La Crosse boasts many things; one that I am very proud of is our Holiday game. We got snowflakes on every pole and millions of lights to put on a show that even I as a 34-year-old can appreciate. The Rotary Lights isn’t just for the show. It takes in 100s of thousands in donations of food and money each year. Over the last 25 years, they have had over 4 million donations to feed those in need.
I feel like, with quite the spectacle around the corner, how does one fill an evening full of not only giving but fun with food and drink. My ideal Rotary Lights experience is to go to the Distillery, as it’s a half block from the main entrance. They have some great drinks to help warm your heart and loosen your purse strings.
Holiday Gin, yes please
The La Crosse Distilling Co. has just released a Holiday Gin. Like most gins, the flavor is a pungent one, it’s not the typical punch of juniper dry we all know. This has a sweet hint of black currant, what is that? Well, I had no idea, so I looked it up. Black Currant is a bush that at one point was banned in the United States because it carried white pine blister rust disease which threatened the pine population at the time. Since then, treatments and better handling have led to most states allowing its growth again.
I love it, as it’s reminiscent of Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet, Juniper (the main ingredient of gin) is of the pine family and black currants weren’t meant to be together but their relationship in this spirit is fiery and short lived. Not to mention this boasts the lovely color of love, red. To taste this love story, get a limited release of the bottle or order up the drink Currant Events. The juniper pine, a flavor divine, the currant smooths and satiates the void a gin typically leaves. Currant Events has some cranberry syrup and lime juice leaving a holidaze party in my mouth. A sweet smooth with a wee tart middle and finishes sweet like black cherry.
If you are dressed for the occasion, sit outside, bring a blanket, and enjoy the outdoor warmers and the preview of what’s to come down the road. Walk on down the entrance of the lights, donate some food or money and enjoy a cool walk with a holiday way to light up the sky. Walk the loop if you got kids to get the hot chocolate there but save your mouth for the end when your cold.
Go to the Charmant and get a hot chocolate, they place a block of milk chocolate and pour over steamed milk to melt in a cup of warmth with subtle sweet, and a huge handmade marshmallow (if you’re lucky). Spike it if you’re feeling frisky but honestly, this hot chocolate is my favorite in town. My sheltered self only knew Swiss Miss growing up so this is coco that is loco to me.
Enjoy the holidays your way but be sure to give if you can and if you can’t; appreciate and reflect on those that care about you and reach out to show your love.
About La Crosse Local
La Crosse Local is an arts, food, and entertainment podcast and publication for La Crosse County and its surrounding communities.
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