2018 Is the Summer of the Schnapsicle & Friesling
The frosé came, it saw and, most assuredly, it conquered. This summer, however, is the summer of the schnapsicle and friesling—which, if anything, are infinitely more fun to say.
"Frosé is so overdone and 2016," Silvan Kraemer, general manager and co-owner of Washington, D.C.'s Stable, jokes. He's the mastermind behind the Swiss restaurant's sure-to-be summer smash hit, the schnapsicle—a frozen schnaps, wine and fruit combination deployed in a plastic tube that has serious Fla-Vor-Ice nostalgia.
"We wanted to find a way to make schnaps more approachable, fun and a spirit to be enjoyed year-round," Kraemer says. "We have multiple cocktails using schnaps on the menu . . . but the schnapsicles are something more fun and summery."
Bear in mind, Kraemer is deploying authentic, old-world schnaps—clear fruit brandies or eaux-de-vie typically hailing from the Alpine region including areas of Austria, Germany and France—and not the faux sugary liqueurs hidden away in your parents' liquor cabinets.
"The European schnaps are all natural, with no artificial flavors or sweeteners added," Kraemer explains, while recommending a few choice brands including Etter, Willisauer, Trimbach and Schladerer. "Schnaps is relatively strong when drinking it neat, since it is not aged and often only single-distilled. But this is what gives schnaps its charm and distinct flavor. The fruit flavor is subtle and reminds of overripe or fermented fruit."
Kraemer balances the schnaps with dry white wine, such as sparkling Austrian Grüner Veltliner, and fruit purées. Thus far, he's unveiled a trio of flavors, including apricot plum, pear and raspberry.
Stable is selling the schnapsicles individually and by the bucket, while also offering them served inside a glass of Prosecco at brunch, for a plussed-up mimosa. "Not only does this keep your drink cold on a hot summer day, as the Popsicle melts, the flavors of the schnapsicle infuse into the Prosecco giving it a nice and fruity flavor," Kraemer says.
While frosé shot to stardom and schnapsicles are brand new, there's a third contender that's been slowly percolating for the past year: friesling. You can expect it to explode in full force this summer though. One advocate for the rise of friesling is Stevie Stacionis, owner of Oakland wine shop Bay Grape. "When the frosé rage took on, I thought friesling would be even more delicious," she says.
Across the Pacific Ocean at Singapore's Junior (the sister bar of the now-closed Crackerjack), head bartenders Peter Chua and Zachary de Git took up the same cause. "After realizing the popularity of frosé, we contemplated using other wine made into adult slushies," Chua says. "And Riesling just made sense. We took a lot of that, added some black tea syrup, St. George Spiced Pear Liqueur and voila! We had ourselves a friesling."
With a schnapsicle in one hand and a glass of friesling in the other, we're more than ready for summer.
Jake Emen is a food, drink and travel journalist living in San Diego. Follow his adventures on Twitter at @ManTalkFood.
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