Back in ancient Shushan, festive meals and royal parties went on for days and days. Queen Esther surely would have enjoyed a party punch with her guests.

Rum is an integral part of colonial history around the world, both as a traded commodity and an alcoholic beverage. It is made from what used to be just a byproduct of sugar production from sugar cane, molasses. Rum traveled well in wooden barrels on ships, which is one of the reasons it became a staple ration for sailors in many different navies. Production of rum can vary from distiller to distiller, but using traditional methods to prepare the molasses, they distill it into a highly concentrated spirit and age it to mature the flavors.

As with other alcohol production, yeasts are added to the molasses, and they get to work eating the sugar and giving off carbon dioxide and alcohol. Next, the liquid is headed, and what evaporates is recollected as the high-proof spirit.

Produced mainly in tropical regions, the main varieties are classified as white and dark. White rum is unaged spirit, while dark rum is aged in oak barrels and picks up color, flavor and aroma from the wood. There are several styles of aged rum just like there are several styles of other aged spirits made from grain and fruit. Popular spiced rums are usually aged with the addition of spices, such as cinnamon and cloves.

Sauvignon blanc is a light, dry, crisp white wine, typically with fruit and floral notes. It pairs nicely with lighter foods such as cheese, fruit or fish. Sauvignon blanc is usually not aged, meaning that it does not sit in an oak barrel or stainless steel tank for an extended period of time prior to bottling.

The grapes are grown in many wine regions around the world, including in its native France, New Zealand, California and South Africa. Each grape has its own character based on local soil and environmental conditions, called terroir. Most wine shops have several options, including some blends, and you can pick up a good bottle for under $15.