From around the epicurean world, there are many fine spirits that are lovingly sipped all by themselves as an apéritif or digestif. Ken & Norms carries many of the core brands of cognac, brandy, port, sherry, and liqueur. We also have a few unique items that may be difficult to find should one be shopping at the larger big-box style liquor store. This is by no means a full and comprehensive list of what’s on our shelves – for that, you’ll have to visit us and see.
Jason, your tasting host and epicurean educator, stresses here that these, as with any style or sort of liquors; are best enjoyed in moderation and not for the purpose of ‘getting ripped’, or ‘tying one on’ – unless you want to wake up the next morning with an epic hangover…
Every culture with a history of distillation has somewhere in their culinary repertoire a certain special beverage that is served before a meal to stimulate the appetite. Typically herbal or dry in nature, these beverages can be served by themselves or with light amuse-bouches.
Place of Origin: Bodegas Grant, Jerez, Spain
Vintner’s Tasting Notes: Aged nine years, a unique floral essence fills the nose to tease the palate with white petals and grilled nuts. The finish is unique and complex with delicate notes ‘of the sea’.
Tasting Tips: Sip slightly below room temperature to best discover its herbal dryness. Pair with figs, olives, and crusty bread.
Place of Origin: Champagne, Reims, France
Vintner’s Tasting Notes: Low acidity, crisp citrus, and a hint of smoke.
Jason’s Tasting Tips: Serve cold from the refrigerator. Sip with amuse-bouches of seared scallops topped with caviar and fresh fennel fronds or shrimp quiche with dill.
There are a couple of opportunities during a multi-course meal to serve something that is said to aid in digestion. Cognac, Porto, or a simple cocktail can be served before the entrée as a pousse-café or after dessert as a true digestif.
Place of Origin: Douro, Portugal
Vintner’s Notes: Aromas and flavors of raisin, fig, new leather, and spice cupboard. Sweet, but never cloying with good fruit/spice lingering on a long finish.
Jason’s Tasting Tips: Serve at room temperature in a small tulip or Glencairn glass to best capture its intensity. If you’ve not already had enough to eat by this point, pair with soft stinky white cheeses or blue-veined cheeses.
- 1.5 oz Citron Vodka
- 1.5 oz Good quality cranberry juice (not-from-concentrate is best)
- .5 oz Cointreau or Grand Marnier (or Triple Sec as a last resort)
- Shake with ice and strain into martini glass. (garnishes are optional)
Jason’s Tips: The bright citrus and tart cranberry make for an excellent palate cleanser between a fish course and a entrée course and helps get the taste buds ready for red wine if beef is being served.