Haus Aperitif Review
Organic Farm-to-Bottle Drinks for Lighter Sipping
With the rise of Zoom cocktail hours and video dinners with our friends, my cocktail-making husband and I been having more drinks these days than we used to. My tolerance is very low and it's tough for me to make it more than a few sips without feeling a little too loopy. When I saw an ad pop up in my feed for Haus as a lighter alcohol option with decidedly good branding, I was immediately intrigued. I ordered a Starter Kit so I could try small quantities of their flagship flavors, Citrus Flower and Bitter Clove, without committing to large bottles. The flavors were lovely, not too sweet, and best of all, I could sip socially on a drink just like my friends while still feeling like myself and completely present. I was not familiar with apéritifs before, and they’re nothing new, but I’m definitely on board now, especially considering the approach Haus has taken to sourcing and producing ingredients for their alcohol.
Read on to find out more about Haus, what I'll reorder, what I'll skip, and what I'm trying next.
What is an Apéritif?
An apéritif is an alcoholic beverage meant to be enjoyed before a meal. Apéritifs, like Haus, are low-proof and can be enjoyed by themselves, with soda or tonic, or as an ingredient in a cocktail. Because they are meant to stimulate the appetite (and not fill you up before a meal) apéritifs are not super sugary and instead have a more dry and bitter flavor profile.
What makes Haus different?
If you know your way around a bar cart, you may be familiar with apéritif brands like Aperol, Campari, Vermouth, or Lillet.
Haus is made by third-generation winemakers and grape farmers who wanted to focus on producing alcohol from organically farmed real fruits and botanicals instead of artificial flavors. Read more about Haus’s mission and the ingredients they use (like Chardonnay grapes, elderflower, star anise, raw cane sugar, and clove).
Quick Facts About Haus
- Haus Starter Kit (featured in this review) is $30.00 plus $5.00 shipping. It includes two 200mL bottles (Citrus Flower and Bitter Clove).
- Full-size Haus Bottles are available for $35.00 with free shipping on orders over $50.00. Full-size bottles contain 750mL.
- Haus Memberships include free shipping and are available in three options: one bottle per month for $35.00/month, two bottles per month for $63.00/month, or six bottles per month at $144.00/month. Two and six bottle memberships include discounts on all orders and early access to exclusive apéritifs and members-only events.
Ships to: All 50 US states except Alabama, Kentucky, New Hampshire, Utah, South Carolina, and South Dakota.
This review was updated on May 14, 2020 to note that Haus now ships to Georgia and has discontinued the reusable tote from the Starter Kit.
I paid for this starter kit and chose to review it for My Subscription Addiction.
Pros & Cons
|I'd Recommend Haus Apéritifs If You:||
The Starter Kit Review
Each Starter Kit includes two 200mL bottles of Haus's signature flavors: Citrus Flower and Bitter Clove. The kit also a booklet with info about the brand, the products, and recipes. The tote bag pictured above has been discontinued and is no longer included in the Starter Kit.
Citrus Flower tasted much like I had expected from the name: citrusy with a light floral taste. This apéritif has a chardonnay grape base and is made with elderflower extract, lemon, orange peel, hibiscus, cinnamon, raw cane sugar, and grape brandy - all sourced from the brand's farm. I am weary of floral flavors but really loved this, the lemon and orange peel balanced the floral notes perfectly. I drank this apéritif chilled by itself, over ice, and mixed with sparkling water. I enjoyed its light sweetness and bright taste on its own but my favorite way to enjoy Citrus Flower was in sparkling water with a little bit of ice. It was so refreshing and felt like spring and summer in a bottle. I loved being able to drink an entire cocktail without feeling tipsy or feeling rattled from too much sugar.
Bitter Clove has a more earthy, botanical taste than Citrus Flower. Like Citrus Flower (and all Haus apéritifs), Bitter Clove has a chardonnay grape base but is paired with star anise, artichoke leaf, bay leaf, clove, Saigon cinnamon, ginger, cinchona bark, dried banana, hibiscus, orange peel, raw cane sugar, and grape brandy. It's easy to see from this ingredient list that this is a more "spiced" flavor with herbal and savory notes. I could taste the light bitterness from the artichoke leaf and the boldness of the ginger and can see this being the perfect autumn drink. I enjoyed this best as a Haus + Soda (2 parts Haus, 1 part sparkling water) but would love to try it as a spritz with Prosecco.
Reusable Tote - Discontinued
At the time of purchase, the Starter Kit included a reusable tote - as of May 14, 2020, the tote has been discontinued and is no longer included.
Packaging and Customer Service
My Starter Kit arrived in a branded cardboard box and minimal packing materials. You'll see the included booklet and reusable tote (discontinued) in the images above. I appreciated the minimal packing supplies, but my first shipment arrived with a broken bottle. I immediately reached out to Haus' customer care, received a response within 24 hours, and was sent a replacement (via expedited shipping for the inconvenience) right away, no questions asked. I was genuinely impressed with how quickly the issue was resolved and that I was sent a whole new kit even though only one bottle had broken.
The included booklet talks more about the brand and the founders along with ingredient details and recommended recipes.
I really enjoyed both bottles in my Starter Kit but my favorite, and the one I'll reorder, is Citrus Flower. I loved how refreshing its lightly sweet citrus flavor was, especially mixed with sparkling water. I love to participate in Zoom cocktail hours with my friends and sip on fancy drinks with them but I don't want to feel too tipsy too fast, so Haus has been the perfect solution. The higher price is worth it to me because I feel good about the ingredients and because my low tolerance means a large bottle will last me many cocktail hours. And because I am so sensitive to alcohol and sugar, I really noticed how much better I felt after drinking these apéritifs vs. traditionally strong and sweet cocktails.
The Restaurant Project
I'm excited to try other flavors from Haus, too. They recently launched The Restaurant Project:
"We’re working with restaurants across America to co-create apéritifs that reflect their culinary approach. 100% of the profits go to the restaurants, enabling them to support employees and cover costs during COVID-19."
I've preordered the Haus X State Bird Provisions because it sounds absolutely perfect for the warmer weather ahead with strawberry, tart rhubarb, Meyer lemon, and fresh rose ingredients.
What do you think of Haus? Do you have any recommended aperitif recipes I need to know?
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