Half Bassed

IMG_1870Found this li’l 25-cl beauty in an Italian beer bar. Does that make it a nipolo, a nipello, or perhaps a nipini?


Sanbitter: Soft apéritif

Puny aperitif. Photo: B. Yaeger

Apéritifs are generally served before a meal “to stimulate appetite” or something. The classic is Campari, maybe cut with sparkling mineral water. So no surprise those crafty, gastronomic Italians created a non-alcoholic version, Red Sanbitter, and since it hails from the land of the cutest little bottles, it naturally comes in a 100 mL bottle. Yes, ~3.5 oz. Which is fine since this stuff tastes like sucking on a grapefruit rind!

When it comes to beer, the best way to enjoy it as with meals. Or friends. Or better yet: with friends over a meal. I have a bottle of 24% ABV  Samuel Adams Utopias (when it retails for $200, don’t call it Sam). It’s richer than an oil tycoon and is generally enjoyed as an after-dinner drink, a digestif if you will. The ornate bottles are 24 ounces.


Our vote: it should come in 100 mL bottles. That’s 1/7th the size, and it should retail for $30, just like a snifter of the fine sherry or Cognac it resembles. And they can call it Samuele Adamo Utopias!

Bottiglia piccola

Italian for tiny bottle de cafe

When we popped into PastaWorks–an Italian-style grocery store that carries high end items from meats to produce to imported goods at equally high end prices–we just wanted a little pick-me-up. Something fizzy would be nice, but who’d pay $3 for some imported sparkling water? The low-sugar iced teas were appealing, but would they have enough caffeine?

The answer took shape in a bottle of a coffee soda called simply Frizz Coffee. It was on the pricy side, but it was exactly what we were craving. Not until we were outside the store drinking it did we realize what was so great about it besides the contents. At 180 ml, or 6-point-one ounces, we believe this is the tiniest bottled beverage we’ve ever seen. A good 29 ml more diminutive than a traditional “nip.”

Well done, Italian craft java/soft drink maker, well done.