- On October 21, 2015
Every October, round abouts Halloween time, we conduct a liqueur & cordials class here at Zipps called Trick or Treating for Adults. This week we offer a sneak peek at some of the education to be had in this class, as well as some of the spirits to be sampled. We’ll cover a wide array of strange and intriguing tipples; everything from bitter to sweet, heavy to light. You might love some of them, you might hate some of them, but each and every one is interesting and pretty darn cool!
We’ll start with Byrrh. Pronounced “beer”, this is a mild wine-based aperitif hailing from late 1800s France. Originally marketed as a health tonic (I mean, what self-respecting cordial hasn’t!), Byrrh has some of the herbal and bitter notes often associated with classic tonic recipes. Composed of a rich, port-like wine and mistelle base, the body of this cordial is no joke. The natural cinchona bark (read: quinine!) tames the sweetness of this with an earthy bitter nose. There is a classic ruby port-esque bright berry flavor that keeps it lively and light. Byrrh pairs great with tonic or club and a twist, but it shines in cocktails as well. Try mixing it with cognac or gin for a luxurious beverage. The importer, locally-owned Haus Alpenz, recommends pairing it with blue cheese and that sounds de-LISH! ($16.99)
Taking the bitterness to the next level, we have Haus Alpenz’ portfoliomate Cappelletti Vino Aperitivo. Mad Genius Eric Seed has a host of fascinating, esoteric and ultimately fantastic products in his catalog (seriously, check it out) and we have him to thank for some of the reclaimed/recreated spirits our modern craft cocktail culture thrives on. One that stands out is Cappelletti. Ruby-red in color due to the natural carmine used to dye it, Cappelletti has a flavor that resonates. It combines the best parts of Aperol and Campari to deliver a citrusy and sweet note, while having a dry, mineral-rich finish. Great balance and body make this an absolute perfect bitter to have on your shelf at home. Traditionally used in a similar fashion to Byrrh, this soars with a little club and a twist. However, if one were to make a negroni with this, we’d expect a thank you note in the mail. One note to remember is that, due to its wine base, it needs to be refrigerated after opening! ($16.99)
Bringing it back to our sovereign shores, we travel to Chicago for Koval’s delightful Rose Hip liqueur. The biggest difference in this compared to other domestic cordials? Everything. Crafted from a white whiskey base, there is an inherent flavor and texture to the spirit that is elevated from the traditional GNS base. All organic ingredients are used in the creation of this spirit, which just makes us feel good inside. There is a definite sherry note to this. Nuts and flowers are the first flavor to note, but there is a citrus quality to it as well. It has a certain sweetness to it, in a fructose sort of fashion, but not unpleasant or saccharine at all. At the end there is a sort of savory quality which really rounds out the flavor on your palate. Absolutely exquisite! ($22.99)
Sign up for next week’s class goes through Monday the 26th!