Twelve Tasty Sips
Our Mixed Case series serves up an eclectic mix of recent ‘adult beverage’ discoveries by the dozen.
Whether you’re perusing a bar menu while traveling or stirring up a cocktail at home, let our guide lead to new taste destinations.
By Hope S. Philbrick
Resolve to step up your tasting game in 2019.
Crack open any of these adult beverages and you’re on the right track.
Whether you prefer smooth sips or bold creations, we can all agree on one thing: There’s no reason your drink routine has to be boring.
Try something new. You might like it. A lot.
Hue-Hue Coffee Rum debuted on the market in February 2018. Pronounced “way-way,” it’s a rum infused with free-trade, single-origin Arabica coffee beans grown in Huehuetenango, Guatemala that have been lightly roasted, small-batch cold brewed by Eastside Distilling Co., and hand-blended with silver rum. The 70 proof spirit is billed as “having the full flavor and richness of cold brewed coffee, without the syrupy sweetness of sugar-drenched coffee liqueurs.” We detected notes of dark coffee, toasted nuts, pepper and smoke. Retails for approx. $20.
2016 Luna Vineyards Estate Reserve Pinot Grigio impresses with bold orange and lemon leading a parade of luscious green apple, fresh herb, almond, raw banana pepper, and honeysuckle flavors. This full-bodied wine has a silky mouthfeel and balances bright acidity with smooth minerality. This 100% varietal is the Napa Valley, California winery’s signature wine: Luna was the first winery to plan the Italian varietal Pinot Grigio along the Silverado Trail. Retails for approx. $32.
Padre Azul Reposado Tequila is a super-premium, Austrian-Mexican tequila that recently launched in the U.S. This reposado is made by aging the blanco tequila in French oak casks for at least eight months. In addition to agave notes, it packs smooth wood and tasty vanilla flavors. The bottle is capped with a metal skull that weighs more than anticipated; don’t throw it or you might break a glass (and we think you’ll be happier using that glass to hold some of this tequila). Retails for approx. $79.
2017 12 Linajes Roble is 100% Tempranillo from Spain. The grapes used in the Roble expression are from 60-year-old vines, aged five months in American oak and then aged in the bottle for four more months. It pours purplish red and sniffs of fresh red fruit and balsamic. Flavors of cherry tart, cocoa, thyme, spiced plum, balsamic, and leather are pleasant and well-balanced. Moderate tannins rein in acidity. “Quite good,” I jotted in my tasting notes. Retails for approx. $19.
2015 12 Linajes Crianza is another 100% Tempranillo from Spain, this time using grapes from 70-year-old vines that are aged in French and American oak for 14 months then bottle-aged for another 12 months. Inviting notes of blackberry, plum, leather, mocha, and spice box reward the nose and tongue. Retails for approx. $25.
2014 12 Linajes Reserva is another 100% Tempranillo from Spain, using grapes from 80-year-old vines that are aged in French and American oak for 24 months followed by 12 months in bottle. Whiffs of blackberry, toast and cassis are inviting. Flavors of berry compote, fig, fennel, and oak reward anticipation. Tannins are well structured and suggest this wine may age well, if you happen to have a cellar. Retails for approx. $35.
The Long Drink is an American beverage brand based on the No. 1 selling alcohol in Finland. Also known as lonkeros, The Long Drink has a distinctive flavor accurately described in press materials as “boozy Fresca.” Long drinks were first poured during the 1952 Summer Olympic Games in Helsinki, when the aim was to serve drinks as quickly as possible—and Finns have been enjoying them ever since. The Long Drink arrived in the U.S. in 2018, first in New York City in summer then Atlanta in fall. Enjoy The Long Drink straight from a cold can, poured over ice and garnished with a lemon wedge, or pretty much however you want to serve it. The Finns have a term for drinking at home alone in your underwear: kalsarikannit—all this time you’ve been doing it without knowing the word! Retails
for approx. $15.99 for a 6-pack of 12-oz. cans.
Pampelonne Sparkling Wine Cocktails are wine-based cocktails that make tending bar as simple as opening a can. We sampled three versions, all retail for approx. $17 for a 4-pack of 8.4-oz. cans.
- Harvest Pear Palmetto, the newest flavor and a personal favorite, has natural flavors of bosc pear and meyer lemon infused with cardamom, cinnamon and ginger. All the flavors enhance rather than detract from the wine and there’s surprisingly no metallic notes imparted by the can.
- French 75 has flavors of elderflower, juniper and Meyer lemon. It’s lip-licking yum that’s refreshing and not too sweet.
- Rosé Lime is citrusy with lime (as expected by the name) plus red grapefruit and tropical fruit. Refreshing.
We only received ten samples to review in this Mixed Case, but you can fill up your case with another two picks from previous columns.
Unless otherwise noted, all suggested retail prices are for a 750ml bottle.
Be a responsible grownup: Never drink and drive.
Product samples afford the research opportunity but do not sway opinion.
Photos courtesy producers.