Every so often, it's the secondary mixer - not the starring liquor - that distinguishes a drink. Sorel is that kind of player, an artisanal liqueur by Jack From Brooklyn that leaves an exotic blush on anything it touches. The main ingredient is Moroccan hibiscus (not the tart green called sorrel), which lends the spirit its crimson hue and floral nose. But add a splash of Sorel to brut Champagne like a dry kir, and a spice box of its other ingredients suddenly perfume the nose - clove, cinnamon, and a tingle of ginger. Some consider it a wintry spice, such as the Farm & Fisherman + Tavern, which mixed it with bourbon and birch beer for a delicious "Winter Birch." But at Positano Coast, head bartender Andres Sanchez says it blends well with any botanical spirit, such as gin or tequila. He also gets Sorel foamy, whipping it up into a pink mousse that floats atop Prosecco for an aperitivo that is a festive starter for any season.
- Craig LaBan
Jack From Brooklyn Sorel Liqueur 30 Proof, $33.99 (Code 31817) in Pennsylvania. Sorel aperitivo, $11, Positano Coast, 212 Walnut St.