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My days and nights are filled with wine lunches, tastings and dinners. And one of the biggest challenges is limiting how much is consumed if I am driving home. But this week, I went to lunch on a beautiful, crisp, clear day at the Malibu Beach Inn and spent three hours sipping Seedlip cocktails. And, in the end, I got in my car and drove home. Why? Because all of my cocktails were non-alcoholic! It was such a treat to sip cocktails all day and yet not experience the effects of the alcohol, among other benefits, and that is why Seedlip Cocktails are the Please The Palate pick of the week. Seedlip Distilled Non-Alcoholic Spirits are the world's first distilled non-alcoholic spirits. Made from herbs and botanicals, it is a truly nonalcoholic spirit, as well as sugar-free, allergen-free, sweetener-free and has no artificial flavoring. And Seedlip has no calories or carbs.
Fortified wines may not be the biggest sellers in the U.S. but they should be. Madeira, Port, Sherry and Pineau des Charentes....there is so much to love about each of these fortified wines. In my recent column in the Napa Valley Register, I explored the delicious world of Pineau des Charentes that comes from the Cognac region in Southwestern France which you can read here.

If you say “Pineau” out loud, it sounds like “pinot.” As I looked into my glass filled with a golden yellow liquid, I thought, “This is pinot? Perhaps it is pinot grigio?”

Well, it was neither. It was Pineau des Charentes, simply called "Pineau," a French aperitif.

Pineau des Charentes, like Port, Madeira and Sherry, is a fortified wine. But, Pineau des Charentes is from the Charente department of the Cognac region in southwestern France.

My friend's birthday party this week was at Lost Spirits Distillery in Downtown Los Angeles. I had not been to the distillery before and thought it would be fun to visit. Little did I know what to expect and I must say that without a doubt, the distillery tour at Lost Spirits is like no other distillery tour and it definitely made it the Please The Palate pick of the week. Lost Spirits Distillery is located on East 6th Street, off of South Alameda Street in the Arts District of Downtown Los Angeles. A street full of nondescript warehouses, the red building of Lost Spirits stand out. Lost Spirits was founded by Bryan Davis and Joanne Haruta in 2010 in Monterey County. They opened their laboratory in Silicon Valley in 2014 and in 2017 launched in Los Angeles. Lost Spirits is a producer of rum and whisky. The tagline of Lost Spirits is "Science. Innovation. Art." and that is what they are. Through a proprietary aging process that David created, Lost Spirits can produce an aged rum in less than a week. Davis' process involves special lights breaking wood down into flavor precursors which then accelerates the aging of the wood. The spirit is then heated, with the pieces of wood, to form the flavors you get in an aged spirit. As Lost Spirits has redefined the production of rum and whisky, it is no surprise that they also redefined the distillery visit. In fact, it is not a visit or tour but an experience. A  distillery tour at Lost Spirits is like a trip to Disneyland (on a smaller budget) and using advanced technology and a creative mind, you will be transported to another world.
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