Byrrh Grand Quinquina 750ml
Country of origin: France Alcohol content: 18% ABV
Once France's most popular aperitif, Byrrh is now less well-known than other aromatised wines, although not for a lack of flavour. Byrrh Grand Quinquina is a revival of the original 1866 recipe, as opposed to Byrrh Tradition which is sweeter and fruitier. The base wine is blend of dry red wine from Rousillon, and a Carignan and Grenache mistelle—partially fermented then fortified grape juice. The botanicals include orange, coffee, cocoa, and cinchona bark. The aromatised wine is then aged in large wooden foeders for 2–5 years before bottling.
Rich mixed berries with a rooty, earthy bitterness and notes of roasted coffee, bitter chocolate, and spice.
Enjoy with tonic, gose beer, or simply with ice. Try in a Bobby Byrrhns, Betsy Ross, or Byrrh It's Cold Outside. Substitute for sweet vermouth for more texture, similar to Bonal.
First produced in Thuir, French Catalonia, in 1866 by brothers Pallade and Simon Violet; Byrrh was originally marketed as an un-named "hygienic tonic wine with cinchona" taken for the medicinal properties of the botanicals used. It was only in 1873 that the curious name "Byrrh" was registered, seemingly made up on a whim after they were banned from using "cinchona" on the label as it was reserved for pharmaceutical use. The company expanded rapidly beginning in the late 1800s, and the Violet family built expansive cellars that still exist today. Caves Byrrh contain the largest oak vat in the world, with a capacity of over 1 million litres.
Starting in 1903, advertising poster competitions were launched to promote the brand. Boosted by extensive advertising campaigns, Byrrh was a huge hit in the 1930s. In 1935 it was the leading aperitif brand in France, with sales reaching 35 million litres. In 1977 Byrrh was bought by Pernod Ricard, integrating production of Suze, Dubonnet, Ambassadeur, and Soho. The Byrrh winery in Thuir, Caves Byrrh, is now a heritage site and offers tours with tastings.