Mixed Case: Sipping is Always in Season!

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.

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Tasty Sips & Bites

By Hope S. Philbrick

Due to unforeseen circumstances, this installment of our popular “Mixed Case” column has been delayed multiple times. I apologize, but family duty called. This installment thus features more than 12 items, some of which may seem out of season—some fit more readily into this pumpkin spice time of year than others. But as is true of that old saying “It’s 5 o’clock somewhere,” it’s also summer somewhere! Even if it’s gloomy outside your window, the sun shines elsewhere. So ignore the calendar and enjoy some grownup flavor that suits your mood.

291 Colorado Whiskey is, according to press materials, “a globally-acclaimed, small-batch whiskey distillery nestled in the shadow of Pikes Peak. From grain to barrel to bottle, 291 Colorado Whiskey is hardmade the Colorado Way, proud of its humble roots and excited about its new frontiers.” The brand has expanded its reach, recently entering the Georgia marketplace, which is the home state of 291 owner and founding distiller Michael Myers. We sampled 5 products:

  • 291 Colorado Whiskey Barrel Proof, Single Barrel, Finished with Aspen Wood Staves is the distillery’s flagship whiskey. This rye is a multi-year Liquid Gold Jim Murray’s Whiskey Bible, Design Master Award, and Colorado Rye Distillery of the Year winner. It is smooth and slightly sweet with notes of caramelized sugar, pear, and vanilla. Retails for approx. $108.
  • 291 American Whiskey, Aspen Charcoal Mellowed is a pre-prohibition style whiskey made from corn, malted rye, and malted barley mash. It’s distilled in a copper pot still, rested in toasted American white oak barrels for under a year. A nod to Scotch or Irish Whiskey, it offers notes of hot spice, green apple, honey, and leather. Retails for approx. $52.
  • 291 Colorado Bourbon Whiskey Barrel Proof Single Barrel, Finished with Aspen Wood Staves is aged in virgin American white oak, finished with toasted Aspen staves, and bottled at barrel proof for unique Colorado flavor. It won Double Gold at the 2021 San Francisco World Spirits Competition Double and Double Platinum at the 2021 Ascot Awards. It offers notes of toffee, honey, and toasted marshmallow. Retails for approx. $108.
  • 291 Colorado Small Batch Rye Whiskey, Finished with Aspen Wood Staves was named the World’s Best Rye at the 2018 World Whiskies Awards, seized the Luxury & American Master Award, and is a San Francisco World Spirits Competition Double Gold winner. It has smooth, yummy notes of maple and caramel. Retails for approx. $79.
  • 291 Colorado Small Batch Bourbon Whiskey, Finished with Aspen Wood Staves is distilled from a sour mash, distilled in a copper pot still, and aged in virgin American white oak deep char barrels then finished with toasted Aspen staves. It offers notes of caramel apple, oak, vanilla, maple, and spicy smoke. It’s a San Francisco World Spirits Competition Double Gold winner, and has won the Global & American Master award. Retails for approx. $86.

Highway Vodka is an award-winning, black-owned hemp vodka produced in Houston, Texas. Its spicy heat comes through in cocktails, perhaps best enhancing citrusy concoctions to pair with Tex-Mex fare. The comp any was founded in 2019 by Ben Williams and Wendell Robbins III. According to press materials, it uses “a process that took nearly 8 years to perfect. Its mashbill consists of a unique strain of hemp, locally-sourced corn, and water from an artesian aquifer. Full of anti-inflammatories with only 57 calories per serving, Highway has earned gold medals at the Las Vegas Global Spirit Awards and Denver International Spirits Competition. Highway is distilled six times, keeping only the hearts of the run to preserve the nuance of the grain and oils from the hemp and corn. The hemp acts as a super fuel to the yeast, forming a thick layer of oil during fermentation. The process yields a smoother product that has a noticeably different viscosity and mouth feel than other vodkas.” Highway is a part of the Nearest & Jack Advancement initiative, a program designed to promote diversity and advance African-American leadership in the American spirits industry. Williams, a Howard University graduate and fifth-generation Texan, oversees Highway’s business operations with Robbins, who has a Ph.D. in economics from Southern Mississippi. Robbins’ daughter Codi Fuller, 26, is lead distiller—one of the only Black female distillers in the U.S. Highway Vodka is available in Georgia, Florida, Southern California, Texas, and online at reservebar.com. Retails for approx. $25.

Brewdog, according to press materials “the world’s most sustainable and U.S.’s fastest growing craft brewery,” announced that its newest U.S. location will open in Atlanta, Georgia on the Atlanta Beltline on Krog Street during Spring 2022. The new space will boast 28 taps, a beer school, and more. As a preview of what’s to come to my hometown, I was sent a summer mix of brews: Double Punk, Elvis Juice grape infused IPA, Hazy Jane New England style IPA, Clock Work Tangerine Citrus Session IPA, Punk IPA Post Modern Classic, Light Speed Hazy IPA, Juice Shack Tropical Milkshake IPA, Pulp Patriot Blueberry Milkshake IPA, plus four Clean & Press hard seltzers: black cherry white peach, mixed berry, and grapefruit & blood orange. All are well-balanced and delicious. Since I’m not a fan of blueberries or IPAs, I was most impressed by the Pulp Patriot Blueberry Milkshake IPA: It’s as smooth as ice cream and lip-licking good. In addition to other mixes and items, the Summer Mix 12-pack can be ordered online for $21.99. Based on the deliciousness of the summer mix, you may want to grab the Advent Calendar.

Rías Baixas Albariño is a reliable source for the ultimate in food-friendly white wine across a wide array of labels. Crack open a bottle and whatever you’re serving, odds are this varietal will make an elegant pairing. Press materials boast, “What makes Rías Baixas Albariño special? In a word: salinity. Kissed by ocean breezes, Rías Baixas shares more than 1,000 miles of coastline with the Atlantic Ocean. As a result, the wines from this region have a mineral-driven character, balanced with refreshing acidity and floral, stone fruit, citrus zest notes for which the region is known.” Albariño is consistently crisp, aromatic, refreshing, and elegant. We sampled three: Mar de Viñas, with balanced notes of pear, apple, banana, citrus; Vionta, with notes of citrus, green apple, and minerals; and Burgans, with floral, citrus, and mineral notes. Each retails for approx. $12.

Round Barn Winery’s Black Walnut Cream Wine is a velvety, indulgent digestif. It opens with notes of coffee and chocolate and builds some spicy complexity on the lingering finish. Retails for approx. $26. For a seasonal sipper, try it in The Nutty Pumpkin cocktail: Combine 1.5 oz. vodka (e.g., Round Barn’s DiVine Vodka), 0.5 oz. Round Barn Winery’s Black Walnut Cream, and 1.5 oz. pumpkin spice creamer in a shaker with ice and shake thoroughly. Line an empty glass with caramel syrup. Strain the shaken mixture into the glass. Garnish with a cinnamon stick. Cheers!

Round Barn Winery’s Weekend Wines are pleasantly sweet, fruit-forward sips available in red, white, and rose. All have 100 calories per serving, so you can TGIF after the work week with little guilt. (But nobody is going to blame you if you can’t wait until Friday evening to crack open a bottle.) Retails for approx. $13 per bottle.

Clubtails come in a variety of ready-to-drink flavors. We sampled four canned cocktails: Sunny Margarita, Sex on the Beach, Bahama Mama, and Screwdriver. (A variety of other cocktail flavors plus seltzers are also available.) All are sweet without going overboard and pour cocktail flavors that are true to their names and meet expectations. According to press materials, Clubtails have a “proprietary fermented malt base like traditional beer, but with an extra kick!” They’re sold in 24-oz. cans, 16-oz. cans, six packs of 11.2-oz. bottles, a variety pack of 8 16-oz. cans, a party pack of 12 11.2-oz. bottles, and a mix pack of 12 12-oz. sleek cans.

Johny Bootlegger is inspired by the Prohibition era of the 1920s. If offers nine flavors, all at 12% alcohol by volume. We sampled Alcatraz Sour Apple, Syndicate City Sour Peach, and Sing Sing Sour Grape, all of which are reminiscent of Jolly Rogers. The peach offers a smooth pop of fresh flavor. The apple works when shaken with ice and served as a martini. According to press materials, “Johny Bootlegger is crafted from a proprietary fermented malt base like traditional beer, but with an extra kick!” Available in 375-ml. and 200-ml. flasks.

Volcanica Coffee Company, based in Atlanta, Georgia, offers more than 150 exotic coffees sourced from volcanic regions around the world. Order online for home delivery whenever you need or crave whole beans or ground coffee—and you can make sure that you never run out of coffee with the company’s new subscription service. According to press materials, “Volcanica Coffee’s exclusive variety includes single-origin, estate, peaberry, decaffeinated, and flavored coffees grown in the mineral-rich soil from volcanic regions. Recognized for the aromatic and remarkable flavor, each selection embodies the best each from terroir and mountain mists.” Coffees are roasted on-demand in a state-of-the-art facility. Bags are 16-oz.—larger than typical, so you get more for your money. I’d been searching for a low-acid coffee and found one here in my backyard: This Low Acid Coffee is a blend of natural low acidic coffees with beans from Brazil, Sumatra, and other Arabica coffees grown at lower altitudes. It’s easy-to-swallow even if you have acid-related sensitivity and pours smooth, rich flavor. Some other popular coffees include organic Ethiopian Yirgacheffe, Costa Rica Peaberry, Tanzania Peaberry, and Jamaica Blue Mountain. Prices vary, starting from $16+ per 16-oz. bag.

True North Pure Energy Seltzer is a non-alcoholic carbonated thirst-quencher billed as “all natural” made with a “plant-based organic energy blend, enhanced immunity support, and zero sugar, calories, or artificial sweeteners or colors.” Ingredients are non-GMO and gluten-free. The current flavor lineup includes cucumber lime, mandarin yuzu, watermelon mist, grapefruit lemonade, white peach pear, and black cherry. Crack open a can and the aroma makes your mouth water. The flavor is present as described, and pleasant, but soft: “sparking water” is the dominate flavor. These are packed with more caffeine than a Coke Zero, so if you’re not accustomed to caffeine drinking one may keep you up at night. 12 packs of 12-oz. cans retail on Amazon for just under $25.

Sovi Wine Co., a Sommelier-owned non-alcoholic wine company, recently launched its fresh non-alcoholic rosé. Crafted with premium, sustainably-grown grapes from California vineyards, Sovi Rosé is dry and bubbly with notes of pink grapefruit, cherry, and watermelon—the aromas are bold, flavors soft. Order online for direct shipment: A 4-pack of 8 oz. cans of Sovi Sparkling Rosé retails for $24.

Pamela’s Whenever Bars are gluten-free, corn syrup-free, and made using only non-GMO verified ingredients. They are softer than many granola bars, denser than many cookies, and pure yum. Enjoy them with coffee for a quick breakfast on-the-go and/or as an afternoon snack. My husband and I sampled Oat Cranberry Almond, Oat Raisin Walnut Spice, Oat Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip, and Oat Chocolate Chip Coconut. All made our mouths and tummies happy, but the oat chocolate chip coconut won out as my personal favorite. Retails for $5.49 for a box of 5 1.41-oz. bars.

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.

Hope S. Philbrick is founder and editor-in-chief of Getaways for Grownups. Her work has appeared in dozens of publications nationwide. She’s written about wines and spirits for more years than she cares to admit. When not writing, she can usually be found on the road or savoring something tasty.

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