The wall of colorful boxes with the quirky logo and bad grammer copy drew us in moments after stepping foot on the Renegade Craft Fair floor. Christopher Coccagna, founder of T-WE TEA, holds the company title of “Director of Truth & Beauty” as well as “Expert in Fabulous” We didn’t want to take his word for it so we cupped. Then we cupped some more. After our third cupping (a tea tasting BTW) we saw past the intoxicating packaging and tasted the hand picked ingredients. We felt the hand mixed batches. We even saw the regions from which the brew was harvested. To add to all that, every tea is 100% organic, fair trade, and kosher sourced. That doesn’t make it easy to source but it does make it tasty.
More Drink Stuff
You know we love lemons. You know we love Italy. You know we love local food makers. All those hearts collided in Amsterdam of all places. While poking around De Hallen mesmerized at all the incredible, local, makers we found Bello Limoncello. The svelte, frosted bottle and clean, bold graphic triggered our pavlovian response to hipsterized old world classics. Considering my 89 year old uncles high octane version of citrus aperitif, this mustache adorned version gave me hope for a sipable post meal drink that augments instead of memory erases the completed meal that proceeds the ritual. Started by two Dutch buddies on a trip to Italy, it’s now quite the craze in Amsterdam. Their description is perfect so we’ll just cut and paste this perfect explanation. “A high-quality drink for the highly ambitious. Produced with Italian maschismo and Amsterdam bravoure.” Boss. Right? Their IG is pretty dope too. Check it. We’re hoping it makes it to the states soon but if you just can’t wait, like us, you can get it online.
There’s no doubt we live in a rosé world right now. If you have no idea what that means you’re either blinded by the latest micro, small batch, Queens brewery release OR you’ve been in more 12 step meetings than IG rabbit holes (Which we highly applaud). The reality is we’ve gone pink crazy thanks to some brilliant marketing by Yes Way Rosé, the White Girl boys, Pinknic, Summer Water and now Forty Ounce Wines. No doubt the ‘share-ability” appeal breaks the FOMO meter but does any of this tinted hooch actually taste good? Enter Patrick Cappiello, Food + Wine’s sommelier of the year and his idea to make young peeps more excited about wine by putting it into a 40oz bottle. Add in a St. Ides-Classic Muscadet mashup design by Carolyn Frisch and you have your next viral IG double like. Patrick, as we discovered, does back his bottle with flavor as one would expect from a dude who’s wine knowledge is his bread and butter. Although, this isn’t his first maverick wine move. He also hosts this crazy supperclub style dinner at Rebelle Restaurant that uses the wine focus of the night to create the menu. Sometimes it’s a region that leads the dinner, sometimes a grape and sometimes a specific vinyard. Either way, they are as renegade as their namesake and let’s just say, you’re not driving home. Back to the palatability of this Billy Dee Williams throwback with deep french roots, the wine maker Patrick and his partner, Chris Desor, worked with was actually responsible for the whole thing. Had the two not been on a wine trip visiting Julien Braud, a classic producer in Muscadet, and discovered he used 40oz style bottles to store his grape juice, there wouldn’t be a Forty Ounce Wines. (Full interview here.) Which is to say this fruity vino tastes as good as it #hashtags. Backed by some big restaurants and their somms, Patrick’s goal of making wine more accessibly was deemed a success when the first run sold out immediately. You can grab a bottle in person at these spots or, if in NYC, word is Marc Forgione, in the village, is pouring by the glass. If stocking up for a rosé draught is your game, smash the link below for online delivery.
Keeping with this weeks theme, next St. Patrick’s Day be prepared with your own craft brew. The Craft Beer Brewing Kit gives you step-by-step directions how to get the hoppiest, grapefruit infused, saison your tongue has ever tasted. Ok, that’s actually an impossible beer. You’ll have to pick one style for each batch. Choose from a dozen types from Hefeweizen to IPA to Irish Stout and in about 2 weeks time you’ll have your own craft brew ready to drink.
Gray Whale gin could be the hardest working spirit in the business. As gins become more and more interesting to me I’ve begun to seek out the less straight forward botanical mixes. Thankfully the UK is having a craft gin explosion and on a recent trip to California, I discovered the US isn’t far behind. Gray Whale gin chose its flavors based on the migratory path of the gray whale. Aside from being so #verycalifornian the foraged ingredients made for a unique taste and that, after all, is what I am after. With foraged botanicals running from Baja all the way up to Mendocino, the effort for that flavor may be unmatched by any other craft distiller. The outrageously mesmerizing aquamarine bottle that has an enticing depth illusion adds to our allure while their simplistic, contemporary, labeling design sold us. We’re suckers for a well-branded spirit.