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.
2016 Monje Bibiana Rosado | Jon Bonné, Senior Contributing Editor
My rosé love will continue unabated as we wander into fall. But as summer’s final moments tick by, I’m especially taken by this bottle from Bodegas Monje. It combines some of my favorite things: the Canary Islands, its indigenous listan negro grape and pink wine. Pink is strong with this one, actually, since the scent of pink peppercorn hovers in the glass, evoking the spice of (also beloved) grapes like mencia and syrah. There’s a brooding sense of fruit, too, just a bit somber, like the long shadows of early evening. So, tonally, just right for the season’s end. Still fruity, still rosé—but with gravitas just over the horizon, which is probably why I like it so much.
The Golden Hour at Sauvage | Chloe Frechette, Assistant Editor
Despite the reduced prices, happy hour doesn’t always feel like a deal. Too often discounted prices translate to cheapened experiences as bar-goers are confined to well-spirits and low-loss options on the menu. As part of the newly launched Golden Hour at Sauvage, however, bar director Will Elliott has introduced a lineup of crushed-ice cocktails worthy of seeking out in any context, but at $7 each they’re not to be missed. Highlights include the gin-based Mr. Softee (tarragon, Cocchi Americano, lime) and Fresh Fruit Foreign Places, a tropical getaway in a glass (Jamaican rum, fernet, pear, coconut). Indeed, as the days get shorter, there’s all the more reason to embrace the Golden Hour.
Late Summer Rosé | Lizzie Munro, Senior Editor
After not one but two rosé tastings this year, PUNCH HQ has seen its fair share of pink wine. But it’s been a slow burn for me in 2017—rosé fatigue is real—and it took me until pretty late in the season to embrace it. Right now, though, I’m especially partial to the often robust examples coming out of Corsica, which Senior Contributing Editor Jon Bonné highlighted just a few weeks back. These are exactly the wines that I want to have around at home: They’re easy to pair and stand up well to the transitional, late-summer flavors coming out of the kitchen.
Caperitif | Talia Baiocchi, Editor in Chief
In terms of easy availability and diversity, we’re living in the second golden era of the bitter aperitif wine. From Bonal to Byrhh to Cocchi Americano to numerous Barolo chinati and beyond, these aperitifs are now a frequent fixtures in bars around the country. And while they’re excellent in cocktails, they’re really cocktails in and of themselves—aromatized with herbs and spiced and “bittered” with gentian root or quinine—worthy of being sipped on the rocks with a twist or slice of citrus. The latest entry into the category, Caperitif (Cape Aperitif), has become my go-to on-the-rocks drink in the office. Hailing from South Africa, Caperitif was once a frequent fixture in late 19th- and early 20th-century cocktail recipes, but disappeared about 100 years ago. It’s made from a base of chenin blanc and is aromatized with native South African ingredients (fynbos and kalmoes anyone?) and bittered with quinchona bark (quinine). It drinks like bitter, drier and more aromatic Lillet Blanc.
Westbrook Key Lime Pie Gose | Allison Hamlin, Social Media Editor
The South Carolina brewery is one of my favorites for their regular gose—a salty, German-style sour beer brewed with coriander. The crushable, summer-inflected template gets an up-do with key lime juice, brightening it with a mouth-puckering tang of acidity. While traditional goses can feel a little cloying in their sourdough-esque yeastiness, in the key lime version, one might almost mistake it for the faintest suggestion of graham cracker crust. Since I’ll be clinging to summer for as long as possible, I’ve stocked my fridge with these, and suggest you do the same.
The Lake Bluff Gimlet | Robert Simonson, Contributing Editor
While vacationing in Wisconsin recently, I traveled to Washington Island, a large island community which sits in Lake Michigan off the Door County peninsula. Washington Island is known for its lavender farms, and in the gift shop for one such farm, I bought a bottle of their lavender syrup. This put me in mind of a delicious cocktail I had had once in Milwaukee called the Lake Bluff Gimlet, which is made with gin, lime juice, lavender syrup and limited-release bitters made by Bittercube called Door County Hop Bitters, [made from] hops grown on the peninsula. Seeing as I had all the ingredients—including two that hailed from Door County itself—I made one of the Gimlets, which was as delicious as I recall.
Passionfruit Cocktails | Megan Krigbaum, Contributing Editor
This little obsession started with a Pisco Sour (one of dozens that I had in Chile) that was shaken with some passionfruit puree at the rooftop bar at The Singular Hotel in Santiago’s Lastarria neighborhood. Back in New York, I ordered a pineapple, canela, passionfruit (wonderfully slimy seeds included) juice for breakfast at Atla and wouldn’t have minded a shot of pisco in there, either. Suddenly, I started spotting passionfruit all over cocktail menus. And after noticing a bottle of Giffard Passion Fruit Liqueur on a backbar the other night, I know what I’ll be dousing my rum drinks with this fall.