My wife was able to talk her parents into giving us gift cards this year for Xmas. So, instead of getting shirts I would never wear and tube socks (how I despise tube socks) I received a $50 gift card for my favorite liquor store, Specs. I don't know if you have a Specs in your neck of the woods, but if you don't, you are missing out on one hell of a selection of spirits. If it can be drunk, they probably sell it. I have been busy trying to come up with a list of what I would like to get.
Initially, I intended to buy a really good absinthe with it. Lucid produces an absinthe that is very close to what Verlaine and Rimbaud swilled in Paris. But at over $60/bottle, it would take up all of my $50 gift card and then some, and I would still have to get an absinthe spoon and fountain, and absinthe glass. Because if you're not going to prepare it the traditional way, why bother? But all that would set me back I don't know how much, and I would only have one bottle to show for it.
So, I decided to take another tack, and get several bottles of some spirits I have never tried. And I was able to tie them all together with a theme. Sort of. Well, here goes.
First off, we have Linie Aquavit (taken from Latin: aqua vītae, "water of life”) It is a Norwegian spirit, made from potatoes, which have been fermented, then distilled and flavored with caraway (in the book I've been reading, William Gaddis' “The Recognitions,” Rev. Gwyon is always walking around with the scent of caraways on his breath. But I believe he was drinking schnapps, not aquavit.)
Anyways, what I like about this particular one, is that they put it in old sherry casks, put the casks on a ship, and then sail them from Norway to Australia, and back to Norway again. The motion of the waves, plus the changes in temperatures and the sea air, all combine to transform it into something special. At least that's what Linie says. It's a pretty fascinating way of doing it, and you can read the whole story on their website, here.
Next, there is Daron Calvados XO. Calvados is produced by fermenting apples, and then distilling that into an apple brandy, which is an eau de vie, French for “water of life,” right? They don't put this on boats and sail it around the world, or anything, but I happen to like apples, and it fit in with the theme.
Now, the next spirit is not an eau de vie, but I'm not completely breaking with the theme, just going off on a bit of a tangent. Going back to the first bottle, and thinking of it's seafaring ways, I thought it would be nice to add a bottle of something that has always been associated with the sea: rum.
I've never been much of a rum drinker—mainly because rum is usually used as a mixer for cocktails, and I'm more of a straight liquor drinker. But I did a bit of research into what are considered decent sipping rums, and Cruzan Single Barrel rum showed up more than a few times on experts' lists, so I'm willing to go out on a limb (or a plank) and give it a try.
Well, that's it. Three bottles totaling somewhere around $90. Still more than my card, but hey, I'll only be out $40, and that's not too shabby.
I'll be sure to put some tasting notes of these in a future post. Cheers!