Sipping to a different side
Out-of-the-ordinary bitters, beers and wine
Do you like beating a different drum and walking on the wild side? I do. And I like sipping some unusual drinks. Let’s explore a few libations off the beaten palate.
Let’s begin at the beginning with an apertif — Aperol. Slightly sedate and perhaps less-known compared to its counterpart Campari, Aperol also is considered a “bitter.”
It was created in 1919 but didn’t gain favor until after World War II. It’s flavored with bitter orange, gentian, cinchona, rhubarb and other herbal essences. It’s milder and smoother than Campari with less alcohol (11 percent).
One of the most famous ways to mix it is in the Aperol Spritz: 3 parts Prosecco, 2 parts Aperol and 1 splash of club soda.
Gose beer? I had to look this one up and give it a chug. It’s pronounced “Gose-uh.” This is an unfiltered wheat style of beer from Leipzig, Germany. It’s made with 50-60 percent malted wheat and has a crispness to it. Salt and spices like ground coriander are added to the brew. Think of wheat and SweetTarts combined.
Let’s finish with some wines you may not have encountered before. The first is Soave (pronounced So-ah-ve) from Italy’s Verona area; it’s made from the Garganega grape. There is a purity to Soave that I love. I taste the essence of wine without oak — minerals and stone flavors coupled with tart apple and lemon notes — coming through in this refreshing style of white wine.
Another is Carignan, often used as a blending grape. It hails from France and Spain (Carinena) but is gaining popularity worldwide. It is typically high in tannin and acid and is often made with carbonic maceration to soften it. You don’t see a lot of Carignan produced as a single variety, so when you find a good one, you truly will treasure it.
Inama Vin Soave, Soave Classico 2013, Verona, Italy — $16.99
Made from the Garganega grape, the wine is lively and frisky with tart apple, pear and lemon flavors and a lovely stony taste.
Anderson Valley Blood Orange Gose six-pack cans — $10.99
A wheat beer flavored with coriander, salt and blood orange (among other things), this is a terrific new sweet/sour style of beer in which to indulge.
Aperol, bitter aperitivo liqueur — $23.99
Bittersweet with orange and spice flavors; a must-try for a refreshing summer sipper.
Neyers Carignan, Evangelho Vineyard 2012, Contra Costa Country, California — $37.99
Wine Spectator’s Jim Laube calls this the best wine he’s had from the area. Earthy, spicy and intense with loads of juicy black fruit balanced with medium- plus tannins. Different is divine.