Haus: The All-Natural Aperitif Crafted For The Modern Drinker

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I’ll admit it: I’m sober curious. At 32, my days of flip cup and nasty hangovers have been replaced with more refined alcohol pursuits: a Mezcal Negroni for special occasions or a glass of a jammy red blend to accompany steak night. And let me be more clear -- by ‘sober curious,’ I don’t mean I intend to give up booze altogether; rather I’m one of the many millennials exploring a more nuanced relationship with alcohol. Paying closer attention to when and why I choose to drink while studying the sourcing of ingredients I choose to consume has led to more mindful imbibing as of late.

Conveniently, I’m not alone in this search for moderation: several brands are tackling the growing low-and-non-alcoholic beverage market. TQE did a round-up last month of some of our favorites, and today I’m doing a deep dive into Haus: the low-alcohol aperitifs made in Sonoma County with real fruits, herbs, and botanicals by co-founders Helena Price Hambrecht and Woody Hambrecht. 

Raising A Glass To Something Better

As third-generation winemakers and grape farmers, the husband-and-wife duo has seized upon their insider knowledge of the industry, stripping away huge liquor company tactics including sketchy ingredients and unnecessarily high alcohol content. Instead, Haus opts for a naturally fermented aperitif, made with real fruits and botanicals shipped directly to their customers. This sort of farm-to-bottle mantra was bound to appeal to today’s discerning consumer, and I was no exception.

Haus has anchored its product line with five core aperitifs to start: Citrus Flower, Bitter Clove, and Ginger Yuzu, Rose Rosé and Peach Passionfruit with new collaborations and exclusive flavors launching regularly (more on that later).

Putting A Modern Spin On The Apéritif

Haus is inspired by low-ABV aperitifs: a popular European sub-genre. Generally filled with bubbles and skewing not too sweet, they’re served ahead of mealtimes because of their appetite-priming effects. This was probably the biggest pull for me of Haus’ brand promises. A Negroni and Aperol spritz drinker since my time studying abroad in Rome’s Trastevere neighborhood, I’ve always gravitated towards the aperitif category of a cocktail menu. 

Haus can be served straight up over ice, mixed with club soda or juice, or even utilized as a lighter booze substitute in cocktail mixing. The end result is a great flavor profile that can be sipped throughout the evening without a nasty hangover the next morning. Haus’ product line hovers around 15-18% ABV in contrast to most hard liquor which is usually between 35-40%. 

Haus can be served straight up over ice, mixed with club soda or juice, or even utilized as a lighter booze substitute in cocktail mixing. The end result is a great flavor profile that can be sipped throughout the evening without a nasty hangover the next morning. Haus’ product line hovers around 15-18% ABV in contrast to most hard liquor which is usually between 35-40%. 

A Taste-Test Fit For A King

I enjoyed tasting all of the flavors in the Haus family, but was most partial to Citrus Flower -- a very citrus-forward flavor profile that’s been the perfect refresher while we’ve been quarantining in the Florida heat these last few weeks.

Made with crisp lemon and a hint of elderflower, I’ve been closing out my WFH day with a pour of Citrus Flower straight over ice, while my better half Lee prefers hers served with a splash of prosecco for some additional sweetness and fizz. You can also consult their included recipe guides for inspiration ranging from simple tonic mixes to fancier spritz combinations. 

Ingredients You Can Feel Good About 

Haus is a family affair, with husband-and-wife duo Helena Price Hambrecht and Woody Hambrecht at the helm. Credit: @drinkhaus

Core to Helena and Woody’s vision is a dedication to sourcing incredible ingredients. They detail each bottle’s composition on their website, which I have to admit is refreshingly transparent. I mean -- when was the last time you actually could look up what was inside each of the bottles sitting on your bar countertop? Here's a look at a few of the ingredients Haus uses for its aperitifs:

  • Chardonnay Grapes: The foundation of every bottle, they use unoaked grapes for a clean, fruity palate. Starting with grapes from their family farm, they now source from nearby growers in California’s wine country.
  • Elderflower: Extracted from tiny white flowers, elderflower berries contain citric acid which provides a boost of sweet and tart flavor. They’re also responsible for that golden bronze color you’ll see when you pour Haus into your favorite cocktail glass.
  • Star Anise: With that potent licorice flavor, star anise brings a nutty and savory note to every bottle.
  • Lemon: Haus peels their lemons by hand, using the rinds’ essential oils to build a bright citrus flavor component. 
  • Clove: The classic baking spice you’ll see during the holiday season adds a bit of sweetness to the formula. 
  • Raw Cane Sugar: With more impurities than refined sugar for a more natural taste, and a slight molasses aroma, a small amount of sugar rounds up the Haus formula.

Wine Club, But Make it Fashion

Credit: @drinkhaus

Particularly in 2020 when the world keeps throwing seemingly insurmountable challenges at us, it’s nice to have something on your bar cart that you’re excited to drink. In addition to purchasing one-off bottles whenever you'd like on their site, I also loved that Haus has leaned into the traditional wine-club model to make recurring deliveries a breeze. 

Tiered to 1, 2, and 6 bottle options, members get discounted rates while also becoming eligible for members-only events and exclusive flavor releases. It’s a helpful tool to rotate through all the flavors in the Haus family, or you can edit your settings to keep receiving your favorite bottle month after month.

Credit: @austaclausen

Overall, we’re quite impressed with the Haus experience. They recommend storing bottles in the fridge after you've open them to keep the natural ingredients fresh, but Haus is stable enough to keep around as long as you’d like without an expiration date. Perhaps most delightful of all is the speed of shipping -- our product arrived next day via courier service, right to our doorstep! I strongly recommend adding Haus to your bar — and your quarantine bubble will thank you for pouring something this thoughtfully crafted and delicious at your next outdoor dinner party!

Five More Reasons to Love Haus

  • Because Haus is an apéritif and under 24% alcohol, they can legally bypass most of the federal restrictions on spirits and sell directly to your door.
  • Haus is made in Sonoma County, California. The team blends and bottles each bottle of Haus at their warehouse, not too far from the family farm in Healdsburg.
  • Haus products are free of gluten, dairy, lactose, and casein (vegans and celiacs, rejoice!)
  • If you're not a fan of Haus, just let them know within 30 days of purchase and they’ll issue you a refund.
  • Sustainability: Haus’ materials are sourced responsibly, with care for forest conservation throughout the supply chain. Boxes are made from up to 90% recycled material and are 100% recyclable, as are their bottles!

Upgrade your cocktail hour and try Haus for yourself here.

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