Do your friends know the difference between raicilla and mezcal? Can they list more than three types of amaro? This is the list for the adventurous palate. Introduce them to Licor de Elote, red absinthe, or yuzu gin.
This revelatory natural red vermouth comes from the biodynamic vineyards of Quentin Bourse. There are overtones of spices both sweet and savoury that are balanced with the ripe, juicy fruit of the wineall balanced by an electrifying acidity and a dry finish of tea tannins. Drinks incredibly well simply on its own.
Faccia Brutto Fernet Pianta $44.96
This highly giftable bottle is made in Brooklyn by a former chef with a penchant for everything Italian and vintage. This is evident in the striking labels that adorn their bottles and in the care they take to create this potent, layered fernet. Any fan of fernet will be struck by this exquisite alternative.
A far cry from the fluorescent red absinthes you may have seen floating around, Doc Herson’s all natural iteration has the addition of hibiscus to thank for its vibrant color. As a whole, the profile is more floral, delicate, and invigorating than most bitter-leaning, spicy red absinthes.
Nixta Licor de Elote $31.96
A spirit that goes at the heart of Mexican cuisine and culture as much as any agave spirit. To create this elote liqueur, Abasolo corn spirit is infused with heirloom early harvest tender corn on the cob along with a sweet mash of Cacahuzintle hominy. The sweet corn notes are reminiscent of dried stone fruits, fragrant herbs, roasted acorns, stewed rhubarb, dried chile, condensed coconut milk and vanilla. This is a definite must-have addition to any creative home bar.
If there’s a rum lover on your list, choose Clairin for a new experience. Wild fermentation, pot distillation to proof, and aging in very rare ex-Caroni rum casks impart an underbelly of smoky earth and spice to this Haitin option. And if your recipient is already a fan of the sugarcane spirit, chances are they won’t have this one— it’s an Astor Wines & Spirits exclusive bottling.
If there’s someone on your list looking to get into the world of artisanal mezcal, this example made from Espadin—the most widely cultivated agave varietal and one that sits firmly in the center of the flavor spectrum—is a great introduction. This expression is elegant yet complex, with earthy notes of summer melon, smoky grilled herbs, and minerals.
Yuzu Japanese Gin $71.96
This impressive Japanese gin is made from a base of sweet potato shochu and additions of local botanicals such as juniper berries, yuzu, sansho, hebesu, hyuganatsu, sweet potato, and rice koji. The flavors are full of vibrant citrus, earth, and spice. Incredibly precise. A lightning bolt on the palate.