5@5 - Low-alcohol bottles for your summer bar
July 30th, 2013
05:00 PM ET
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5@5 is a food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.

Editor's Note: Christophe Hille and Chris Ronis are the chief operating officer and managing partner, respectively, of Northern Spy Food Co. in New York City. Follow them on Twitter @nothernspyfood.

Borrowing from that old saw, "If life gives you lemons, make lemonade," we say, "When the community board denies you a full liquor license, make aperitif cocktails."

We discovered a whole world of crafty and delightful drinks that are stronger and weirder than wine, perfect for creating cocktails or enjoying alone. Most are variations on a theme: a base of wine, fortified with grape spirits or brandy to reach 15-20% alcohol by volume and flavored with an array of complex and highly-guarded herbs, spices, fruits and aging regimes.

Some, such as sherries, are their own category of wine, with long-established rules governing grape varieties, region of production and classification. To find these beverages, wander to where your local liquor store keeps the bottles that seem to belong in your grandma's booze cupboard. Below are a few of our favorites and cocktail recipes to go with them.
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