For under $15, Malcolm Jolley recommends a lesser known French aperitif.
From French Catalonia comes Byrrh, a sweet but bitter fortified red wine drink that’s currently cycling through the LCBO’s Vintages program. Byrrh is the sort of drink that brings water to the mouth of hipster mixologists, as, unlike its cousin Dubonnet, it never really caught on in the English speaking world and so brings with it the exoticism of the unknown. Or maybe I’m really talking about Generation X food and wine writers who are lured into buying and trying Byrrh as much for its whiff of the strange as its attractive art nouveau label and generous price point: at $14.90 a bottle, why not give it a try? On the rocks in a tumblr, Byrrh combines the deep fruit of the Grenache and Carignan grapes the wine part of the drink is made from with the bitterness of quinine and some mysterious rush of aromatic herbs. There’s a lot going on in Byrrh, which is fine. It’s a kind of an emergency brake of a drink. If you pour one at six o’clock, it makes you stop what you’re doing and pay attention to what’s in your glass. Certainly worth a try for under $15.
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