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.
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.
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.
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.
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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