Mixed Case: Toast Any Occasion

Twelve Tasty Sips

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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

Whether you can’t wait to celebrate the winter holidays or are rushing headlong into 2020 hoping it’s (finally!) going to be a better year (we’re due, right?), here’s a Mixed Case to suit any mood and occasion. Cheers!

2016 The Federalist Bourbon Barrel-Aged Zinfandel is a 100% varietal aged six months in American white oak barrels and then another six months in charred American oak barrels that previously held bourbon. The juicy wine bounces around the mouth with notes of raspberry, dark cherries, black pepper, vanilla, clove and caramel. Retails for approx. $22.

2017 Big Max Cabernet Sauvignon is what to grab when you crave red wine, whether or not you’re serving red meats. With softer tannins than some Cabs (in a good way), this pours notes of cherry, berry, and some spice. Retails for approx. $30.

2018 Belleruche Rosé is a blend of 50% Grenache, 40% Syrah and 10% Cinsault that hails from France’s Côtes-du-Rhône region. It opens with a soft floral aromas and tastes of green apple, mineral, lemongrass, grapefruit pith, green melon, black pepper, and olive oil. Dry and food-friendly, it’s a versatile crowd-pleaser. Retails for approx. $17.

Amarula Cream Liqueur showcases the fruit of the marula tree, which grows only in sub-equatorial Africa. This one-of-a-kind spirit—which won a gold medal at the New York International Spirits Competition in 2016—offers caramel and citrus notes alongside smooth cream. Sip this lip-licking treat on its own over ice, splash it into coffee, or cut it with some vodka. Retails for approx. $24.

Greenhook Ginsmiths American Dry Gin offers elegant aromas and flavors of citrus and with subtler notes of coriander, chamomile, elderflower, ginger, and spice. It opens softly and builds to lovely array of flavors. According to press materials, “This gin is distilled under low pressure vacuum for a bright, robust flavor profile.” It earned the Double Gold Medal at the “50 Best Tasting Competition” in 2013. Enjoyable on its own and in a martini, it also makes one heck of a good gin and tonic. Retails for approx. $36.

According to press materials, “After several years spent planning, experimenting, and building a distillery in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn, New York, Greenhook Ginsmiths opened its door in 2012. Founded by gin enthusiast and Brooklyn natives Steven DeAngelo and his brother Philip, Greenhood Ginsmiths have quickly emerged as America’s premier gin artisans.”

Greenhook Ginsmiths Gin & Tonic ready-to-drink cocktail is handy whenever mixing a cocktail is impossible (e.g., you’re sitting in a canoe) and/or too overwhelming (e.g., you’re elbow-deep in making gravy and Uncle Hal needs a refill). Made with Greenhook American Dry Gin and a proprietary tonic recipe, this canned cocktail isn’t chintzy with the booze. Best served over ice with a lime wedge. 4-pack of 200ml cans retails for approx. $21.

Giuliana Prosecco NV is a sparkling wine that, according to press materials, was “inspired by Giuliana Rancic, a popular TV host, designer, best-selling author, and mom.” Made 100% of Glera grapes, it offers notes of golden apple, pear, orchard, and a hint of fresh bread. Retails for approx. $15.

Riondo Prosecco is named for Mount Riondo, and is, according to press materials, “the Collis-Riondo brand dedicated to the Charmat method DOC sparkling wines.” Crisp and food-friendly, it’s made of 100% Glera grapes and offers notes of golden apple, pear, and blossoms. Retails for approx. $15.

Grappa is the most ancient and traditional distillate of Northern Italy. Founded in 1897 by Orazino Nonino in the Friuli region of Italy, Nonino “changed the way the world views grappa,” according to press materials. “Benito Nonino, his wife Giannola, and their three daughters Cristina, Antonella, and Elisabetta, continue to lead Italian distillers through their devotion to research, quality and innovation. In 1984, Benito and Giannola solidified their status as industry leaders by introducing the world’s first single-vineyard, single-grape distillate produced using whole grape clusters. This product, known as ÚE (pronounced “Oo-ay”) further revolutionized the industry and introduced distillates with uniquely intense aroma and flavor components. Today, Nonino’s extensive product line revolves around its award-winning grappas and revolutionary ÚEs” offered in elegant bottles—most of which are hand blown.

Nonino Grappa Vendemmia is a clear spirit with strong notes of grapefruit pith, apricot, raisins, black pepper, and lighter fluid. The finish is long and pleasant as strong flavors taper off to a delightful lingering heat. Recommended pairings include fish, sushi, cream-based sweets, and ice-cream; try adding a light splash to a fruit salad. Retails for approx. $45.

Nonino Grappa Vendemmia Riserva is unlike others in the Nonino portfolio: It’s aged over 18 months in barriques and small casks. Aging softens the sharp edges and rounds out the heat with tequila-like results. Retails for approx. $50.

Grappa hits the nose with strong alcohol vapors. The pros at Nonino recommend “It should be served at about 12°C in an open tulip shaped glass. Before tasting, it should rest in the glass for minutes: taking oxygen the fragrances are exalted making the nose-palate harmony complete.” If you want to learn from the experts, visit the official Nonino Borgo.

Nonino Amaro Quintessentia offers notes of burnt orange peel, caramel, cinnamon, allspice, and candied nuts with faint anise. This unique spirit is aged for five years in small barrique (Nevers, Limousin, and ex-Sherry woods). Retails for approx. $55.

Nonino L’Apertivo Botanical Drink was inspired by ancient herb infusion recipes that were originally used for medicinal purposes, though the Noninos aimed to craft a spirit purely for pleasure. In 2018, descendants tapped into the family’s historical archives to refresh the original Aperitivo recipe. The cheery yellow infusion of botanical herbs, flowers, roots and fruits boasts notes of lemon, candied orange peel, berries, and grassy hay. Enjoy it on its own (it sips like a cousin to limoncello) or try it in place of triple sec in a cocktail recipe. Retails for approx. $40.

 

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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