Amethyst is a spirit meant for sipping, which I am all about because I love the feeling of a rocks glass in my hand. I gave up on my dreams of becoming a 19th-century robber baron when I turned 30, but thanks to my lively imagination, I was at least able to pretend every so often by sitting in a high-backed chair with an old book, gently rattling a whiskey on the rocks, and grumbling about the price of whale oil. After I got sober I tried doing this with a glass full of iced tea, but it didn’t work. The whole point of drinking chilled, unadorned liquor while wearing a velveteen jacket is to force reality to pause, focusing entirely on its flavors, aromas, and physical sensations. A fine spirit is a symphony, and quite often, the alcohol is the least interesting thing about it.
Several weeks ago I was sent a bottle of Amethyst Lemon Cucumber Serrano zero-proof spirit, and after my initial taste test, I started rummaging through my closet for my old velveteen jacket. (It still fits!) This sober spirit has no alcoholic counterpart—it’s entirely its own thing, and by jove, it is glorious. It hits your tongue with an intense, syrupy sweetness with a hint of lemon zest; barely one second later, those sugar notes are nearly obliterated by the burn of Serrano pepper, cutting through the cloy like a gilded saber. As it tickles and tingles, a vegetal wave of cucumber swells to a crescendo, bringing all the disparate notes together into a dramatic melody. It’s everything I want in a spirit, non-alcoholic or otherwise.
At $30 a bottle, Amethyst isn’t a spirit to drink passively, which is precisely the point. Each sip deserves your full attention, careful consideration, and deep appreciation. Drink it cold and neat, or over just enough ice to chill it without watering it down, and do so in an environment that behooves such an indulgence. Dim the lights, put a record on the Victrola, pull out those old, musty books, and let your imagination run wild.