10 NoVa wineries warming up wine this winter

At my holiday/birthday party each year the first thing I put on the stove is a warmer full of wine and spices.  It's always gone in the first two hours. So, this year I am going to try three new recipes with local wine.

Here are 10 Northern Vrginia wineries serving mulled wine during the chily months so you can take a few bottles for a test drive before they hit the crock pot:

The Barns at Hamilton Station Vineyards, Hamilton – Mulled wine available on Saturdays for $7/glass

Sunset Hills Vineyard, Purcellville -- Serving a blend of Cabernet Franc, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, orange, lemon and sugar to warm up your holiday spirit. Mulling spice packets are also available for purchase.

Quattro Goomba’s Winery, Aldie - Enjoy mulled wine in the tasting room, or purchase spices on site to make it at home.

The Vineyards & Winery at Lost Creek, Leesburg -  Grab a glass by the fireplace.

Loudoun Valley Vineyards, Waterford - Traditional-style gluhwein available starting in December.

North Gate Vineyards, Purcellville - Pair a glass with truffles from Maryland chocolate from Perfect Truffles

Corcoran Vineyards, Waterford– Mulled wine available every Saturday.

Hunter’s Run Wine Barn, Hamilton – Mulled wine made with Chambourcin or Merlot.

Hidden Brook Winery, Leesburg – Mulled wine make with apple cider and wine available on site, and mulling spice -- made in Gaithersburg, Md., -- are available to bring home.

Hiddencroft Vineyards, Lovettsville- "Grandma's Love Potion" (blueberry wine with 2% residual sugar and 12% alcohol) is mulled and spiced with cinnamon, cloves, allspice and lemon or orange peel. Northern VA Magazine has details from last winter's brew.

80 whiskeys at the bar...

Went to a media-preview at Irish Whiskey Public House in Dupont last week -- aka the 3-story bar that took over the former Porter's spot.

This is not a shooter bar -- several whiskeys on the menu will set you back $20+ a glass. Makes me wonder how much they spent on that case full of Chris Cooley pottery on the third floor.

The menu, design by Sean McIntosh (Kinkeads, Dean and Deluca) is unlike any Irish pub in the region -- with dishes such as seared hailibut with roasted, woody Chanterelles and (amazing) gnocchi-like potato puffs, corned beef & cabbage spring rolls a $50+ lobster and filet 'surf and turf' option. The gougeres went so fast during the media preview that the chef had to yank them from the opening menu. They require a special tapioca flour that must be special ordered, but they should make it way back onto the menu by mid-January.

An off-menu whiskey worth considering on a VIP night: Tullamore Special Reserve (Private Stock. Bottled in the '40s): $300 per glass. The owners claim it may be one of the last bottles left in the world, from the original Tullamore Irish Whiskey Distillery in County Offaly. Try it while you can. And tell me how it tastes.