Warm up with these 10 cozy food and drink events

Cookies, cold ones, cocktails and canapés
Warm up with these 10 cozy food and drink events
Photo courtesy of Cafe Hollander
Try unique winter brews at Cafe Hollander's annual Holiday Rarities Bierklasse, happening this Wednesday.

Saturday marks the winter solstice — the day on which the Northern Hemisphere will receive the least amount of direct sunlight due to the sun’s position directly above the Tropic of Capricorn — or, the first official day of winter. As Jack Frost starts nipping at your nose, get toasty at these food and drink events around town this week.

Tuesday, Dec. 17
Enjoy the finer things in life and start your week off with Champagne and Canapes at L’Etoile. Taste seven styles of champagne under the guidance of sommelier Michael Kwas, and indulge in small plates prepared by chef Tory Miller. Learn about the champagne-making process, make a toast and bubble over with excitement for the new year. $150. 6-8 p.m. Click here for more information

Beer-lovers can head to HopCat Madison’s December Beer Dinner for an off-menu, four-course meal accompanied by five Third Space Brewing beers. Kick off the night with a 5.8% alcohol-by-volume Unite the Clans, and proceed to pairings including shepherd’s pie and Acre’s Edge oatmeal stout, and blueberry baked brie with bacon and Nexus of the Universe bourbon and brandy barrel-aged imperial stout. Top it off with raspberry and chocolate mousse with mint. $37. 6:30-9 p.m. Click here for more information

Wednesday, Dec. 18
Assess your icing skills at the Funk Factory Geuzeria taproom by showing up for its Cookie Decorating Party on Wednesday. Funk Factory will provide already-baked sugar cookies, so guests just have to RSVP and bring their cookie decorating A-game. 5-8 p.m. Click here for more information

Warm up with these 10 cozy food and drink events

While creating specialty beer to celebrate the solstice and holiday season stems from ancient Druid tradition, Cafe Hollander’s Holiday Rarities Bierklasse sounds like a perfectly suited tradition for present-day Wisconsin. Taste test and learn about one-of-a-kind beers, some of which can only be found at cafes that are part of the Lowlands Group. Head to the restaurant’s Hilldale location and “drink your education” at this festive annual event. $45. 7-9 p.m. Click here for more information

Thursday, Dec. 19
You could say cocktails, cookies and ugly sweaters make up the ultimate holiday party trifecta, so pull up to Holiday Cocktails, Cookies and Ugly Sweaters at Pasture and Plenty this Thursday to show your appreciation. Decorate two sugar cookies while sipping a winter cocktail, and be sure to don your most abysmal knitwear. The individual sporting the ugliest sweater will win a prize. $15. 5-8 p.m. Click here for more information

Friday, Dec. 20
The University Club on State Street serves as one of the city’s most elegant historical venues, and the restaurant is taking full advantage of that by transforming into a Harry Potter-themed fantasy for A Night at Hogwarts. Savor a feast in the Great Hall, sample some “potions,” and watch movies from the series in a movie-viewing room. This event will also take place on Thursday, Dec. 19. $35 for adults, $25 for children. 5-9 p.m. Click here for more information

If your sweater wasn’t heinous enough to earn first prize at Pasture and Plenty’s Thursday party, give it another shot at the Nitty Gritty’s Annual Ugly Sweater Holiday Party. Wear a festive eyesore and receive your first cocktail for free. For the rest of the night, specials like brandy slush, Kahlua hot white Russians and peppermint stick shots cost $3, and you can enjoy seasonal songs as well a cookie decorating and door prizes. 8 p.m.-2 a.m. Click here for more information

Saturday, Dec. 21
Forget breakfast with Santa and instead opt for Snow Queen Drag Brunch at Pasture and Plenty. The event will showcase the talents of Cass Marie Domino, Bryanna Banx$ and Bianca Lynn Breeze, in addition to drink specials including $5 mimosas and $6 bloodies. This event is Pasture and Plenty’s holiday-themed drag brunch, and a portion of the proceeds will benefit the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin. $10. 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Click here for more information

Sunday, Dec. 22
Show off your best holiday confections at the Wisco in a Christmas Cookie Bake-off this Sunday. Put your go-to recipes to the test, bring a platter to the venue and let the tasters decide. Tasters will vote separately based on taste and decoration, and winners will be presented at 4:30 p.m. Free. 2-5 p.m. Click here for more information

Wrap up the week with Madison’s Best Holiday Bar Crawl, hosted by 100 Mile Sauce Co. and featuring local vendors, including Bear & Bottle, Old Sugar Distillery, Giant Jones Brewing Co., LJ’s Sports Tavern & Grill, Ale Asylum, the Atwood and Vintage Brewing Co. Capitol East will all take part in the crawl, offering drink deals and last-minute gift shopping stations. Buses will run throughout the event, and tickets include three complimentary cocktails. $50 in advance, $60 day of event. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Click here for more information