When I'm not serving beer or being attacked by my 18 month old son, I'm usually trying to convince people to try new things. I just don't understand people who always drink the same thing. There's this whole world of beverages out there and still, people limit themselves to one thing. It's totally baffling to me. Maybe you like a bunch of things but you don't know where to start with new things because, let's face it, the liquor store can be a daunting and unhelpful place. Who drinks Artichoke Liqueur? Why is that bottle named after a shade of green? And why in the hell would someone buy Tobacco Flavored Vodka? Here are three things you can find or make easily that you should absolutely take a chance on.
1. Cocchi Rosa
I once heard this called The "Harbinger of Summer", aside from definitely being the name of one of our Summer cocktails, it's a perfect description of this drink. It's a fortified Rose bittered with quinine, which technically makes it a Lilet (2 nerd points to me), and has a number of botanicals including dried rose petals. It tastes like slightly bitter strawberries and it's amazing. Drink it on the rocks with a splash of soda.
Aperol is the "gateway" amaro. If you've ever spent much time in Italy you have probably seen this before. It's bright, fruity, but bracing enough to stand out in a cocktail. It has rhubarb, bitter orange, and gentian as it's backbone flavors. It's a great way to start exposing yourself to more bitter things like Fernet's or Campari, plus at 11% ABV you can drink it all day. We like ours in prosecco with an orange twist.
3. Gin cocktails
Roughly half the time I tell someone that a cocktail has gin in it, they balk. Gin can be overwhelming if you aren't used to it, or more specifically, normally drink Vodka, but it might be the single best spirit for making cocktails. There are way, way too many to name but I'd start with something easy like a Tom Collins. Gin, lemon, sugar, club soda. Thank me later.