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The Christian Brothers Honey Liqueur

The Christian Brothers
Honey Liqueur


By Robert Plotkin

Christian Brothers is one of the oldest and bestselling brands of American spirits. In 1882, the religious order of the Christian Brothers began distilling brandy from California grapes. Their commitment remains to create singularly light, flavorful brandies using locally grown grape varietals. In February 2011, the venerable distiller expanded its portfolio with the release of The Christian Brothers Honey, a 70-proof liqueur made by infusing Christian Brothers Brandy with pure natural honey.

The Christian Brothers Honey Liqueur is altogether delicious. It has a golden/amber hue, a satiny textured, medium-weight body and a floral, fruit and honey-laced nose. The palate is a warm balanced affair in which the brandy takes center stage. The finish is warm and touched with the semisweet flavor of honey.

The secret behind this product's success is the spirit at its heart. Frankly, not every brandy can pull this off. The principal grape variety used in Christian Brothers Brandy is the Thompson Seedless, because they possess the highly sought after qualities of high acidity, balanced flavor and low alcohol output.

The Christian Brothers' winery and adjacent distillery is a huge, state of the art complex located in the fertile San Joaquin Valley in California. Despite the technological innovations the Christian Brothers built into their facility, little has changed in their artisanal approach to making brandy. They distill their brandies in huge, copper alembic stills, as well as extremely efficient patent stills. Prior to blending, the brandies are aged in American white oak bourbon barrels a minimum of 4 to 6 years.

Do not expect this liqueur to drink like a typical liqueur. It's balanced and flavorful without a trace of excess sweetness, a fact that makes it a highly versatile product to keep behind the bar. While tailor-made for use in hot coffee or tea drinks, the liqueur makes a laudable modifier in a specialty Sidecar.

That has a modest price tag makes it an even better find. Kudos!