Liqueurs aren’t usually my thing—too sweet and syrupy for my taste. They’re fine mixed with other stuff, but on their own they can be cloying. But I recently got a sample of the Big O, a small-batch liqueur made near Kansas City, and since I’m a big fan of ginger, I gave it a try. It’s restrained in every way: not too sweet, not too alcoholic, not too spicy. There’s plenty of ginger flavor, but it’s very smooth, without much of the kick characteristic of ginger. There’s a hint of citrus, maybe a little clove, but overall it’s fairly straightforwardly ginger.

As a mixer, the liqueur could maybe do with a little more kick (though I haven’t had a chance to experiment with it yet), but Kathy Kuper and Bill Foster, the couple who created it, wanted something they could drink straight. They began experimenting with the idea about ten years ago after finding out that the limoncello they were drinking at a restaurant was made by the waiter’s grandparents. “That was the first time we discovered you can actually make booze,” Kuper says. They went home and tried to make limoncello. “It was just awful,” she says. They tried again. It was still awful.