February 22, 2013
Durham! It's not just a beer town anymore.
I've seen and heard snippets about The Brothers Vilgalys Spirits Company, and their plans to unleash a traditional Lithuanian liquor unto the world, for what feels like forever. A month or two ago, they released the first batches of krupnikas, a spiced honey liquor that sold out almost immediately in my little corner of Durham. I was finally able to hunt it down and bring it home, and it was worth the wait.
First, I tried it straight up. It's extremely viscous and thick, and the the first thing that hits you is honey (100% North Carolina wildflower honey, of course). Then the warm heat of the spices follows, all the way down to your belly. It's definitely a sipper. I can totally picture old Lithuanian men swapping war stories over a post-dinner finger or two of this stuff.
Then, I made a cocktail inspired by the ones I had seen on their site (and what I had on hand). Krupnikas, coffee syrup, and milk. TOO GOOD. TOO EASY TO DRINK. Like a grown-up mudslide. Or maybe it should be called: a White Lithuanian?
I also recently picked up a bottle of my favorite ginger ale – Blenheim's – to mix with it in the (near!) future. I think I was attracted to krupnikas in the first place because it seems to mix seamlessly with all my favorite flavors: coffee, whiskey, ginger, cinnamon. You know - the warm, spicy, Christmas-y flavors. The ones you enjoy in front of fires, under blankets, late into the night. Though I was also just excited for it to elevate Durham's drink game – a game that everyone is winning, all of the time.
Cheers!: to old drinks, and new drinks, and those who make it their business to fill our glasses with both.