It All Started With “Damp January”
It’s been a long, stressful two years (and counting). I’ll be the first to admit that somewhere along the line my drinking habits may have gotten a little out of hand. So this year, I decided it was time to make a change. I thought about doing Dry January, but given my track-record with dieting, I knew that was unrealistic. Enter: Damp January.
Instead of cutting out booze cold-turkey for one month and then going back to my old habits for other 11, I set out to form more moderate drinking habits that could last all year long… and Haus is my secret to success.
In an effort to cut calories, reduce my alcohol intake, and cure my hangxiety, I switched from hard liquor to Haus’s low-ABV aperitifs. Now that I’ve gotten into a habit of drinking Haus, I may switch back to the harder stuff. And I’m not the only one — the California-based, sophisticated farm-to-bottle apéritifs are beloved by the likes of Bon Appetit, GQ, and The New York Times too.
What Makes Haus Different?
There’s a reason big liquor companies don’t really tell you what’s in the bottle: they hide sub-par ingredients behind an unnecessarily high percentage of alcohol and sugar. That’s why Haus is changing the status quo. They’ve ditched the fake stuff and excess sugar for naturally-fermented, high-quality fruits, herbs, and botanicals.
Haus blends, bottles, and ships all of their products straight from their vineyard in Sonoma, CA. The farm-to-bottle aperitifs fall mid-way between a wine and liquor in terms of alcohol volume, and contain only half the calories of just straight liquor. Plus, the unique blends are so flavorful on their own that I don’t have to add any sugary sodas or syrups to my cocktails.
How Do I Drink My Haus?
All eight flavors are delightful straight-up, over ice. I’m a self-proclaimed master mixologist though, so I had a ton of fun substituting them in for heavier booze in my favorite cocktail recipes.
I started out with the Deluxe Cocktail Kit to try six of Haus’ best-selling flavors, and after an extensive, scientific analysis, here are my favorite ways to indulge:
The Haughty Toddy
When it’s cold out, I love a nice hot-toddy to warm up and calm down after work. I usually prefer mine on the sweeter side, but I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the Ginger Yuzu aperitif adds enough sweetness that I don’t need any honey. To make it, just brew a cup of earl-grey tea, add a squeeze of lemon, and a hefty splash of the aforementioned aperitif. Oh, and a dash of cinnamon on top, of course!
Lemon Lavender Grin Fizz
Lavender Bee’s Knees are all the rage this year. Usually made with gin, lemon, lavender and simple syrup, it’s a real crowd pleaser. So this was a no-brainer for me when I saw the Lemon Lavender flavor from Haus.
This one starts out with a shot of Haus, then squeeze of lemon and a dash of lavender bitters for smell (and color). Then, I top it with soda water and garnish with an edible flower and lemon peel. This drink makes me smile from ear-to-ear, so I’m calling it the Lemon Lavender Grin-Fizz.
The Pomegranate Rosemary Bold-Fashioned
Pomegranate Rosemary is my absolute favorite flavor to drink straight-up. So, my bold-fashioned recipe is simple, delicious and served in a rocks glass. All you need to do is pour the herbaceous blend straight from the bottle over ice, add a few dashes of angostura bitters (although this isn’t even necessary), and garnish with an orange peel for the aroma. The apéritif speaks for itself!
The Spicy Noloma
Now I know Mexican food isn’t doing me any favors around the waist, but I said I’m cutting back on booze, not nachos… and everyone knows that nachos go great with margaritas, or my favorite: palomas (basically a grapefruit marg).
For this, shake up a shot of Grapefruit Jalapeño with lime juice and a dash of salt. Then simply pour into a salt-rimmed glass filled with ice and top with a splash of soda water. I like to garnish with lime and jalepeño. Boom: The Spicy Noloma.
The Rosé Faux-Secco
I don’t believe in labels… so classifying rosé as a summer drink simply won’t fly with me. It’s rosé any day for me. The Rose Rosé flavor from Haus is so easy to drink that I usually enjoy it chilled, straight up — like a glass of wine — but sometimes I’ll top it with soda water for a low-calorie Rosé Faux-Secco.
The Fighting-Irish Coffee
The Irish Coffee is such a staple in the after-dinner drink category that I didn’t wait too long before giving it a try. I found the New Fashioned flavor to be the most whiskey-like of the bunch, so that’s the base of this cocktail. All you need to do is add some almond milk, top it with whipped cream and voila: you have the low-ABV Fighting-Irish Coffee.
I’m Still Learning, But Already Loving Haus
With Haus, I’ve been able to easily cut out hard liquor from my life, and I don’t see any reason that I can’t keep it up all year round. My favorite part of cutting back on high-ABV drinks is that I’ve had virtually no hangovers (thanks to Haus’ quality ingredients). I’m also having such a blast creating these low-ABV cocktails and can’t wait to keep exploring the endless possibilities!