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K&L Staff Recommendations
Abbott's Bitters 5oz $24.99
90-95 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Superb/Highly Recommended* Sophisticated and delightful aromas of tangerine and rhubarb. The palate entry is delightfully citrusy and sweet; the midpalate phase offers just enough herbal bitterness to balance. Ends up refreshing, orangey sweet and delectably herbal. This deserves to become a popular pre-dinner quaff." (8/2007) K&L Notes: Aperol's unique flavor and color is achieved through a subtle blend of bitter orange, gentian, rhubarb and an array of herbs and roots--using a secret recipe that has been unchanged since its first creation in 1919. Try the classic ... Read More »
95 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Top 50 Spirits of 2011* This dark, mysterious vermouth is rich, complex and layered, boasting aromas of mint and other herbs, plums and figs, reminiscent of Madeira. The rich flavors are hard to pin down: cocoa, red wine, almonds, bitter marmalade, hints of spice and toffee all play across the palate, finishing with a bracing bitter edge. This delectable sweet vermouth would shine in a Manhattan." (2/2011) K&L Notes: The world's most beloved sweet vermouth, now in a size that won't oxidize before you can finish the bottle! Hooray!
Just when you think you've tasted every type of booze known to man, you discover that there are yet more regionally-specific spirits being distilled in places you've never considered. Like Bolivia, for example. South America is generally rum country, but in Bolivia they make a pisco-like spirit called Singani, distilled from Muscat of Alexandria grapes grown high in the Andes mountains. Seeing that Muscat is an aromatic varietal, known for its fruity and floral character, the Singani spirit distilled from it takes on many of the perfume-like elements fou... Read More »
From the official Angustura website: "Made with the same original secret recipe since 1824, the world famous Angostura aromatic bitters remains the quintessential and definitive ingredient for classic and contemporary cocktails. Its versatility, however, stretches way beyond the bar counter as it serves as a unique flavour enhancer with the ability to marry flavours in the preparation of all food dishes. Angostura aromatic bitters also adds its unmistakable flavour and aroma to 'soft' beverages and desserts."
This is the original Americano, a low-alcohol, wine-based aperitif from the Asti region of Piedmont intended to be consumed before eating to enliven the palate while whetting the appetite. It has been produced in Asti since 1891 and is still made according to the original recipe, which is essentially white wine aromatized with many herbs and spices. All the ingredients are natural, with no artificial additives or coloring of any kind. It is produced in limited quantities and matured for a year before being released for sale. Traditionally, it is served c... Read More »
Since 1793! For any bar to be complete there must be a bottle of Peychaud's Bitters. Necessary in all of the most sophisticated cocktails, Peychaud's enhances the taste of whatever you're sipping. Try them in Manhattans, Old Fashioneds, Whisky Sours, or in a signature Sazerac Cocktail. The Original Sazerac Cocktail: Take two heavy-bottomed 3 1/2-oz. bar glasses; fill one with cracked ice and allow it to chill while placing a lump of sugar with just enough water to moisten it. Crush the saturated lump of sugar with a bar spoon. Add a few drops of Peychaud... Read More »
Not all bitters are created equal. Regan's Orange Bitters comes from cocktail maven Gary Regan. Subtle and slightly spicy, these bitters add a unique twist (no pun intended) to your favorite cocktail.
93 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Top 50 Spirits of 2011* This sweet vermouth is deep and intriguing, from the dark winy color to the plummy, raisin-like frangrance. A fleeting sweetness, redolent of dried fruits and juicy prune notes, gives way to a dry, bitter finish, which saves it from becoming cloying. Medium to heavy in feel. Very easy drinking, especially with ice, and it's easy to imagine sipping this, well chilled, on a hot day. Highly Negroni-worthy." (2/2011) K&L Notes: Punt e mes is an Italian vermouth. It is dark brown in color and has a bitter flavor. Punt e mes literally means "point... Read More »
From the people who brought you Cocchi Americano and Cocchi Vermouth di Torino, comes the brand new rose colored, quinine-flavored, aperitif wine you've been anxiously waiting for. The Cocchi Americano Rosa has the lush mouthfeel and weight of a sweet vermouth, the fruit of a sangria, and the spice of a mulled wine, finishing with a tingle of bitterness on the tongue. It's absolutely delicious. Time to make a rose-colored gin martini!
Since 1846, Europeans have known Underberg as a remarkably satisfying way to conclude a meal. But to define Underberg, you have to experience it. Underberg is a natural herb bitters taken for digestion. It is not a beverage and should be sipped or taken all at once because of its strong herbal taste. It can also be used as a flavoring. Sample Underberg after a good meal to feel bright and alert. Underberg is made from a selection of the finest aromatic herbs from 43 countries. The ingredients include alcohol and natural flavors from herbs and roots of th... Read More »
"Since 1865, this delicious aperitif wine has stood apart for its exceptional complexity, delightful flavors and stimulating palate. Serious to its role as aperitif, it was known as 'ouvre l'appétit' - the key to the appetite. Found popular with sportsmen, Bonal became an early sponsor of the Tour de France. It is made by an infusion of gentian, cinchona (quinine) and renown herbs of the Grand Chartreuse mountains in a Mistelle base. Traditionally enjoyed neat or with a twist; also may enhance classic drinks in place of sweet red vermouth." - Haus Alpenz
This is the best pisco that I have ever tasted - easily. It is creamy, clean, and beautiful. I could drink this straight out of the bottle. Made by San Francisco bartenders specifically for craft cocktails, this blows every other pisco out of the game. Paul Clarke from the Cocktail Chronicles agrees, calling it "Mind blowing stuff, absolutely the best pisco I've ever tasted." A blend of three different varietals: Quebranta (76%), Torontel (6%), and Italia (18%), Encanto Pisco is rested for nine months to refine its smooth texture, aroma and spice notes.... Read More »
Wine Enthusiast: "This is a funky, herbal, and brawny absinthe. The dark greenish-brown color louches to a swampy dark green. Earthy aromas include lemon balm, tarragon and star anise; louching brings anise to the foreground. There’s pure star anise flavor, with an aggressive, tarragon finish and a big, mouth-coating feel, which oddly grows even thicker with ice water. The apothecary bottle and label design is fun and appealing, but the cork closure makes it difficult to recap for storage." (12/2010) K&L Notes: St. George Spirits Absinthe Verte is made with fine brandy, star anise, mi... Read More »
Freshly emptied oak whiskey barrels from Tennessee, interiors charred and soaked with aged whiskey, are used by Fee Brothers to age this aromatic bitters. Savor the result of the mingling of these great flavors. This premium bitters is a strictly limited edition item and bottled only once a year in the spring. When it's gone it's gone (until next year anyway).
This legendary pisco is the result of 5 generations of hard work and commitment. The family's patriarch, Juan Enrique Alejandro Capurro, was mayor of the Surco district in Lima and organized the very first harvest festival and pisco Competition in Peru. This prominent and successful peruvian family was synonymous with great pisco then, but it wasn't until Leon Eduardo Castro Capurro moved his family to the southern most desert in the district of Nazca that the modern legend of Capurro Pisco begins. The Nazca desert in the Ica Region is the perfect enviro... Read More »
Produced in the historic Asti region outside of Torino, this Moscato-based vermouth is a true Vermouth di Torino - one of the only two protected geographical indication of origins for vermouth. The rich, vibrant flavor profile offers complex notes backed by a balanced bitter undertone. Enjoy neat or mixed in numerous classic cocktails. To celebrate its 120th anniversary, the House of Cocchi has resumed production of its original recipe for Vermouth di Torino, first offered in 1891.
In the 1700s, it was called Root Tea. An herbal remedy made with sassafras, sarsaparilla, birch bark, and other wild roots and herbs. Native Americans taught the recipe to colonial settlers. As it was passed it down from generation to generation, it grew in potency and complexity. Particularly in the Pennsylvania hinterlands, where the ingredients naturally grow in abundance. At the close of the 19th century, as the Temperance movement conspired to take the fun out of everything, a Philadelphia pharmacist removed the alcohol from Root Tea and rechristene... Read More »
Scrappy's Bitters are inspired by nineteenth century recipes. As featured in Imbibe Magazine: "...bartender Miles Thomas has been making Scrappy's Bitters since 2008. Thomas now sells styles ranging from a classic orange to lavender, chocolate and cardamom. While his emphasis is on bitters that feature a single flavor, each style requires the use of multiple ingredients such as grains of paradise, angelica root, horehound and mace." (Sept/Oct 2010)
An amazing new amaro from Italy's Varnelli family, a producer from the Marche region that has been distilling since 1868. Their products blew me and our Italian buyer Greg St. Clair away! This is quite bitter, made with gentian root, it's herbal with soft hints of chocolate and a very supple mouthfeel. Definitely not for everyone, but wow is it interesting. For those who truly love the wonderful world of bitter liqueurs--you'll go bananas for this. (David Driscoll, K&L Spirits Buyer)
The incredibly elusive Miracle Mile Bitters might just be the Holy Grail for many LA mixologists and beyond. I've followed the development of this wonderful little company and its dynamic owner, Louis Anderman, since it was a mere twinkle in his eye. MM Bitters is committed to providing you with the absolute finest and most authentic mixology experience possible. We are proud to be the first major retailer to stock these titillating tinctures. Supply will be SHOCKINGLY limited to start, but production should increase easily with greater demand.
94 points Wine Enthusiast: "Beneath the perky lime-green color and a clean, bright licorice and mentholated lemon scent, this absinthe has soul. Surprisingly deep and musky star anise, Dutch licorice and sarsaparilla flavors fade to a citrus finish. Lovely with sugar too. A first-rate choice for an absinthe Frappe." (12/2010) K&L Notes: A Double Gold-award winner at the 2008 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, this also received five stars from critic F. Paul Pacult. This small batch absinthe is crafted on 100-plus-year-old alembic stills using instructions, techniques and equipment from t... Read More »
Shortly after Prohibition ended in late 1933, a New Orleans apothecary-turned-entrepreneur by the name of J. Marion Legendre introduced a product called Legendre Absinthe. Legendre learned about pastis and absinthe while stationed in France during WWI. Upon his return to New Orleans after the war, he secretly made absinthe in his Uptown home during prohibition. His launch of Legendre Absinthe was a dream come true. Sadly for Legendre, just months after launching his product, the U.S. Government forced him to remove the word absinthe from his brand name a... Read More »
I have worked with many types of oak barrels, first as a wine maker and then as a whisky maker. Every wood, whether it is from a bourbon barrel, port barrel, sherry cask, French, Balkan or American oak, creates a distinctive taste expression. As a proud Canadian whisky maker, I have always been curious what a Canadian whisky would taste like aged in a Canadian oak barrel, because most Canadian whiskies are aged in American oak. To my delight, I discovered some massive Canadian white oak trees that were growing only 40 miles from the distillery! They must... Read More »
It makes everything delicious! Not just for Bloody Marys. Flavor components: Celery, Bitter Lemon, Green Peppercorn, Coriander.
Bitter Girl is a project by bartender Erin Hines using fruits, herbs, and spices mostly grown in her own backyard (or her mother's). Located in Sonoma County, she grows pears, hops, roses, lavender, mint, walnuts, pomegranates, prickly pears, and much more in her completely organic garden. Batch One is made from pomegranate, orange, tangerine, and vanilla bean. Use it spice up your citrus cocktails!
Bitter Girl is a project by bartender Erin Hines using fruits, herbs, and spices mostly grown in her own backyard (or her mother's). Located in Sonoma County, she grows pears, hops, roses, lavender, mint, walnuts, pomegranates, prickly pears, and much more in her completely organic garden. The Bitter Rose uses rose petals, hibiscus, and lavender to create a delicate flavor profile just begging for a gin martini.
From Portland, Oregon's House Spirits (the makers of Aviation Gin) comes a delightful, domestic aquavit. This traditional Scandinavian grain spirit is crisp, with the alcohol really taking a backseat to the pure anise and caraway flavors. Enjoy on its own as a digestive, with roasted beets and herring or mix it into a unique cocktail, like the the Pepper Delicious #2 (recipe below), courtesy of House Spirits: 2 oz Krogstad Aquavit, 1 oz lime juice, ¾ oz simple syrup, ¼ red bell pepper, sliced, 6-8 mint leaves. Muddle the pepper, mint and simple syrup. A... Read More »
From the historic Louis Roque distillery located in the sleep town of Souillac. Imported by the legendary Charles Neal, Roque specializes in Vieille Prune from Gascony. Perhaps the finest in class, certainly the best of what's available in the states, prune uses only the best Gascone Plums. With the depth of a cognac and the finesse of a plum brandy. Esoteric, yet familiar, this Vieille Prune has an unparrelled richness. Bursting with asian spice and ripe fruit, you'll want to keep this one in stock once you've tried it.
The incredibly elusive Miracle Mile Bitters might just be the Holy Grail for many L.A. mixologists and beyond. I've followed the development of this wonderful little company and its dynamic owner, Louis Anderman, since it was a mere twinkle in his eye. Miracle Mile Bitters is committed to providing you with the absolute finest and most authentic mixology experience possible. We are proud to be the first major retailer to stock these titillating tinctures. Supply will be SHOCKINGLY limited to start, but production should increase easily with greater dem... Read More »
Leave it to the folks at Bittermens to devise a way to get a little hot pepper kick into your favorite cocktail. They figured, wisely, that most hot sauces are made by blending peppers with vinegar and other spices, and that the classic cocktail foundation, the vinegar-based shrub, would be the perfect vehicle to get extra that habenero spice in a cocktail-friendly fashion. Fortified with alcohol to better emphasize the habenero flavor, a couple of drops will kick up the complexity, and heat, in your Bloody Mary, or make for a fiery Old Fashioned like th... Read More »
Founded in 1863, Fee Brothers continues to thrive today, producing over ninety kinds of bitters, botanicals, brines, mixers and cordials to tantalize the tongue. Quality ingredients mattter when it comes to mixology, which is why serious mixologists have been choosing Fee Brothers' bitters for years. From the folks at Fee Brothers: "A few dashes add a savory zest to a huge variety of drinks and foods. This highly aromatic product is blended from the finest ingredients from around the world."
A must for the superior rum punch or hot toddy, Scrappy's Cardamom Bitters are made the old-fashioned way. Try it with "The Elegant Spice: 1½ oz white rum, ½ oz fresh grapefruit, ½ oz cointreau, ½ oz dry Vermouth, 1 to 2 dashes of Scrappy’s cardamom bitters serve on the rocks." (Recipe from Scrappy's)
K&L was the first store to have this in stock and we took as much as we can get of it! Anchor Steam releases a Christmas Ale every year and it's always one of my favorite parts of the holiday season. I've been drinking this beer with my dad every Xmas since I was 21. Last year Anchor had a few hundred bottles left over that they decided to distill secretly into a very, very, very small batch of bierschnapps, or white whiskey - depending on which title sounds more appealing to you. I got the chance to taste it this morning and, while I don't often advocat... Read More »
Marko from Charbay distillery in St. Helena bought 6,000 gallons of the famous Racer 5 IPA a few years back and decided to make whiskey out of it. The aged expression spent more than a year in new oak barrels to soften up the palate, but the hoppy goodness of the ale still shines through. A wonderful crossover for the beer geek/whiskey geek.
Scrappy's Bitters are inspired by nineteenth century recipes. As featured in Imbibe Magazine: "...bartender Miles Thomas has been making Scrappy's Bitters since 2008. Thomas now sells styles ranging from a classic orange to lavender, chocolate and cardamom. While his emphasis is on bitters that feature a single flavor, each style requires the use of multiple ingredients such as grains of paradise, angelica root, horehound and mace." (Sept/Oct 2010) Try this, courtesy of Scrappy's Bitters: Frog Leg - 2 oz Rye, ½ oz Cynar, ¼ oz Amaro Nonino, ½ oz dry vermo... Read More »
A fantastic new sweet vermouth from Piedmont that falls in between Dolin Rouge and Carpano Antica. Not as sweet as the latter, and not as lean as the former. It's like baby bear's porridge: just right!
Bitter Girl is a project by bartender Erin Hines using fruits, herbs, and spices mostly grown in her own backyard (or her mother's). Located in Sonoma County, she grows pears, hops, roses, lavender, mint, walnuts, pomegranates, prickly pears, and much more in her completely organic garden. Mom's Prickly Poms uses pomegranate, prickly pear, pineapple, and guava all grown by Erin's mother in her yard.
Bitter Girl is a project by bartender Erin Hines using fruits, herbs, and spices mostly grown in her own backyard (or her mother's). Located in Sonoma County, she grows pears, hops, roses, lavender, mint, walnuts, pomegranates, prickly pears, and much more in her completely organic garden. The Pear Jordan uses Bartlett pear, cascade hops, and nugget hops to create a fall flavor delight.
Stocked your bar with craft-distilled vodka, and ready to move up the alphabet from bartender to mixologist? It may benefit you to consider adding a few Scrappy's bitters, which are inspired by nineteenth century recipes. As featured in Imbibe Magazine: "...bartender Miles Thomas has been making Scrappy's Bitters since 2008. Thomas now sells styles ranging from a classic orange to lavender, chocolate and cardamom. While his emphasis is on bitters that feature a single flavor, each style requires the use of multiple ingredients such as grains of paradise,... Read More »
Who knows when you'll be asked to conjure up a vodka-based "Perfect," or a rye whisky-fueled "Black Manhatten." Scrappy's retro-style bitters, made from all-organic toasted cacao nibs, with a hint of spice and oak, imparts an essence of chocolate with that little extra. A wise addition to any well-stocked bar.
A shockingly delicious entry into the Pisco market from the Lapostolle Family. Utilizing their centuries of distilling expertise and made exclusively Muscat grapes, Alexandria & Rose, Kappa has achieved a depth and elegance rarely seen in this category. Floral and intense, but soft enough to sip this is truly the ONLY Chilean Pisco worth your time. 5 Stars from the Spirits Journal. Bravo! CRAZY NEW PRICE! It won't last.
Bittercube Cherry Bark Vanilla Bitters are aromatic and potent, with hints of cherry, cocoa and Madagascar vanilla. Cherry Bark Vanilla Bitters contain no cherries. The cherry aroma comes from wild cherry bark and from Syrian cherry pits (mahlab). The bitters have an interesting aroma of cocoa and bitter almonds, which is brought out by the vanilla beans and the mahlab. Ingredients: Wild Cherry Bark, Madagascar Vanilla Beans, Star Anise, Mahlab (Syrian Cherry Pits). Maceration: 6 weeks. Base spirit: Whiskey
According to the creators: "Our inferences and conclusions about the making of Abbott’s Bitters are based on countless hours of research and diligent effort to uncover documentary evidence to support our contentions. We do not claim to have exactly re-created the original formulation. Unless a verifiable copy of the pre-Prohibition recipe and protocol for Abbott’s Bitters is discovered, no one can make that claim with any real certainty. What we do have is an ‘angostura bark bitters’, which historically is what Abbott’s Bitters was. The recipe is culled ... Read More »
Bittercube Bolivar Bitters are aromatic and versatile, with notes of chamomile, cinnamon and dried fruits. Simon Bolivar had a German doctor in his army in Venezuela who invented Angostura Bitters in the town of Angostura, which is today known as Ciudad Bolivar. Bolivar Bitters are an homage to an Angostura recipe from a 19th century cocktail book. Bolivar Bitters are lighter than the classic "Angostura," but are highly aromatic and extremely versatile. Ingredients: Cassia (Cinnamon), Ceylon Cinnamon, Prune Reduction, Chamomile, Jasmine, Clove. Macera... Read More »