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2000 Labégorce, Margaux $39.99

A great value in Bordeaux! This bottle is mature enough to drink now, but has time in hand if you want to keep it in the cellar for the future. We love it for its laid back elegance and classic balance. A must try for your next nice steak dinner.

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Free Spirits Tastings at K&L! Now that we have our license for spirits tastings in Redwood City and San Francisco, we’re excited to host regular free spirits tastings in those locations.  Check the Spirits Journal for an updated tasting schedule.

All tastings will feature different products from the Spirits Department and take place on Wednesdays in Redwood City and San Francisco. Visit our events page on Facebook or the K&L Spirits Journal for more information.

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Entries in aperitivo (4)

Thursday
Feb142013

Just in Time for Valentine's Day: The New Cocchi Americano Rosa!

     Just arrived! From Cocchi with love on Valentine's Day, the new Cocchi Aperitivo Americano Rosa is in stock now at K&L!

By: Chiara Shannon | K&L Head Sommelier - Personal Sommelier Service

Happy Valentine's Day from K&L!

Whether you're into wine, spirits, cocktails, amari, or simply like to be in-the-know when it comes to the latest must-have products in the booze world (or all of the above!), we have the perfect V-Day treat to share with you. From the House of Cocchi, responsible for Cocchi Americano and Cocchi Vermouth di Torino (and by extension all those wonderful revival cocktails like the Corpse Reviver #2) comes a brand new rosé version made from a base wine of native Italian varietals typically used for sparkling wines -Brachetto d'Acqui and Malvasia di Castelnuovo Don Bosco - aromatized with gentian, cinchona and citrus. Released just last month, this just arrived this week and has been tested and approved by staff with raving reviews.

K&L Spirits Buyer David Driscoll writes: "...the Cocchi Americano Rosa ($18.99) has the lush mouthfeel and weight of a sweet vermouth, the fruit of a sangria, and the spice of a mulled wine, finishing with a tingle of bitterness on the tongue. It's absolutely delicious. Time to make a rose-colored gin martini!"

K&L Champagne Buyer Gary Westby says: "If you are a fan of bitter aperitivos, the Cocchi Americano Rosa can't be missed. This bottle was open in the K&L tasting bar at the same that I was doing the staff Champagne seminar, and between groups I could not resist making a little Champagne cocktail with it. It was spectacular mixed with half good quality blanc de blancs, and also quite tasty on its own. I am going to buy a bottle today and try it at home in a black (or shall I say Rosa?) Manhattan with Elmer T. Lee Single Barrel Bourbon ($24.99) and a Luxardo Maraschino cherry!"

And notes from Yours Truly: "Lovely stuff! A brand new offering from Cocchi, this is a fresher, lighter in body, and a fruitier version of their Vermouth de Torino with subtle aromatic suggestions of Chinato. Red and blackberries, earth flowers, and woodsy, spiced herbs meld for a similarly fruity yet sweetly bitter style of Vermouth. Serve on the rocks (with or without soda) with a lemon or lime twist or top with Champagne (got an open bottle of Ruinart Blanc de Blancs sitting around?) for a sparkling aperitif. Not to heavy, not too sweet, there is a lot of potential for creative cocktail-making here...from martinis to Sangria! Served chilled after dinner, this would also make a delicious pairing with a strong spicy blue cheese (like cabrales, gorgonzola, or roquefort) accompanied by a side of spiced chutney, candied citrus peel, or quince paste."

It won't be long before you start seeing this pop up at certain drinking holes in town - now you can be among the first to get mixing at home.

Cheers,

-Chiara

Now in stock! Cocchi Aperitivo Americano Rosa 750ml ($19.99)

 

Wednesday
Jun302010

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

Tuesday
Jun222010

A Spritz of Summer

The Spritz

2 oz. Prosecco - Try the Cima da Conegliano ($15.99) or the Drusian Extra Dry ($14.99)

1 1/2 oz Aperol

A splash soda water or seltzer

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