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The party mix – the Hunter Valley has your Christmas drinks list sorted

Tis the season for a party! There's no better way to fast-track the Christmas feels than a kick-ass party and the Hunter Valley has the drinks menu covered. Whether you're planning a big bash or an intimate cocktail party for a few friends, every epic party needs some epic drops. And the Hunter Valley has all the must-haves – wine, beer, spirits and cider too.


Fizz is the life of the party IMHO. While the Hunter Valley isn't a trailblazer for sparkling wines, it does make its presence felt with some tasty local fizz and loads of bubbles using fruit from other regions. If you're in the mood for a white Christmas try Tyrrell's Chardonnay Pinot Noir Brut $30, but if your theme is Santa red snag some sparkling Shiraz from Gartelmann Wines $35. Moscato is the other popular party starter and there are lots to choose from – Hanging Tree Wines sparkling Moscato $28 is particularly fitting for a festive fizz with its red toffy apple scent.

2.A crisp white

An essential summer party ingredient is a refreshing white wine and you're spoilt for choice in the Hunter Valley with everything from Albarino and Chardonnay to Verdelho and Vermentino. My fave is Semillon – the region's signature white wine – as it's a crisp thirst-quencher that pairs perfectly with freshly shucked oysters, that Christmas party classic. There's enough Semillon in the Valley to stock the bar many times over and I love them all. If I have people I need to impress I stock up on McGuigan Bin 9000 Semillon $25 (they've won the International Wine & Spirit Competition's Trophy for Semillon nine times in a row!) but another party favourite is the easy-drinking Allandale Semillon $22.

3.A smooth red

As some people only drink white and others red, you need to have some red vino too. The Hunter produces plenty of classic red varieties as well as some Spanish, Italian and Portuguese newcomers. My party mix always includes Shiraz as it's the Valley's superstar and Tulloch's Pokolbin Dry Red Shiraz $30 is a classic that's super-easy drinking. Another to consider is Two Rivers Wines The Confluence Cabernet Merlot - an affordable party crowd-pleaser at $16.

​4.Christmas cocktails

You can't really get into the Christmas spirit without a cocktail or three – what's a party without a cocktail? G&T is a summer staple and if you want a party-popping version try Hunter Distillery's award-winning Copperwave Distilled Gin $70. Hunter Distillery also has a range of flavoured vodkas and liqueurs so you can create some killer Christmas cocktails – the mango liqueur is perfect if you want to whip up a fruity treat like their Pokolbin Paradise (they have a cocktail recipe on their site so thought you could add a link to the recipe here).

5.Seasonal beer & cider

Hope Estate has you sorted if you have mates who love to sink a nice cold tinnie. You can grab a slab of lager, pale ale, IPA, Pilsner (six-packs from $20) and they have seasonal brews too including a Raspberry Sour Berlina Weisse and Super Super Juicy Double New England IPA - both available throughout December.

If your drinking buddies prefer bottled beer, pick up a case of 24 bottles of summer or pale ale from Ironbark Hill Brewhouse $75 or fill up your own one- or two-litre growlers with any of their beers on tap.

And if you want to quench your thirst with a cider, Matilda Bay Brewhouse has two super refreshing apple ciders at $65 a carton and Oakvale Wines has a sparkling apple cider using handpicked Aussie apples at $22 for a 750ml bottle.

So, what are you waiting for? It's #hollyjolly time so put on your Christmas playlist, grab a drink and get the party started!

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