Gifts they Really Want for Sweetest Day


Forget what you planned or did not plan for Sweetest Day.  We have the answer that will make their day.

October 20 is Sweetest Day.  Not a day created by Hallmark, which I presumed it was.  It started with 12 candy companies in Cleveland, Ohio in the 1920’s, according to wiki.  The day was originally for giving candy to distressed children but grew to giving candy to all.  The largest celebrations for Sweetest Day are in the cities of Cleveland, Detroit, and Buffalo, making it a strong Midwestern event.
Instead of candy, we have other ideas.

How about Cupcake Rosé?   Flavors of strawberry and watermelon with a silky finish.  You can make a cocktail with this wine as well.  Mix this rose with a shot of tequila, half a shot of lime juice, a tsp of agave nectar, and finish with grapefruit soda.  Throw it in a glass of ice - delicious.  It is called a Rosé Poloma. Available in all Family Fare stores.

Rosé All Day has a very beautiful label.  Very simplistic, but it really stands out in a crowd.  All white label with pink letters.  This Rosé tastes of red fruits and is very crisp on the palate.  Serve chilled with fish, chicken, or shrimp. Available in Michigan stores.

Chateau Chantal on Old Mission Peninsula has a new Rosé made from their Malbec from Argentina.  The name is Armour Malbec Rosé.  This is a full bodied Rosé made from fully ripe Malbec grapes.  This wine has enough gumption to get you from appetizers to the main course.  Juicy and lush would be my description.  Dark berries and cherries on the palate of this wine will pair well with hamburgers, grilled fish, and Michigan sunsets. Available in Michigan stores.

How about some blended scotch?  Johnnie Walker has a new 18 year scotch.  Put into barrels when your graduating senior was born.  Eighteen different whiskies are blended in this beautiful scotch.  This scotch has a blend of malts.  Speyside which lend sweetness and elegance, Highland malts for fruitiness, and island malts which provide the distinctive smoky flavor of scotch.  Flavors of almond, warm vanilla, and slight tangerine end with malty smokiness. Available in all Family Fare stores.

The new Jim Beam Double Oak Bourbon has a very rich flavor and is great for Sweetest Day.  The richness is from a process of aging the bourbon first in a new white oak charred barrel.  It is then aged a second time in another new white oak charred barrel.  This produces a very intense and smooth tasting bourbon whiskey.  Aroma notes are caramel, vanilla, and toasted wood.  The flavor is caramel, toffee, and spicy oak.  The proof on the Jim Beam Double Oak is 86.  This is made from 75% corn, 13% rye, and 12% malted barley. Available in all Family Fare stores.

Gin is making a comeback.  We have a great local gin made by Gray Skies with a unique twist.  This gin was aged in barrel and has a beer hop, Citra, which is introduced in the botanical load of the gin-making process.  This gin has a hint of grapefruit versus the traditional juniper.  The wood aging adds smoothness.  We have been making a modified gin and tonic.  Use the Gray Skies Gin, and add in tonic and Simply Limeade.  You can find the Simply Limeade in the dairy section next to the orange juices.  This juice is amazing to serve with this drink.  Add a fresh lime wedge to add even more freshness. It is an outstanding porch drink.  Relax and unwind with your Sweetest. Available in Michigan stores.

Greg Vanoverloop Beer Wine Spirits Category Manager


Greg VanOverloop, Beer & Wine Specialist

  • Started in the Grocery business bagging at D&W in 1975.  Worked at D&W for 30 years in various departments.
  • Worked at SpartanNash for 11 years.  Currently the Category Manager for Wine/Beer/Spirits for SpartanNash East.
  • Have been a category manager since 1990 and a category manager of beer  since 1997.  CM of wine and spirits since 2007.
  • Have travelled extensively which provided the opportunity to taste many foods and beverages from Hong Kong to Caribbean, from California to Maine.
  • Love to cook, grill, and bake, snow ski, sail, and read books.    Best baked item – a bourbon pecan pie with rum crust.  Best grilled item – salmon with blueberry onion wine sauce and goat cheese.  Best cooked item – Squash Apple soup with bourbon.  Best ski slope – Go Devil at Keystone.  Best book – Wonder.
  • 1 wife, 3 children, 7.3 grandchildren.