Stéphane was first introduced to Pineau des Charentes by his grandmother, Mémé. She lives an hour north of Cognac, a stone’s throw from Bordeaux, where this local fortified sweet wine is enjoyed mostly before dinner. When Stéphane met a man who pushed him to make this magical potion of his youth, followed closely by one who knew where to get California’s best brandy, he knew the stars had aligned. With healthy skepticism from his wife, Stéphane poured his heart and soul into making his beloved Pineau. The result is magical indeed. Even Dana agrees.
Sexton Vivier (named in honor of other things in Stéphane’s life which, like this wine, are sweet and special) teases the senses with notes of dried Turkish apricots, concord grape and pomegranate seed, spiced up by hints of black tea and orange peel.
Serve chilled, either the French way, as an apéritif, or the American way, as a digestif. The French drink it straight. Dana drinks it on the rocks with a splash of soda and an orange wedge, except of course when Mémé is watching.
Price: $35 a bottle
Four generations of family gathered together to eat and drink
Berry and Lemon Verbena Cocktail
1oz white rum
3 leaves of lemon verbena muddled with ice
1 1/2oz’s of berry puree, blackberries, strawberries or raspberries.
Shake all ingredients with ice.
Serve in a tall glass, finish with soda water
Running Up That Hill
adapted from Chris Keil, 1022 South, Tacoma WA
1 1/2 oz Apple brandy
1/2 oz Sexton Vivier
1/2 oz Ginger liqueur, Domaine de Canton
1/2 oz Lemon juice
1 oz Ephemere
Combine everything except for the Ephemere in shaker over ice. Shake and double strain into chilled cocktail glass. Float with Ephemere.
Inspired by Jay Kuehner of Sambar’s Cavale
adapted from Telegraph, Chicago, IL.
1 1/2 oz Sexton Vivier
1 oz Demerara Rum, El Dorado 15
1/2 oz Rhum Agricole, Neisson blanc
1 ds Bitters, Bittermens Xocolatl Mole
1 twst Lemon peel
Stir, strain over fresh ice, express and drop in twist.
1 oz Sexton Vivier
1 oz Apricot Brandy
3/4 oz fresh lemon juice
1/2 oz simple syrup
Shake all ingredients with ice and pour into an old-fashioned glass. Garnish with a cherry and an orange slice, and serve.
13% (26 proof)
Serve in: Old-Fashioned Glass