Rosé Beyond Wine

Wine isn't the only rosé around. Whether you want to add color to your cocktail or just try something new, check out our guide of blushing gins, ciders and more.
From left to right; Wölffer Estate “Pink” Gin; Giffard Crème de Pamplemousse Rose; LiDestri Pink Lemon Liqueur; The Revivalist Solstice Expression; Wolfberger Litchi Common Cider’s Hibiscus Saison / Photo by Con Poulos

Get ready to drink pink beyond a glass of rosé. Here’s an array of sips to try, from a crop of gins blushed ballet-slipper pink to effervescent ciders and a punchy grapefruit liqueur just right to spike celebratory cocktails.

Gin With a Tint

Spirits producers have rolled out a range of creative pink gin bottlings designed to brighten gin and tonics as well as other cocktails. Gin and Angostura bitters were once mixed to quell seasickness in the Royal British Navy, and Pink Gin went on to become a fashionable cocktail in 19th-century England. Some, like The Bitter Truth Pink Gin, are a nod to that history, while others owe their hues to a wider range of ingredients or techniques.

The Bitter Truth Pink Gin

This German distiller also makes bitters, which are blended here with gin to create a pale carnation-pink libation. It’s lightly sweet on the palate, with hints of lychee, grapefruit peel and anise. Recommended for topping with tonic for a blushing G&T. ($35)

Dillon’s Rose Gin

Technically a gin-based liqueur, this is infused with rose hips and petals and sweetened with turbinado sugar. The result is a rose gin that has a ruddy hue and almost amaro-like herbaceousness that offers a finish of bracing pink peppercorn. ($50)

The Revivalist Solstice Expression

This robust, deliciously juicy gin is finished in former red-wine casks, which yields a rose-gold hue and plenty of dried cherry and spice flavors. Try this in a Manhattan-style cocktail, garnished with a cherry. ($40)

Wölffer Estate “Pink” Gin

This Long Island winemaker distills its small-batch gin from a rosé base and infuses it with juniper berries. This gin offers a distinctly fruity scent that suggests fresh raspberries, plus hints of cotton-candy sweetness, piny juniper and anise. ($34/375 ml)

The Millionaire Cocktail

Lovely Liqueurs

Lillet Rose

For fans of vermouth and low-proof cocktails, this wine-based apéritif enlivened by small amounts of fruit liqueurs is a lovely alternative. Lillet Rose also plays well in mixed drinks and punches. Stir it into martinis or sparkling wine, or serve it chilled with a curl of orange peel for easy sipping straight into spring. ($20)

Tempus Fugit Crème de Noyaux

An essential ingredient for Pink Squirrel cocktails, this garnet-hued liqueur is styled from a historic 19th-century French recipe. Crème de Noyaux is made with distilled apricot, cherry-pit kernels and bitter almonds for a marzipan-like flavor. ($40)

LiDestri Pink Lemon Liqueur

Think “pink lemonade.” We won’t claim this is the most naturally hued limoncello on the market, but it’s sweet-tart and a compulsively easy sipper. This liqueur is like melted lemon sorbet in a glass. ($22)

Giffard Crème de Pamplemousse Rose 

This aromatic grapefruit liqueur is delicious enough to sip straight, but it’s also a remarkably versatile mixer. Some bartenders cloak it as their secret weapon, nicknaming it “mousse juice.” Try it with Tequila for a spin on the classic Paloma. ($25)

Wolfberger Litchi

Look for a pretty pale-pink blush and boldly floral aroma like rosewater. The palate is tart, bright and mouthwatering, which fades to floral on the finish. This spirit is easy drinking and light, this would be ideal topped with sparkling wine. ($44)

Blushing Ciders

For the ultimate naturally rosy tint, look for ciders made from red-fleshed apple varieties like France’s Domaine du Verger Rosé Cidre Bouche ($8) or Alpenfire Glow ($28) from Washington State, a single-varietal cider made from Aerlie Red apples.

Many producers use hibiscus blossoms to give ciders and beers a floral lilt and a vibrant magenta glow. Examples include Common Cider’s Hibiscus Saison ($10/12-oz 4-pack) and Harpoon’s Hibiscus Cider ($11/12-oz 6-pack).

Published on January 16, 2018
Topics: Drinks
About the Author
Kara Newman 
Spirits Editor

Kara Newman reviews spirits and writes about spirits and cocktail trends for Wine Enthusiast. She's the author of several cocktail books, including Shake.Stir.Sip. and NIGHTCAP: More than 40 Cocktails to Close Out Any Evening, which debuts in September 2018. Email: spirits@wineenthusiast.net




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