The holidays are special, so you better stop what you’re doing and get your hands on a bottle of something special—like Dogfish Head’s Esprit Malade.
This blend of apple brandy, house-made cider and raw apple cider is a tart and full-bodied spirit that is perfect for the holiday season. French for “Sick Spirit,” Esprit Malade is a nod to Dogfish Head’s Sick Cider and rings in with a 34% ABV/68 proof.
Deemed “an apple brandy like no other,” the elixir is made with a blend of local Fifer Orchard apples, including Fuji, Roman, Stayman, Red Delicious and Golden Delicious. The process begins by distilling a young apple brandy made from this blend of apples, which is then blended with Dogfish Head’s Sick Cider, an unfiltered, extra dry cider that’s 100% barrel-fermented with a wild Brettanomyces yeast.
The spirit is aged in new charred American Oak barrels and is proofed down to 34% using raw apple cider before being bottled.
This rarity is only available a few times a year at Dogfish Head’s Milton Brewery and Rehoboth restaurants. Recommended glassware is a large red wine glass, and preferred serving is neat.
Fortunate sippers will get prominent green apple and white chocolate on the nose with notes of honey and almonds. Dogfish Head’s website notes that “the flavor evolves quickly, showcasing each individual ingredient complemented by toasted oak. It all starts with the baked apple warmth of the apple brandy, which is then cut by the sour tang of the Sick Cider and then the sweet, crispness of fresh pressed cider wraps it all up.” Sounds pretty perfect to us, just like a holiday gift that keeps on giving.