As published in Drink Me Magazine
With winter waving at us with its chilly fingers, it’s the time of year to sit by a fireplace while sipping on a cozy cocktail. From the far reaches of the world, these spirits are a perfect cure for the cold as ingredients to yummy winter cocktails or as great companions to sip neat. Whatever way you like it, these will kick start your countdown to 2015.
Amaro Montenegro – Italy – 46 proof
Making me want to climb the Dolomites with its bouquet of sage, bay leaf, honeysuckle, and grapefruit. Its semi-sweet nature offers a breath of fresh air with lively acidity, lemon verbena, honeyed tea, and a bitter blood orange finish.
Angel’s Envy – Rye Whiskey – Kentucky – 100 proof
Roguish pirate acquires southern charm with whiffs of crushed tobacco softened by baked peach, ripe cherry, and toasted sugar cane. Its silky feel is amped with zippy character and a rustic vanilla bean finish.
McClelland’s – Speyside – Scotland – 80 proof
A female bodybuilder wearing a sundress. A perfume of vanilla flower, cherry, and nectarine lead into a smoky wood fire. Its downy structure bulks up with flavors of pepper, cedar, ash, and a spicy kick at the end.
St George Spirits – Spiced Pear Liqueur – California – 40 proof
Makes me want to fly my magic broomstick with its bewitching nuances of cinnamon pear cider, clove, allspice, and aniseed. Its decadent demeanor is lifted by fresh acidity and flavors of pear juice with a squeeze of orange.
AO – Vodka – Japan – 80 proof
Salaryman meets Japanese punk rock youth. Clean scents of steamed sticky rice, cherry blossoms, and dry pebbles are soon challenged by a surprisingly curvaceous body and grainy kick of lip-piercing spice.
Lotus – Vodka – Italy – 80 proof
Certainly not your average vodka. Aromatics of ginseng root, wild flowers, and chalky minerality come knocking before its smooth buoyancy floods your palate with notes of almond, black pepper, and dusty herbs.
The BenRiach – Horizons 12 YO Triple Distilled – Scotland – 100 proof
Like a bearded Scotsman holding a daisy, it expresses smoky cinnamon stick and tar with white peach, apricot, and white flowers. Its rugged cigar box flavors reveal light peat and vanilla oil.
Gran Dovejo – Tequila Blanco – Mexico – 80 proof
A smoky ashtray ambiance filled by fresh agave, key lime, and black olive flow in the nose while a robust smoothness unfolds additional notes of spice and distinct minerality on the palate.
Lejay – Creme de Cassis – France – 36 proof
If you’re into to blackcurrants, this is the bee’s knees. Its stunning deep ruby complexion exposes high frequencies of succulent blackcurrant, raspberry, elderflower, and peony. Luscious, velvety, and even a little tart, this is one tasty concoction!
Fernet-Vallet – Mexico – 70 proof
Like mystical afternoons in the Arabian Desert, it reveals depths of cardamom, dates, and espresso beans. Opaque color and midsized weight, its radiance further lends flavors of cola, herbs, and an orange peel finish.
TINCUP – American Whiskey – Colorado, USA – 84 proof
Like Robert Redford as the Sundance Kid, it’s handsome, witty, and rugged with a wild side. Its suave charm and masculine build combine hints of alpine forest, red cherry, baked peaches, cardamom, and smoked wood. Hubba hubba.
Tito’s – Handmade Vodka – Austin, Texas – 80 proof
Like that high school bad boy smoking menthol cigarettes behind the gymnasium. Attractive with a creamy mouthfeel turned rebellious by a hefty punch of spices, black pepper, and grilled corn.
Fuenteseca Extra Añejo 12 Year Tequila – Mexico – 90 proof
Majestically pristine with pleasant perfumes of sweet peach, iris, vanilla flower, and tobacco leaf. Its feather-like weight proves a powerful complexity with smoky flavors of red chili pepper and Mexican chocolate. Tequila that knows what it’s doing.