New Liqueur Brand To Drink Straight

Those concerned with slinging their own cocktails owe it to themselves to uncover the wondrous world of liqueurs. On one hand, the infused, low-ABV spirits are the backbone to many a crowd-favorite cocktail. On the other hand, the best liqueurs are smooth enough to serve neat or over ice, to be sipped on after dinner or, honestly, at any point ever. 

While there are liqueurs that are more or less ordinary by barroom standards—think triple sec, Fernet-Branca and St-Germain—there's a new batch of upstart spirit makers offering more adventurous options for the enterprising drinker, redefining the way we think of the syrupy cordial.

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The latest comes from Apologue, a new spirits company out of Chicago touting regional Midwest ingredients with a focus on unexpected savory flavors. Its first expressions—from most approachable to most ambitious—revolve around Aronia berries, persimmons and celery root. All are currently available at bars throughout Illinois and online through Binny's.

The team, including partner Robby Haynes, who helped develop the bittersweet wormwood liqueur Bësk for Letherbee Distillers, is all about traditional production methods and natural ingredients. "There are some really underappreciated regional ingredients that we shine some light on," Haynes tells the Chicago Tribune, adding that Apologue sources all its ingredients from the Midwest, and "each one has their own parallels within cocktail history and classic drinks and liqueurs."

Aronia, for example, has notes of tart cherry with a touch of rose hip and cinnamon, so it works well with Prosecco and lower-proof brunch cocktails. Persimmon, a nuanced bottling of hibiscus flower, citrus and rhubarb root, is recommended over ice or as an interesting twist on a Negroni. And then there's Celery Root: herbaceous and savory with hints of dill, tarragon, fennel and lemon peel. Apologue suggests pairing it with tonic or in a margarita or Bloody Mary.

Now that's what we call a next-level hangover cure.