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
My beat as a writer covers travel, food, wine and spirits (as in booze, not ghosts). In a former career, more than once I had to write medical insurance summary plan documents, which a colleague accurately described as “accounting, with words,” since it was a dreadfully dull topic to thrust upon an English major. I’ve escaped that track and plan to steer clear of the Coronavirus pandemic in my writing: Travel writing is aspirational, and it seems a greater service to help inspire your future trips than to add to the confusion about how to best hunker down and stay safe. (Turn to the CDC for that advice.)
But if, like me, you are isolated at home (perhaps with your spouse and/or immediate family members), you’ll be thankful for the little ways you can treat yourself. Wines and spirits are one option. Stir up a Quarantini or pop a cork and raise a toast to the folks at the front line of this global war against a virus. If you don’t have an adequate supply of adult beverage options at home and plan to order for home delivery or curbside pick-up, here are some bottles worth adding to your shopping list (and wiping down with a sterile cloth once they arrive, just to be safe)!
Of course, these sips are still worth seeking out even once the all-clear is given.
Cheers, y’all! Stay safe, keep your distance, wash your hands frequently, and stay calm.
Jeff Runquist Wines—voted “Winery of the Year” by the San Francisco International Wine Competition and Dan Berger International Wine Competition—is based in Amador County, home of California’s oldest vineyards. The winery produces a large number of red varietals, including five ‘core’ offerings (featured below) that are produced at large levels and thus are most readily available nationwide throughout the year.
Covid-19 Special: Buy Jeff Runquist Wines direct from the winery online and enjoy FREE shipping on orders of 6+ bottles and half price shipping on orders of 1 to 5 bottles.
2018 Jeff Runquist Wines 1448, Red Table Blend is a bright magenta-colored blend of Petit Verdot and Petite Sirah as well as Barbera, Tannat, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Charbono. Juicy notes of raspberry, currants and blackberry smash into soft vanilla, pansy, thyme, and coffee. Food friendly and quaffable. Retails for approx. $17.
2017 Jeff Runquist Wines Barbera, Amador County is smooth yet zippy not sleepy. Whiffs of red fruits and edible springtime blooms give way to round creamy flavors of berries, cherries, nutmeg, vanilla, and hazelnut. Toast and coffee flavors appear on the lingering finish. Pair with red meats, especially lamb. Retails for approx. $25.
2017 Jeff Runquist Wines “Z” Zinfandel, Massoni Ranch, Amador County is rich purple with aromas of berries and nuts. Lush flavors of raspberry, currant, toast, vanilla, and pepper wash the palate alongside creamy tannins. This wine is ripe and ready to pour alongside grilled meats. Retails for approx. $25.
2017 Jeff Runquist Wines Petit Verdot, Damir Ranch, Stanislaus County is an inky wine that opens with tantalizing whiffs of fruit and flowers. Rich, elegant flavors of plum, blackberry, freshly-fallen leaves, and toasted oak mingle with dusty tannins on the palate. Vanilla, pepper, and a touch of leather rise on the finish. Retails for approx. $26.
2017 Jeff Runquist Wines Petite Sirah, Salman Vineyards, Clarksburg is an inky-hued wine that sniffs of berries. Silky notes of blueberry, boysenberry, chocolate croissant, and mocha pleasantly glide on the palate. Rich, creamy, and well-balanced, the finish is long with well-rounded tannins. Retails for approx. $28.
Madam Pattirini Gin is produced by Ogden’s Own, Utah’s largest distillery, in small runs of less than 1,000 bottles at a time, so all labels include the batch and bottle number. That attention to detail plus the bottle’s dark color and sloped shape gives it a look to suggest it was snuck out of a speakeasy, which makes it a fun addition to display on the home bar. Flavors of ginger, cardamom, lemon, and, of course, juniper are forward yet soft, making this gin as pleasant to sip on its own as it is stirred into a gin & tonic, martini, or other creation. In a word: Delightful. Ogden’s Own is not afraid to embrace the irony of its Mormon-headquartered home state: Madam Pattirini was the pseudonym of LDS missionary Brigham Morris Young, who publicly performed in drag from 1885 to the 1900s. (Read the full story on the brand’s website, click “Meet Madam Pattirini” on the top menu bar.) Retails for approx. $24.
Stir up a “Covid-19 Sipper”:
1.5 oz. fresh squeezed Cara Cara orange juice (or another orange juice that you have available)
1.5 oz. Madam Pattirini gin
tonic (e.g., Fever Tree citrus tonic water)
Fill collins glass with ice, stir orange juice and gin together, top with tonic (to taste), garnish with a Cara Cara orange wheel. Enjoy!
Ohza produces ready-to-drink mimosas. “We use quality ingredients like you’d use making your own, but made them less caloric, less sugary, and ready-to-drink,” says founder Ryan Ayotte in press materials. “We reinvented the mimosa. Plus, with the calorie count of a hard seltzer, why wouldn’t you choose more flavor?” Each can blends Brut sparkling wine (that was specifically developed to have zero sugar) from New York’s Finger Lakes region with real orange juice (not, thankfully, flavor from a lab). “Almost one third of every can is filled with juice.” As easy to pour at home as while fishing in the middle of a lake, this is an all-occasion option.
Covid 19 Party-in-a-Can: Crack open one can for one or two people (the cocktail livens up breakfast, brunch or lunch) or a six-pack for a gathering of ten or fewer. (Press materials suggest that a six-pack will fill 9 flutes, convenient portioning for current social distancing guidelines.) Online ordering and shipping available to 29 US states. Retails for $14.59 for a 6-pack or $36 for a 12-pack of 12 oz. cans. (Shipping charges vary and are additional.)
2018 Cameron Hughes Wine Lot 715, Anderson Valley is another impressive wine sourced by this “direct to consumer” business model, an approach that’s appreciated more than ever in current times. As mentioned in previous reviews, Cameron Hughes is a wine sourcer not a producer, which means he doesn’t own vineyards or a winery but rather focuses on finding great wines and negotiating the best prices for them. This latest release, Lot 715, is billed as a rare white blend that’s a Gold Medal winner with 90+ point ratings. On both the nose and palate it offers refreshing notes of lemon and grapefruit zest, orange blossoms, green apple, chalk, and a hint of fresh pear. Pair with a salad of fresh greens or carry-out Asian fare. Retails for $13.
Ship It! Enjoy free ground shipping on all orders of 12 or more bottles.
Raspberry Lemonade Sparkling Canned Wine is produced in Baroda, Michigan, by Round Barn Winery, Distillery & Brewery. It’s the newest addition to its Flavor Trip Series (alongside canned sangria, cherry spritzer, and peach bellini, which I have not tried). It blends wine made from the winery’s proprietary grapes with natural raspberry and lemon fruit concentrates. No high-fructose corn syrup, artificial colors or artificial flavors are used. Refreshing with soft bubbles, it’s crisp and tart-sweet with mild raspberry flavors. The finish is clean, not cloying. Pairs nicely with salad, seafood, or a chicken sandwich, but you might also enjoy it on its own under sunny skies. Retails for approx. $20 for a 4-pack and $50 for a 12-pack of 12 oz. cans.
Covid-19 Convenience: Canned wine sales surged from less than $2 million in 2012 to more than $69 million in 2019, according to press materials. It’s easy to imagine that more than one adult has discovered (while staring into the ‘frig day after day while sheltering in place), that single-use portions are handy to have on hand when you want a treat but don’t want to crack open an entire bottle. Cans are also less likely to break during shipping or when riding home in your trunk after curbside pick-up.
Prairie Organic Spirits, the No. 1 organic spirits brand, has debuted its first-ever Sparkling Craft Cocktails. And—spoiler alert!—YUM! Each of these ready-to-drink liquid treats is made with award-winning, farm-crafted Prairie Organic Vodka or Prairie Organic Gin, which are made using single vintage organic corn grown on family-owned, USDA-certified organic Midwest Farms. Crack open a can, pour it over ice, take a sip, and smile.
- Grapefruit infuses Prairie Organic Vodka with natural ingredients. It has a slight pink hue and soft yet noticeable grapefruit flavors for a snap of tart. Refreshing on its own, this lip-smacking, palate-cleansing sipper also pairs nicely with Asian or Mexican fare made at home or ordered to-go from your favorite local restaurant.
- Cucumber Lemonade combines Prairie Organic Vodka with what’s described as “the organic essence of lemon and cucumber.” It’s refreshing and crisp with very mild flavors that suggest early summer with every sip. Quaffable and thirst-quenching.
- Minnesota Bootleg is named for a cocktail that originated at golf clubs across Minnesota. It features Prairie Organic Gin plus mint, lime and lime flavors. It’s refreshing with interesting complexity and sophisticated layers of flavor. Kick your feet up and savor this one.
“With the popularity of canned spirits ever on the rise here in the United States and beyond, we wanted to create a product that not only meets consumers’ demand, but is also made with natural and organic ingredients that they can feel good about drinking,” said Meghan Murray, VP of Marketing at Phillips Distilling Company, via press materials. “There’s no mystery about what types of ingredients might be lurking in these cans. Our new Prairie Organic Sparkling Craft Cocktails are jammed-pack with our award-winning vodka and gin, along with refreshing flavors, and serve as the perfect ready-to-enjoy cocktail that anyone can enjoy year-round.”
All three versions retail for approx. $13 for a 4-pack of 12 oz. cans.
Get It: Prairie Organic Sparkling Craft Cocktails are currently available online and sold in-store in 15 states: California, Arizona, Colorado, Texas, Florida, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Virginia, Iowa, Nevada, and Washington.
@21 Plus Travel Tip: Be kind to your fellow citizens and resist the urge to hoard these.
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.