Stuff to Do

Concerts and Shows to See This Winter

We’re still in a virtual pause. Theaters are still closed, but there’s talk of outdoor concerts resuming this summer and Broadway theaters re-opening by the fall. In the meantime, there’s plenty to fill out your arts card from your computer.

CONCERTS

Emanuel Ax - New York Philharmonic String Quartet Photo: 92nd Street Y

92ND STREET Y

Winter/Spring Streaming Music Season

New York Philharmonic String Quartet and Emanuel Ax, piano

February 1 – 7:30pm

The first of 13 concerts in the season, world-renowned pianist Emanuel Ax joins friends and longtime collaborators the New York Philharmonic String Quartet on February 1. The Quartet takes the stage in Beethoven’s F-Minor Quartet, “Serioso,” before Ax joins for Dvořák’s exuberant Piano Quintet No. 2 in A Major. All concerts in the program are webcast premieres.

For the Y’s calendar of music events, both classical and popular, visit here.

THE TOWN HALL

“Preformances”

Celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, The Town Hall continues its programming in a different format, offering Preformances concerts online, some free and others for a small ticket fee, featuring noted singers and musicians.

The ARK Trio Photo: The Town Hall

January 21

Allison Charney and the Ark Trio

The ARK Trio joins series host, soprano Allison Charney, discussing and performing works by composers Michael Ching and Kim D. Sherman who also appear to talk about their compositions.

This is a free livestream event. Registration is required to receive a personal link.

Mariza - Photo Courtesy of Ticketmaster

January 29

Mariza Sings Amalia

Portuguese singer Mariza celebrates the twentieth anniversary of her career and the centenary of the late Queen of Fado, Amália Rodrigues.

Judy Collins - Photo Courtesy of Ticketmaster

February 12

Judy Collins

Judy Collins performs a recreation of her 1964 concert hall debut at The Town Hall with music by Bob Dylan, Tom Paxton and Billy Ed Wheeler among others.

MUSIC DOCUMENTARIES

Carole King - (c) Tim Maggiani

BROADWAY ON DEMAND

“Carole King: Natural Woman”

Beginning January 29

If you loved Beautiful, you won’t want to miss this documentary celebration of the life of Carole King. Carole King: Natural Woman tracks King’s life and career from 1960’s New York to the music mecca of 70’s Los Angeles through the present. Performances, interviews, home movies and photos are featured.

For their full library of livestream programming, visit BroadwayOnDemand.com.

Please Call Home: The Big House Years -- Exclusive Allman Brothers Film – Photo Courtesy of: Tarrytown Music Hall

THE TARRYTOWN MUSIC HALL

“Please Call Home: The Big House Years” — Exclusive Allman Brothers Film & Live Q&A

January 23 – link available for 48 hours

Livestreamed by The Tarrytown Music Hall, Please Call Home showcases the early days of the Allman Brothers Band. The film is followed up by a live Q&A moderated by the Allman Brother Band Museum board member Mark Franzoso.

THEATER

Gloria - Photo by Carol Rosegg

THE VINEYARD THEATRE

“Gloria”

January 19-24

Presented as a benefit for the Vineyard Theater, the cast reading of Brandon Jacobs-Jenkins’ funny and powerful play Gloria follows an ambitious group of editorial assistants at a notorious Manhattan magazine, each of whom hopes for an editorial career and a book deal before he or she turns 30. The play moves from ordinary to extraordinary, chronicling the changing lives of each of the protagonists.

Encores! - Photo Courtesy of New York City Center

NEW YORK CITY CENTER

“Encores! Inside the Revival”

Home of the beloved Encores! musical theater series, now on pause, City Center has created programs to tide you over until the next season. With Encores! Inside the Revival, you’ll see snippets and behind-the-scenes conversations and performances for each upcoming show.

Just released, The Tap Dance Kid is a dance and music riot featuring Dulé Hill (The West Wing). The 1983 Tony-nominated musical is currently being revived for new audiences through City Center’s commitment to producing musicals that deserve renewed attention. The video is a look into the creative process of the future show and features Tony-award winning director Kenny Leon (A Raisin the Sun), book adaptor Lydia Diamond, choreographer Jared Grimes and cast member from the original Broadway production Dulé Hill. The show is especially timely with a storyline about America as a place for everyone where every kid can and should dream.

Also available for viewing are The Life with Billy Porter, Love Life with Victoria Clark, Thoroughly Modern Millie and Into the Woods.

ONGOING

Stars in the House

STARS IN THE HOUSE

Hosted by Sirius XM’s Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley

Streamed live Tuesday-Saturday at 8pm, Stars in the House has raised more than $650,000 in this series of programs begun March 2020 in support of The Actors Fund. Programming changes nightly ranging from a full hour with stars from Broadway productions, to reunions of casts from TV shows such as Desperate Houses and the recent show featuring the cast of Grey’s Anatomy. Individual performers are also featured.

In addition to Broadway and broadcast topics, Stars in the House offers information pertaining to the pandemic and to ways to support the Broadway community. All shows are archived online.

Photo Courtesy of Broadway HD

BROADWAY HD

Pippin, 42nd Street, Oklahoma! and much more

Missing Broadway? Broadway HD is as close as you can get to it right now. With a yearly or monthly subscription, you’ll have access to their full library of recorded Broadway productions and more. It’s a treat if you’re longing for a musical fix. You can watch at your leisure and as many times as you’d like. Fan favorites are there as well as oldies that are pure magic. With Broadway likely not to return before next fall, you’ll be grateful to Broadway HD. It also makes the perfect gift for theater lovers. A sampling of shows available to watch include Kinky Boots, Jersey Boys, Forever Plaid, Godspell, She Loves Me, Into the Woods and Show Boat.

Outdoor and Indoor Museum Exhibits to See This Winter

While most entertainment is shut down in New York City, museums provide a welcome diversion that’s both socially distanced and enlightening. Two museums invite you to view their current feature installation from outdoors, free of charge. Four invite you in from the cold to view exhibits that will not last as long.

The Bronx Museum of the Arts

http://www.bronxmuseum.org

#SeeMeBronx

Through May 24

Bronx Museum of the Arts - Installation Image by Becca Guzzo

Celebrating the Bronx Museum of the Arts’ 50th anniversary, #SeeMeBronx is an interactive project about visibility, intersectionality and identity. Visitor participation is encouraged and all you need to do is write a question about any of the three topics on a sign and take a selfie of yourself with it. You then post your selfie and tag @bronxmuseum with the hashtag #seemebronx. The Museum creates a changing selection of submissions, which are then included on the installation on the outside of the museum.

The Jewish Museum

https://thejewishmuseum.org

“All the Stars in the Sky Have the Same Face”

Through February 2021

Lawerence Weiner, All the Stars Have the Same Face. The Jewish Museum, NY. Photo: Liz Ligon.

On the museum’s Fifth Avenue façade, you’ll see the building-wide banner “All the Stars in the Sky Have the Same Face” by New York City artist Lawrence Weiner. The two-story red, white and blue banner imparts a plea for shared humanity. The banner was born out of Weiner’s many years of reading messages on walls all over New York and he views these walls, like the walls of the museum, as a canvas for communicating important messages. The sentence itself derives from a Yiddish saying that Weiner has reconceived in response to anti-Semitism, xenophobia and racism, writing the words in English, Hebrew and Arabic to emphasize inclusiveness.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

www.metmuseum.org

“About Time: Fashion and Duration”

Through February 7

The Metropolitan Museum of Art - About Time: Fashion and Duration

In a sleek serpentine display of black silhouettes, mirrors and a pendulum that ticks off the years and moments of a timeline, two rooms of paired designs show the influence of past creations on later ones. Each creation is displayed in black to emphasize comparability. Contrasts in shape, material and decoration are discussed with many earlier designs looking as fresh as their more recent counterparts. Designers include Cristóbal Balenciaga, Gabrielle Chanel, Christian Dior, Tom Ford, Hubert de Givenchy, Christian Dior, Gabrielle Chanel, Alexander McQueen and other fashion-world cognoscenti. Timed tickets are required, and tickets are limited.

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

https://www.guggenheim.org

“Countryside, The Future”

Through February 15

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum - Countryside, The Future

Heavy on text and environmental and cultural references, “Countryside, The Future” lines the entire spiral of the museum, focusing on differences and evolutions in city and country living over the years. Even more relevant today than when the exhibit first opened in February 2020 (and then closed due to the pandemic), the contrasts of country concerns with the problems of the urban life spark a growing contemplation of our current situation. Whereas the movement to the country might have seemed to be gradual and remote, isolationist, or perhaps more of an environmental or political reactiveness last year, the outflow now holds extended relevance and invites closer reading of the dense texts that discuss the forces, ecosystems and other motivators to the present. The exhibit was organized by Dutch architect and theorist Rem Koolhaas with a team of researchers and was five years in the making.

MoMA The Museum of Modern Art

www.moma.org

“Handles”

Through February 2021

MoMA The Museum of Modern Art - Handles - Photo By: Dennis Doorly

“Handles,” a site-specific commission by Korean artist Haegue Yang for MoMA’s Marron Atrium, features six sculptures with a variety of geometries that combine with light and sound. As conceived by Yang, Handles are points of attachment and material catalysts for movement and change. Some clearly represent door handles, some move with tones of bells or rattles. A subtle background of bird sounds recorded in the DMZ between North and South Korea during the 2018 summit adds a haunting soundtrack. The effect is a sensory experience with mixed-in historical references.

Whitney Museum of American Arts

http://whitney.org/collections

“Vida Americana: Mexican Muralists Remake American Art, 1925-1945”

Through January. 31

Whitney Museum of American Arts - Vida Americana: Mexican Muralists Remake American Art, 1925-1945

A striking exhibit of three Mexican muralists alongside their American contemporaries, “Vida Americana: Mexican Muralists Remake American Art, 1925-1945” presents approximately 200 works by 60 artists. Pieces by Diego Rivera, Jose Clemente Orozco and David Alfaro Siqueiros acknowledge the influence of these painters on art in the United States during the twenty-year period. Of particular note is the reproduction of Diego Rivera’s controversial mural “Man at the Crossroads” removed from Rockefeller Center due to the inclusion of Vladimir Lenin. Also mounted are never-before-shown sketches of this giant mural.

Much like the city that never sleeps, online never sleeps either, so you can tour these museums virtually as well.

Google Arts & Culture

This non-profit initiative by Google Arts & Culture is a compendium of NYC museums and cultural institutions around the world available 24/7 with virtual tours. https://artsandculture.google.com

January 11 is National Hot Toddy Day – Here’s Where You Can Sample Some of the Best in New York City

Dining outdoors is fun but chilly. You need to pick your menu carefully so food stays warm. Think piping hot French onion soup, boeuf bourguignon and a bowl of spicy chili to stick to your ribs. Your drinks of choice need to stand up to the cold as well. Fortunately, winter is a time to imbibe hot toddies, a beverage famous for its abilities to ward off shivers and the flu, attend to nascent coughs and sniffles, calm a sore throat and provide an overall feeling of warmth. A hot toddy, also known as hot whiskey in Ireland, is typically made with a base of whiskey or rye (or even rum) enhanced with water, honey, herbs and spices. It’s served hot in a glass or mug that will warm your hands as well. The hot toddy is so popular, in fact, that it has its own holiday on January 11, but feel free to order these at any time. They’re just what we need to stay comfy (and healthy) outdoors during the long, dark winter ahead.

Here are six choices in New York City that will keep you toasty through these chillier months.

MANHATTAN

Upper East Side

Amali - Lovers and Liars

Amali (115 E. 60th St.) takes a traditional hot buttered toddy and gives it a Mediterranean twist with peach brandy, Rockey’s liqueur, hot orange saffron tea, honey and butter. If you’re not familiar with it, Rockey’s liqueur is a delicious blend of green apple, pineapple, green tea, black tea, and citrus inspired by classic, clarified milk punch. Pair this with the restaurant’s black cod gyro, their labneh flatbread or any of their pastas, for a mini trip to Italy and Greece. The drink is called Lovers & Liars for reasons that you’ll have to figure out after you’ve had a few.

Theater District

Haven Rooftop

Haven Rooftop above the Sanctuary Hotel (132 W. 47th Street) in Midtown has put together an inventive Hot Toddy menu with versions like Apple Cheer Hot Toddy with lemon, cinnamon syrup, black tea, apple cider and bourbon; Bailey’s Hot Toddy with black tea, agave and Bailey’s Irish Cream; and Hibiscus Hot Toddy with black tea, hibiscus syrup, lemon, agave and bourbon. The drinks pair well with Haven’s eclectic menu of small plates, pizzas and steaks. To warm you up upon arrival, Haven offers a welcoming non-alcoholic shot of hot chocolate or hot tea, a wonderful option, too, if you’re observing Dry January.

East Village

Kissaki - Tokushima Toddy

Putting a Japanese spin on a hot toddy, elevated sushi favorite Kissaki (319 Bowery) features the Tokushima Toddy with Maker’s Mark, passionfruit, yuzu, sake, apple caramel and ginger beer. While hot sake is just so mundane, adding it to a Hot Toddy makes a lot of sense. It also goes surprisingly well with cold sushi and sashimi like chef’s creative nigiri and futomaki fat rolls.

The mixologists at cocktail mecca Death & Co. (433 E. 6th St.) have also embraced the Asian spirit, adding Japanese whiskey with dashi kombu, soup stock made with dried kelp, to their toddy. While bar seating isn’t currently offered, you can order the drink via Tock or Caviar from Death & Co.’s to-go and delivery menu. If you choose to dine on your balcony or in the park, The Super Cult Toddy is guaranteed to keep you happy.

BROOKLYN

Williamsburg

Ainslie

Italian sensation Ainslie (76 Ainslie St)  has a Sip, Stir, Cuddle hot toddy from mixologist Jessica Dure, made with Vecchia Tres Botti brandy, rye whiskey, Amaro Montenegro (from Bologna), honey, lemon, baking spices and Angostura bitters.  This is just the right drink to sip in their outdoor sidewalk patio or in their expansive beer garden with its open roof. Pair it with Ainslie’s shareable saltimbocca pizza, with just the right amount of prosciutto and sage adorning the melty cheese, or the lasagna with Bolognese sauce and linguine vongole.

Ten Hope - Todd’s Hot Date

Nearby, Ten Hope Outdoor Garden (10 Hope Street) offers a hot toddy called Todd’s Hot Date made with brandy, bourbon, date molasses, lemon and clove perfect for enjoying on the open-air, vine-laced patio. The Mediterranean restaurant’s flatbread with zaatar oil is a perfect accompaniment.  Naturally, there are heaters throughout to keep you toasty on the outside, too.

4 Places to Get Your Chocolate Mousse Fix in New York City

You may have missed National Mousse  Day on November 30 — you were probably still recovering from Thanksgiving overload. But now that you’re back on track, you can certainly treat yourself to some of the most inventive versions of mousse that New York City can offer. It’s here that the beloved French dessert has taken on new meaning as one of the perpetual kings of dessert adoration.

Olmsted

Olmsted keeps it traditional, but with a seasonal flair. Chef Greg Baxtrom’s vegetable-forward restaurant in Brooklyn dresses up their Old-School Chocolate Mousse with caramelized plums and whipped crème fraîche. The fruit changes seasonally but the chocolate mousse base is as stable as they come.

Paisley

Upscale New York City eatery Paisley also includes fruit in their Chai Chocolate Mousse. Here Michelin starred chef Peter Beck mixes in Parle-G cookie crumbs, strawberries, blackberries, blackberry and orange whipped cream with roasted chai spice for a distinctive Indian twist.

Oasis Café

New York’s inventive Oasis Café offers many types of mousse at their charming café. But, if you can’t make it there, they want you to celebrate the holiday with one of their distinctive mousses at home. Download the app and you can order their delicious Raspberry Mousse or their dressed-up Oreo Mousse.

Mojo

If you’re truly crazy about mousse, no matter the flavor, there’s a Mecca for you to celebrate National Mousse Day.  After years of selling his mousses to specialty stores in NYC, Belgium-born Chef Johan Halsberghe invites you to the first-ever Chocolate Mousse Bar in the US, located in Harlem’s café Mojo. Using only Belgian chocolate, Chef crafts small batch mousses, varying the ultimate flavors each month. For the holiday, there is a selection of classics — dark 70% , white and hazelnut praline – plus two special flavors, passion fruit + ruby chocolate and matcha. Top them with crunchy-candy pieces or fruit, or be a purist and enjoy them straight up either indoors or to go packed in a cup.

Ski New York: Where to Go and Where to Stay

You may not have considered New York as a go-to for slopes with downhill skiing. But, in fact, there are a number of mountain resorts close to New York City or further afield that will appeal to all levels if you find yourself on the East Coast. And the good news is that they’re not as far north as the more well-known Eastern ski areas in Vermont. Some appeal to day trippers more than others, like Hunter and Windham, while others could be tackled in a long day of skiing and driving but are actually more suitable and enjoyable as overnight trips like the Berkshires, the Adirondacks and the Finger Lakes Regions of Upstate New York.

Planning a ski trip this year will require some extra thought. Masks need to be worn everywhere, not just on the slopes. Social distancing is mandatory. And lifts and gondolas are all subject to the capacity reductions imposed by the mountains. It’s imperative that you think ahead if you plan to ski. Most reservations will need to be made ahead of time, and mainly online. Be sure to check out the specific social-distancing and safety rules for each mountain, especially regarding ski lifts and gondolas. You should also book a place to stay before you travel if you plan to do more than a day trip.

Here are seven New York ski areas that will get you through the long, dark months ahead with suggestions for where to stay.

THE CATSKILLS
Plattekill Mountain, Roxbury

Plattekill

The last of the family-owned ski mountains operating in the Catskills, with an “indie” small-mountain vibe, family-friendly Plattekill has four lifts, a terrain park and 38 trails accommodating beginners to experts. The mountain also offers snowtubing. The new Platty Shack is a fun, socially conscious go-to for takeaway shopping and beverages.

Where to Stay:

The Roxbury at Stratton Falls

With its two properties, The Roxbury adds an unexpected twist to a country hotel and motel with luxury amenities and themed accommodations. Each room and suite will inspire many Instagram moments, a well-deserved sensory reward for a hard day on the slopes.

The Roxbury Motel Big King Themed Room - Angel Hair Room

Belleayre Mountain Ski Center, Highmount

Belleayre

Belleayre is popular for both day trippers and those wanting to enjoy the area’s inns and BnBs. The ski center has 50 trails with eight lifts and a gondola offering sweeping views of the Catskill Forest Preserve. Sustainability and versatility are watchwords at Belleayre with trails appropriate for both beginners and advanced skiers. Lift tickets must be purchased in advance online, and capacity is limited with tickets not available on weekends or during blackout periods.

Where to Stay:

Emerson Resort & Spa

Emerson Resort & Spa offers luxurious accommodations in the contemporary Inn or Adirondack-style Lodge. The resort also features a spa with nature-inspired treatments and the popular Woodnotes Grille by the river.

Emerson Resort & Spa - The Lodge Franz Imperial Room

Hunter Mountain, Hunter

Hunter

Just 2 ½ hours from NYC, Hunter is possibly the most crowded mountain for day trippers with its 67 trails and 13 lifts. Owned by Vail Resorts, Hunter is now offering Epic Pass providing priority reservations at the mountain and at 34 affiliated Vail Resorts. The mountain offers diverse activities including snowtubing and snowboarding with ski lessons and trails for all ages and skill levels. Adding to its popularity, the mountain is known for its snowmaking prowess.

Where to Stay:

Scribner’s Catskill Lodge Photo By Read McKendree

Built in 1966, Scribner’s Catskill Lodge is a distinctive lodge property with contemporary rooms and an outdoor skating rink made of “Glice.” Skates are provided.

Scribner’s Catskill Lodge

Windham Mountain, Windham

Windham Mountain

Windham Mountain is hugely popular with 54 trails and six terrain parks. Families love Windham’s Mountain Adventure Park with its snowtubing, kid snowmobiles, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, ice skating, and lessons for all ages.  The new Umbrella Bar offers to-go cocktails between the lifts and the base lodge. Check the daily report to see the number of trails and parks open and lifts running each day. The mountain has implemented a new “red day” and “green day” capacity calendar which will tell you whether you can purchase day-of tickets or not. It is advisable to reserve in advance.

Where to Stay:

Whisper Creek Condominiums

Whisper Creek Condominiums offer high-end ski-in/ski-out lodging right on the slopes within walking distance to the Alpine Spa and the Windham Mountain base lodge.

THE BERKSHIRES
Catamount, Hillsdale

Catamount Mountain Resort

Catamount Mountain Resort in the Berkshires Mountains straddles the border of New York and Massachusetts, about two hours from NYC. Skiers here must adhere to travel regulations for both New York and Massachusetts and you’re advised to check daily as rules change frequently. One of the smaller ski areas, Catamount has eight lifts and 36 trails ranging from gentle and intermediate (Green Circle and Blue Square) to expert (Black Diamond and Double Black Diamond) plus terrain parks for more freestyle maneuvers. The mountain also offers Night Skiing.

Where to Stay:

The Egremont Village Inn

Just over the border from New York into Massachusetts, The Carriage House at The Egremont Village Inn is open throughout the winter.

THE ADIRONDACKS AND THE FINGER LAKES
Whiteface Lake Placid, Wilmington

Whiteface

The site of the Winter Olympic Games in 1980, Whiteface might have you dreaming of a Gold Medal as you whoosh down the tallest vertical drop in the East. One of the 46 Adirondack High Peaks, Whiteface has 87 trails and 11 lifts and is equipped to teach anyone who wants to learn to ski, including disabled skiers. The mountain resort also offers bobsledding down an Olympic track on the Cliffside Coaster, groomed Nordic skiing and an Olympic skating experience at the Lake Placid Olympic Center.

Where to Stay:

High Peaks Resort

High Peaks Resort offers a choice of stays ranging from traditional with The Resort, to modern at the Lake House, and suites in the Waterfront Collection on the shores of Mirror Lake.

The Whiteface Lodge

The Whiteface Lodge is reminiscent of a historic Adirondack Great Camp with rustic timber design combined with luxury accommodations and spa.

Bristol Mountain, Canandaigua

Bristol Mountain

In the Finger Lakes Region, Bristol is especially attractive for first-time skiers and snowboarders with group lessons arranged just for them. Additionally, The Snowsports School has programs for ages seven and older and includes a lift ticket. This year’s school features small-size bespoke “Pod Lessons” which can include skiers as young as three years old. The mountain’s 38 slopes and trails will please all ages and levels as well.

Where to Stay:

Mountain Horse Farm

Mountain Horse Farm is a B&B farm stay just 10 minutes from the mountain. In this peaceful setting, you’ll also have the opportunity to enjoy the farm’s horses and cows.

Mountain Horse Farm

Wines, Wine Experiences and Wine Tools for the Holidays

Celebrating any other milestone always goes better with a good wine. Here are some interesting wines, experiences and gifts to enhance your sipping enjoyment.

WINES FOR THE CURIOUS AND EPICUREAN

Orange Glou

For something less familiar, orange wines offer a distinctively colored wine with a taste that’s all their own. The international collection of wines curated by Orange Glou are skin-contact white wines made from white grapes fermented with the grape skins, producing orange natural wines. Options include three and six bottles monthly or a one-time option for the orange curious.

Tolenas Winery

A dessert wine is a lovely finish to any meal. Tolenas Winery newest is a 100% Zinfandel port, lighter and fruitier than usual due to the 2020 heat spell but still taking advantage of the cool California coastal breezes. A female star in the industry, winemaker Lisa Howard is committed to producing wines without chemicals or additives.

Collection Privée from Francois-Louis Vuitton

If your goal is to be the first in line for unusual experiences and a trip to France won’t happen any time soon, you might want to consider investing in the first edition Bordeaux Collection Privée from Francois-Louis Vuitton, the great, great grandson of Louis Vuitton.  Newly introduced to the United States this winter, the collection reflects the terroir of Bordeaux and the elegance of the Parisian lifestyle with Private Cuvée wines from top châteaux such as Léoville-Poyferré (Saint-Julien), Lascombes (Margaux), Faugères (Saint-Émilion), Beauregard (Pomerol), and Lafaurie-Peraguey (Sauternes). Each comes gorgeously boxed.

Dough Wines

Created with Distinguished Vineyards & Wine Partners, Dough Wines is the first collaborative wine brand from the James Beard Foundation. Dough Wines supports the culinary arts and beverage professions, currently focusing on assisting the Foundation with restaurant recovery, equality in the kitchen and food sustainability. The appellation wines are bundled into three-pack sets: Red Blend Pack, Chardonnay Pack, Pinot Noir Pack, Napa Valley Pack and Best of Napa Valley Pack.

Wines of Sicily

Wines of Sicily is a consortium that works with more than 400 different producers in Sicily who preserve the art of winemaking with sustainable practices. You’ll want to try Nero d’Avola, a versatile wine with an aroma of red floral notes accompanied by flavors of sweet spices and cocoa. Do as the Sicilians do and chill Frappato to bring out its depth and spice and red cherry notes.  For white wine fans, Grillo is a food-friendly blend with citrus blossom and fruity aromas. Lucido (also called Catarrato) pairs well with seafood and veggies with its hints of yellow and green and white flowers and citrus aromas.

Ao Yun

An unusual, stylish wine, Ao Yun (“roaming above the clouds”) is a full-bodied Cabernet blend from the first wine estate in China’s Yunnan province on the foothills of the Himalayas. The 2016 vintage combines Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc with notes of sandalwood, Dhofar incense, and crushed strawberries. Ao Yun has partnered with renowned crystal maker Riedel to design an exclusive wine glass for the optimal tasting experience for this Cab blend.

DISTINCTIVE TASTING EXPERIENCES

Macari Vineyards

Macari Vineyards on the North Fork of Long Island takes glamping to a new level of luxury with individual bungalows for a personal wine tasting. Customize your experience with a selection of wines including their popular Cabernet Franc, Dos Aguas red blend, Sauvignon Blanc and Rosé. Add to that a Mediterranean snack spread, your own playlist streamed through a Bluetooth retro radio, comfy throw-covered chairs and sofas and your gang will enjoy a wine experience like no other. The beautiful vineyard is celebrated for its biodynamic approach to winemaking and is run by three generations of the Macari family.

Far Niente family of wines

The Far Niente family of wines from Napa Valley includes some of the finest vineyards in the country.  You can experience all with a variety of three-wine samplers and a pre-arranged virtual wine tasting subscription. The Far Niente range includes Cabernet Sauvignon from Nickel & Nickel, Far Niente and Bella Union; or Chardonnay from Nickel & Nickel and Far Niente. The happy hour experience includes explanations by wine educators, Far Niente family winemakers and wine experts, plus instruction by chefs on how to create perfect wine and meal pairings.

WINE EXPERIENCE ADD-ONS

Quilt Wines

Add a fun touch to stay-at-home entertaining with Quilt Wines’ Puzzle Pack. Along with a selection of wine, you’ll get a limited-edition 500-piece Napa Valley Quilt Wines puzzle. The wine collection gives you a range of white and red wines including rosé, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and the popular Red Blend.

RGNY

You can be your own winemaker with the new blending kit from RGNY, an innovative winery located on Long Island’s North Fork. The kit comes with curated videos, featuring lead winemaker, Lilia Pérez to help guide you through the almost-scientific exercise of blending RGNYs Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot. The kit also includes a beaker, four carafes of wine for blending and tasting, glasses and tasting note cards.

TaZa

For safe drinking, unbreakable wine glasses are the smart choice if you’re planning to dine outdoors. TaZa’s chic plastic versions mimic the feel of traditional glasses and come in stemmed and stemless to please all preferences. A must for serious wine drinkers, the ArT Wine Preserver will keep an opened bottle of wine fresh for up to 30 days. Using pure argon gas, this smart device displaces oxygen while maintaining taste.

If you still prefer glass, Empire State of Wine has you covered for no-spill drinking. The shop’s Signature NO-SPILL Stemless Wine and Cocktail Glasses feature Lady Liberty herself with each glass a different color so you can remember whose wine is whose. Even if you manage to tip them over, they still won’t spill as they balance to the side.

And lastly, Repour’s wine stoppers utilize oxygen absorption in an easy-to-use wine stopper for lasting wine freshness for up to two months. Although, in all honesty, I don’t know many people who keep an open bottle that long!

Where to Buy Wine in New York City

Here are four of my favorite shops that carry wide varieties of wine and have staff who are far more knowledgeable than I:

Mister Wright

Sherrry-Lehmann

Astor Wines

Empire State of Wine

Empire State of Wine Courtesy of Empire State Wine

Happy Holidays – drink up!

Planning a trip to NYC?