2009 Host's Guide to Fine Wines, Spirits, and Entertaining

    Easing the Party Pang
    Other than the organization of a state visit to China, no more delicate diplomatic dance exists than that performed by the host of a formal event during the busiest time of the year. A date and time must be set and a guest list compiled, then edited, with an eye toward separating the extroverts from the introverts, the wits from the nitwits, and the walkers (that is, escorts) from those who require walkers to scale the front steps. And these tasks are merely preliminaries. Florists and caterers must be retained, musicians engaged, and so on—all before one begins the real work of meeting and greeting, wining and dining, and finally herding guests home when the party ends. To ease the burdens of entertaining, we have assembled this modest tome, our 2009 Host’s Guide, which is designed to help party-plagued readers select the finest wines and spirits. Our list of 100 wines details our favorite recent releases—superb reds and whites for gift-giving, fine dining, and casual sipping—and our list of spirits is distilled down to the best of class. In addition, we present six special cocktails, concocted by six of the nation’s most creative bartenders, to enliven the home bar. Finally, we offer stylish tabletop ideas from several top designers and some thoughts on the artful invitation.

    100 Perfect Pours
    Treasures of the vine.

    Spirited Diversions
    A celebration of gifts from the still.

    Setting Pretty
    Five interior designers set the table.

    The Art of the Invitation
    Saying ‘‘Please join us" rel="nofollow" in style.

    The special release contains a blend of Cognacs aged for up to 35 years…
    The 23-year-old scotch won a Best in Show award at the 2015 San Francisco World Spirits Competition…
    Photo by Chelsea Curtis
    New York’s Club Macanudo played host to an evening of Martell cognac and Cohiba cigars…
    The full-flavored whiskey takes its character from the distillery’s picturesque natural...
    The Mandarin Oriental New York hosted the exclusive event at its 35th-floor MObar…
    Photo by Antoine Bagot
    The finest Cognacs are deeply flavored, richly textured, and best discovered on their native ground...
    The $3,000 Platinum pass ensures the finest food, drink, and access…
    In honor of the hotel’s 125th anniversary, the ultra-rare scotch comes with a piece of England’s...
    Scott Torrence evaluates, assesses, and drinks some of the greatest vintages in the world...
    The cucumber-infused spirit inspired the giant green airship, which is taking to the skies of major...