Despite 2020, we still plan to eat, drink, and be merry.
When curious about the most delicious, exciting new drinks to sip on, we ask two people: Katie Parish and Ashlyn Cancel. As pure enthusiasts, they each tap into trends across the beverage world, sampling everything from Pet Nat to Amaro.
Katie works in brand innovation at one of the world's largest wine portfolios and Ashlyn is a well-versed, natty-wine loving lady who regularly explores hidden gems (wine shops, vineyards, restaurants) up and down the west coast.
Last week, we sent KP and Ashlyn a quick email for their top recommendations in the beverage world. They came back with 25 (!!) incredible picks, so instead of locking these up in our inbox, we're sharing them with you.
From Martha Stoumen's latest release, Jus Jus, to new-wave aperitifs like Haus and Lo-Fi, this list has something for everyone. This is our first time publishing recommendations like this, appreciate your patience with formatting and what-not.
25 Beverages to Try Right Now
We're not going to number these, just trust us on the count. Katie shared her favorite categories with top recommendations, while Ashlyn lists favorite bottles with tasting notes.
Natural Wine Round Up
What is "natural wine"? Katie explains:
I am an equal opportunity wine drinker. Translation: I drink (and love) it all. That being said, I’ve had a long-term love affair with natural wines for some time now. They are so full of life and fill me up (literally and figuratively) in all the right ways. My cup runneth over.
The natural wine philosophy loosely means nothing is added and nothing is removed, keeping the quality and integrity of the wine in check — from grape to bottle. It’s natural expression in its purest form, i.e. letting the grape do.it’s.thang. Also, better ingredients means less headache, hangover, general shit storm so that’s a huge win.
Natural wines are a great opportunity to explore new flavors and styles, and embrace the wild (and sometimes funky) side of imbibing. Have FUN, and please support your local winemakers and wine shops whenever possible!
Natty Wine Top Picks, Ashlyn with the tasting notes:
She's only 3.5% ABV but she packs a punch! Think Martinelli's & your favorite California Pét-Nat had a sparkling baby just for your drinking pleasure. That's Jus Jus.
Lovely skin contact white (100% Chardonnay) from Sonoma. Heavy on the apricot & tropical fruit, so drink this when you miss summertime.
Our favorite homegirl winemaker Sara Morgenstern partnered with Alder Springs Vineyard to bring us this electric funk in a bottle.
Perfectly bubbly and a beautiful light red hue from Piedmont (100% Grignolino). Notes of red vines and berry gummies. See here to find a bottle.
My very favorite crisp weather Tuscan table wine! Not too wild in the natty zone, so it's a perfect intro for anyone who is new to natural wine. I could drink a glass (bottle?) night after night, so I thank my lucky stars that it's so much bang for my buck (20% Carignan, 50% Grenache, & 30% Mourvedre).
Another win coming out of Willamette Valley! This bad boy spent 24 days on skins, so you get peach in both taste and color. I loved this with some soft cheese and fluffy sourdough.
Here's Ashlyn looking stylish and enjoying wine at home:
Katie calls out some of her favorite Natural Beaujolais:
If you can get your hands on some 2020 Natural “Bojo” (street for Beaujolais Nouveau) before it runs out PLEASE do so. Some of these new Cali styles are reimagining the Gamay darling with grape blends that are wild with flavor, crushable, and juicy.
- Vinca Minor 2020 Carignon Nouveau
- Broc Cellars Valdiguie Nouveau
- Donkey and Goat’s 2020 New Glou
- 2020 Nouveau of Pinot Noir
- Old Westminster 2020 Nouveau
Katie gives us a deep dive into wine styles of the moment
Look for these names on labels or go for her top picks below. Some of these are natural wines or low intervention, others are not. Explore and enjoy!
“Fun”— ky bubbles
A wisp of effervescence is my jam. I’ll take a softer, smoother fizz over a heavy hitting sparkling any day of the week. Smaller bubbles still have that twinkle of excitement and pizzazz, but are a little more relaxed and care-free with easy drinkability.
I live for Pétillant-Naturels (*Pet-Nats), Col Fondos, Piquettes, and my all-time holiday fav...the OG “fizz”-ante: Lambrusco. Perfect for daytime-turned-nightime celebratory sipping, table lingering, and holiday mingling.
There are some bright and delicious newcomers coming out of California that are naturally lower in alcohol and sugar — making it easy to keep things flowin’ freely without a killer headache the next day.
- Martha Stouman Jus Jus (natty wine listed above)
- Beaver Creek Pet Nat
- Old Westminster Piquette’s
- Donkey and Goat’s 2019 Lily’s Pet Nat
- Lini 910 Labrusca Lambrusco Rosso (*also sold at Berkeley Bowl, my FAV)
- Donati Camillo - Lambrusco Rosso 2018 (Natural Lambrusco)
- Costadila - Prosecco Col Fondo
Sweet nectar of the wine gods, this is my holy grail. It’s bright, light, and tastes like literal JUICE.
Commonly referred to as Glou Glou style — or “glugglable” in French, Gamay’s are easy-sipping, no-pretense, all-day-everyday drinking wines. Oh, and they are super fun! So what’s the lowdown? It’s all about carbonic maceration. Without nerding out too much, this process involves whole grape cluster fermentation which results in a lighter, juicier wine style with mellowed out tannins. Best served chilled for brightness and lively berry pops. Glug-a-LUG.
- Hervé Villemade, Bovin Rouge
- Lo-Fi Gamay Noir
- Bow and Arrow 2019 Williamette Valley Gamay
- Morantin 2018 Touraine Gamay "La Boudinerie"
- YANN BERTRAND FLEURIE 'FOLIE' 2019
One of our favorite wine shops, Verve Wine:
Craving something other than wine? Katie + Ashlyn both love a fresh renaissance of aperitifs and lower alcohol alternatives.
What is this category all about? Katie explains:
Thanks to modern day spritz culture (Cin Cin!), vermouths and amaris are having a bit of a renaissance. These classically bitter libations (amari - plural for amaro - actually means bitter in Italian) are being deliciously reimagined with native botanicals, herbs, and other natural flavor twists.
The beauty of these drinks is that they are as versatile as they are sessionable (French cafe culture got me like…). Enjoy them on their own, mix them with other spirits, or add some bubbles and get your afternoon apéro on.
Ashlyn's top picks, with tasting notes:
One of my very favorite amaros to sip straight or mix with sparkle wine or fizzy water. Lo-Fi's is more floral than bitter, thanks to some expert balancing, so there's not really a need to jazz it up too much. Inside scoop from my friend Maureen who just so happens to run social for the brand: "We love 50/50 cocktails here - try equal parts Gentian and Mezcal if you're feeling extra boozy!"
Coquito (recipe to follow):
I married into a Puerto Rican family, so with the holidays comes coquito. Traditionally the recipe includes condensed milk, evaporated milk, and eggs a la Puerto Rican Eggnog, and we sip it from tiny glasses. It's incredibly rich and delicious, but a little goes a long way.
Katie's top picks:
- Haus apéritifs
- LO-FI Gentian Amaro (same as Ashlyn!)
- LO-FI Dry Vermouth (they *also* got spritzed)
- Angeleno California Amaro (check out their cocktail recipes)
- Angeleno Canned Spritz
- Mommenpop Blood Orange California Aperitif
Katie enjoying a spritz, her signature drink:
BONUS: Ashyln's Homemade Coquito Recipe
- 8oz Coconut Milk (full fat)
- 4oz Coconut Cream
- 2oz Vanilla Bean Simple Syrup*
- 1.5oz Aged Rum
- 1/4tsp Nutmeg
- Pinch of Cinnamon
- Pinch of Salt
- Orange Zest & Cinnamon Stick for garnish
- Combine coconut milk, coconut cream, simple syrup, rum, and nutmeg in a blender with a handful of ice
- Blend until smooth
- Divide into 4 small glasses and top with a tiny pinch of salt, a sprinkle of cinnamon, some orange zest, and a cinnamon stick
(If you want to truly embrace Puerto Rican tradition, feel free to add an egg to step one.)
*To make the Vanilla Bean Simple Syrup:
Add equal parts sugar and water (I like to do 1-2 cups of each to have extra for future cocktails or desserts!), 2 cinnamon sticks, and a vanilla bean to a small saucepan and heat on medium until sugar dissolves.
Let syrup cool and store in a tightly-sealed glass bottle.