Thursday, October 31, 2013

Old Fashioned by Barman Dale DeGroff

The Old Fashioned

I attended a holiday punch event at Apartment 13 last evening featuring three punches created by both Leo and Dale DeGroff using PAMA Liqueur as a base ingredient. All three were really enjoyable each in a different way. The Millenium was cognac-based, the Caribe rum and PAMA based and the PAMA Paloma was PAMA, Del Maguey Crema Mezcal, and Pedro Ximenez based.

My favorite though was the Caribe Punch made with Santa Teresa 1796 rum, PAMA Liqueur, Kalamansi, Lemongrass, Lime and Flamed Orange was my favorite. It was bright, fresh, tart and delicious. 

Beyond the punches and conversation, one of the highlights of the evening was sipping an Old Fashioned made by Dale. He it made with Louis Royer 53 VSOP Cognac which is a high-proof cognac perfect for this kind of cocktail. It packed a punch and was spot on.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Grand Cayman | What I Came Home With


On a recent trip to Grand Cayman I did what I always do when traveling, I explored the local liquor and food stores. Ok, I'll be honest - when I travel, I tend to hit most of the liquor / wine stores in a town. It might be left over from my days at Chambers Street Wines; it might be an odd form of liquor store OCD. Whatever it is, it's part of my urge to find that bottle I can't find at home.

Food stores, on the other hand, are the perfect way to see what the locals are eating at home and to discover local fruits, vegetables, meats and seafood.

From Grand Cayman, I returned with a bottle of Seven Fathoms rum and Grand Cayman Sea Salt. These souvenirs serve both as lovely reminders of an experience, but also as an opportunity to try something new.

Seven Fathoms rum is the only rum distilled locally on the island and they have a unique selling point in that the rum is aged in barrels seven fathoms under the sea. The theory is that the temperature and humidity is perfect, but also the motion of the ocean mimics rotating the barrels on land and is similar to aging rum on ships back in the day. And since I bought the bottle at the distillery, it was signed with palm tree by the distiller.


Sea salt is another perfect souvenir or even gift. It is an expression of the local waters brought to life in seasoning form. At home I have salt from Portland, Vancouver, the Florida Keys and now Grand Cayman. It's not always the cheapest gift (thanks mum and dad for that Florida Keys sea salt), but you'll remember your trip every time you season your food.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Cocktail Recipe | Pisco Sour

Pisco Sour

I was recently introduced to Control C Pisco at an event in New York. Pisco is effectively a grape brandy made in Chile (in the case of Control C) and Peru. There are clear unaged versions of Pisco and aged versions which taste similar to French brandy or Cognac.

Control C is made in the Limarí Valley in Chile and is distilled three times. Wine made from Pedro Jiménez and Muscat of Alexandria grapes and then distilled to make the pisco. It has a bright, fresh, clean flavor. It's imported by Cadre Noir Imports, who also import Combier and Aveze Gentian Liqueur.

The classic cocktail using pisco is the Pisco Sour, but it's a very flexible spirit that can be incorporated into a variety of cocktails. In addition to the Pisco Sour, I also made a Pisco Collins. Take the same ingredients as below minus the egg white, mix them up and top with soda water over ice.

This version of the Pisco Sour replaces simple syrup with one of my new favorite cocktail ingredients, Bee Raw Honey single varietal honeys. The range of varietals available means it's easy to find one that matches the style of cocktail you are making.

Pisco Sour Recipe

Glass: Coupe
Garnish: none

Ingredients
- 2 oz. Control C Pisco
- 3/4 oz. fresh lime juice
- 3/4 oz. Honey Syrup (Bee Raw Oregon Meadowfoam Honey with a little hot water to blend)
- 1 egg white
- 5 drops Angostura Bitters

Directions
1) In a cocktail shaker, combine pisco, lime juice, honey syrup and egg white.
2) Dry shake (with no ice) until good and frothy. Dry shaking emulsifies the egg proteins without diluting the drink.
3) Add ice and shake aggressively.
4) Strain into a chilled cocktail coupe.
5) Gently drop 5 drops of Angostura Bitters on top of the cocktail and using a cocktail straw or a toothpick swirl the drops.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Cocktail Recipes | Gentiane Aperitif Tom Collins Twists

Aperitifs with Bee Raw Honey

A couple of riffs on Tom Collins made with two different gentiane aperitifs and Bee Raw Honey instead gin and simple syrup. So really, it's not a Tom Collins, but more inspired by a Tom Collins. Since the gin is replaced with Bonal and Salers Aperitif the resulting cocktail has a less crisp and tart flavor, but a more rounder, possibly more unique flavor.

On first taste, I had a preference for the cocktail with Bonal, because it seemed more integrated and round, but after a few sips the cocktail made with Salers really grew on me. The Salers cocktail has a more distinctive flavor and the Salers shines through a little more.

Both cocktails maintain a balance of freshness and sweetness that is typical of a Tom Collins, yet they also provide a unique sounding board for the gentiane aperitifs and the local honey.


Bonal or Salers Aperitif Tom Collins

Glassware: Collins or Rocks Glass
Ice: Large Ice Cubes
Garnish: Lemon Slice

Ingredients
- 2 oz. Bonal or Salers Aperitif
- 3/4 oz. Fresh Lemon Juice
- 3/4 oz. Bee Raw New York Basswood Honey and water mixture (mostly honey with a little hot water to blend smoothly)
- 1 oz. Seltzer

Directions
1) In a mixing glass, combine the Bonal or Salers Aperitif, lemon juice, and honey mixture.
2) Add ice cubes and shake until well mixed.
3) Strain into a Collins glass with fresh ice.
4) Top with seltzer, stir gently and garnish with a lemon twist.



Sunday, July 28, 2013

On The Wall | London & Paris

Holywell Lane, Shoreditch

Broadway Market

Shoreditch

Shoreditch

Laburnum Street, Hoxton

Goldsmiths Row, Bethnal Green

Shoreditch

Shoreditch

 Redchurch Street, Shoreditch

Rivington Street, Shoreditch

Rue des Rosiers, Paris

Katchkie Farm CSA Week 7 | Tomatoes, Roasted Beets, Squash & Zucchini

Salad of tomatoes, pesto, roasted beets, zucchini and squash

This salad is a combination of fresh sliced small tomatoes, pesto, grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, and left-over sautéed zucchini, squash and fennel. The flavor combination of the bright basil, anise fennel, sweet roasted beets and tomatoes screamed summer and was just glorious.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Recipe | Penne with Pesto and Chicken

Whole Wheat Penne with Pesto and Chicken

The basil from this week's Katchkie Farm CSA was wilting fast and rather than lose out on those bright and fresh summer basil flavors, I pulled together a batch of pesto. While making the pesto, I drank a negroni because Italian calls for Italian.

Pesto Recipe

Ingredients
- 2 cups basil leaves
- 1/3 cup pine nuts
  
- 1/2 cups finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup roasted garlic olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- Salt & pepper

Directions
1) In a food processor (I used one of the smaller ones for this job), add the pine nuts and the basil.
2) Pulse several times until finely chopped and blended.
3) Add the garlic and pulse again.
4) Clean down the sides of the bowl and add one of the olive oils.
5) Run the food processor until well blended together.
6) Add the other olive oil and complex the processing.
7) Add the cheese and blend again.
8) Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed.


Whole Wheat Penne with Pesto and Chicken Recipe

Ingredients
- 1 chicken breast, cut up into 3/4-inch pieces
- 1/4 white onion, finely chopped
- Pesto
- 3 handfuls of whole wheat penne

Directions
1) Boil well salted water in a medium - large pot.
2) Add penne to the water.
3) In a large sauté pan, over medium-low heat, add a good glug of olive oil and cook the onion until translucent. Don't brown it.
4) Add the chicken and turn up the heat to medium.
5) When chicken is cooked through, add a few tablespoons of pesto sauce to the pan and toss.
6) When the penne is cooked to your liking (al dente), with a slotted spoon, add the penne to the sauté pan. Getting some water in the pan is a good thing, which is why you shouldn't just drain the pasta in a colander.
7) If the pasta, chicken and sauce looks a little tight, add some water and / or some more pesto.
8) If desired, add a little more cheese and serve.






Cocktail Recipe | Negroni



The Negroni is pretty much the classic Italian aperitif: bitter and complex. It's just what you want to start the evening.


Glass: rocks glass
Ice: large cubes
Garnish: orange twist (traditional), lemon twist (what I had)

Ingredients
- 2 oz. Beefeater gin
- 3/4 oz. Campari
- 3/4 oz. Carpano Antica Formula vermouth

Directions
1) In a cocktail mixing glass, add the three ingredients.
2) Add ice and stir until cold.
3) Strain into a rocks glass with one or two large ice cubes.
4) Garnish with a twist.

Countertop Collage

Collage of fennel fronds, beans, cilantro, carrot tops

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Katchkie Farm CSA Week 7 | Squash, Zucchini, Fennel, Onion, Fennel Fronds, Cilantro

Sautéed onion, fennel, squash, zucchini, fennel fronds, cilantro

There were some similar ingredients in this week's and last week's Katchkie Farm CSA, so there's definitely some overlap with a couple of dishes I made. Both turned out really well with the fennel this week providing an anise component and the kale last week providing a leafier feel.

Both dishes were topped with simply cooked fish from The Lobster Place in Chelsea Market.

Ingredients
- Onion, finely diced
- Zucchini, finely diced
- Squash, finely diced
- Fennel, chopped fine and fronds chopped up
- Cilantro, small handful, rough chopped

Directions
1) In a large saucepan, add some olive oil, the fennel and onion. Season with salt and pepper and cook over medium-low heat until translucent.
2) Add the chopped zucchini and squash, season again with salt and pepper, increase heat to medium. Sauté until cooked through. This can range anywhere from reasonably firm to pretty soft, depending on preference.
3) When cooked to the right consistency, add the fennel fronds and cilantro and stir through.




The previous week's version didn't have fennel and included kale and omitted the onion. I also cooked each vegetable individually and combined them in a bowl with some olive oil and a little sherry vinegar.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Katchkie Farm CSA - Week 6 - Coleslaw

Coleslaw with cabbage, cucumber, cilantro, basil and mint

This week's CSA delivery from Katchkie Farm included cabbage, basil, cilantro, lettuce, beets, tomatoes and since it has been so hot and humid in the city, a cool coleslaw was in order. I've become addicted to using Nori Tamago Furikake in salad dressings. It's a Japanese prepared seaweed and sesame seed mixture that is more traditionally used to flavor cooked rice, but it's fantastic in dressings and eggs, adding a unique underlying flavor profile.

The coleslaw with cabbage, cucumber ribbons and three fresh herbs turned out wonderfully and was the center of a salad with lettuce, tomato and roasted beets.


Ingredients
- 1/4 head cabbage, thinly sliced
- 1 small cucumber, peeled, de-seeded and thinly sliced
- ~ 10 fresh mint leaves, rough chopped
- Small handful fresh Cilantro, rough chopped
- ~ 6 fresh basil leaves , chiffonade
- 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard (Tin Mustard)
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
- 1tablespoon mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon sriracha
- 1 teaspoon Nori Tamago Furikake
- Salt
- Pepper

Directions

1) In a large bowl, mix cabbage and herbs with your hands.
2) In a medium bowl mix mustards, mayonnaise, vinegar, sriracha, Nori Tamago Furikake and salt and pepper to taste.
3) Add a couple / few tablespoons of the mixture to the cabbage, blend together. See how creamy it is and taste for seasoning. Add more, if needed, until desired texture is reached.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Enhancing The Martini

The Gin Martini with Elixir Végétal de la Grande-Chartreuse

With the gin martini, even though you only really have two ingredients and one garnish to choose from (in theory), those who love the martini always have their own recipe and nuanced approaches. I have a tendency towards the classic approach in a similar vein to bartenders Tony Conigliaro, Tony About-Ganim and Chris McMillian. This means, Plymouth or Beefeater gin and Dolin or Noilly Prat dry vermouths. I also add a few drops of either orange bitters or some recent Juniper Grapefruit bitters I made.

But on a recent trip to Paris, I picked up a bottle of Elixir Végétal de la Grande-Chartreuse. The Chartreuse website describes it as follows:

"Made by the Chartreuse Monks since 1737 according to the instructions set out in the secret manuscript given to them by Maréchal d'Estrées in 1605. The Herbal Elixir gets its unique flavour from 130 medicinal and aromatic plants and flowers. It is a cordial, a liqueur and a very effective tonic."

At a whopping 69% alcohol by volume, you aren't doing much with this beyond using a few drops. But when you do, it add a huge punch of aroma and subtle flavors. They recommend adding a few drops on a lump of sugar, but I jumped straight to adding some to a martini made with Beefeater gin, Dolin dry vermouth (in a 3:1 ratio) with a lemon twist to garnish. It's just brilliant. The herbal quality and complex undertones all come together perfectly.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Katchkie Farm CSA - Week 5 - Lunch of Tomato, Kohlrabi, Cucumber Salad

Salad of tomato, kohlrabi, cucumber, parsley, cilantro

Ingredients
- 6 small tomatoes, quartered
- 1/4 kohlrabi, trimmed, finely julienned
- 1/2 small cucumber, skinned, de-seeded, chopped
- a spring onion, chopped
- a few stems of parsley, loosely chopped
- a few stems of cilantro, loosely chopped
- chive oil
- sherry vinegar
- salt and pepper

Directions
1) In a bowl add the first four ingredients.
2) Sprinkle with some chive oil (recipe here) or olive oil - not too much, just a enough to "glaze."
3) Sprinkle with even less sherry vinegar, basically in proportion as if you were making a vinaigrette.
4) Gently blend / fold the ingredients using a spoon.
5) Add the parsley, cilantro and season with sea salt and pepper.
6) Again, blend everything together and serve.

Notes
This was served with leftover, cold rainbow trout and some Haven's Kitchen ricotta with a few drops of chive oil on top. The ricotta is a rich, creamy addition to the brightness of the salad.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Cocktails | Saffron Infused Gin & Tonics

Saffron Infused Gin

Not that gin needs any enhancements or modification, but sometimes in summer a slight change can really bring out those summer feelings. I've been a huge fan of Earl Grey tea infused gin for a while. The tea adds some Bergamot components as well as some slight tea tannins.

Saffron though not only adds a glorious bright yellow / orange color, but it also adds aroma and flavor -- a slight bitter note with hint of sweetness to. It makes a wonderful gin and tonic - and when made the Spanish way (recipe below) the aromas really sing.

It seemed to work best though when I combined both ideas of the saffron and tea infusion.

Saffron Infused Gin
1) Take a few strands of saffron (I probably used too much and infused slightly too long in the above attempt) and add to a cup of gin. You probably want to use a more old school classic gin like Plymouth or Beefeater rather than something like Hendrick's.

2) Let sit for about an hour or to taste. Since the strands will still be red, you could reuse in another batch.

3) Strain and put in a bottle.

4) Make a gin and tonic.

Note: similar to turmeric, saffron can stain. Be careful of white counter tops and clothing.

Saffron-Tea Infused Gin
1) Take the saffron infused gin and add a tablespoon of loose Earl Grey tea leaves.

2) Let that sit and infuse for about an hour or less time if you are impatient for a G + T.

3) Strain and put back in the bottle.

4) Make a gin and tonic.


Saffron Infused G + T / Saffron Tea Infused G + T

Spanish G & T with Saffron & Tea Infused Gin
1) In a large bowl wine glass, with large ice cubes, add 1 oz. of infused gin.

2) Add 4 oz. of your favorite tonic. In this case, clear pre-made tonics like Fever Tree, Q Tonic or old school Schweppes work better than syrups like Tomr's or Jack Rudy Cocktail Co, because you really want that saffron color to shine though.

3) For garnish, add a large piece of lemon twist and a star anise.

Get more ideas and recipes here.




Thursday, July 11, 2013

Sometimes The Whole Is Better Than The Parts

Pan Seared Steak on Arugula
with Sautéed Tomato, Scallion, Parsley

Some nights you make a dinner from ingredients that aren't from the farmers market, aren't from a CSA, but just a few things you picked up at the local store. Some nights, it's just a bleh dinner. But then there are those meals that just happen to sing.

Tonight was one of those nights. The combination of steak, arugula, olive oil, sherry vinegar, tomatoes, garlic, parsley, spring onion and Dijon mustard all sang in perfect harmony.

Ingredients
- Steak, a reasonably thick piece
- 1 spring onion, finely sliced
- handful of cherry tomatoes, chopped in half
- couple of sprigs of fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, unpeeled
- 1 tablespoon butter
- olive oil
- sherry vinegar
- salt & pepper

Directions
1) Heat a cast iron pan over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes.
2) After pulling the steak out of the fridge and letting it sit for a while, season the steak liberally with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
3) Seer the steak in the cast iron pan for 6 to 8 minutes a side (but don't over cook). Add the garlic cloves to the pan and move around the pan every now and again. Turn the heat down to medium-low after both sides become well crusted.
4) For the last minute of cooking the steak, add butter and turn the steak a few times.
5) Remove the steak to a cutting board.
6) Add the cherry tomatoes and spring onions to the pan (I don't really like raw onions, so I'm okay with cooking them through). Season with salt and pepper. Stir to avoid sticking.
7) When the tomatoes and spring onions are cooked (a few minutes), add the chopped parsley to the pan and stir in.
8) Dress the arugula with olive oil and sherry vinegar and season with salt and ground pepper.
9) Slice the steak, season with salt and arrange over the dressed arugula on a plate.
10) Spoon the tomato, parsley, garlic (which is now basically gooey and roasty inside), spring onion mixture over the steak.
11) Add some Dijon mustard to the side of the plate and your are ready to go.

Wine Pairing | Viña Sastre 2006 Tinto
A tempranillo from the Ribera del Duero imported by De Maison Selections. Pretty soft and fruity with lots of red fruit and mellow, but in a good way on a hot summer's evening when you don't want to think too much.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Katchkie Farm CSA - Week 5 - Sautéed Swiss Chard and Squash + Max Creek Hatchery Trout

Sautéed Swiss Chard with Squash and Rainbow Trout

After having July 4th week off from the Katchkie Farm / Haven's Kitchen CSA, the produce came in strong this week. Tonight's dinner was a combination of vegetables from Katchkie Farm and a rainbow trout from Max Creek Hatchery. A wonderful combination it was.

Post-summer cocktails and a snack on Haven's Kitchen's ricotta meant keep it simple and easy, which doesn't mean it wasn't really delicious.

Ingredients
- Swiss Chard
- Red Onion
- Yellow Squash
- Whole Rainbow Trout
- Fresh Parsley

Directions
1) Heat over to 400 degrees F for the trout.
2) Medium dice the red onion and yellow squash.
3) Separate the chard stems from the leaves. Chop the stems and ribbon chop the leaves. Wash the stems and leaves separately.
4) Season the trout inside and out with salt and pepper. Stuff it with parsley.
5) Cook trout in oven on a pan with aluminum foil (easier for clean up) and olive oil.
6) Over medium heat, start cooking the chard stems in olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
7) After about five minutes, add the onions, re-season and continue to cook, turning reasonably frequently.
8) After another five minutes, add the squash and season again. At this point, I added a little sprinkle of paprika.
9) Then a few minutes later, add the swiss chard leafs and cook until wilted and cooked though. I also added some red pepper flakes for flavor and a slight kick.
10) Pull the trout out of the oven when it is cooked through and serve with the sautéed swiss chard, onion and squash mixture.




Notes
It's always noted that when you buy fresh whole fish the eyes are supposed to be clear and bright and the fish's skin a little slimy. This fresh rainbow trout from Max Creek Hatchery hit every note of freshness, including the slimy.


Wine Pairing
Tonight we pulled out a bottle of Joseph Roty 2005 Bourgogne Blanc. It's in a perfect place of age and freshness.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Katchkie Farm CSA - Week 3 - Romaine, Radish, Basil Salad

Katchkie Farm Romaine Lettuce, Radish and Basil Salad
with Smoked Trout

Week 3 of the Katchkie Farm / Haven's Kitchen CSA included Romaine Lettuce, Radishes, Basil among other veggies. These jumped out though to make a perfect lunch salad with the added touch of Blue Hill Bay smoked trout from The Lobster Place in Chelsea Market.

The combination of chopped, crisp, cool Romaine lettuce with the bite of radish and the bright flavor of basil all blended with a simple mustard vinaigrette worked really well.

I'm really loving the smoked trout from Blue Hill Bay because it's moist, not dried out, but it still has a punch of smoke. I've been using it on salads, but also on seeded bread with mustard seed and pea shoots, inspired by chef Jason French.

No CSA during the holiday week, but looking forward to next week's delivery from Katchkie Farm.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Katchkie Farm CSA - Week 2 - Napa Cabbage Miso Soup

Napa Cabbage Miso Soup

This is my first experience with both Napa cabbage and miso soup and I was very happy with the results. It's easy, quick and was perfect for a light lunch. It didn't feel out of place in the warm summer, but would be perfectly warming in the winter too. Side note - I was hungover when making this and it was an ideal cure.

Ingredients
- Half head of Napa cabbage, medium-finely chopped
- 2 spring onions, chopped
- 1/2 cup Miso Master Oragnic Mellow White Miso Paste
- Chili flakes (to taste)
- Water
- Salt & Pepper
- Kikkoman Soba Tsuyu Noodle Dipping Sauce
- Olive Oil

Directions
1) In a medium saucepan, sweat / lightly sauté the spring onions in olive oil with chili flakes, season with salt and pepper
2) Add napa cabbage and sauté with spring onions, season with salt and pepper.
3) Add water to about half way up pan and simmer ingredients for about 5 minutes.
4) Taste for seasoning, add some Kikkoman Soba Tsuyu or soy sauce to taste - about 1 tablespoon.
5) In a small bowl add the miso paste with some of the water from the saucepan and whisk to blend.
6) Once the cabbage is cooked (especially the stalky bits) and its at the temperature you like, turn off the heat and add the miso mixture. Do not boil the soup with the miso paste added.
7) Serve. If you like raw spring onions (I do not) add some for garnish.

Ideas
- add some shiitake mushrooms or other mushrooms.
- add some shredded chicken.





Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Little Eels




Little Eels at Kew Gardens, England

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Sunset on The High Line

Sunset on West 27th Street from The High Line.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Art @ MoMA

Claes Oldenburg
Mouse Museum / Ray Gun Wing

Claes Oldenburg
Mouse Museum / Ray Gun Wing

Barrett Lyon of The Opte Project
Mapping The Internet

Barrett Lyon of The Opte Project
Mapping The Internet

Barrett Lyon of The Opte Project
Mapping The Internet

Giacometti @ The Met

Alberto Giacometti
The Forest (Composition with Seven Figures and a Head)
1950
Bronze

The same, close up.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Art @ Christie's

Some quick photos of some of my favorite paintings / sculpture from a recent preview of Christie's Impressionist and Modern art sale taking place this month.

Chaim Soutine (1893 - 1943)
Le Petit Pâtissier
Painted circa 1927
$16,000,000 - $22,000,000
more details...

Wayne Thiebaud (b. 1920)
Ice Cream Cone
Executed in 1964
$50,000 – $70,000

Wayne Thiebaud (b. 1920)
Two Jolly Cones
Painted in 2002
$500,000 - $700,000

Alberto Giacometti (1901-1966)
Femme Debout
Original 1954 - 1956
€400,000 – €600,000
($525,191 - $787,786)

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Tasting Something New | Lillet Reserve Jean de Lillet

Lillet Reserve in the glass, Lillet Rose in the background.

Lillet has just launched their limited edition Reserve Jean de Lillet 2009. At the Lamb's Club last night they offered a tasting paired with a menu created by chef Geoffrey Zakarian and Eric Haugen.

I love Lillet as an aperitif with ice and a slice. It's one of those drinks that instantly transports you to a sunny spot overlooking the ocean. The Reserve seems to transport you to a more contemplative place -- it's a more serious drink than the regular blanc, rose (launched last year) and rouge.

The Reserve bottling is made from single vintage Sauternes (Lillet is from Bordeaux) which means Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle grapes. The Sauternes is blended with orange liqueur, a secret blend of fruit liqueurs and Peruvian quinine.

The Reserve is very concentrated, refined and elegant. Its character shines through and you really get a sense of the Sauternes and orange liqueur components. I'd drink this as an aperitif (chilled, not loaded with ice) or even on its own at the end of a meal in place of dessert - rather than pairing it with dessert.

Look out for it in limited quantities in NYC and as you'd expect, it's pricier than the other bottlings - $44 rather than under $20.