Anne Marie's Top Five Drinks of 2013

Drinking with a coastal view is the way to go.
Drinking with a coastal view is the way to go.
Anne Marie Panoringan

I drank to many things this year: love, frustration and everything in between. Nonetheless, I drank. I found my passion for wine again, and became giddy when comprehensive beer lists were handed over. It was a good year to sip and savor, but only five made the list. Here's what I remembered to write down.

5. Rossana Sparkling from Horsehill Vineyards

As the seasons grow warmer, our need for lighter tastes reminded us of a bottle of rosé. In limited production, our particular Horsehill Vineyards varietal was a partnership between Cal Poly Pomona's Collins College of Hospitality Management and College of Agriculture, and South Coast Winery in Temecula. To appease thirsty oenophiles, they recently released a kissing cousin: Rossana sparkling wine.

11.5% ABV, Rossana is named in homage to one of Will K. Kellogg's (Yes, that Kellogg) Arabian mares. A classically styled Brut Rosé, Zinfandel grapes are picked from the onsite vineyard at the university. The first press draws out strawberry and cherry characteristics, in addition to a blush tint. Using a bottling process called the Charmat method, carbonation occurs biologically due to the decomposition of sugar. As a result, the natural fragrances of the grapes are better preserved.

4. Heavenly Hendrick's at Stonehill Tavern

Anne Marie's Top Five Drinks of 2013

Divided between classic and modern cocktails, the desire for savory found us requesting a Heavenly Hendrick's. Our track record with liquor was not the most reliable, but a recent foray into this particular gin egged us on.

Freshly squeezed lemon juice and a simple syrup sounded more neighborhood lemonade stand, less sophisticated pour. The use of egg whites, while initially unsettling, made sense after our server elaborated. Included not as a flavor, but for a foamy texture, the airy contribution breathed life into our ethereal drink. That hint of cucumber offered a refreshing quality, even doubling as a neutralizer for our potent gin base. By themselves, the handful of ingredients would be pedestrian. Together, they made for one fine cocktail.

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