A. If the recipient has zero willpower, opt for a bottle that's perfect for drinking now, such as Brancott Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2010, from $20. For a wine buff, consider varietals that gain character. Try Tyrrell's Wines Vat 1 Hunter Semillon 2003, from $40, or Cape Mentelle Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, from $70.
A. As Mark Twain said, "Too much of anything is bad, but too much champagne is just right." For special times, try Pol Roger Brut 2000, from $80. Or for an event with meaning, invest in wine buff that marks the occasion, like Penfolds Grange 2004, from $595.Q. Do you chill red wine?
A. In summer, yes. Tradition states red wine should be served at room temperature, but that's for European climates. In the Australian summer, it should be chilled for 15–20 minutes before serving.Q. Are there still right and wrong glasses for different wines?
A. There's evidence to say certain glasses bring out the best in certain wines. However, most of us can't afford a glass for every occasion. Instead, invest in trusty white wine glasses (small and flat-bottomed to retain the chill), and for red, a big bowl is vital so the flavours can aerate quickly. And no glass cabinet is complete without champagne flutes.Q. What is the etiquette around tasting screw-top wines in restaurants?
A. With screw caps there really should be no need to taste the wine before pouring. But issues can arise; maybe incorrect storage or exposure to extreme temperatures. To be sure, always try it first. If you find the colour is dull, its flavours are muted and there's no zing or punch, it's likely the wine has turned.Q. Do you open the wine a guest has brought or drink yours first?
A. Go for a Switzerland approach. Pick a few bottles of the same varietal, open them all and pour into separate glasses. Taste them all, noting the area they're from – this gets your guests talking, broadens your wine knowledge and gets all the wine open so post-tasting they can drink whatever they like.Q. Is there a correct quantity of alcohol to take to a gathering?
A. Red and a white works as you don't know what food you'll be served. The tricky part is when you're driving. A bottle for you and one for the host is a good idea. For example, an Annie's Lane Riesling, from $17, for the host plus a low-alcohol option for you, like Brown Brothers Moscato 2009, from $15. Never take your wine home with you – that's a serious dinner party faux pas.
Crowd-pleasersBest summer buys for every occasion
Jansz Premium NV Cuvée, from $20. Get the party started! Great bubbles and an excellent texture.
Jacob's Creek Classic Riesling, from $8.90. A great, easy-drinking afternoon bottle.Casual BYO dinner
Nepenthe Sauvignon Blanc, from $20. Citrus, lemon and lime. Perfect with fish.
Pizzini Sangiovese Shiraz, from $19. A cracker for the price.Christmas Lunch
Veuve Clicquot, from $60. Ideal with antipasto.
Printhie Chardonnay, from $16. Light, dry and measured. Innocent Bystander Pinot Rose, from $18. Vibrant pinks and lashings of sweet cherries.New Year's Eve party
Moët & Chandon NV, from $70. A classic.
Philip Shaw Sauvignon Blanc, from $23. A tasty NSW dry white.
Stonier Pinot Noir, from $28. Will satisfy the crowds.
Steer away from these delights if you want to fit into that special party dress:Hot Buttered Rum
45ml Ron Zacapa Centenario Rum
20ml vanilla bean syrup
dash of Angostura bitters
1 knob of spiced butter (made by mixing butter with cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg)
Combine all ingredients and top with hot water. Stir around to melt butter, grate some nutmeg over the top and enjoy.
"This drink tastes fantastic, but is definitely a guilty little pleasure!" warns Bartender of the year, Chris Hysted.
Also tipping the scales is the Toblerone, combining Frangelico, Baileys, Kahlua, cream and honey, and lined with chocolate sauce; and a pina colada with cream. The combination of rum, pineapple juice and cream creates a kilojoule bomb, piling in 1210kJ and 17g of fat.Not-so-naughty and nice
For a "healthy" choice, Hysted recommends cocktails that include fruit to add a healthy dose of vitamins and fibre:Tommy's Margarita
Mixes tequila, lime juice and agave nectar.Traditional sangria
Combines wine, brandy and chopped fruit.High-Alcohol Hit List
Keep tabs on your tipples with these big hitters:
Long Island Iced Tea
Rum, gin, vodka, tequila, triple sec, sour mix and a splash of cola join forces to create a lethal combination. Not only does it pack in 1500kJ, but it may put you over the limit!
A Zombie, with 35g of alcohol, Between the Sheets with 30g of alcohol, an Orgasm's 24g of alcohol and a Midori Margarita's 20g of alcohol are all very strong, too.Safe-Driving Sips
Drink a spritzer (wine and soda) as it contains a modest 87kJ and has only 3g of alcohol. Better still, stick to a mocktail. If you're counting kilojoules, try tomato juice, with 180kJ.
Best At The BarWe asked Hysted to nominate the drinks that will give summer a shake-up:
The Venus Flytrap
30ml Laird's Applejack
30ml St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur
30ml Lillet Blanc
30ml pineapple juice
Combine ingredients and shake. Fine-strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.The Espresso Martini
30ml fresh espresso
10ml agave nectar
Combine, shake and fine-strain into a martini glass. Garnish with three coffee beans.