What's good at Hangar One these days?
- rworange Jun 17, 2010 12:02 PM
I need to give a thank you gift and need some suggestions as to what is interesting at Hangar One.
In a truly bizzaro year, I was told a relative in Guatemala City wanted me to come over and visit for a few days. What I wasn't told was this was a fabulously wealthy relative. I am still stunned. I leave my little house where someone is herding cows down the street and am driven to a non descript nabe on the edge of GC (zona 17), .The gate opened and you might as well have cued the music from Dynasty. I have rarely been in places this nice in the US ... aviaries with exotic birds, Olympic-sized pool, a home theatre that can show 3D fillms, a full staff including a cook doing sophisticated dishes, etc, etc, etc. The son is an international motocross champion. I'm still not certain I haven't contacted malaria and am halucinating this.
Anyway, they like booze as they have a bar with lots of exotic liquors ... but no Hangar One. So I thought this would make a nice thank you for your hospitality gift. I want knock their socks off.
I have sources. I can get someone to buy the bottle and deliver it to Gautemala when they visit soon.
I see Hangar One is doing a chipotle vodka. Guatemalans don't like spicy, so I'd rule that out.
I'm leaning toward keffir lime or mandarin orange, but I know Hangar One also has bottles at the Alameda location that down't show up on the website.
I'm condering the raspberry. I didn't like it, but Guatemalan tastes run to sweet. Also they were talking about some fabulous wine they had in Europe made from raspberries. So, how's the raspberry these days?
Any recommendations would be appreciated from your favorite flavor that is sold at BevMo to something that can only be bought at the Alameda location.
I have heard their Buddha's Hand was good, don't know if it is still in production. If you want something local to the Bay Area for your gift, I really like the Charbay vodkas. I favor the ruby grapefruit, my sister likes the blood orange, and I see they have a red raspberry. Also, pomegranite for trendy drinkers. I have bought it at Ledger Liquors, on University in Berkeley, not sure where else it may be available. As I recall, around $30 a bottle.
Deb and I were at the mother ship last fall. I love the distillery and the people (pirates and miscreants, all). Still, I'd probably shop around for something different if you want to knock off socks. The infusions were less than stellar.
Have you considered the Anchor Distilling Whiskey and Gin prducts? The Rye made a excellent gift to my North Carolina relatives, who have quite an apreciation for fine Whiskey.
For Hanger One I'd consider the St. George Absinthe Verte or Single Malt. I haven't tried these, but I'm interested.
They have a spiced pear that might still be available (it was available in April). Otherwise, I think the Mandarin Blossom is nice for people who like sweet.
The Bhuddha's Hand is quite good. However, depending on their preferences, you might consider St. George's new single malt whiskey.
You can remain SF-centric and give them Anchor Distillery's Old Potrero rye whiskey, or Junipero gin...
The Absinthe is pretty good but Absinthe is sort of esoteric and not everyone likes it so I would be sure it is something the would enjoy or I would hedge my bets by getting something else as well.
I think the Mandarin Blossom Vodka is probably the most universally liked of all the flavored vodkas. It's a little sweet but drier than typical orange flavored vodkas and it has a wonderfully complex, floral aroma. The Buddha's hand is also very nice but some people find it too tart.
The raspberry is interesting but it has a vegetal element to its flavor (like concentrated berry seeds or stems, almost seaweed-like) that some people find off-putting. If you want to get something super-fruity or sweet, the pear-flavored eau d vie and liqueur are really good.
Th St. George Single Malt Whiskey and the Straight Vodka are both superlative, although they are not as unique as some of the other things Hangar One offers.
The most unusual thing that they make are the Qi liqueurs, especially the Black Qi which is not remotely like anything else out there. The White Qi is a really nice orange flavored liqueur - it's lighter tasting than Gran Marnier and the subtle tea flavor cuts through the sweetness nicely. The Black Qi, on the other hand, is downright weird. It's has a strong black tea flavor, very sweet and spicy, but it is overwhelmingly smoky. Most people either love it or hate it.
re: Truffle Dog
I don't like their absinthe at all (despite admiring their process for coming up with it).
I think Hangar One's raspberry and mandarin orange are both heavenly. So good it's a shame to add anything more than ice or maybe a little soda water.
And I'm very fond of the tea brandies (Qi is made with lapsang souchong--so not for everyone but definitely for people who like Scotch).
The new Rum that is about to be released (it may have already been so) is outstanding. I also love the spiced pear vodka (seasonal) - just a few little ice cubes is all you need. I cannot stand the Black Qi, but it is distinctive. The mandarin orange is my favorite of the always-available products.
The Kafir Lime is highly accessible as well. Use it in a vodka tonic. Hanger One also makes small bottles.
Re: Potrero liquors, these are unusual and acquired tastes. Fritz has a thing for historical reconstruction of beverages, so the Rye is trying to be like the Rye made by Jefferson. It's not like the whiskeys we drink now, and can be a very interesting part of certain drinks, but I wouldn't give it as a gift - great for a commercial bar that can feature it in a cocktail (like a "Local Sazerac").
For their whiskies, would they be of the peaty, Islay flavor profile, or smoother/sweeter Highland style? I am looking to get a friend a nice peaty single-malt for his birthday and this might be a nice local touch if it is appropriately peaty....