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Forget Aperol. This aperitif company will spice up your summer cocktail hour

Haus’s elegant aperitif collection now includes everything from Spiced Cherry to a summery Grapefruit Jalapeño spirit.

Forget Aperol. This aperitif company will spice up your summer cocktail hour
[Photo: courtesy Haus]
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With a collection of low-alcohol, botanical apéritifs, Haus was at the forefront of the slightly boozy alcohol trend when the company launched in 2019. The founders, West Coast wine-making couple, Woody and Helena Price Hambrecht, wanted an easy-drinking take on the classic apéritif, traditionally designed to stimulate your appetite by falling into the categories dry, bitter, fizzy, or all of the above.

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Their naturally sweet, modern flavor-forward blends (which oscillate between 18 to 20 ABV) raised a total $9 million in 2020, just prior to most of the country’s pandemic lockdowns. With a direct-to-consumer model and optional monthly subscription membership, Haus says it has grown eight-fold over the past year.

I have previously raved about the company’s spirits, and have a special love for Haus’s fruity, floral Citrus Flower flavor. It’s lovely as a spritz with equal parts soda and Prosecco or in a pitcher of sangria. Spiced Cherry is also stellar: It pairs well with brown liquor (I’m looking at you, Manhattan-drinkers) or sipped on the rocks. And Haus’s Ginger Yuzu has become a crowd-pleasing go-to for virtual housewarmings and “thank you” gifts.

[Photo: courtesy Haus]

I’ve had bottles of Haus rotation since December and was truly psyched when I heard Grapefruit Jalapeño would be the newest member of the fam. Bright and spicy with layers of citrus, agave, and Morita chilies, it screams summer.

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OK, but how does it taste? The Hambrechts recommend pairing Grapefruit Jalapeño with a squeeze of citrus. I didn’t have traditional bar-friendly citrus, but I added a twist of clementine rind (though I imagine an orange or pomelo slice would be dreamy) and a hefty scoop of ice. 

[Photo: courtesy Haus]

There’s a good bit of heat that comes off the dried Morita chilies—the mature red afterlife of crisp, bright green jalapeños. It’s a distinctive, lush smokiness that mezcal fans will certainly love. But it’s much softer and balanced, leaning into the sweet-tartness of organic blue agave and juicy grapefruit. Even a mezcal hater like me found it extremely palatable, dreaming of carafes of palomas and margaritas in my very near future. 

We’re still waiting out the long-term impacts of COVID on bar culture, but the shifts in our drinking habits predate the pandemic. While I can’t wait to meet my friends for a series of spritzes at my favorite bar, discovering a variety of delicious, low-effort cocktails at my fingertips has been one small upside to my year of solitude. I’ll certainly cheers to that.

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