It’s time to step up your cocktail game.
San Francisco-bred Lo-Fi Aperitifs have landed in Philadelphia. It’s not just that they are newly available in the City of Brotherly Love. The three-deep, wine-based cocktail companions wouldn’t even exist without a local Philly tie.
Steven Grasse, the creator of Hendrick’s Gin, Sailor Jerry Rum and the close-to-home Art in the Age, is locked into the Lo-Fi Aperitifs game per a partnership with E. & J. Gallo, the world’s largest family-owned winery in Modesto, California. The Lo-Fi project is actually a first-time collaboration between Grasse’s team at Quaker City Mercantile (HQ’d in Center City!) and the 82-year-old winery.
“For some time, I have wanted to create a line of wine-based aperitifs designed to go with American craft spirits and cocktails,” said Grasse. “I reached out to E. & J. Gallo Winery because of their generational expertise. We decided to bring Claire Sprouse [bartenders and co-founder of the Tin Roof Drink Community] on board because of her astute knowledge of aperitif and incredible palate. They’ve both been superb creative partners and have been immersed in every step of the production process.”
Lo-Fi first hit the ground running in fall 2015, but only on the West Coast. Prior to its market debut, Quaker City tapped the bar community like the aforementioned Sprouse to help develop an aperitif that would make any cocktail connoisseur swoon—whether it was straight and/or mixed in a ‘tail. Soon Lo-Fi’s three aperitifs were born:
- Dry Vermouth: a blend of citrusy-sweet Ca. Muscat Canelli and Ca. Chardonnay grapes and natural herbal extracts that lend flavors of anise, cardamom, coriander, fennel and chamomile. Perfect for: enhancing rye whiskeys and pairing with dry cider or gin.
- Sweet Vermouth: a medley of Ca. Muscat Canelli, Ca. Chardonnay and sherry, as well as natural extracts and distillates that lend flavors of rhubarb, cocoa, vanilla and wild cherry bark. Perfect for: Manhattans and mixing with rye or bourbon whiskey.
- Gentian Amaro: Built with a backbone of Cinchona bark and bitter root extracts. Perfect for: adding sweet fruit or refreshing bitterness to cocktails. Pairs well with agave-based spirits, prosecco or other sparkling wines.
Each of the above California wine-based aperitifs are made with whole ingredients, individually-extracted botanicals, with complete transparency and without the use of added colors or artificial flavors. When sipping Lo-Fi, think of them as a classic produced with craft beverage sensibilities and for the modern-day drinker.
Photos: Lo-Fi Aperitifs