In preparation for the snow that was supposed to (and did) arrive last night, I had a few errands to run yesterday afternoon–there are some basic necessities for inclement weather: cat food, cat litter, TP, candles, and supplies to aid in keeping warm in case of power outage. (You will please note that bread and milk do not appear anywhere on that list.) I stayed well away from the grocery store.
The important errand yesterday was to Wild Birds Unlimited for a huge bag of safflower seeds for the feeders which provide much entertainment for Frankie as well as for me. For keep-warm supplies, the was ABC store.
Quite recently while I was enjoying lunch at the Hope Valley Diner, another regular customer and I were have a very food-oriented conversation and Krupnikas was mentioned. I’d not heard of it before. From his description of it I definitely had to remedy that oversight since I’m particularly fond of honey, herb- and spice-based liqueurs such as Chartreuse (both green and yellow).
Since the ABC store was conveniently (as in driving right past it) near the bird-food store, I thought this kind of weather would be ideal for trying some warming spirits while having relaxed bird-watching day and quality time with the cat.
Krupnikas is traditional Lithuanian-style spiced honey liqueur being made right here in Durham, North Carolina! I thought it was necessary for me to try this one in the spirit of continuing education and experimentation. Thus, a stop at the ABC store. According to Wikipedia, krupnik or krupnikas (Polish or Lithuanian) was created by Benedictine monks–does this suggest why I might like this as well as Chartreuse? Bottle of Krupnikas located, bought, and carted home along with bird food. Errands completed.
While waiting for the snow to arrive last night, I poured myself a reasonable tot of Krupnikas–neat in a snifter since this was apparently the traditional way of serving it. Warmed by hands around the bowl of the snifter, the aroma was sweet, somwhat floral from the honey, with spices, and a bit of orange-like citrus component that brightened up the warm spices.
The taste–wow–definitely warm, cozy, almost cuddly, but certainly not fuzzy, though it feels very smooth and rich in the mouth. The first sip gives warm brandy/cognac-like “burn” with sweetness, followed by floral honey sweetness and the spices that linger after swallowing. The spices are very warm and complex, without any one being dominant.
I’ve only tried this neat as a sipper, but if you check the Facebook page and the website for The Brothers Vilgalys Spirits there are suggestions using Krupnikas in mixed drinks. I’m going to be trying it with coffee as you would brandy; the White Lithuanian sounds really good (as I do like brandy Alexanders occasionally).
For me, this is definitely a keeper that will live right with my bottles of Chartreuse! I can see it as an apéritifs and/or digestif, or as a sipper for relaxing with friends, or the cat and a good book. I’m glad I found out about this–especially as it’s made here in Durham. Another way to be a locovor!
As well as the Krupnikas made with neutral grain spirits, there is also Mystic Bourbon Liqueur (Barrister & Brewer) and other products made here in Durham that need to be investigated. For those of you interested, this is available from distributors outside NC.