Buying an unfamiliar spirits brand always feels like gambling. Even with recommendations and ratings, there’s no guarantee you’ll like it.
That’s where Vom Fass on the Country Club Plaza comes in. The local franchise, which opened in December, carries spirits and liqueurs; wines; balsamic and wine vinegars; olive and other oils, all of which can be sampled before buying.
Curious about Scotch whisky? Owner/operator Brett Guthrie or one of his staff will lead you through a guided tasting that might include a peaty Jura malt, a floral lowland one or something old and smooth from Speyside.
The range also includes American and Irish whiskeys, rum, vodka, gin, brandy, Cognac, grappa, sweet liqueurs and dozens of other options. There’s even absinthe, complete with the glasses, spoons and fountains used to create the elegant louche, or cloud, that forms when water is added.
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Most products are imported, although some are produced by Yahara Bay Distillers in Madison, Wis. They’re all sold under the Vom Fass banner, but that makes them no less unusual, Guthrie says.
“What I love about Vom Fass is that there’s a story behind every one of our products,” he says of the company, which has locations around the world.
The Plaza store has Thursday night wine tastings, offers cocktail and food samples on the weekends and is available for private events. Note that samples must be served by store employees, and alcohol is available only to those of legal drinking age.
Brett Guthrie, owner/operator of Vom Fass’ Plaza location, counts this as a staff and customer favorite.
Brandy Old Fashioned
Makes 1 drink
3 ounces Vom Fass orangecello
1 ounce Fernandez Brandy de Jerez
1 1/2 ounces Fassmix grenadine syrup
Maraschino cherries, for garnish
Orange wheel, for garnish
Combine orangecello, brandy and grenadine in an Old Fashioned glass. Add ice; top with sparkling water and garnish.
Per drink: 374 calories (none from fat), no fat, no cholesterol, 29 grams carbohydrates, no protein, 26 milligrams sodium, no dietary fiber, 0 percent of calories from fat.