Drink: Two from House Spirits


House Spirits of Portland, Ore., has become an early leader in the American craft-distilling movement with stylish takes on familiar spirits - gin (Aviation) and whiskey (White Dog.)

Two of their other products, though, which have been recently made available online in Pennsylvania, are more unusual.

Distiller Christian Krogstad pays homage to his Norwegian heritage with one of America's only aquavits, a smooth-yet-unsweetened schnapps re-distilled from neutral spirit with caraway and star anise, so vivid, earthy and complex, it's like sipping on a licorice snowball.

I like it straight, but it's also an intriguing substitute for vodka in a Bloody Mary or other classic cocktails. Meanwhile, House Spirits' recent collaboration with another Portland institution, Stumptown Coffee, has produced a mellower liqueur - a 35-proof blend of sugarcane molasses rum buzzed with Guatemalan beans - that's an Oregon-style wake-up call in the glass. Great for a boozer breakfast, or drizzled over ice cream for dessert.

House Spirits Krogstad Aquavit (code 30411), $24.99, and Coffee Liqueur (code 30419), $33.99, online in Pennsylvania at www.finewineandgoodspirits.com.

- Craig LaBan