Ski into a Pine Tree with Zirbenz

Food & Wine: Ski into a Pine Tree with Zirbenz
© Jürgen Haas
By Charles Antin Posted March 05, 2014


What It Is: A slightly sweet, 35 percent-alcohol sipping liqueur that tastes strongly of pine—no surprise, given that it's made from the fruit of the Arolla stone pine in Austria. Pine fruit is ripe for just a short period of time before it becomes a pine cone. It is harvested by brave mountaineers and farmers who climb high into the mountains and up into the trees.

What It’s Like: Imagine you’re skiing down a mountain in the French Alps when all the sudden—BAM—you have an intimate knowledge of a pine tree due to your less than stellar skiing skills. That’s kind of what Zirbenz is like (except for the pain). You may associate the smell more with floor cleaner than beverage, but that’s unfair. The floor cleaner is toxic and artificial, while Zirbenz’s scent is natural and fresh.

How to Drink It: When it’s cold outside, Zirbenz is a fantastic addition to the home mixologist’s bar. Traditionally served chilled and straight in Austria, it is also a fantastic way to winterize cocktails like Manhattans and gin and tonics.

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