With this latest feature, we finally get caught up to the full offerings of the New York-based Heimat distillery, which produces farm-to-glass, fruit-only-no-additive liqueurs using fruit sourced in their “backyard” of New York through partnerships with family-owned farms. We first covered their limited edition Barrel Finished Bosc Pear early this year, followed by a profile of four of their core expressions (Bosc Pear, Rhubarb, Blackberry, and White Peach) and now, we take a dive into their remaining expressions Nectarine, Cranberry, Elderflower, and Black Currant. Worth repeating is how the Heimat team visits farms every year to help harvest the fruits and undergoes a process that relies solely on
fermentation of the fruit for their liqueurs, with no added sugars or flavorings. If you’ve been following along, you’ll know we are solid fans of these expressions, and they have set quite a bar for themselves.
Let’s dive into the final four in the lineup.
Update: Heimat liqueurs are in fact made with added sugar and are not fermented.
Heimat Nectarine Liqueur – Nectarine was not a flavor that Heimat sought initially but apparently an introduction to a local grower changed all that. The fragrance is particularly intoxicating with the faintest hint of clove and nutmeg, bringing out a bit of a kick to a syrupy sweetness of dried juicy apricot. The palate follows suit, with an almost Port-like delivery of all that rich sweet fruit flavor, if Port were made with stone fruit. With such gravitas in this expression, I opted to try for the bold Bourbine cocktail recipe suggested by Heimat, made with bourbon, sweet vermouth, and a dash of bitters, speculating it could stand up and do justice to such edgy accomplices. Both the liqueur and choice of cocktail are very worthy indeed. 38 proof. A
Heimat Cranberry Liqueur – I will admit that cranberry does not fall high on my radar of fruit expressions, likely due to the limited offerings of cranberry products in my sphere, which boils down to dried cranberries (too sweet), cranberry sauce (again, too sweet), and raw cranberries (which you can’t consume unless they are cooked and sweetened). Aside from the straight-from-the-bog-into-a-bag tartness of “fresh cranberries,” I don’t think I really know or understand this fruit. Basically, that was a long preface to establish my skepticism that Heimat would keep hitting winners. But I was unexpectedly surprised and indeed won over with this expression. The nose has a surprising, delicately sweet berry note, leading with overripe strawberries followed by blackberries and accented by another remarkable apricot note. The palate is once again consistent with the nose, delivering the fullness of the nose with a rich but muted sweetness from the fruit. Since there are no additives, I know the sweetness is an innate profile from just the aged and fermented cranberry itself. Today’s cocktail of choice was the Ligroni, which is simply equal parts Cranberry liqueur and gin, plus a good measure of sweet vermouth. For more of a hot summer’s day version, I added a generous handful of ice and a splash of soda. This expression now sits squarely and solidly on my liqueur radar. 34 proof. A
Heimat Elderflower Liqueur – Unlike my dour predisposition on cranberries, I generally put elderberries and elderflowers on a pedestal. Worth noting at the start is that Heimat only offers an elderflower liqueur and not one made with elderberries. At this point I was going into this review assuming Heimat had nailed it, so the bar is a bit unforgiveable and perhaps unfair. Diving in nose first, grassy floral elements take center stage with delicate and soft berry notes riding underneath, with barely any sweetness in the aroma. However, on the palate, those light and tender berry notes move forward, with grassy minty accents providing herbal brightness. With this unexpected grassiness in mind, I opted to try a spin on the Margarita, which includes just tequila and lime juice, with the Elderflower Liqueur providing a less sweet substitute for triple sec. Incredibly refreshing, with elderflower being able to both stand up to the tequila’s herbal notes and providing just the right touch of sweetness. 30 proof. A
Heimat Black Currant Liqueur – Last but certainly not least is Heimat’s most recent release, Black Currant. The nose hits as a medley of all fruits: Sliced, juicy ripe peaches lead the way with citrus brightness and blackberry richness. The palate is a luxurious coating of velvety ripened blackberries with the tartness of under-ripe strawberries and raspberries. Naturally it is de rigueur to try this in a kir royale, which is simply Black Currant liqueur plus Prosecco or Champagne. Let’s be honest, with a good Champagne or white wine base, it really is hard to go wrong with adding a quality liqueur. And on that note, I am quite certain given the ease and deliciousness of Heimat’s kir royale, this will now feature regularly in my cocktail agenda. 42 proof. A
each $45 per 375 ml bottle / heimatny.com