Swill is our bi-monthly column dedicated to liquor, wine, beer, and every other delicious dram that falls under the broader umbrella of booze. But it’s more than just tasting notes scribbled on a cocktail napkin — Swill is about getting outside of your comfort zone, trying new things, and exploring the big, wide world of libations. One week you might catch us halfway through a bottle of single-malt scotch, and the week after that we might be buzzing on some Ugandan moonshine made from bananas. This column is just one big boozy adventure, so grab yourself a glass and join us for another round.
When you think of aloe vera, you probably don’t think about eating it — let alone drinking it. It’s great for sunburns and looks great in a pot on your windowsill, but very few people ever think to put it in a drink.
And that’s a damn shame. This juicy, desert-loving succulent has some amazing flavors going on, and in my opinion, is underrepresented in the world of spirits.
But there’s at least one distiller in the world who aims to change that. California hoochmaker Kurt Charron has created a fantastic new liqueur called Chareau, which, in addition to a few other wonderful additives, features Aloe Vera as the main ingredient.
“The Aloe Vera plant was my muse, and I wanted to find delicate compliments to the naturally soft and slightly bitter profile,” Charron explains. “The cucumber adds a sophisticated vegetal quality, while the muskmelon brings a natural sweetness. The lemon peel adds balance and the spearmint mellows the bite of the unaged eau de vie distillate. It all culminates in a refreshing spirit that can be enjoyed both straight and mixed in a well-crafted cocktail.”
Just listen to those ingredients. Aloe, cucumber, muskmelon, lemon peel, and a slight hint of spearmint to top it all off. I defy you to find a better warm-weather drink. This stuff is practically purpose-built for summertime sipping. It works great as a mixer, but in our experience it’s best served on the rocks — other additives tend to drown out the less dominant flavors. For best results, just pour it over a fat ice cube and start drinking.
And the best part? Despite being a relatively small operation, Charron Favreau already has this stuff on store shelves on both coasts. With a little bit of searching, you should be able to track down a bottle. Check out the interactive map on the company’s website to find out where you can get your hands on one.
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