...and they slapped me in the face and then kissed me on the mouth.
It's no secret that we at the Savory are huge fans of St. George Spirits. We love everything that they do, from their vast roster of hugely complex spirits, locally sourced ingredients and their alchemist's aesthetic to their rich history, widespread influence and almost family-run business ethos. They were the first Post-Prohibition craft distillery and are regarded as being one of (if not the finest) producers of distilled alcohol in the United States.
They've kicked off 2014 with a wonderful new range of fruit brandies and liqueurs. The bottles themselves are beautifully put together. Stocky, corked and labeled with paper that feels like it's used to make the diplomas at Yale, the product is striking in its presentation, particularly if you get the set. In our warped world of arbitrary personification we could see these little guys donning Stetsons, mounting studs and click-clacking their way into the Sierras to prospect for gold.
The taste, across the board, is enormous. The brandies have a big sweet nose on them that seems to clamber out of the glass and leap onto your palate. There's a slight softness to their touch that's almost subservient under the pressure of the aroma. You get strong, rustic hints of apple, clove and cinnamon in the pear brandy and nothing but bold, overripe raspberry in the other.
The fruit brandies are almost paternal in their production. Given that the company's initial production spirit was eau de vie and that they have completely broadened their production since then, these two new products make it seem like the company had twins later in life.
The liqueurs were everything that they ought to be: aggressive and unapologetic yet smooth with a medicinal touch. The spiced pear was like an oven-baked pie splashed with ouzo and almost verged on a thick boozy cider. The raspberry was like a pot of homemade jam: very thick, sweet, a little tart, a gorgeous deep color, and something that you could surely use to bait bees.
All of these drinks are cocktail ready and the site even offers some ideas on how you can get the most out of them. It's not our belief that this line is best to drink neat. You should use them as components, challenge yourself to plug the holes with additional spirits, and engage in the experimental culture of the company itself.
All you need to do is look at the signed and authorized promise on the bottom of the bottle to understand where master distiller Lance Winters' head is at:
'We pledge to craft quintessential spirits to delight hedonists and genius bartenders alike.'
And they have done just that.