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June 22, 2012

Grazing: A (Local) Kir Royale

My HipstaPrint 0Hot, it is hot, as Yoda might say. Take a drink I shall, yes, hmmm.

This week in Seven Days I wrote about mead, and the bees that make it. And though I developed an affection for Artesano's Essence Mead along the way, I also stumbled across a bottle of Honey Gardens Apiaries' Melissa Sparkling Mead, made with raw honey.

It looks like Champagne, it pours like Champagne, but it's really not much like Champagne. Though I bet meadmakers would love to capture more of the wedding market, modern palates might still need some getting used to these flavors — subtly sweet, earthy and herbaceous, unlike most wine or beer. But those who brave mead — or have grown to adore it — have discovered its very beguiling otherness, and flavors that seem to be from another planet but are actually ancient.

For an easy entry to the style, marry some sparkling mead to a little Vermont-made Sumptuous Black Currant Syrup and some Artesano Blueberry Mead, and you'll conjure an all-local twist on the Kir Royale, that perfect-for-summer classic blend of Champagne and crème de cassis or Chambord.

Fortunately for Vermont Kir lovers, Grand View Winery makes its own cassis. With 12 percent alcohol, you could sip it as a dessert wine on its own; pour some into sparkling mead, though, et voila! A berry-hued refresher with a honeyed undercarriage, a wisp of fruitiness and some yummy medicinal notes. 

To make a local Kir Royale, take your average Champagne flute, and add a generous splash of Grand View's Cassis (and optionally, one glug of blueberry mead, too.) Top with sparkling mead (or wine), and drink up! Or rather, your Kir drink, mmmm.

Each week, Grazing highlights tasty, sometimes under-the-radar dishes and drinks that reflect the season. If you know of a local edible (or libation) worth making a fuss over, let me know: [email protected]

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