Somerset Ridge Vineyard & Winery’s Traminette
Pairings: Pork loin • Spicy Thai dishes • Grilled vegetables
Somerset Ridge Vineyard & Winery uses Traminette grapes from its 19-year-old hillside limestone vineyard to create this dry and fruit-forward wine. It has deep floral aromas with a touch of citrus, melon and honey. Flavors of pear, starfruit and peach lead to notes of honey mid-palate and a full, rich mouthfeel. Winemaker Dennis Reynolds says he preserves the wine’s delicate characteristics by fermenting at between 55°F and 60°F in stainless steel tanks. Somerset’s Traminette is available at select retailers and restaurants in Kansas and Missouri and at its tasting room in Paola, Kansas. –Hilary Hedges
Hilary Hedges is a former newsie whose passion for wine led her out of the newsroom and into the cellar. She is currently director of sales and marketing and assistant winemaker at Amigoni Urban Winery in Kansas City.
Prairie Artisan Ales’ Phantasmagoria
Style: Double IPA (8% ABV)
Pairings: Pork steak • Sharp Cheddar • Carrot cake
The reigning king of beer styles, IPAs outsell all others by a staggering margin. And for good reason: IPAs are a wakeup call to the adventure-seeking palate. The style showcases massive additions of hops to achieve ranges in flavor and aromatics from citrus and tropical to pine and spice. One of my favorites is Phantasmagoria from Prairie Artisan Ales out of Tulsa, Oklahoma. This double IPA strikes a wonderful balance between lightly sweet malts and a hoppy explosion of bright citrus and pine. Phantasmagoria has become so popular for Prairie that it’s now available year-round. –Brandon Nickelson
Brothers Brandon and Ryan Nickelson are available to help with beer picks and pairing recommendations at their store, Craft Beer Cellar, a craft beer shop located at 8113 Maryland Ave. in Clayton, Missouri. To learn more, call 314.222.2444 or visit craftbeercellar.com/clayton.
Lifted Spirits’ Bright Gin
Provenance: Kansas City
Try It: In a classic Clover Club
In the heart of Kansas City, in a former 19th-century stable on Cherry Street, you’ll find Lifted Spirits. It melds traditional distillation with some modern, scientific twists – thus, its Bright Gin. The gin is made by vapor-distilling 10 botanicals to preserve their delicate aromatics, yielding a, yes, bright spirit that will satisfy traditional gin lovers and adventurous palates alike. The juniper is slightly muted, letting the hibiscus, elderberries and orange peel really come through. Although not the most cocktail-friendly gin on the market, it works very well in drinks with fruits and berries, lending a beautiful floral note that enhances the experience. –Jenn Tosatto
You can find Jenn Tosatto at the helm of the new bar program at Kansas City’s Q39. She also loves donating her skills to many charity events around the city, as well as working private events.