Picks of the drink variety
Cocina Lolo Sangria Cocktails
Since Cocina opened (the newest culinary baby of Bryan and Andrea Sikora, located at 405 N. King St.), they’ve enjoyed a great dinner buzz. But I feel everyone should know they also have a terrific at-bar Happy Hour too (Tuesday-Friday, 4-6 p.m., with $5 classic margaritas, $3 cervezas and $2 tacos). Above all that, my favorite new thing is their homemade BLANCO (white) Y TINTO (red) sangrias: Spanish wines mixed with oodles of brandy-soaked fruits and a touch of Cointreau—the perfect “something new” for your everyday HH party. P.S., also try their mushroom fundido for another something new.
— Michelle Kramer-Fitzgerald, Contributing Writer
Hop Sing Laundromat in Philly
The best bar within 100 miles of where you are right now. It’s this crazy hidden speakeasy in Chinatown. You give a big, scary, ex-football pro your ID when you buzz in. He disappears for an uncomfortable amount of time, then returns to read you the rules. Sneakers or jeans? Don’t even bother knocking. Take a photo, even with your phone, and you get kicked to the curb. But man, the drinks…I recently had the Funkify Your Life (Thai pepper with gin, ginger liquor, mint and lemon juice), which is so spicy if it touches your lips you are toast. But it is all delicious and worth the dance, whatever your poison.
— Joe del Tufo, Contributing Photographer
Narragansett Allie’s Donuts Chocolate Porter
I have a love/hate relationship with chocolate beers. Simultaneously, they’re my most favored and most detested brews. This beer is sweet as expected, and proves to be light, uncharacteristic of many chocolate-based batches. I found my pack of six at Inner Spirits in Trolley Square.
— Ryan Alexander, Contributing Designer
Wine & Cider-making
Creative Director Matt Loeb and I have always suggested home brewing beer in O&A Worth Trying editions, but each time we try to offer something different. This past fall, I tried my hand at making hard cider with locally-sourced apple cider from Highland Orchards. Everyone who had a chance to try it fell in love with it, and making hard cider is much easier than home-brewing beer. With wine or cider-making, you cut out the actual “brewing” part and just add some yeast to your “juice,” let it sit and follow regular home brewing procedures.
— Tyler Mitchell, Graphic Designer
Born in moonshine country, this American single malt whisky was a spontaneous buy at Frank’s Wine. I finally tried it and was pleasantly surprised. It’s obvious that Blue Ridge Distillery mastered this blend before it hit the bottle and the shelves. It’s the perfect sipper to enjoy with holiday guests.
— Matt Loeb, Creative Director & Production Manager
Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout
The eerie mystic on the label of California’s North Coast Brewing Co.’s Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout is anything but welcoming. But the bitter brew, an enigmatic blend of coffee, dark cocoa and dark malts, is rich and smooth. At 9 percent ABV, it’s one to sip slow and savor.
— Krista Connor, Associate Editor
Aperol Spritz at Capers & Lemons
I’m typically a beer and red wine drinker, but at our office holiday party at Capers & Lemons I was in the mood for something different. They had lots of delightful looking options, but our server recommended the Aperol Spritz: prosecco, aperol (an Italinan liquer made with bitter orange and rhubarb), club soda, and a splash of fresh orange juice. It was delicious! Exactly the festive-type cocktail I had in mind.
— Marie Graham, Director of Digital Media
Dark and Stormy
A colleague introduced me to this concoction during a recent holiday dinner. Trust me, I will be having another. Created with Crabbie’s ginger beer, Gosling’s Black Seal Bermuda dark rum, and a twist of lime, the drink has a nice bite, is not too sweet, and the perfect option when you’re looking for a break from a filling craft beer or glass of wine.
— Jerry duPhily, Publisher
Swigg – Wine, Craft Beer & Artisan Spirits
Located in Independence Mall, David Govatos’ new shop is both stylish and thoroughly engaging for the adult beverage aficionado. It focuses on lesser known producers from all over the world, quality products are offered at very competitive pricing. One wall features an ever-changing roster of 15 red wines and 15 whites, all under $15. If craft beer is your thing, craft is all they sell. An impressive collection of local, regional and other quality American brews are chilled and ready for a session with the crew. And an outstanding selection of premium artisanal spirits make excellent gifts or additions to your liquor cabinet or winter sipping list. Located at 1601 Concord Pike, Wilmington.
— Chef Robert Lhulier