Unique Drinks on the North Shore
Alchemy's El Jefe
Unique ingredients make these libations worth seeking out.
Craft beer is booming, thanks to innovative new styles pioneered by brewers like Dogfish Head, whose goal is to make "off-centered ales for off-centered people." Their line of over a dozen "occasional rarities" includes limited-edition large-format (750ml) bottles that cater to quirky tastes. Can’t decide between beer and wine? Try Noble Rot, a beer-and-wine hybrid brewed with malts and grape must. Those looking for a little balance should try Namaste, a Belgian-style beer made with coriander, lemongrass, and organic orange slices. Explorers will love the Egyptian-inspired brew Ta Henket, made from a rare yeast strain and flavored with doum fruit, chamomile, and Middle Eastern herbs. 750ml/$10-$15, available at Depot Liquors, 23 Enon St., Beverly, 978-922-1550; depot-liquors.com
A Little Amour
Though it generally makes its appearance in the summer here in New England, the margarita is the best-selling cocktail in the country. No wonder the folks at Alchemy named their year-round ode to this classic favorite "El Jefe" (translation: "chief" or "boss"). They added a unique twist with the addition of Parfait Amour, a purple-hued liqueur made from Spanish oranges and an infusion of vanilla pods. General manager Matt Rose says the secret is freshly squeezed lime and lemon juice with a touch of simple syrup to round out the acidity. The cocktail is finished with blanco tequila and Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao with Parfait Amour floated on top to create a violet layer. "Customers can mix it together tableside and watch the color change to this beautiful lavender," Rose says. $12, available at Alchemy, 3 Duncan St., Gloucester, 978-281-3997; alchemybistro.com
It’s what happens when a beekeeper decides to make booze; distilling honey adds a smooth roundness to Caledonia Spirits’ Barr Hill gin and vodka. This Vermont microdistillery focuses on sustainable, natural ingredients, also making a delightful elderberry cordial and mead (honey wine). The busy bees capture the essence of the soil and flowers of the land in each bottle, so the taste changes with the seasons. Look for the beeswax-sealed top. $35-$45, available at Kappy’s, 175 Andover St., Peabody, 978-532-2330; kappys.com. Caledonia Spirits and Winery, 46 Buffalo Mtn. Commons Dr., Hardwick, VT, 802-472-8000; caledoniaspirits.com —Brandy Rand // photograph by Anthony Tieuli (Alchemy)