Most holiday seasons include getting together with friends and family, exchanging gifts, and toasting the new year. Of course, this holiday season is going to be wildly different from past holiday seasons as the coronavirus pandemic continues to rage on.

But just because it’s different doesn’t mean some things won’t stay the same: Gifts under the tree, a New Year’s resolution or two, and – if you’re among the 63% of Americans who will enjoy a tipple now and again – a few holiday drinks.

This holiday season, wine leads the way, with 31% of U.S. adults 21 and older who drink saying a glass of wine will be their beverage of choice. This is a whopping 29% increase from last year’s CivicScience study on the subject. Interestingly, wine picked up a few percentage points here and there from most of the other types of drinks to increase its lead. Eggnog, for what it’s worth, holds steady at 10%.

Breaking it down by age, the 55+ crowd is pushing the wine narrative, with 37% of that age cohort saying wine will be their preferred adult beverage of choice this winter. That’s up nearly 17% from last year. On the other end of the spectrum, drinking-age members of Gen Z and those in the 35-54 age group are both leaning more toward beer and liquor. One other notable takeaway: The 25-34 age range is most likely to be throwing back shots.

On the gender front, men are twice as likely to say “beer” will be their alcohol of choice, and women prefer wine at a 35% higher clip.

Coronavirus Concerns

Obviously decisions about how to celebrate this holiday season are going to be a major talking point in the coming weeks, especially with many local governments installing socialization caps at private residences. 

People who simply aren’t concerned about contracting or spreading the coronavirus are more likely to be liquor drinkers, whereas people who are concerned are more likely to be wine or beer drinkers.

Socially-Distant Fun

One of the more stressful moments of the holiday season: What to bring over if invited to someone’s home – or, more likely this year, their backyard or patio?

For starters, if your friend is a foodie, leave the beer at home. They’d much prefer a bottle of wine or liquor. On the flip side? If your buddy looks at food as fuel and nothing else, a six-pack is the way to go.

Is your friend a constant world traveler? If so, a bottle of wine is a no-brainer. 

Seasonal Libations

More than half of legal-age Americans who drink alcohol are planning on trying a seasonal libation, with 23% saying they’ll sample a seasonal beer and 20% say they’ll sip on a seasonal cocktail.

Men are more than twice as likely as women to go the seasonal beer route, and women are nearly twice as likely to try a seasonal cocktail.

By age, the 21 to 24 age group is most likely, overall, to sample some holiday drinks.

This holiday season is going to be much different than those in the past. Some things remain the same – wine rules the day – while others might surprise us – straight liquor drinkers are up to gather in person. One thing, however, is certain: Everyone will be toasting to a much happier and healthier 2021.