Sip the season

Siptheseason

Lanzarote is an island where celebration and a glass of wine have always gone hand-in-hand, and Christmas is no exception.

A bit of sparkle – Like twinkling lights and glittering tinsel, Christmas isn’t Christmas without a touch of fizz.

In a supermarket in early December, a woman bumps into a neighbouring couple who are pushing a shopping trolley piled high with cases of beer, bottles of wine, champagne and cider, gin, whisky, vodka and Baileys. “Christmas shopping?” the woman asks. Her friend sighs “Yes, if it wasn’t for the kids we wouldn’t bother.”

The old joke shows that alcohol and Christmas have always gone together. Even Santa gets in on the act, downing a few million glasses of sherry while in charge of a vehicle every year. But rather than seeing it as an opportunity to get hammered, why not use the festive season to broaden your horizons.

Here in Spain, the most popular festive drinks are sparkly – Freixenet’s cava ads are a TV tradition, and millions of bottles of fizzy cider will also be sold for the traditional Christmas meal on the 24th of December. But Lanzarote also offers its own sparkling wines, which are well worth discovering at this time of year (or whenever you fancy celebrating).

Wine is a Lanzarote staple, but you’ll also find vintages from all over Spain and, if you hunt a little harder, further afield. You’ll also find fortified wines such as moscatel, sherry and port in most supermarkets.

Spirits, of course, are ridiculously cheap here, allowing you to stock up on staples while exploring the delights of local honey rum or Spanish specialties such as orujo or Patxaran (sloe liqueur). In Lanzarote’s climate, Christmas cocktails are also highly recomended, so don’t forget to splash out on mixers, garnishes.

Beer is also worth discovering, with increasing amounts of locally produced microbrews such as Malpeis, Agüita and NAO from Lanzarote or Gara from La Palma.

Nevertheless, if you do actually want to take the kids into account, as well as the increasing amounts of other people who choose not to drink alcohol, you’re also spoiled for choice, with a huge range of fruit juices and nectars, soft drinks and quality sparkling waters on offer, too.