sugar categories.

Deliciosa Recommendations

We at Deliciosa consider ourselves wine aficionados and have always been eager to visit wineries and learn more from the experts and are certainly happy to do tastings and wine parties. Here are some of our recommendations to add something special to your New Year’s Eve.

Whichever you choose and however you decide to celebrate, we hope you’ll find our suggestions interesting, informative and perhaps discover some new favourites! Be sure to let La Cava del Duero know you read their recommendations and stop by to chat beer and try some of Cozumel’s Shamanes beer with Daniel Hernández at Lobster Shack.

¡Salud!

Video links to Christmas music and crackling log fires for that certain je ne sais quoi (something special) ambiance:

Check out this cute, Cozy Christmas Coffee Shop Ambience with Smooth Jazz Christmas Music (complete with fireplace) on YouTube.

Perhaps you’re a fan of a roaring fire, big trees and the classics, such as Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin? Then this YouTube video may be more your style.

For a real crackling fire that can fill your screen, along with smooth Christmas Jazz, check out this video.

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