Holiday party finds: Cocktail mixers, fruity jerky

Judy HevrdejsChicago
Tribune(TNS)

A spicy, sweet fix

Spice up holiday parties with pre-made cocktail mixers, perhaps the Ginger Bee or Spiced Old Fashioned from Cocktail Crate Craft Mixer in Queens, N.Y. The four small-batch mixers, sweetened with local wildflower honey, agave nectar or cane sugar, also include Lavender Bloom and Sriracha Margarita. Add a favorite spirit, then shake with ice and — well, we enjoyed Ginger Bee’s clove and ginger hints with vodka, then tequila. And the Old Fashioned’s cinnamon, allspice and orange worked well with bourbon. A 12.7-ounce bottle: $12. For a store locator or to buy: cocktailcrate.com.

How sweet the jerky

Jerky lovers may want to up their party snack cred with a few packages from the flavor makers at Krave Jerky. They season beef, pork and turkey creatively, then turn them into jerky. We enjoyed the Black Cherry Barbecue (smoky sweet pork), Lemon Garlic (sweet garlicky turkey) and Pineapple Orange (yes, there’s a hint of citrus on the beef). They all lean sweet, but that didn’t stop jerky tasters from gobbling them up. Unsure what to serve with them? Krave offers pairings; for example, try a stout, a zin or rum with the Pineapple Orange. A 3.25-ounce bag: $7. For a store locator or to buy: kravejerky.com.