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One of the most serious English Sparkling producers. This historic estate has been in the Goring family since 1743. The tiny 16-acre vineyard is close-planted on a steep south-facing chalk escarpment described as 'similar to the Côte des Blancs' in Champagne. The fruit is picked very selectively with quality being the absolute focus. The grapes are pressed gently using a traditional Coquard press. After three years on the lees this wine, composed of 45% Pinot Noir, 33% Chardonnay & 22% Pinot Meunier, is hand disgorged and balanced with a minimal dosage of just 4g/L. It has a fine counterbalance between toasty richness and power from the wines élevage in Burgundian French Oak barrels, with racy acidity, tension and a focused chalky minerality.

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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 cocktails (12)

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

Click to read more ...

Friday
May282010

Caipirinha: The National Cocktail of Brazil

We have a national bird; the Brazilians have a national cocktail: Caipirinha. Perhaps this explains why they seem to know a lot more about having fun than we do. 

But we can try, right?

In San Francisco, Memorial Day weekend is celebrated with a Latin flare.  For three decades running, the Mission District - the historical and cultural "heart" of San Francisco - hosts one of the largest Latin Carnival festivals in the country over Memorial Day weekend.  Its a weekend of vivid colors, live performance, and non-stop dance.

A distant cousin to Cuba's Mojito, Caipirinha is made from cachaça (pronounced "ca-cha-za"), an alcoholic beverage distilled from fermented sugar cane juice.

Can't find your headdress? No worries, you can still samba in the streets and celebrate life with this easy to make summer cocktail!

Brazilian Caipirinha:

Ingredients:

2 oz Cachaça (try Ypioca Silver Cachaca)
1 quarter fresh lime
1 oz lime juice
1 bar spoon sugar

Directions:

Muddle spoon sugar and lime for 5 seconds. Add Cachaça and 1 oz lime juice. Shake the mixture and strain into a rocks glass over ice.  EASY!

Caipirinha with Basil (Created by Michael Waterhouse of Devin Tavern, NYC and courtesy of Beleza Brazil)

2 oz Beleza Pura Cachaça
1 quarter fresh lime
1 oz lime juice
1 bar spoon sugar
10 basil leaves
1 bar spoon white pepper corns
Garnish: Sprig of Basil

Muddle 1 bar spoon of white pepper corns - add sugar, 1 lime quarter and basil leaves – muddle for 5 seconds. Add Beleza Pura Cachaça and 1 oz lime juice. Shake the mixture and strain into a rocks glass over ice. Garnish with sprig of basil.

Tin Tin!

Posted by:

Chiara Shannon

Head Sommelier

Personal Sommelier Service | Tastings

email: sommelier@klwines.com