Kara Newman

Spirits Editor

Reviews spirits.

Kara Newman is the Spirits Editor for Wine Enthusiast Magazine, and author of Cocktails for a Crowd (coming in Spring 2013) and Spice & Ice: 60 tongue-tingling cocktails, both from Chronicle Books. An active member of the New York cocktail and mixology scene, she loves dive bars and speakeasies alike.

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Showing 1 thru -8 of 1,497
95
points

Reisetbauer Carrot

  1. $55

Fresh, clean and lightly vegetal—but not outright carroty—this palate-cleanser of an eau de vie will remind some of a delicate aquavit. It would be dynamite in a refined take on a bloody mary with tomato water instead of tomato juice.

 — K.N.  (12/31/2014)
94
points

Clear Creek Distillery Williams Pear Brandy

  1. $28

Soft and subtle, this clear eau de vie has a gentle but authentic fresh pear aroma. On the palate, it’s slightly perfumy, then pear flavor bursts through on the finish, accompanied by spicy ginger and white-pepper notes. Overall, this offers a remarkably pure expression of fruit.

 — K.N.  (12/31/2014)
94
points

Reisetbauer Williams Pear

  1. $56

The aroma is like a freshly sliced pear is being held right under your nose, its so amazingly bold and true. On the palate, look for fleeting sweetness, bold pear flavor and a drying finish laced with cinnamon heat.

 — K.N.  (12/31/2014)
93
points

Kuuch Honey & Anise X’tabentun

  • Online Exclusive
  1. $25

Honeyed X’tabentun liqueur has been finding its exotic way into some bartender cocktails recently. This golden version has a sweet, long honey aroma and flavor but it’s smooth and light, not cloying or sticky at all. Although anise is called out on the label, it’s difficult to detect.

 — K.N.  (12/31/2014)
93
points

St. George Pear Brandy

  • Best Buy
  1. $40

One of the bolder pear brandies, it offers a bright, slightly sweet fresh pear and honey aroma. Flavor-wise it offers a big pop of rounded pear warmed with baking spice entices up front. Made from dry-farmed organic Bartlett pears, about 30 pounds of fruit per bottle.

 — K.N.  (12/31/2014)
92
points

Reisetbauer Ginger

  1. $102

The bright ginger aroma is underpinned by an earthy note. On the palate, this eau de vie is light and fresh, with mouthwatering salinity. Delicate gingery heat comes forward slowly on the finish. Some will miss the sweetness typically found in ginger liqueurs; there’s none here.

 — K.N.  (12/31/2014)
91
points

Iris Liqueur

  • Online Exclusive
  1. $47

A delicate, unusual mix of floral and spice marks this golden liqueur, supposedly based on “a forgotten Italian recipe.” The base is iris root, which on the palate yields an herbaceous scent and floral notes touched with saffron and cardamom. Seems like an ideal ingredient to play with for cocktails.

 — K.N.  (12/31/2014)
90
points

Coppersea Distilling Pear Eau de Vie

  1. $60

This is reminiscent of rustic tarts. The pear fragrance features a robust malty note, and the flavor is warm, showing baked pear and cinnamon heat that seems to gather strength. The finish is exceedingly long and slightly perfumy.

 — K.N.  (12/31/2014)
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