Tuesday, April 16, 2024

It’s Time for Pineau des Charentes to Have Its Second

Since its conception, Pineau des Charentes, the French aperitif constructed from grape juice and Cognac, has been well known as a wine and never far more. However because the low-ABV motion has gained traction, bartenders have gotten more and more aware of the fortified wine and are bringing it behind the bar. “When understood, it may be a chameleon that may elevate a beverage, a dish or an expertise,” says Michael Aredes, bartender at Superbueno in Manhattan. “It’s a fully new class to so many individuals, the place it has existed as an outlier for therefore lengthy.”

Hailing from the Cognac area in France, white Pineau des Charentes is constructed from grape varieties, like Ugni Blanc, Folle Blanche and Colombard. The unfermented grape juice is combined with younger Cognac (that has been aged for a yr) in a three-fourths to one-fourths ratio. The mix is then aged in oak barrels for a minimum of 18 months, and sometimes instances longer, the place the wine takes on a heightened stage of richness. “The result’s a product that’s calmly candy, however balanced, and a bit larger in ABV than a wine, however a lot decrease ABV than a distilled spirit,” says Alex Leap, a Denver-based bartender and restaurant advisor

The styles of Pineau des Charentes embrace crimson and vieux as properly. Whereas the notes will vary relying on the particular bottle and selection, a glass of white Pineau des Charentes can usually exhibit a richness that coats the mouth, with a palate of caramel, stone fruit and dried nuts, together with a slight acidity. Purple Pineau des Charentes is often fruity, with notes of cherries and raspberries. White vieux, then again, is extra highly effective and fragrant with notes of honey, plum and cinnamon, which develop after ageing the wine in oak barrels for no less than seven years.

At solely 17 % alcohol by quantity, the aperitif can be utilized throughout quite a lot of functions, past a neat pour. “Pineau des Charentes is so thrilling as a result of it straddles the road between spirits and wine,” says Paige Walwyn, bartender at Chicago’s Queen Mary Tavern. “Wine drinkers find it irresistible and cocktail and spirits lovers do as properly.” It’s a fortified wine that’s in a position to be loved in any season, however can particularly stand out in a summer time cocktail.

When mixing up summer time cocktails with Pineau des Charentes, Leap suggests incorporating it as you’d a vermouth or sherry. “Pineau is actually a flexible possibility so as to add to your bar cupboard, due to its skill to sub into drinks as a modifier,” she says. Its taste profile is extra refined than its fortified wine counterparts, which can be utilized to enrich and steadiness out bolder flavors, like darker-bodied spirits and bitters, to make them extra appropriate for summer time. “Pineau is a really dynamic and scrumptious class of fortified wines,” Leap says. “There’s no higher time to start out taking part in with them than now.” 

So for these trying to sip on extra sessionable cocktails this summer time, contemplate changing base spirits with Pineau des Charentes. Whereas it may be utilized in extra normal functions, like a easy spritz with tonic and lime juice, Pineau des Charentes actually shines in up to date approaches that spotlight the flavors of summer time. “It’s a decrease alcohol beverage which makes it extra approachable and ideal for a day-drinking session,” Walwyn says. “It has a refreshing, gentle, and fruity style that’s good for decent days.”

A conventional sangria usually requires wine, brandy and fruit. However on this iteration, Walwyn swaps out brandy for its low-ABV cousin, a white Pineau des Charentes from Fanny Fougerat, to behave because the recipe’s spine. Walwyn doesn’t add any sugar on this sangria. As an alternative she makes use of the fortified wine together with orange liqueur to lend simply the correct amount of sweetness. When utilized on this method, Pineau des Charentes brings depth {that a} impartial base of granulated sugar couldn’t. 

She additional enhances the sangria by incorporating sherry, then brightens it with summer time flavors, like recent berries, bouquets of mint and wheels of citrus. Quite than serving the sangria with soda, Walwyn tops every glass with dry glowing wine. Collectively, the substances mix to create a well-balanced sangria that’s extremely gourmand. “It has a refreshing, gentle, and fruity style that’s good for decent days,” she says. 


14 ounces Fanny Fougerat Pineau des Charentes White
6 ounces sherry wine vermouth
4 ounces orange liqueur
6 – 8 recent strawberries, destemmed and quartered
8 recent raspberries
1 orange, thinly sliced into wheels

2 lemons, sliced into wheels
8 – 10 recent mint sprigs
10 ounces dry glowing wine, similar to Cava

Garnish: recent mint


  1. Mix all substances, excluding the glowing wine, in a pitcher and let sit at room temperature for roughly 4 hours, or within the fridge in a single day
  2. Earlier than serving, stir to include.
  3. Divide amongst wine glasses over ice cubes.
  4. Prime every glass with dry glowing wine.
  5. Garnish with just a few sprigs of recent mint.

The Después de La Playa holds true to Superbueno’s (and Aredes’) philosophy towards cocktails: to coach visitors on a class of beverage that they might not be acquainted with in a playful method. His formulation consists of three distinct flavors—strawberry-infused vodka, habanero-infused bittersweet orange vermouth and a white Pineau des Charentes honey mix—that meld to create a posh, summer-forward tackle a highball. 

Whereas Aredes says Pineau des Charentes has the power to work properly with quite a lot of liquors, on this specific cocktail, he pairs it with vodka to steadiness out the fragile sweetness from the honey, then kicks it up with a habanero-infused bittersweet orange vermouth. “Pineau des Charentes performs an important position in offering physique to this stunning highball cocktail that focuses on refreshment and buenas vibras,” he says. As for the event? Aredes says Después de La Playa is supposed to be loved after a day on the seashore: “Whereas the air continues to be heat and a crisp refreshment is required.”


1/2 ounce Brard Blanchard Pineau des Charentes White honey mix (see Editor’s Observe)
1 1/2 ounces strawberry-infused vodka essence (see Editor’s Observe)
3/4 ounces habanero-infused bittersweet orange vermouth (see Editor’s Observe)
1 slice Cucumber
2 basil leaves
1/4 ounce recent lemon juice
1/4 ounce recent lime juice
4 ounces membership soda

Garnish: cucumber, sliced lengthwise, recent basil leaves, and a halved strawberry


  1. Mix the primary seven substances in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake
  2. Pressure right into a highball glass with an extended skinny cucumber angled by way of the within of the glass.
  3. Prime with membership soda.
  4. Garnish with a basil bouquet and a halved strawberry on the rim. End with flaky sea salt.


Brard Blanchard Pineau des Charentes White Honey Mix
4 ounces honey
Combine the honey and the Pineau des Charentes till included.

Strawberry-Infused Vodka Essence
1/3 ounce strawberry powder
750ml vodka
Blended collectively a bottle of vodka and the strawberry powder for five -10 minutes.
Pressure by way of a superbag.

Habanero-Infused Bittersweet Orange Vermouth
6 habaneros, lower in half
750 mL bittersweet orange vermouth
Place the habaneros in a bottle of bittersweet orange vermouth for 90 minutes.
Pressure to take away habanero items.

Nevertheless you select to include Pineau des Charentes in a cocktail, keep in mind: “You want to account for the decrease proof and better sugar content material of the cocktail you’re workshopping,” Leap says. Comply with this normal guideline and also you’ll find yourself with a light-weight, refreshing drink that’s supreme for decent summer time days.

And for the events that decision for a drink that’s rather less concerned, don’t overlook a relaxing glass of Pineau des Charentes—it’s even acceptable so as to add a single ice dice for a extra refreshing pour. “Somebody can and will drink Pineau every time they need,” Walwyn says. “There isn’t a proper or flawed method and that’s what makes it so distinctive.”

Tapping into the Pineau des Charentes class of fortified wines—whether or not it’s white, crimson or vieux—can unveil the playfulness of wine and the tradition as an entire. “[Pineau des Charents] needs to be seen as a bridge to take pleasure in much more superb classes of wine and spirits on this world,” Aredes says.


Artwork Director: Becky Pleasure, Meg Konigsburg
Photographer: Cody Guilfoyle
Drink Stylist: Thu Buser
Prop Stylist: Zach Molina
Grooming: Ashley Schultz
Producer: Hannah Lee

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