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The Freewheel line with a couple of English friends.

It takes a lot of beer to keep the wine business running smoothly. Here in Redwood City, we are very fortunate to have a great English style ale producer right in our backyard: Freewheel Brewing Company. The staff of K&L are fictures at our local pub, and it is a rare moment when one of us isn't there having a pint and a bite of their excellent food. We are also lucky enough to be the first place to offer their bottled beer for sale. If you have never had it, the Freewheel Brewing "FSB" Freewheel Special Bitter, California (500ml) is the benchmark in fresh, balanced, smashable ale. We will do our best to keep some in stock for you, the customer too!

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Tasting with Oliver Krug

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We host regular weekly and Saturday wine tastings in each K&L location.

For the complete calendar, including lineups and additional details related to our events, visit our K&L Local Events on or follow us on Facebook.  


Visit our events page on Facebook or the K&L Spirits Journal for more information.

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Entries in aperitif (5)


Champagne Friday: Negroni Sbagliato

By: Gary Westby | K&L Champagne Buyer

As this is the first Friday of summer, I thought it would be the perfect time to share the recipe and for one of my favorite Champagne cocktails, the Negroni Sbagliato, or “Wrong Negroni”. I usually like to make Champagne cocktails with Champagne that has been sitting in the fridge with a stopper in it for a while, and I would encourage you to do the same. This drink is a little bit bitter, and an excellent aperitif.

Since the list of ingredients is very short (5 if you include the ice) the little details shown in today's videos are quite important in making it the best it can be.  I hope you will try it!

Here are the ingredients:

1 tall glass full of fresh ice

2 ounces red vermouth (I used Cocchi Vermouth Torino)

2 ounces Campari

3-4 ounces Champagne (I used J. Lassalle 1er Cru Brut Champagne)

1 Fresh Orange Twist


A toast to you,


Check out more educational wine & spirits videos from the experts at K&L on YouTube!


Wine Wednesday: 2009 Monçao Coop "Trajarinho" Vinho Verde

Last Wednesday's wine struck up a little ire in one of our readers, not because he wasn't a fan, but because he felt, with the state of the economy, that $35 Brunello was out of touch, expensive. While I stand by the fact that $35 is a helluva deal for good Brunello, which can cost upwards of $50 or $75 bottle, it's definitely not suited to every budget. But at just $8.99, this Wednesday's wine is both affordable and fantastic!

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Corpse Reviver Revived: New Aperitif Wines and a Tasting

"A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down…"

—Mary Poppins

It turns out that Mary Poppins wasn't full of s%$@ when she chirped those immortal words. And while she probably wasn't trying to get the Banks' kids to drink quinine either, that spoonful of sugar concept gave birth to a whole category of elixirs, starting in the mid-1800s, designed to mask that malaria-fighting substance's bitterness with sugar, herbs and fruits. Quinquinas or chinati, as they're called in Italian, are aperitifs made with the bark of the Amazonian cinchona tree, and they're steadily re-gaining a foothold here in the States with the introduction of a number of products, including Bonal Gentiane-Quina, Cocchi Americano and Vergano's "Luli" and "Americano" chinati.

No, there isn't a malaria epidemic in Poughkeepsie that you haven't heard about. The growing interest in quiquinas has nothing to do with their medicinal qualities; it's just another chapter in the cocktail renaissance that made the aughts bearable. What the geekiest of barkeeps discovered as they were reviving classic cocktail recipes was that to mix a proper Corpse Reviver #2 or Vesper without Kina Lillet, the biting, quinine-laced version of the famed aperitif, was like pedaling a bike with flat tires. You could do it, but something definitely wasn't right.

The incredible Eric Seed of Haus Alpenz, who is responsible for returning other rare spirits to market such as Crème de Violette and Batavia Arrack, recognized the deficit and began importing Bonal Gentiane-Quina ($18.99), which has been made in France since 1865. A Mistelle-based infusion of bitter gentian and cinchona combined with a secret blend of herbs from the Grand Chartreuse Mountains, Bonal's tamarind, Tootsie Roll and espresso-like character makes it a delicious substitution for red vermouth in the Negroni and a more-than-adequate substitute for Kina Lillet in the Corpse Reviver #2. At L'Ermitage Restaurant in Beverly Hills, bar manager Alex mixes a stir spoon of it into a "Whisketo" with two ounces of Bourbon and a stir spoon of Luxardo Maraschino, all prepared like a Sazerac and finished neat with a lemon or orange twist. And when you're not looking for a drink to bring you back from the dead (or the zombie-like depths of a hangover), the Bonal can be enjoyed neat or with a twist as a party-starting aperitif.

Cocchi "Americano" Chinato ($18.99), also imported by Seed, is the je ne sais quoi, that can make sense of the Vesper, a martini popularized by James Bond and responsible for all the "shaken not stirred" references in modern cocktail culture. Long a staple in Asti, Italy, Cocchi has been made using the same recipe of fruits, spices, cinchona, gentian and citrus on a Moscato d'Asti base since 1891. It can also be used in the Corpse Reviver #2 (try the recipe on the back of the bottle), but drinks beautifully on the rocks with just a splash of soda to jump start its aromatic fireworks.

In addition to the two offerings from Haus Alpenz, we also recently brought in the two chinati from Italy's Vergano (via Farm Imports) that are delightful aperitivos, though a bit more intense than the Aperol-inspired Spritz I wrote about last week.  These are made by Mauro Vergano, a chemist by trade who tinkered around with making chinati in his spare time. After 20 years, his homebrews are like the Porsche Panamera of chinati, refined, elegant and precise. The Vergano "Luli" Moscato ($46.99) starts with Moscato d'Asti from Alessandra and Gianluigi Bera of Bera Vittorio & Figli and suffuses it with quinine, orange rind, wormwood and sugar, along with a mysterious mix of herbs and spices. Sweet orange, ginger and celery notes dominate this chinato, which Jon Bonne of the San Francisco Chronicle describes as bursting "with notes of orange, clove, bitter herbs, Meyer lemons and hay, with more sweetness and bite than vermouth and a subtle lingering bitterness."  

The Vergano "Americano" Chinato ($39.99) is a little less bitter than the Luli, and would be a good segue from milder aperitvos like Aperol to more bitter amari. It has a plum color and bouquet of tamarind, strong coffee and sour cherries. Slightly tannic upfront, but peppery and slightly sweet on the mid-palate, the American finishes with homey clove and nutmeg spice. Try it straight, in a Spritz, with just a little bit of orange zest on the rocks, or try Oregon bartender Jeffery Morgenthaler's "The Beauty Beneath," where the Americano plays with a little rum and Cointreau.

If you're still a bit skeptical, or think all these quinquinas and chinati are just a bitter pill, come taste them for yourself at our Hollywood store TOMORROW. Our spirits buyer David Othenin-Girard will be on hand pouring these, as well as the new Dolin and Sutton Vermouths, Lillet Blanc and the Carpano Antica used in Friday's Master Cherry Cocktail. Only $5! From 5:30-7:30pm.

Leah Greenstein