When I interviewed at Nino’s seven years ago, I had never been to the Troy location. In fact, I hadn’t been in the Saint Clair Shores location since I was small, so it was quite an eye-opening experience when I joined the team. As I walked up and down the aisles, I noticed fruits and vegetables, groceries, and meats I had never heard of, let alone seen before! I knew I was in for a challenge when I came to the liquor counter and couldn’t understand about 25 liquors that were from China, Korea, or Taiwan. On a weekly basis, I hear customers say, “I couldn’t find this anywhere!” or “I haven’t seen this since I moved to the United States!” Nino’s prides itself on carrying unique and interesting items from all over the world. Here are some items I love that you won’t see in most markets!
Soju Korea –
The most popular drink in Korea, Soju is odorless, colorless and practically tasteless! Traditionally distilled from rice, wheat, and barley, most are now made from sweet potato, potato, and tapioca. Though it is much like vodka, Soju is mildly sweeter and has a lower alcohol content, making it a lot more drinkable and mixable. It’s great for cocktails and leaves you with fewer hangovers!
Cynar Italy –
I love artichokes, but as a liquor? Sure, I’ll try it! With no real artichoke flavor, Cynar is a bitter, made of over a dozen botanical ingredients. Much like Fernet Branca, Cynar is richer and a bit sweeter. The best way I can describe it is the sweetness of Coca Cola on the front, syrupy and rich, with a punch of bitter on the back end. It’s typically used as a digestive after a large meal, but many craft cocktails are utilizing its complexity. Try a Manhattan-like drink called Little Italy that uses Rye Whiskey, Sweet Vermouth, and Cynar!
Kingfisher, India –
Light, drinkable and refreshing, this Indian charmer has been around since the mid-1800s and is growing in popularity. Poured in over 7,000 restaurants in India, Kingfisher became so popular worldwide that the Indian brewery couldn’t keep up with production, forcing it to brew in both England and the US. In the US, Kingfisher is brewed under Indian specifications by Mendocino Brewing Company.
Vinho Verde, Portugal –
We only have about four different Vinho Verdes at the store, but when it comes to a terrific summer sipper, you can’t beat them! Almost green in color, Vinho Verde is slightly sparkling, with lime, green apple notes and a crisp, refreshing finish. I highly recommend either Calamares or Twin Vines.
We have so many different items from all around the world that make our customers feel a little bit more at home. From Armenian Pomegranate Wine to Polish Honey Wine, we have the tastes that will transport you around the world with one sip!
Which Nino’s product tastes like home to you? Tweet me at @Ninoswineexpert
– Jennifer Laurie