Editor’s picks for labels that will distinguish your restaurant’s beverage program.
New Belgium Brewing/ 2014 / 5% ABV
The wheat was added to New Belgium’s full-time lineup this year, and it’s a winner. It blends two worts, a sour and a regular, building off the trends of sour beers and saisons. There’s a light floral aroma that provides sweetness at the beginning but the drink finishes strong with a smooth crispness. Pair it with salty meats, creamy cheeses, and pizza.
Beer Martin House Brewing / 2013 / 6.5% ABV
The brewers throw more than 6 pounds of crushed sourdough pretzel into each barrel to create something akin to liquid pretzel. For eateries already proffering sandwiches pretzel buns and pretzels with beer, this delightfully dark brew will fit right into the menu, though the mix of sweet and roasty chocolate and barley create a brew worthy of any dish companion.
Jalapeño Pepper Ale
Bent River Brewing / 2013 / 4.8% ABV
This beer began being bottled last year, and it wasn’t a moment too soon. Good jalapeno beers start with a basic grain bill and introduce jalapeños sparingly, so it’s the flavor, rather than the fire, that seeps into the brew. A pleasant tickler in the summer or a warm-me-up brew in the winter, a jalapeño beer is a strong candidate to offer year-round.
Avinyo vi d’Agulla Petillant
Penedes, Spain / 2013
This wine’s English translation aptly summarizes it: “wine with a prickle.” Avinyo markets it as a fresh, summertime wine, and its aromas of bright fruit and honey suckle complement the slight lemon peel flavor that lingers on the palate. It’s extremely drinkable. I savored sipping it on its own, though it’d also pair well with moist seafood.
Estate Cabernet Franc
Alexander Valley Vineyards, California 2012
2012 was a textbook growing season in California, and one of the outcomes was this wine, the vineyard’s flagship offering. This Cabernet Franc has a broad mouthfeel with rich texture, and, as you savor the last drop, you’ll feel the tannins activate in the back of your palate.
2010 Reserve Cherry Street Red Blend
Canoe Ridge Vineyard, washington / 2010
Blended with 54 percent Syrah, 30 percent Malbec, and 16 percent Grenache, this creamy red blend has a satin-like texture. It tastes of cassis, blackberry, and mocha, and there’s a subtle hint of cedar that contributes to the wine’s full-bodied, silky style.
Fernet Vittone hit shelves over the summer, finally providing some competition in the U.S. to Fernet Branca. For the unfamiliar, fernet is a bitter, aromatic spirit, a type of amaro, and it typically is invited to the table as a post-dinner digestif. However, it also works beautifully mixed with Coca-Cola, in a cocktail as a substitute to bitters, or mixed with espresso.
Kavalan was the first whiskey distillery in Taiwan, and the famed spirit—it beat out Scottish whiskey at a blind taste-test event during a Scotland holiday in 2010, perhaps the whiskey world’s Judgment of Paris—is now available in the U.S., thanks to Anchor Distilling. There are seven varieties, including classics and casks, and they offer distinctively fruity flavors.
Ebb + Flow Gin
Teased with herbs, citrus, and spice, this gin ebbs and flows like a salsa dance on a hot summer night. The depth of this smooth, silky gin sits comfortably on the palate, and it has a distinctive grainy flavor, a product of the careful curation performed by the first distillery in Seattle since Prohibition.
Abita Brewing Company
This fizzy root beer harkens back to the old, naturally sweetened soft drinks of the 1950s. It is crisp and caffeine-free—always a nice option to have on hand for guests—and it goes down smoothly. With the cane sugar, it also has a healthier perception to drinkers.
Lime Hibiscus & Clove
Joia All Natural Soda
A blend of fruit, herbs, and spices defines the Joia line of all natural sodas. The clove in this lime soda provides a burst of intensity and zest, while the sweet hibiscus undertones dovetail with the slightly sour lime aftertaste. It’s a nice little party for the mouth, particularly paired with a hearty burger or sandwich.
DRY Soda Co.
This sip is crisp, cool, and sweet all at once, defined by a mild cucumber hit on the tongue and medium acidity. It pairs nicely with Mediterranean foods, salmon, eggplant, and even tandoori pork, and it’d also be a refreshing mixer with vodka.
Coffee & Tea
A chilled black coffee with a hint of sugar that’s not overpowering, this canned coffee is a reliable option to offer consumers. Without any milk added, it’s truly for purists. It’s simple on-the-go, or pour it into a glass as a base for a more complex iced coffee.
Coffee & Tea
Steaz Sparkling Green Tea
All of the six flavored Steaz Sparkling Green Teas are fortified with antioxidants, naturally sweetened with stevia, and lack sugar, carbs, and calories. Light and refreshing, this tea will have your customers clamoring for more.
Unsweetened Black Tea
Coffee & Tea
It’d be erroneous to assume “unsweetened” is synonymous “tasteless” when it comes to Tejava’s black tea. While unsweetened teas can be bitter and leave a tannic aftertaste, this variety is refreshing and crisp. Your guests won’t miss the sweetener.
Juice & Water
A pinch of cayenne gives this otherwise sweet juice a fresh flare that is balanced out by strawberries, raspberries, cherries, and honey. Customers will enjoy the wide variety of fruits in the bottle, and it’s a strong option to offer as cold-pressed juices are on the rise.
Juice & Water
It’d be remiss not to consider including coconut water as a beverage option, as the public responds extremely favorably to the lightly sour drink that hydrates, refreshes, and cleanses. In addition to a natural flavor, Zico offers chocolate, mango, pineapple, and passion fruit.
Juice & Water
Hubert’s original Lemonade
Tasting like a lemonade that your neighborhood kids finally got right with their lemonade stand, Hubert’s original pops thanks to the cane sugar and fresh, zesty taste. It’s a happy lemonade sure to delight customers.