Provenance: France (17% abv)
Available at: The Wine & Cheese Place, multiple locations, wineandcheeseplace.com; $17.99
Try it: On the rocks or as a substitute for sweet vermouth
Maison Lillet is producing its first new product in 50 years ‒ a pink sibling to its well-known Blanc and Rouge bottlings. The Rosé is created with the same red and white Grand Cru Bordeaux varietals as the other Lillet products, which are paired with orange liqueurs created from Spanish and Hatian orange peels, a touch of quinine, and a secret mixture of other fruit liqueurs. It is heavy with floral notes but not so much that it becomes cloyingly sweet.
Provenance: Philadelphia (40% abv)
Available at: The Wine Merchant, 20 S. Hanley Road, Clayton, winemerchantltd.com; $33.99
Try it: Neat or as a sweet addition to your favorite Manhattan recipe
Art in the Age is a Pennsylvania-based distiller, and its second product just hit our shelves. Snap is literally the ingredients of a classic ginger snap, or lebkuchen, as the Pennsylvania Dutch call it, distilled in an organic spirit. Blackstrap molasses is the base for this sweet and spicy spirit. The flavor is dominated by molasses and ginger with a nice vanilla finish. Snap plays exceptionally well with whiskey, especially in small doses.
Ron del Barrilito 3 Star Rum
Provenance: Puerto Rico (43% abv)
Available at: Randall’s, multiple locations, shoprandalls.com; $35.99
Try it: Over one big ice cube or in a classic daquiri
Ron del Barrilito has been a hidden gem of Puerto Rico for quite some time. The Puerto Rican rum market is dominated by Bacardi, the No. 1 rum producer on the planet, but that does not mean there are not better rums from the island. This may be my favorite fairly priced Puerto Rican rum. Barrilito 3 Star is aged six to 10 years in used whiskey barrels. The nose has a distinct nuttiness with some soft honey and pepper notes. On the palate, this rum has a slight smokiness akin to scotch with a strong buttery and vanilla-dominant finish.
Award-winning sommelier and mixologist Chad Michael George is founder of Proof Academy, which covers everything from wine and cocktail list consulting to spirits and mixology education.