Liven up the next party with some pet-nat out of Texas, like this beauty from William Chris Vineyards (photo by Kirsten Kaiser)

Welcome to Distilled—our weekly look at booze news from the Globe and beyond. 

Last Week Was All Bubbles, All the Time

Here at Wine and Whiskey Globe, we’re feeling optimistic that the season is ripe for celebrations, however small-scale. So we doubled down on bubblies, from Texas pet-nat to exquisite Special Club stuff. Kermit Lynch has some. Different flavor profiles, different sensibilities, but both refreshing changes-of-pace for this year’s festivities.

That Said, Champagne Is Good

Legendary retailer Morrell’s in NYC is running a sale on 2008s—described as “easily as one of Champagne’s greatest vintages, if not the finest.” Which is hard to resist.

The Rise of Cabernet Franc

Club Oenologique rounds up some intriguing options not from France—reminding us that the varietal plays a big part in Super Tuscans.

The Wretched Restaurant Situation

It’s just a mess, anywhere you look. Bon Appetit is worried. We’ve seen reports that indoor dining represents around 4 percent of cases in any given community; this report on Eater DC puts the number at 14 percent: “The new report defines an ‘outbreak’ as an instance when two or more cases of COVID-19 are reported at a location within a 14-day period. According to tracing data collected by the city from August 1 through November 26, there were 15 outbreaks by this definition traced back to restaurants and bars. That represents 13.8 percent of the city’s outbreaks over that time period, the same figure as childcare and daycare centers.”

Hard to know what to make of that: 14 percent sounds alarming, but that’s 15 “outbreaks” over a period of four months in a big city—which is to say, less than one per week.

It’s tough times on the West Coast, in Chicago, and in NYC.

Me, I’m ordering lots of takeout. And here’s saverestaurants.com, where you can send a letter to Congress in support of the Independent Restaurant Coalition’s RESTAURANT Act.

We Haven’t Been Able to Make This Work. But We’ll Try Again.

At Liquor.com, an elaborate tutorial on making clear ice. Which is a cool thing to have.

And when You Have Good Ice, Put It in These Good Whiskies:

Our resident U.S. single malt expert does a deep dive on the changing ways smoke factors into this emerging, exciting, experimental world.

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.

If not exactly that, it’s still the time of year when we get tops-of-the-year lists of all sorts—and let’s face it, we’re more easily distracted than in years past. Bring ’em on. Wine Spectator is rolling out its legendary Top 100 like a vinous advent calendar. Number 10 is a dazzling Bollinger I got to try once … in the before time. And really great is sister pub Whisky Advocate’s Top 20—fun to look at and dream a little.

Vinepair and James Suckling are in on it too.

Renovating Isn’t ALL Bad

The lesson? Keep digging.