We've seen so many awful flavored alcohols out there that we almost passed on the opportunity to try Spiced Wine ($23), a blend of red wines (Zinfandel, Syrah, Petite Syrah, Grenache) fortified with a Sauvignon Blanc brandy, and naturally infused with spices (cinnamon, allspice, cloves, etc.). But upon first sip, our preconceptions dissolved. This wine reminds us of vanilla mulled wine with warming baking spices and jammy sweetness, but it's more versatile. Depending on the season, it can be sipped chilled in a wineglass, served warm in a mug, or poured over ice like a sangria. Spiced wine has been around since ancient Egyptian times (around 3150 BC), trickling throughout Greece, Rome, and the rest of Western Europe, so it's about time America embraced this tradition.
Photo: Nicole Perry