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K&L Staff Recommendations
Cointreau (750ml) $32.99
Chartreuse "V.E.P." Green 1L $149.99
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "A classic, can’t-go-wrong workhorse spirit that provides a versatile option for a wide range of cocktails. This clear liqueur has a bright, true orange scent with a hint of bitter orange on the aroma. The flavor mix is of candied orange slices and lightly bitter orange peel. The finish is warm and clean. Good balance." (2/2012) K&L Notes: A must-have classic.
From the distillery: "Ready for a bigger, better, bitterer bar? Say hello to Bruto Americano! With a bracing dose of bitterness, a bright pop of citrus, and intriguing sylvan notes inspired by distiller Lance Winters’ formative experiences growing up in California in the 1970s, Bruto is a bitter aperitivo liqueur that makes us as proud as it does thirsty. Compare it to the other aperitivos you’ve been drinking and experience what you’ve been missing. A variety of herbs, roots, and other botanicals. Though the exact number of ingredients and formulation a... Read More »
90-95 points Wine Enthusiast: "The bouquet is lovely, balanced, properly astringent, ripe and juicy with scents of cherry stone and cherry juice. The palate entry is decadently sweet and textured with vibrant tastes of cherry compote and cherry preserves at midpalate. The finish is svelte, moderately syrupy and downright delicious. An outstanding liqueur: use it in an Aviation Cocktail." (12/2007) K&L Notes: From Esquire Magazine: "For every great new bar popping up that knows how to turn out a life-changing cocktail, there are two or three that look like they do but don't. There's one sure way of... Read More »
96-100 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Classic/Highest Recommendation* The seductive bouquet offers wonderfully floral, fruity, guava- and melon-like fragrances of elderflower, becoming richly pear- and quince-like following aeration time. The palate entry is soft and firm; the midpalate is integrated, harmonious and exquisitely balanced between alcohol level, sweetness, acidity and floral impact. A perfect liqueur." (4/2008) K&L Notes: Double Gold Medal at the 2007 and 2008 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, plus *Five Stars/Highest Recommendation* from Paul Pacult of the Spirit Journal and Wine E... Read More »
Originally created in 1823 by James Pimm of Kent to be served as a digestif, Pimm's Original Gin Sling was the first "House Cup" at London's popular Oyster Bar, thus the spirit's name: Pimm's No. 1 Cup. A special blend of herbs, liqueurs and quinine were steeped in gin and paired with oysters on the half shell. As the brand's reputation grew, other Pimm's Cups were developed, each based on different spirits, including vodka and brandy, but only the gin-based cup is available in the US today. The iconic cocktail, appropriately named Pimm's Cup, has been a... Read More »
93 points Wine Enthusiast: "New to the U.S. market in 2012, this 'dry' Curaçao is intriguing and should work well as a sophisticated sweetener alongside bitter-edged spirits and darker, biting spirits like rye whiskey. While not precisely dry, this golden liqueur has its vanilla sweetness tempered by a wash of bitter orange. The scent is rich and agave-like, with a touch of mezcal-like funkiness." (2/2012) K&L Notes: Designed by renowned cocktailian David Wondrich, this is perhaps the finest orange liqueur available for mixing. Try it in a Sidecar or Corpse Reviver for spectacular results.
Fernet Branca is an Italian amaro developed in 1845. The family's secret recipe still has never been disclosed, but what they can tell you is that it is a combination of 27 different herbs picked in four continents and aged for more than a year in oak casks. Perfect as a digestive, try it with your meal.
96 points Wine Enthusiast: "Tawny and bright in the glass, this mellow, bittersweet beauty offers caramel and vanilla, braced by allspice and bitter orange. Although Nonino is best known for its grappas, this amaro, flavored with herbs from the mountains of Friuli, is worth seeking out. Consider it for dessert pairings or an edgy spin on a negroni." (4/2014) K&L Notes: From Distillatori Nonino in Italy's Friuli. This amaro is a grape distillate infused with herbs and aged in barrique, the Quinessentia Amaro Nonino shows fragrant mountain herbs. It's delicious as an aperitivo served with a slice... Read More »
95 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Top 50 Spirits of 2011* This light green liquid features musky, herbal and botanical aromas: star anise, tarragon, basil and Dutch licorice. Flavors are bold and sweet, with a slight earthiness and alcohol heat. Finishes sharp, herbal, grassy, floral and complex. Thick and viscous. A classic for gin-based cocktails." (2/2011)
Suze Gentiane Liqueur is a bitter aperitif that has been produced in France since 1889, but we're just getting it at K&L now! Lightly sweet with plenty of gentian bitterness, this is the perfect ingredient for a white negroni, or just plain soda water.
90-95 points Wine Enthusiast: "The first aromatic blast is seductively anise-like, then it mellows, turning softer, more herbal, and plumper. At palate entry the intensely bitter taste of anise both enlivens and cleanses the palate; at midpalate the pleasant sting of alcohol and the zest of rooty/woodsy botanicals make for memorable imbibing. Finishes elegant and smooth." (10/2005) K&L Notes: While the prohibition of absinthe in 1915 put a damper on wormwood spirits, it created a market for anise-flavored liqueurs like Ricard. With its characteristic licorice flavor, Ricard is a light and refreshi... Read More »
Velvet Falernum is a longtime staple item of resorts and bars in Barbados, and today for its use in Tropical, Tiki and Caribbean drinks such as the Rum Swizzle, Mai Tai, Zombie, Royal Bermuda Yacht Club and the Corn n’ Oil. It is made from an infusion of spices and lime juice into sugar cane syrup and Barbados Rum. John D Taylor’s Falernum is considered by many as the original Falernum, and is today produced by famed rum distiller R.L. Seale Ltd.
If you're a Campari fan, but have never been able to find something outside of the Italian legend that scratches that same itch, then this might be the one thing that finally captivates you. The Leopold brothers have gone back to the drawing board and created an all natural version of the bitter aperitivo that uses real cochineal (like Campari used to) to color the liquid and brings a much bolder, more bitter flavor. It mixes like a DREAM into a Negroni and works wonders in an Americano. If you think you've got the Negroni cocktail mastered, think again.... Read More »
Giffard is one of France's highest quality liqueur producers. They're sourcing the highest quality fruits and spices for their liqueurs and have committed to using local ingredients where ever possible. Because Giffard liqueurs are truly designed specifically for use in cocktails, the aromatic profile is the most important aspect of this product. While the flavor on the palate is excellent, the depth of flavor on the nose is second to none. The grapefruit is snappy, tart, and fresh. Incredible
Pernod's distinctive flavor comes from the distillation of star anise with a number of aromatic herbs and plants. The original Pernod was an absinthe, though because of the controversy that surrounded the drink of Picasso, Baudelaire and Van Gogh the ingredient responsible for the drink's hallucinatory effect was banned. Now absinthe free, this legendary product has become one of the best-known digestifs available today.
*5 Stars from Paul Pacult - Highest Recommendation!* Gran Classico Bitter is based on the original Bitter of Turin recipe dating from the 1860s. This classic aperitif is artisanal-made in a small Swiss distillery from an infusion of numerous herbs and roots including bitter orange peel, wormwood, gentian, rhubarb, and other aromatic plants. Gran Classico Bitter’s color is a natural result of the herbs and plants infused into pure grain spirit produced to the highest Swiss standards and is not artificially colored in any way. It is amazingly complex and ... Read More »
Wine Enthusiast: "Dark purple, nearly opaque, with a wine-like scent. Warm and rich, this black currant spirit coats the tongue and palate with big, grape-berry flavors. It’s best lightened with bubbly, as in a Kir royale." K&L Notes: There may be no better aperitif for an outdoor spring meal than a glass of dry rosé. Then again, we would not sniff at a chilled Kir, either. Made with any ol' simple white wine (Aligoté is the traditional choice, but a Mâcon or Pinot Blanc work just fine) and the addition of a healthy dash of Crème di Cassis, a Kir is refreshing, palate awakening and th... Read More »
An artichoke based bitter enhanced by the infusion of 13 different herbs and plants. Totally natural with rich perfumes it is a modern and versatile digestivo. A great way to end your day.
This magnificent Ancho Chili liqueur has been produced in Mexico since 1927. From the city of Puebla, the Reyes family became famous in the region for making the finest liqueur using the traditional chili of the area. It all begins with the cultivation of the local poblano peppers, which are dried in the hot sun. When the process is done, the smoky and spicy Ancho Chili is born. This legendary chili is hand split and cleaned before being soaked in neutral cane spirit for more than six months. The final stages are the blending of the final ingredients to ... Read More »
A softer sweeter version of the green. Always a pleasure mixed up or even on the rocks. 91 points Wine Enthusiast: "Yellow, faintly tinged with green. The aroma is bright, mild and lime-lollipop sweet, although the flavor is more herbal, with hints of mint and anise, and a prounounced licorice finish and alcohol sting. Thick, syrupy and tongue-coating." (02/11)
Roasted Yirgacheffe coffee beans, French chicory root, Madagascar vanilla beans, and organic cane sugar combine to create a coffee liqueur with dimension and depth through the added step of gentle, cold maceration. The NOLA Coffee Liqueur intrigues, engages the senses, and invites you to let go of expectations and give yourself over to a wholly delicious experience.
This true CLASSIC is a must have for any mixologist or amateur cocktail lover. This special french liquor was released in the 19th century by french industrialist vAlexandre Le Grand and it's actual connection to the Benedictine order is dubious at best, but the recipe is claimed to have been invented in 1510 by french monk Don Bernardo Vincelli. The main flavor components include Hyssop, Angelica, and Lemon Balm, but the other 24+ ingredients and the composition are a closely guarded trade secret. Similar to Chartreuse, the conncotion is aged for sever... Read More »
Rothman & Winter's Crème De Violette Liqueur is one of the great mixing agents now available. All you need is a little gin and a lemon, and you've got a delicious and sophisticated cocktail. Elegant in its simplicity, this authentic alpine liqueur captures the fragrance, vibrant colors, and taste of the native wildflowers found in the Alps - the Queen Charlotte and March violets. Use it in classic cocktails such as the Blue Moon or Aviation, or enjoy as an ingredient in continental cuisine.
93 points Wine Enthusiast: "Grand Marnier—or “GrandMa,” as some cocktail geeks gleefully shorthand it—remains one of the classics. Although it’s Cognac-based, it’s a versatile match for other spirits, too. The liqueur is extremely aromatic, with lots of sweet and bitter orange notes exploding out of the glass. Look for a warm, honeyed flavor and a nice burst of orange peel and spicy cinnamon and ginger on the long finish." (2/2012) K&L Notes: The original. Grand Marnier was created in 1880 by Louis-Alexandre Marnier Lapostolle (and the Lapostolle family still owns the company) as a blend of cog... Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
96-100 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Classic/Highest Recommendation* Very ripe, intense aromas of fresh-off-the-vine raspberries; further aeration stimulates a trace of welcome tartness brought on by acidity that perfectly counters the concentrated ripeness. Palate entry is sweet, ripe and juicy; the midpalate is medium-bodied, ripe, sweet/sour without being jammy or overbearing. Finishes long and intensely raspberry-like." (2/2004) K&L Notes: From the Beverage Tasting Institute: "Deep ruby color. Aromas of warm raspberry compote and raspberry sorbet follow through on a soft, supple entry to a fruity ... Read More »
Well, I've only been waiting my entire life for this product to arrive. This is truly the quintessential bitter French liqueur. They start with high quality neutral spirit. Both bitter and sweet orange peels are macerated in the base spirit before being distilled. Then they do it again. Wait, then they do it one more time. Then they add more peels, spices, botanicals, etc. A small amount of sugar is used to balance the bitter and stabilize the color. This is the Franco-phonic answer to Amaro and it is so so good. Truly a special treat for anyone smart en... Read More »
The magnificent Giffard Triple Sec is the gold standard for orange liqueur. A fabulous addition to almost any cocktail. From the distillery: "Fresh and candied orange notes. Delicately sweet, enhanced by a note of bitterness that is typical of orange and grapefuit peels. Slight touch of cinnamon at the end."
From the producer: "Brennivín is uniquely Icelandic. The legal beginnings of this distinctive spirit flavoured with caraway came in 1935 when prohibition was partially lifted on the island. A black label was chosen to be unappealing and limit demand. However, it had the opposite effect. Today the Brennivín label is a symbol for Iceland´s signature drink – and of Iceland itself."
90-95 points Wine Enthusiast: "The vibrant, bittersweet bouquet is citrusy, herbal, floral and earthy. The palate entry is bittersweet, intensely herbal and earthy but refreshingly orange citrusy; the tasty midpalate is marked by heightened sweetness and a more mineral-like core flavor. Finish is savory and bittersweet. Best Buy." (12/2006) K&L Notes: According to a highly trusted source, this is the closest available substitute for the old incarnation of Amer Picon. (Amer Picon is a highly sought-after cocktail ingredient, which is not distributed in the United States.) What few people know is ... Read More »
*Five Stars/Highest Recommendation - The Spirit Journal* Known for their Absinthe, Tempus Fugit has made waves over last year releasing the exceptional (albeit controversial) Gran Classico and the lovely Tempus Fugit Liqueur de Violette. Their new Creme de Cacao is out of this world. Few things have bothered me more than the subpar Creme de Cacaos I've tasted in the past, but this stuff is awesome. Based on a 19th century recipe, the Tempus Fugit folks have gone so far as to replicate the original cacao and vanilla sources from Venezuela and Mexico resp... Read More »
90-95 points Wine Enthusiast: "The bouquet features intriguing scents of coffee bean, black walnut, chicory and a hint of quinine. The palate entry is molasses-like and walnutty; the midpalate features tastes of black walnut and buttery richness on top of the roasted coffee bean. Ends stately, concentrated, luxurious, and nuttily delicious." (5/2007) K&L Notes: Nocino is the traditional walnut liqueur made throughout Italy and Ticino (the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland). The base ingredients of Nocino have changed very little through the centuries. They include cut, unripe walnuts, alcohol (... Read More »
Ravello and the surrounding villages known collectively as the Amalfi Coast have been famous for their natural and human-built beauty since the time of the ancient Romans. It is so incredibly gorgeous there, that it almost seems unfair that Ravello is also home to the producer of this lovely dessert tipple based on the local lemons. Amalfi Coast Limoncello is an origin-protected IGP product (Indicazione Geografica Protetta) like Balsamico di Modena. Yes, this stuff is sweet, but also acidic. It's a lemonade stand for grown-ups, and there is nothing bette... Read More »
93 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Top 50 Spirits of 2011* Complex and appealingly herbal, this spirit is marked by its coffee-brown color and a scent like spearmint-spiked espresso. The flavor is sweet, faintly coffee-like, with warm Dutch licorice, anise and sarsaparilla notes. The brisk finish is minty then bitter. Heavy, syrupy feel." (2/2011) K&L Notes: An hour or so has passed since your last spoon full of smashed yams, your concluding hunk of brioche stuffing, your final, fateful bite of tryptophan-laden turkey, and yet you cannot pull yourself from the table. You are full, beyond full. Never ... Read More »
From importer Haus Alpenz: "The Apertivo Cappelletti, endearingly known to locals as just 'Specialino,' may be the oldest house of the classic red bitter still in production. Unlike its larger commercial rivals, Cappelletti is less sweet and has a wonderful drying finish. Additionally, it still uses natural carmine color for a crimson red and retains a vinous texture from its wine base. It offers a vibrant and flavorful profile, complemented by bitter undertones on a traditional wine base. This yields a negroni or spritz that is dry and refreshing on the... Read More »
Fabulous small production Cassis from a top notch producer in Burgundy. This domaine located in the hills above Pernand-Vergelesses orginally specialized in producing cassis and frambrois and while the wine has become the focus they are still producing some of the finest quality liqueurs available anywhere. Juicy, vibrant, with the perfect amount of sweetness. This is our new GO-TO creme de cassis.
The herb that gives its name to this liqueur plays a very special role in the life and imagination of the inhabitants of Provence. Farigoule is a traditional liqueur in Provence. Many families, and farmers in particular, make it from harvesting thyme and distilling marc. The name Farigoule comes from the Latin fericula meaning, "small wild herb." This infusion consists of Provençal thyme (Thymus vulgaris) spirit and sugar cane in a grape-spirit base. The thyme is picked just when it blossoms in the spring or early in the autumn. It is macerated then dist... Read More »
One of the most delicious and versatile new releases from our neighbors in the Bay Area! The St. George spiced pear uses pear brandy and a spiced pear juice to create a liqueur that mixes beautifully into a number of cocktails, or pairs wonderfully with desserts. Be careful. It goes down far too easily.
The Danish classic is making a come back with the craft cocktail people. It's fresh tart cherry character is the perfect balance add both sweetness and acidity to your cocktail. If you love cherries this is the adulterant for you. You can also sip it chilled or throw it in a spritz without much issue.
This traditional Amaro from the far flung Basilicata region is made in the most traditional manner. Using only natural botanicals and following a hundred year old family recipe, the secret ingredient that differentiates Lucano is a closely guarded family secret, but the recipe includes Roman absinthe, wormwood, Clary sage, musk yarrow, holy thistle, sweet orange, gentian, and aloe. Herb selection is the key to it's incredible quality, but no other Amaro tastes quite like Lucano. This one is to be savored, but it will spice up your cocktails as well.
98 points Wine Enthusiast: "Potato spirit flavored with herbs and spices that’s been aged in Sherry casks. First nosings expose exotic and compelling aromas of bark, wood chips and fennel; further aeration releases heady scents of spice and honey. Palate entry of caraway-seeded rye bread; by midpalate, the flavor profile adds mild sweetness, soft spice and that persistent caraway seed. Aftertaste is moderately oily, off-dry and intensely herbal. One of the greatest spirits ever from Scandinavia." K&L Notes: "One of the finest Aquavit available. Jorgen B. Lysholm secret family recipe was a myst... Read More »
Only the second domestically produced Fernet available, SF's local Fernet producer has knocked it out of the park. It's got everything you love about the Branca and nothing you don't! Gone is the hard edged menthol flavors, replaced by cinnamon and subtle bitter roots ALL sourced locally. The ingredients list is made of almost exclusively native plants with the exception of a couple of classics which are nonetheless grown in CA. Medium bodied with a good deep spicy nose. The palate is forgives, but does not forget! Lots of complex and familiar aromas of ... Read More »
Sfumato Rabarbaro translates to "smoky rhubarb," which tells you all you need to know about this unique amaro. Instead of using a neutral base, the Cappelletti family of Trentino-Alto uses a special variety of rhubarb root that's combined with alpine herbs and berries.
Just in time for the holiday season, legendary Oregon fruit distiller Steve McCarthy brings you his best liqueur yet: Clear Creek Cranberry. I have been anxiously and impatiently awaiting this elixir since I got the chance to sample it at the distillery four months ago. This is not the sugary-sweet, syrupy substance you probably are expecting. This cranberry liqueur captures the pure tart and tangy essence of the berry itself, with just enough sweetness to balance it out. It's juicy, supple, and incredibly addicting. It's going to blow you away and it's ... Read More »
Rothman & Winter Orchard Apricot Liqueur combines juice from the seasonal harvest of Austria's famed Klosterneuberger apricots with an eau-de-vie produced from this same fruit. Destillerie Purkhart selects its apricots each season from family orchards in the Danube Valley and surrounding regions. Ideal for perfecting so many classic cocktails. Try the Golden Dawn Cocktail: 2/3 oz. Dry Gin, 2/3 oz. Orchard Apricot Liqueur, 2/3 oz Calvados, 2/3 oz. Cointreau, 1 dash Grenadine.
From its origins in the tropical hills and valleys of Jamaica, the allspice berry has for generations been prized for its exceptional tastes of clove, cinnamon, and nutmeg and a pepper note that dazzles the palate. The allspice liqueur, known in classic cocktails as "Pimento Dram," brings together the fine pot-still rum and classic allspice berries of Jamaica. Enjoy St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram in classic cocktails, Wassail and other punches, mulled wine, continental and island cuisine. 22.5% Alc./Vol.
Salers is the oldest and most traditional aperitif of France's Massif Central region, where this style originated. It derives its rustic flavors from hand-harvested gentiane exclusively from the Auvergne region. Salers has been producing the finest quality gentiane liqueur since 1885 and should be enjoyed on ice with lemon or in a variety of cocktails that call for this traditional type of liqueur.
Inventory: San Francisco
Giffard is one of France's highest quality liqueur producers. They're sourcing the highest quality fruits and spices for their liqueurs and have committed to using local ingredients where ever possible. The Peche de Vigne is an absolutely transcendent combination of aromas. Because Giffard liqueurs are truly designed specifically for use in cocktails, the aromatic profile is the most important aspect of this product. While the flavor on the palate is excellent, the depth of flavor on the nose is second to none. This is definitely your best bet when utili... Read More »
94 points Wine Enthusiast: "Especially recommended for sweetening cocktails made with dark spirits, this liqueur is made with Cognac, Mandarin oranges and spices. Look for a vibrant orange color, citrus and tropical fruit aromas and a sweet, mouthfilling flavor that mixes bold orange with caramel." (2/2012)
The elusive Génépy (Génépi) from Dolin is a type of liqueur that has long been sought-after, but only recently become available in the US. Its character is derived from the various alpine shrubs of the genus Artemisia. More commonly known as wormwood, Genepi is an iconic alpine botanical associated with the kingdom of Savoy and the regions in France, Switzerland, and Italy that once made up that kingdom. It's been used for centuries to flavor liqueurs, digestifs and various tonics. The flavor profile falls somewhere in between modern absinthe and chartre... Read More »
Plymouth makes one of the best English style gins on the market today, the kind of gin that wins over new fans with every pour. So it's no surprise that their Sloe Gin, made by steeping sloe berries in high proof Plymouth Gin and adding soft Dartmoor water, is one of the finest examples f the style we've seen. Sweet-tart with a nutty aspect, the Plymouth Sloe Gin makes a great Champagne cocktail or, of course, a classic Sloe Gin Fiz.