Perfect Pairs December 2017/January 2018

This issue we turn to Matt and Gracie Hammer, owners of Black Velvet Coffee in Mammoth Lakes, for advice that is multi-faceted—December/January pairings with coffee, wine and beer. They are uniquely qualified to weigh in, of course, because Black Velvet—which grew from a small batch craft roaster selling coffee at farmers’ markets in 2008 to a brick-and-mortar espresso bar in 2011—now includes a wine bar and a four tap rotating draft system, as well 20 unique bottled craft beers.

By Thea Marie Rood
Photos courtesy of Black Velvet Coffee

“A great holiday pairing with a nice hot cup of coffee would be a warmed-up pastry,” says Gracie, who suggests cinnamon rolls, pound cake, apple crisp, coffee cake, French toast, chocolate chip pancakes or leftover gingerbread cookies. “Another way to enjoy your cup of coffee is to add a little Baileys Irish Cream, Irish whiskey or Kahlua.”

How about after the holidays, when you are fighting to shed those extra pounds? Stick with “the tried-and-true”: black (but high quality) coffee—and ditch the milk, cream and sugar. Or enjoy a hot tea and add a little raw honey for sweetness.


Wine & Beer
A glass of cabernet sauvignon or sangiovese pairs well with cheese plate appetizers at holiday parties and with Christmas dinner. Champagne and Prosecco pair well with nuts, pasta dishes and desserts—and are of course a must-have for ringing in the New Year. “When it’s cold outside, a great wine option is a pinot noir,” adds Gracie; it is also high in resveratrol and antioxidants, which studies show help lower cholesterol and keep your weight in check.

As for microbrews, “we love the St. Bernardus Christmas Ale,” she says. “A 750 ml bottle is perfect to share with two–three people over dinner or by the fire.” After the holidays, avoid cider ales which contain a lot of sugar and switch to a lighter beer. “A saison beer pairs well with salads.”

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