What's New in August

A Drink From The Porron

Crafting Cocktails with Orujo de Galicia

Situated in the northwestern corner of Spain, Galicia's landscape is defined by its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean. Cool, rainy, and verdant, the region has more in common with the Loire Valley than it does with hot and dusty Castilla. Culturally, the influences of Spain, Portugal, and Celtic ancestry blend into an identity that is uniquely Gallego. It is a complex place that is notoriously skeptical of outsiders. Gerardo Mendez became our first partner in Galicia, with his Do Ferreiro Albariño from Rias Baixas. Since then, his support has been essential in building our portfolio by opening doors that would have otherwise been closed to us.

When we began our foray into spirits, we again turned to Do Ferreiro. Orujo de Galicia is a pomace brandy, regionally referred to as aguardiente, and is a protected denomination. The pomace is double distilled using alembics, traditional copper pot stills that were introduced during the Moorish occupation of Spain. Like Marc de Bourgogne or Grappa, it is the quality of the grapes in the vineyard that determines the final quality of the distilled spirit. Do Ferreiro's Orujo retains all of the subtle aromatics of white flowers and herbs that we associate with their exceptional Albariño. They also make an Orujo infused with herbs such as star anise, rosemary, and saffron, called Licor de Hierbas de Galicia.

Orujo is often served chilled as a digestif. Pour one ounce per person into a mixing glass or cocktail shaker and top with ice cubes (preferably square cubes with a nice surface area). Stir vigorously until very cold and strain into a cordial glass.

For a more contemplative sip, we enjoy Orujo served neat or with a splash of still mineral water in a small cognac or sherry tasting glass. We have included two cocktail recipes below. The Orujo Sour is an office favorite, and Queimada is a traditional ceremonial punch with deep Celtic roots. Lemon peels, coffee, sugar, and Orujo are set alight; when the flames turn blue, a spell is chanted for a banishment of witches!

Orujo Cocktails

Orujo Sour
By M. Peter of De Maison Selections

1 oz fresh lemon juice
¾ oz simple syrup (1:1)
1½ oz Do Ferreiro Orujo de Galicia
1 egg white (or ½ oz if using packaged egg whites)
1-2 drops of Saline Solution (1:10, salt:water)
Dash of Angostura Bitters
Ice
Combine all ingredients except ice into a cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously for 30 to 60 seconds. Add ice and shake for an additional 30 to 60 seconds. Strain into a double old fashioned glass. Garnish with a dash of Angostura Bitters.

Queimada

1 bottle of Do Ferreiro Orujo de Galicia
4½ oz sugar
Zest of one Lemon
1½ oz of whole coffee beans
Place a hollowed out pumpkin or lidded fireproof clay pot on a fireproof surface. Pour approximately 4 Tbsp orujo and 1 Tbsp sugar into a small glass and stir to dissolve sugar, then set aside. Pour the rest of the orujo and remaining sugar into the pumpkin/pot and stir. Add the lemon peel and coffee beans and stir again. Pour the orujo and sugar mixture from the glass into a ladle and set it on fire. Move the ladle very close to the pot until the rest of the orujo mixture catches fire. Stir until the flames turn blue. Slide the lid over the pot to put out the flames. Serve hot.

Learn more about the tradition of Queimada on Wikipedia.