It’s really, really time to bail on winter. Pack up your sweaters for real now, and budge over the dusty bottles in your bar — we’ve got racy, exciting spirits to facelift your at-home cocktail game, just in time for the sunshine.
Bonus: two gorgeous ready-to-drink canned cocktails to soak up every last ray on the go!
Arkansas Black Applejack
Talk about a throwback — Applejack was the very first distilled spirit in colonial America, and when Carter found a stellar one (with Calvados connections, we might add), he was quite happy to bring it aboard. Unlike many contemporary Applejacks, Raff’s Arkansas Black is made from 100% fermented apples (25 lbs per bottle!) and aged for a minimum of 3 years in a combination of French oak and used bourbon barrels, giving the spiced apple notes a weight and proof more akin to whiskey or scotch than other brandies.
Flavors: rich baked red apple, toffee, toasted brown sugar, vanilla bean, cedar
Behind the bar: Treat this like the bourbon-leaning babe it is in a Demerara Old Fashioned, Manhattan, or on the rocks; or go classic and snappy with lemon and a good grenadine in The Jack Rose (1)
Barbary Coast Rhum
Like its rough-and-tumble namesake, Barbary Coast Agricole-style Rhum is funky and brash, with lots of savory, grassy notes and a proof that doesn’t mess around. Made from 100% whole Columbian sugar cane juice rather than processed molasses, this style of rum offers distinct sugar cane flavors and a sense of terroir, much like that of Brazil’s cane sugar spirit, cachaça.
Flavors: plantain, green papaya, warm hay, wheat grass, cheese rind
Behind the bar: Makes for the ultimate refreshment in a classic daiquiri, or just as comfy in a Caipirinha (2)
A perennial favorite from Raff’s trade show days, this ready-to-drink cocktail is an instant hit for nearly anyone who tries it — WE PROMISE — DO NOT FEAR THE FAIRY! Made with a refreshing mix of lime, ginger ale, and Raff’s own Absinthe Verte, it’s a gentle intro to the tragically misunderstood delights of French wormwood, anise seed, lemon balm, and other tasty botanicals.
Flavors: spicy ginger, zesty lime, subtle sweet florals, soft savory licorice
Behind the bar: Pour over ice, let good times roll
From wife-and-husband team Jenny and Michael Griffo in Petaluma, CA, Griffo spirits come from a commitment to quality and community. Michael’s PhD in physics makes recipe tweaking a thing of science, while Jenny’s penchant for collaboration ensures exciting new ingredients and ideas are cropping up all the time. The resulting small-batch lineup is easy to love — just delicious tipples, clean and complex but oh-so easy to make your new everyday celebration with your favorite people.
Stout Barreled Whiskey
Created to blur lines within the sometimes stuffy whiskey category, Griffo’s Stout Barreled Whiskey’s mash is comprised of organic corn and roasted stout malts, marrying chocolatey coffee notes with their clean and bright high-proof profile. Aged in French oak and finished in stout beer barrels from their friends at Lagunitas, this rich whiskey isn’t just for beer lovers, making a stellar sipper or cocktailing whiskey for any palate.
Flavors: espresso bean, toffee, toasty vanilla cream, fig, cacao, brown bread
Behind the bar: Quite a fun boilermaker alongside your favorite stout beer; right at home in an Old Fashioned; or a surprisingly delicious Whiskey Sour (3)
Cold Brew Coffee Liqueur
This is honestly what we wish all coffee tasted like. Another exciting collaboration with Fair Trade coffee roasters at neighboring Equator Coffee, Michael and Jenny selected beans specifically for a long and gentle cold press that’s low in acid but brimming with pure coffee flavors. Proofed to 50 with their clean and creamy organic corn Vodka, this liqueur is very nearly an espresso martini in itself, ready to make its way into your most cherished coffee rituals.
Flavors: baking chocolate, cinnamon, maple, peaberry, and roasty, roasty bright coffee
Behind the bar: Tweak to your preferences with a little cream, vodka, and flavored simple syrups; or try something really special with Griffo’s own Russo Blanco (4)
Whole Lotta Sunshine
Good, clean fun — in a can! Michael developed a California Amaro specifically for this sunny, refreshing cocktail along with Griffo Vodka, fresh grapefruit juice, wildflower syrup, and a little seltzer. Toss in a cooler for your outdoor adventures, and feel good knowing 10% of proceeds are headed to habitat restoration projects.
Flavors: zesty grapefruit rounded out by soft red fruits and florals, orange oil, lemon, rhubarb
Behind the bar: Pop the top and shine on
Arkansas Black Jack Rose (1)
- 1.5 oz Raff Arkansas Black Applejack
- .75 oz fresh lemon juice
- .5 oz quality grenadine
Build and shake until well-chilled. Strain into a coupe with a lemon twist.
Prepare Rich Simple Syrup by bringing 2 parts Demerara sugar and 1 part water just to a boil, then simmer until sugar completely dissolves. Cool.
Thoroughly muddle one-half lime, quartered, in a cocktail shaker. Add:
- 2 oz Raff Barbary Coast Rhum
- 1 oz Rich Simple Syrup
Fill shaker tin to the brim with ice. Shake, harder and longer than is strictly comfortable — believe us, it’s worth it.
Dump into a rocks glass and enjoy with a straw and sunglasses.
Stout Whiskey Sour
Separate one egg white into cocktail shaker and dry shake for 30 seconds without adding ice or other ingredients, then add:
- 2 oz Griffo Stout Barreled Whiskey
- .5 oz lemon juice
- .25 oz orange juice
- .25 oz lime juice
- .25 oz simple syrup
Add ice and shake, strain into coupe and garnish with 2-4 dashes Angostura bitters.
As a single cocktail or a holiday-friendly batch, mix:
- 1 part Griffo Cold Brew Liqueur
- 1 part Griffo Vodka
- 2 parts horchata
-Aimee Hutchinson | Wine Manager Top Ten Liquors