What We’re Into Right Now

A monthly installment covering what, where and how the editors of PUNCH are drinking. This month, pét-nat cider, kümmel-rinsed Manhattans, a Canary Islands stalwart, small-format cocktails and more.

Each month, we pull together a selection of drinking-related items that have, for one reason or another, grabbed the attention of PUNCH’s editors, who spend pretty much all day, every day surrounded by booze. Here’s what we’re into right now.

Frontón de Oro Tinto | Talia Baiocchi, Editor in Chief
I used to mainline this wine about six or seven years ago when the Canary Islands were having their “Here we are!” moment. I’d all but forgotten about until this month, when I spotted a couple bottles at my local wine shop. It’s still lights-out at around $15. The tinto is primarily listán negro (with a bit of tintilla thrown in) from the island of Grand Canaria, the largest in the archipelago. It’s floral, peppery with the sort of windswept freshness that makes the red wines from the Canaries so compelling. It’s also a good reminder that discovery isn’t always about looking forward, but following the bread trail back to see what you’ve left behind amid the quest for the shiny and new.

Small Pours at Gideon Sweet | Chloe Frechette, Assistant Editor
At Gideon Sweet in Chicago’s West Loop, a menu of small pours from Folkart consultant Alex Bachman invites exploration for the noncommittal. Its an appropriate accompaniment to chef Graham Elliot and Matthias Merges’s naschen-style menu, which encourages sampling from a variety of small plates. But if you pop in just for drinks, as I did on a recent visit, it stands well on its own; each offering includes a thoughtful pairing—cured angelica leaf with the Ti’ Punch, aged mimolette with the Martini—for a tasting menu in miniature.

Suarez Family Brewing | Bianca Prum, Managing Editor
We recently visited this gem of a brewery in the Hudson Valley on our team retreat and walked away smitten. It was near impossible not to, between the chill vibes exuded by owner-operators Dan and Tay (and their dog, Chickie) and the ramshackle former lamp factory they work out of. The best part, though, was the current Domain release, which is part of a series of limited-edition beers created by experimentally blending beers in the brewery, often of different styles. The current variation conjures up the creaminess of an orange Push Pop balanced by bracing acidity. You can only get it if you pay a visit, which I recommend you do ASAP.

Spicy Canary at Diamond Reef | Lizzie Munro, Senior Editor
It’s easy to be “into” frozen drinks at Brooklyn’s Diamond Reef, where the three slushy machines consistently churn out two seasonal, rotating offerings, plus Penichillins (duh). On a recent visit, I snubbed the late-winter blues with a Spicy Canary, which is basically a frozen mango Margarita, topped with cayenne. Pretty sure I’ll be drinking these through spring, summer… or, honestly, however long they stay on the menu.

Shacksbury Limited Cellar Release: 2016 Pét Nat | Allison Hamlin, Social Media Editor
Here at PUNCH, we’ve been following the evolution of pét-nat for a while. This limited cellar release from Vermont’s Shacksbury Cider takes the form in a new direction as the first American-made pét-nat cider. The fruit for this bottling is foraged from multiple wild orchards and is fermented entirely with natural yeasts, which finish their primary fermentation in bottle. The result is a bone-dry cider with a slight effervescence and a twinge of funk. It drinks like the lovechild of a Loire natural wine and a lambic—the best sort of crossover.

Kümmel | Robert Simonson, Contributing Editor
I’ve been playing around with kümmel lately. It’s not a liqueur that has seen a revival during the cocktail revolution of the past 15 years—understandably, given its strong caraway-cumin flavor profile. But I love an underdog. Bartender Jim Kearns reminded me of a Martini variation called the Allies that uses a few dashes of the stuff. Then, historian David Wondrich suggested using a kümmel rinse in preparing a rye Manhattan. Since then, I’ve put the drink in my regular rotation at home, where I make a great many Manhattans.

Domaine de Bellivière Les P’tits Vélos | Megan Krigbaum, Contributing Editor
For the past few years, I’ve been drinking Domaine de Bellivière’s L’Effraie, a slighty off-dry chenin from the Loire Valley’s Coteaux-du-Loir area. This week I had a chance to try their Les P’tits Vélos, the first sparkling wine that winemakers Eric and Christine Nicolas have ever released to the public. Made from the 2013 harvest, in the traditional Champagne method, this no-dosage wine wasn’t disgorged until 2017; it’s super dry and lemony, but abounding with peak summer peachiness—ideal for spring drinking.

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