The Growler’s Holiday Guide 2018

Illustration by DWITT

Seasons greetings, Growler Nation!

Before long, our kitchens and living rooms will be filled with raucous nephews and doting aunties, ugly sweaters (deliberate or not), and hopefully, friends and family gathered in the spirit of togetherness.

To help kick-start your party planning, we present our Holiday Guide, a quick collection of information designed to make your December preparations a little less complicated.

Nationally renowned punch master Dustin Nguyen teaches us how to build the perfect bowl of holiday cheer. Our food editor James Norton shows us that caviar is neither too expensive nor daunting to have a place at your holiday table, and then asks some local game sellers for the best new games to gather the family in spirited competition. Finally, our cocktail columnist Zachary Sapato devises a three-ingredient nightcap perfect for falling asleep in front of the fire.

Warm wishes from the Growler family to you and yours.

– John Garland, Deputy Editor of The Growler

Holiday Punch

Dustin Nguyen ladles punch at Martina // Photo by Katie Cannon

Dustin Nguyen ladles punch at Martina // Photo by Katie Cannon

Like many culinary endeavors that have withstood the test of time, punch starts with a simple formula and evolves with complexity as the user learns and develops their own personal technique and palate.

Using the original recipe template (one of sour, two of sweet, three of strong, four of weak), we will create a punch inspired by the celebrated Philadelphia Fish House Punch, and walk you through how to modify it to make it your own. Read more…

How To Caviar

An assortment of blinis with shots of vodka // Photo by Aaron Job

An assortment of blinis with shots of vodka // Photo by Aaron Job

If you want to greet your dinner guests with an appetizer they’ll talk about through New Year’s and beyond, we suggest caviar. It’s a surprisingly affordable way to entertain with a splash of retro style. All you need to do is learn how to make blini (which are only slightly fussier pancakes) and buy caviar (which is only as daunting as reaching for your credit card).

You can buy enough top-flight caviar with $50 to feed a dozen or more guests. Because the caviar itself is so salty and richly flavored, you need only a tiny dollop of the stuff to accent your sour cream and scallions-loaded blini—which are made of cheap pantry staples and carry the burden of filling people up with calories. Read more…

Let The (Board) Games Begin

Decrypto, Azul, Welcome To Your New Home, The Mind, and Root // Photo by Aaron Job

Decrypto, Azul, Welcome To Your New Home, The Mind, and Root // Photo by Aaron Job

Monopoly and Battleship still have their charms, but the recent board gaming renaissance means that there is a galaxy of fresher options out there. Minnesota has a wealth of great games stores, and we reached out to several of them to get their tips for the best new board games suited to the diverse mob of family and friends who tend to stack up around the hearth this time of year. Read more…

Nightcap

The Hearthsider is a perfect nightcap after holiday party guests have all gone home // Photo by Aaron Job

The Hearthsider is a perfect nightcap after holiday party guests have all gone home // Photo by Aaron Job

The fire is dying, the kids are asleep. Time to reward yourself for a party well-thrown. Let’s stop in to Bardo where our cocktail columnist, Zachary Sapato, stirs up the perfect nightcap. Read more…