Here’s a quiz for the Yankee kids out there under 35, a little cocktail trivia (Don’t think too hard on this one, just go with your gut reaction.):
1. what flavors do schnapps come in?
2. what do you drink them with?
3. what colors are they?
Before I moved over here, my answers would have been:
1. rootbeer, peppermint, cinnamon, apple, cherry
2. fruit juice, 7-up, ice, or in a spray bottle directly in the mouth
3. brown (and foamy), green, pink, neon green and fire engine red
That covered the breadth of my entire peer group’s knowledge of ‘fine spirits’. My friend Jackie used to keep a bottle of peppermint schnapps in her freezer sophomore year that she’d drink ice cold at every gathering. Despite the obviously massive sugar content, she’d convinced herself she was consuming less calories than Miller Lite. Most of those nights she’d finally pass out after repeatedly yelling at her boyfriend, “whaaat’s myyy name?” And she was the one whose daddy had a winery.
Ahh the memories.
I’ve discovered a few things since then. Being over here makes it easier to experiment and try things out. What would have been out of my price range in California is accessible here. These are the latest favorites, I recommend trying if the chance presents itself.
(This is where my parents start trying to talk to me about limits and sharing ‘too much information’. Hold onto your chairs guys)
Hendrick’s Gin (far right)
Apparently known on the East coast and to serious gin drinkers, but I first discovered this in the airport in London waiting for a plane. Our local bar Negroni serves it, although it’s hard to find in Germany for sale. It’s infused with cucumber which lends a really clean, crisp flavor. Puts a new twist on the ol’ gin and tonic.
Carlos 1 (second right)
Two years ago, a friend’s new boyfriend made us a four course dinner to win us over. He capped the meal off by serving us this brandy in snifters he’d first warmed with hot water. It perfectly fit into the warm romantic evening in his quirky apartment with the nice espresso machine, cracked leather armchairs and single oil painting on the wall. My nice memory of that night lasted longer than his relationship with my friend, but his style and taste couldn’t be argued with, and we all still drink his brandy. It’s nice, yet affordable, a little sweet with a full, slighty smoky, caramel flavor. I like it in a warm glass.
Delamain Champagne Cognac
This was a present I bought Oliver for his last birthday. I went into Dallmayr for consultation and guidance, and although I later found it in another store for significantly less, their advice made it worth it. This is delicious, smooth cognac, not sweet but with a breath of caramel still present at the finish.
Polish Buffalo Grass Vodka (far left)
This is the latest and I was really resistant to even try it. Oliver went on a cultural exchange trip to Poland at the end of last year and came back describing the people as “insane vodka drinkers, but never likely to be chilly”. He brought this bottle with him. I actually only caved the other week and took a sip. I was amazed first at tasting anything at all, and then at the nutty flavor. The aroma is sort of grainy and grassy with a touch of coconut. Amazingly good. Please do not even get this near orange juice.
And yes, I also drink lots of water.