Posts Tagged ‘wine’

The Drink of Noble Grandmas

Sunday, June 19th, 2005

A Bottle of the Nalewka BabuniI have a bottle of peach Nalewka Babuni, a fortified Polish fruit wine (18% ABV), which I found sitting—very dusty—on the “meads and other unpopular wines” shelf at one of my favorite local grocers. For some reason it beckoned to me. Probably because it was $8.50 and has a name that might be fun to pronounce.

Nalewka Babuni is pretty awful taken neat at room temperature, which is apparently the traditional way of consuming it. Traditional practices are important to keep in mind, here, because the label describes it as a:

Refined, old Polish liquor, present in all the 19th century houses of noblemen. The recipe handed down by noble grandmas has remained unchanged to the present day, lending a glamour to family meetings.

I’d venture that the unchanged recipe of those noble Polish grandmas must’ve been pretty forward-thinking in its day, because the label goes on to note that Peach Nalewka Babuni Wine Specialty is made of grape white wine, molasses neutral spirits, artificial peach type flavor and caramel coloring. I had naïvely thought that 19th century noble grandmas would have produced their peach wines from actual peaches, but that just goes to show how little I know of Eastern European oenological traditions.

Nalewka Babuni is a product of Vinpol, whose product page translates it as “Grandma’s Liquor” for the English-speaking audience. For the record, my grandma’s liquor was Old Crow, but she wasn’t Polish.

Artificially flavored and colored though it may be, this stuff’s not a complete write-off. I’m actually half-enjoying a 3:1 martini made with Nalewka Babuni in lieu of vermouth (and a generous helping of orange bitters). I wouldn’t recommend that anyone run out and buy a case, but it may prove to have its uses. Ah, novelty.

Finca Antigua Crianza, 2001

Saturday, May 21st, 2005

Not a cocktail, but I don’t have a wine category. I enjoy wine, but don’t concern myself with it overmuch. Are my tastes proletarian? I don’t care. What I do know is that we had a lovely bottle this evening, and I’m going to look for more of it, because the Finca Antigua Crianza 2001, from Martinez Bujanda, is delicious.

I don’t have a dab-hand with a wine-writer’s vocabulary, so I won’t attempt to describe it beyond that. Which is just as well, because someone at Martinez Bujanda thought it would be a good idea for the tasting notes of their Tempranillo to include :

Long and persistent finish. Touches of yoghurt appear in the retronasal tract.

I am so glad we had the crianza instead.

English Bishop Punch

Wednesday, December 31st, 1969

Roast an Orange before a fire or in a hot oven. When brown cut it in quarters and drop the pieces, with a few Cloves, into a small porcelain-lined or agate vessel, and pour in 1 quart of hot Port Wine. Add 6 lumps Cut Loaf Sugar and let the mixture simmer over the fire for 30 minutes. Serve in Stem glasses with Nutmeg grated on top.

Chocolate Punch

Wednesday, December 31st, 1969

Fill large Bar glass ⅔ full Shaved Ice.

1 teaspoonful Bar Sugar.
¼ jigger Curacoa.
1 jigger Port Wine.
1 Egg.

Fill up with Milk; shake well; strain into Punch glass; grate Nutmeg on top and serve.

Country Cocktail

Wednesday, December 31st, 1969

Fill large Bar glass ⅔ full Shaved Ice.

1 teaspoonful Bar Sugar.
1 pony Brandy.
1 jigger Port Wine.
1 Egg.

Shake well; strain into thin glass; grate Nutmeg on top and serve.