Greet Every Meal Fortified

Two years ago Jason Wilson wrote in the Washington Post about a fortified wine called Cocchi Aperitivo Americano. Basically fortified wines are what the name implies: wine plus a spirit, usually brandy, and also sometimes botanicals. The Cocchi is a white wine flavored with cinchona bark. Wilson described it as a “revelation.” Fortified wines can be used in cocktails–vermouth is one–but they can also be lovely served simply over ice. This is how I enjoy them at Little Serow in Dupont Circle, which always has several on offer, including the Cocchi. It is very sweet at first blush, but there is a bitter undertone, not unlike Campari, which triumphs.┬áThe fortified wines are perfect for Little Serow, which doesn’t serve liquor, so they act as cocktails, and the refreshing rush of sweet is the only thing that can tamp down the heat of the toughest dishes. (This is, by the way, currently the best meal in D.C.) They have another on the menu called Imbue, which was described to me as the staff favorite. Rightly so. The grapes are pinot gris from the Willamette Valley in Oregon and it’s infused with botanicals like chamomile, elderflower, and juniper. I tasted less of the bitterness in this one and preferred it. I have yet to find it locally, however the Cocchi is available at A.M. Wine Shoppe in Adams Morgan. This could be the drink of the season.

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