September 30, 2005
We've heard about Godiva chocolates, and apparently they're supposed to be good or something. We wouldn't know...most of our chocolate comes in the form of those little edible shot glasses. But we've recently discovered Godiva chocolate liqueur, and it's going to have us bouncing off the walls like drunken Oompa Loompas. It comes in three flavors - regular chocolate, white chocolate and cappuccino - and apparently it's as much of a taste sensation as the regular boxed chocolates.
We found a few interesting recipes, but we'll be going to bed tonight with visions of chocolate martinis dancing in our heads.
Godiva Chocolate Martini
1 oz. Godiva Liqueur
1 oz. Vodka of your choice
Shake or stir. Pour in a martini glass.
Read more at the Godiva website.
September 30, 2005
Last week we told you about Kegbot, a nifty kegerator contraption with a computer built in. Not to be outdone, German scientists have developed an electronic drink coaster that knows when a glass is nearly empty and automatically asks for a refill. Getting a drink refill by email? O brave new world that has such beer coasters in it!
Andreas Butz at the University of Munich and Michael Schmitz from Saarland University came up with the idea while out drinking with their students.
The disc-shaped mat can be attached to a normal beer mat so that it still soaks up spilt liquid and displays an advertisement. But it also contains a pressure sensor and radio transmitter to alert bar staff of the need for a refill.
The device weighs 110 grams and costs $100 to make, but Butz and Schmitz think the weight and cost would shrink if the mat were to be mass-produced.
Learn more at New Scientist
September 30, 2005
Yesterday, we covered the new Tuaca website, but we realized that we don't know much about the drink itself. Sure, the site says it's a "super-premium Italian liqueur with a hint of citrus and vanilla," and after some digging we discovered that it's brandy-based.
We've heard good things about Tuaca, but the truth is in the drinking, so we got our hands on a bottle. This weekend we're going to put it to the real test, starting with a chilled shot and working our way from there.
Please let us know if you've got a favorite Tuaca recipe that we should try, and don't forget to go to Tuaca.com to find more cocktail recipes. While you're there, check out their featured "Tuaca Tenders," where you can read bartender profiles and submit a favorite 'tender of your own.
September 30, 2005
Keep would-be liquor thieves at bay with the Liquor Lock, a combination lock system you attach to the neck of your bottles. If you don't have a liquor cabinet, it can be tough to make sure no one's mooching your hooch, and marking the level on the bottle gets old really fast. Keep the kids (or your roommates) out of your liquor bottles easily...just enter a three-pin combination, then turn the top clockwise until the lock expands and is tight. Re-enter the combination and turn counter-clockwise to release.
You can get the Liquor Lock at Sportys.com for about $15, but if it keeps people from stealing your booze it should pay for itself pretty quickly. We also saw a similar bottle lock featured by the good folks over at ProductDose.
September 30, 2005
Let's face it...there's nothing better than a drink in a chilled glass. If we had a meat locker-sized freezer, we could probably fit all the beer mugs and cocktail glasses we'd like to keep cold, but this isn't a perfect world. Sometimes we have to drink out of a regular old room temperature glass. That could change soon, with the arrival of IceOlate, a new drink cooling system we heard about this week.
Each IceOlate glass has a water-filled core at the center, so you can add ice to your drink without diluting it. We've seen glasses that operate on this principle before, but IceOlate adds a cool new twist. Instead of storing the entire glass in the freezer, the ice is stored in a small, removable plug. That means you can keep a bunch of them in the freezer while using minimal real estate, which you need for your bottles of frozen liquor. They only come in martini glass form right now, but maybe if they take off we'll see more types of glasses in the future.
It remains to be seen how well IceOlate actually chills your drink, but we think it's a pretty innovative idea. Learn more about IceOlate glasses at the Yanko Design website.
September 29, 2005
We learned today that Tuaca Liqueur has released a new website, and the site is visually pretty, with Flash content offering all sorts of colorful stuff and moving pictures. It's got some nice features, including the list of drink recipes that scrolls across the bottom of the home page. Another liquor site isn't usually something we flip our lids over, but we did find something that caught our eye. We think the coolest part is that there is a whole section of the site dedicated to bartenders.
The Tuaca press release about the new site states "Bartenders are the major reason for Tuaca's continuing success in the U.S. and abroad. They deserve to be recognized for their part, and consumers can go on the site in support of their favorite bartender." We think it's a brilliant tribute to the unsung heroes of the liquor industry - after all, they're the ones who give us beer to cry in, offer advice, and get us in a cab when the lights come up.
Plus, you can go to the Tuaca site to find out all kinds of recipes, but who's going to mix it up for you at the end of the day? Your friendly neighborhood booze jockey, that's who. The "Tuaca Tenders" section of the site features bartenders from all over the world, letting them share their favorite way to serve Tuaca. Pretty cool.
While this online "high five" for bartenders is right on, that's not the only way Tuaca is giving them props. The other way they're showing their appreciation is by inviting servers and bartenders to the Body Art Ball, a series of events taking place in 10 cities across the country, from October, 2005 through January, 2006.
Here's how the Tuaca press release describes the event: "...a fusion of two separate disciplines of art into one electrifying performance piece. Produced by Dallas-based Chris and Candy Productions, 15 visual artists transform 15 performers into living, breathing works of art for a runway show that dazzles the audience with a presentation to music and synchronized lights."
Here's how we describe it: Tuaca is sending lucky bartenders and servers to see mostly-naked people covered in body paint. Booze and partial nudity? That ain't bad at all.
One note about the cocktail recipes on the Tuaca site: Getting to them from the home page was fine, but we experienced some difficulties once we arrived on the recipe page. For one thing, the names of the drinks disappear, which makes it tough to know what drink you're clicking on. Plus, clicking on individual drinks from the recipe page doesn't show you the recipe unless you want to print it out, so you might end up heading back to the home page more often than you'd think while you're comparing cocktail recipes. We're not too concerned, though...the site just launched, so bugs are bound to happen. [Editor's Note: It looks like the bug was on our side, because the recipes work on every other computer we've tried, except for the one we did the original review on. That's what we get for writing on our new experimental corn-liquor-fueled computer. What else could you expect? Liquor Snob...where even the computers are drunk.]
For those of you who haven't tried it yet, Tuaca is a brandy-based liqueur infused with citrus and spices. Keep an eye out here at the Liquor Snob site, because we'll be doing a full review, as well as drink recipe suggestions, in the near future. Learn more about the liqueur at the Tuaca Website, and wish you were a bartender while you read about the festivities at the Body Art Ball site. And while you might not be able to throw them a festival, don't forget to support your local bartender too.
As strange as it sounds, it can be tough to find someone willing to be the designated driver. Sure, at the beginning of the night, it's easy vow that you'll sit around and drink soda while your friends get progressively plowed, but when push comes to shove not everyone has the willpower.
"C'mon, I'm fine to drive." You've heard it before, and maybe you've even said it, when the blood alcohol told a different story. Yeah, you feel fine to drive, but are you legal? The last thing you need is to see those blue lights spinning in your rear view. At the end of the night it's important to be safe, and now you can let people prove they're sober (or prove it to yourself) before getting behind the wheel.
We found the Alcohawk keychain breathalyzer at Amazon for just such a situation. Get your own Alcohawk keychain breathalyzerand always have a blood alcohol tester nearby when you're deciding whether a cab is in order.
September 28, 2005
We have a friend who opens his beer bottles with his wedding ring. He claims it does no damage to the ring, and it certainly makes for a cool party trick if you're hurting for an opener. We have our doubts that your typical gold ring should be put under such strain, and we don't feel like sleeping on the couch again, so we've dug up a ring bottle opener designed for the purpose. If nothing else, it'll go with your handy bottle opening belt buckle and sandals.
From the Amazon product description:
Be the life of the party with the bottle opener you wear! No more forcing open bottle tops with lighters or on the side of a table, just slip the ring on your middle finger, hook the ring on the bottle top and lift your wrist...Pssssshhhh. The bottle opens with ease!. Select from six sizes. To measure your ring size, place the thickest part of your middle finger (usually the middle joint) against a ruler, measure it and match against the closest size listed on the drop down menu. The ring works best when fitted snugly on your finger.
Buy your own ring bottle opener
at Amazon, and stay out of trouble with your wife the next time you want to show off the beer-opening strength of your ring finger. It comes in two sizes.
We also found a similar product from ThinkGeek, via Gizmodo.
Here at Liquor Snob, we're suckers for a hard liquor with a mythology behind it. Who are we kidding...we're just suckers for hard liquor. But when our friend Erik told us about the story behind Newfoundland Screech Rum, we were even more intrigued than usual.
It is an island tradition, but this rum doesn't get its mystique from some steamy Caribbean jungle. Newfoundland, for those of you without a globe handy, is a big island off the coast of Canada (the 15th largest island in the world, if that matters to you). So how did this Canadian province get its own rum, a drink usually associated with warmer climates? Therein lies the story.
Continue reading: "Newfoundland Screech Rum: An Island Tradition"
September 27, 2005
We saw the Quaffer online a couple years ago, but we forgot the name and we've been wracking our beer-soaked brains to remember ever since. On more than one occasion we've been known to assign the Liquor Snob interns the task of finding "that cool shot glass that holds the chaser," and bird-dogging them through the Liquor Snob offices when they came up empty. No longer...Quaffer is now burned into our hearts and minds.
The Quaffer shot glass operates on a demonically simple premise that we file in the why-didn't-we-think-of-that category. You put your chaser into the lower, larger chamber where it will enter your mouth last, rinsing away the taste of the alcohol.
You float your liquor, which has a lower density, on top of the chaser. Then you drink them both together. No more shot-grimace-chaser...it all goes in at once so it takes the bite right out of the booze. They also make an extra-large Beer Quaffer designed for beer drinks, like Car Bombs and Sake Bombs.
We have a legendary love for all things Jagermeister, so our favorite recipe from the Quaffer site was the Jager Bomb - Jager on top, Red Bull in the bottom (pictured). We'll be getting our hands on some Quaffers in the near future, and we'll let you know if they work as well as we'd like to think they do.
You can buy the shot glasses, plus find all sorts of Quaffer information and more recipes, at the Quaffer site.
We're big fans of the Beer Advocate Beer Fests...we went to the Extreme Beer Fest last fall and had an extremely good time, and we're looking forward to our next one. On deck is the New England Craft Beer Fest in Boston, which will take place on October 29, 2005.
We checked the Beer Advocate site and came up with the stats for the New England Beer Fest, which will feature "tasty craft brews from Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont." Over 125 beers from more than 30 New England breweries will be on tap, and there will be the usual beer education forums, plus tasty treats on hand if you're worried there's not enough blood in your beer stream.
Looks like the VIP spots are already sold out, but tickets are still available for the afternoon and evening sessions for $22.50 each. The afternoon session runs from 1 PM to 4:30 PM if you want to get your drinking started during the day, and the evening session goes from 6 PM to 9:30 PM if you only get your beer on at night.
Learn more at the Beer Advocate Festival page.
Just in time for Halloween cocktails (and maybe some pre-Halloween drink tasting), we've discoved Blavod, the world's only black vodka...that we know of. If you're like us, you're asking just what's in Blavod that turns it such a distinctive color. We're glad you asked.
According to the Blavod site, the inky color is given to the vodka using a dye called Black Catechu, made from resin in the heartwood of the Acacia Catechu tree found in India and Burma. Black Catechu has been used as a dye for centuries, and gives the black vodka its ebony hue without affecting its odor or palate.
That all sounds good to us, but the thing that really bothers us is that we're just discovering it now. Just think of all the missed Halloween party cocktail opportunities, the truly spooky drinks we could have created, leaves us seeing red. Speaking of black vodka drink recipes, click the image to the right for some sable cocktail concoctions, and go to the Blavod Black Vodka site to find more Halloween drink ideas.
We've always said, if you can't get to the bar, bring the bar to you. Now, the British have one-upped us on the concept by inventing an inflatable pub, which we would consider nature's perfect building. Where else can you drink until you fall down, then bounce back into upright position?
"Airquee, a company already renowned for its high quality air buildings and inflatable play equipment, are the geniuses behind this product. Completely portable and featuring only the finest faux stone siding and tin roof, the Inflatable Pub measures 40 x 19 x 22 feet and can be erected in a mere 10 minutes via its two pumps. It’s big enough to pack in 30 of your closest mates and the sturdy, internal aluminum frame can be used for hanging stereo speakers or tellies for the football and it’ll double as a safety-measure in the event that any of your drunken mates really sucks at darts.
No word that I can find on pricing, but come on, when it comes to getting smashed with the gang, cost is never a concern is it?"
We couldn't find pricing info either, but the prices on most of their inflatable buildings seem to hover around the one to two thousand pound range, so you can double that if you're paying American dollars.
Via Gadgetizer; plus, learn more about the Airquee Inflatable Pub.
September 26, 2005
We've got to say, while we didn't see Dukes of Hazzard when it came out, we're big fans of Jay Chandrasekhar and the Broken Lizard comedy troupe. We're huge fans of Super Troopers, and while we're a bit more lukewarm about their follow-up Club Dread, it definitely had its moments. Pina Coladaburg? Genius.
So, we always pay attention when any Broken Lizard news hits the InterWeb, especially if it has to do with booze, and today we hit pay dirt. IESB.net caught up with Mr. Chandrasekhar, and it seems the Super Troopers alum are getting back together for a new movie about underground beer festivals in Europe. The flick, called Beer Fest, will be about "the secret underground beer games in Munich, much like Fight Club or Death Sport," he says, “like, 5 man international teams having beer games, not to the death but something close.” Beer club? We're in.
Even more importantly, there's news on the Super Troopers front as well. See below for more info from IESB.net:
He says the Broken Lizard gang is thinking about making Super Troopers ’76, based in 1976 where they play their fathers. He says they would be unable to continue from the end of the original because they have all become local cops and they “thought it would be cockamamie to go back to being Troopers.”
If Super Trooper ’76 does happen it would most likely be after Beer Fest. The much rumored Greek film is not ready to be shot due to the weather. “Its going to be winter so we may do it when the weather gets better.”
Don't just wait around for the sequel, though - buy your own copy of Super Troopers
or Club Dread
at Amazon.com, or buy them bundled
We always like to know more about what we're drinking, and there's a whole spate of new books on scotch coming out lately. If you'd like to know more about your next dram, we suggest Scotch Whisky: A Liquid Historyby Charles MacLean. The book doesn't simply focus on one or two varieties of scotch, or tell you about distilleries - it goes fully in-depth on the origins of the whisky, complete with going medieval on your ass.
According to an LA Times write up of the book:
"Charles MacLean's "Scotch Whisky: A Liquid History" (Cassell Illustrated, $24.95) falls in the serious, detailed category, complete with eight dense pages of footnotes, but on a large scale. It covers the vast world of Scotch, including its poorly documented medieval origins, the single malt revival and the recent trend of distilleries to open to the public, in the manner of Napa wineries. Fortunately, it's not only knowledgeable — drenched in knowledge, almost — but very readable.
It's primarily a history, but it finds room in its majestic narrative for a good amount of information about the technical side of Scotch. Not enough for you to make your own whisky, but certainly enough to understand the sorts of thing that Scotch geeks are likely to go on about, such as floor maltings (rooms where barley is raked over floors heated by peat fires to stop its sprouting)."
You can pick up your own paperback copy of Scotch Whisky: A Liquid History
at Amazon.com for far less than the $24.95 cover price, and browse other scotch books by Charles MacLean
Read more about the book at LATimes.com.
September 25, 2005
We're seeing articles all over the InterWeb saying beer cocktails are the next big thing. Actually, we've got to say we're a bit worried about the sissification of booze nationwide, what with those lemonadey malt beverages and flavored vodkas and whatnot. Whatever happened to paying for your buzz with a grimace and a shudder? We've been mixing beer and liquor together for years...it's called a boilermaker.
Anyway, we're off on a tangent again. Apparently "beertails" have made a big splash this summer, and continue to be hot. We found the beertail recipes below at That's the Spirit. If nothing else, most of them look like good hangover remedies.
The Classic Shandy:
Background: Both the American Heritage Dictionary and UK legislation have defined the "shandy", short for "shandygaff," as a mixture of beer and ginger beer, ginger ale or lemonade. This drink gives all the pleasures of beer with the refreshment of lemonade - a tangy, tasty drink.
This old English tradition dates back to the 17th century. Although the origin is not clearly known, some believe that is was named after a local English pub where the beer was not of the best quality and was "flavored" with a sweet lemon mixture.
Fill a pilsner or beer mug with lager and top with ginger ale, ginger beer or lemonade. If you are a bit more adventurous, try a Shandy with limeade. Don't be afraid to add ice to this drink. You can't do that with your beer.
More Beertail Recipes:
Lager and lime: Add a dash of lime juice or lime cordial to a light lager.
Snakebite: Mix your favorite beer (usually a heavier beer, like stout [in the LS offices we use Guinness]) half and half with cider.
Black Velvet: Mix stout and champagne, half and half.
Beer Bloody Mary: Mix beer and tomato juice, half and half. Add a dash of Tabasco and a dash of Worcestershire.
Red Eye: Add a shot of tomato juice to any ale or lager (this cocktail is also known as Tomato Beer or a Red Rooster). If you add a splash of Tabasco, the drink becomes a Ruddy Mary.
Liverpool kiss: Mix a dark beer with Cassis.
BeeSting: Dark beer and orange juice.
Skip and go naked: Combine beer, lemon juice and gin, with a dash of grenadine.
Broadway: Popular in Japan, mixing beer and cola is known as a Broadway
Caribbean Night: Beer and an ounce of coffee liqueur.
South Wind: Beer with a shot of melon liqueur.
Autumn has just begun; the leaves are starting to change here in the Northeast, and there's a tang of fall in the air. It can only mean one thing...Oktoberfest. If you're looking for festivities in your area, we've found a roundup of Oktoberfest festivals all over the United States.
So get out your dirndls and your lederhosen, hitch up your liver, and get out there and drink some beer! Find an Oktoberfest near you.
When the Enquirer came out with their story about George Bush drinking again
, the Liquor Snob interns begged us to cover it. We told them we loved their enthusiasm, then informed them we'd rather drink a Flirtini
than cover anything from that rag, and sent them out to clean up bottles after last night's research.
Then, we saw something that piqued our interest - a press release from a site called BetCRIS.com, placing odds on whether the story was true. Booze, the president, tabloids and gambling? Now THAT'S a story.
If you're a betting person, the press release goes on to list the actual odds placed on different aspects of the Bush drinking story, as well as some other interesting ones:
Bush exposed for drinking alcohol during his presidency is featured with odds of 5 to 1. Compare that with 15 to 1 odds that Bush actually admits to drinking alcohol.
Bush checking into a rehab program is listed with 40 to 1 odds. Bush becoming a preacher is listed with 2 to 1 odds. Bush converting to Judaism is posted with 300 to 1 odds. Bush becoming a Muslim is posted with 500 to 1 odds.
"Anything Bush-related is going to draw hordes of gamblers. Interesting enough one of the few odds BetCRIS.com has chosen not to post is whether George W. gets impeached." stated Payton O'Brien, Web Manager for Gambling911.
Bush becomes a spokesman for Viagra/Cialis is listed with 35 to 1 odds, incidentally.
In the end though, BetCRIS.com has plenty of faith in the president. They list "None of the Above" as an overwhelming 1 to 500 favorite, meaning a gambler must bet $500 to win a dollar.
We'll be betting the Liquor Snob interns' salaries for the week on Bush becoming a Muslim, to teach them a lesson about journalism.
; picture borrowed from TonyPierce.com
September 24, 2005
We discovered the Gray Kangaroo Liquor Filter last week
, and we knew we had to get our hands on one as soon as possible. After a full week of nearly tackling the mail man every time he approached the Liquor Snob offices, it finally arrived in the mail. We knew we had to put it through its paces. The site claims that the liquor filter will "take the stink out of your drink," so we knew we had to find the stinkiest, most foul booze around for the test.
And find it we did. If you're like us, when you think of quality vodka, you think of...Massachusetts. That's right. MH Gordon's, "distilled" and bottled in sunny downtown Somerville. Just looking at the bottle, complete with the $6 price tag, filled us with dread. It was perfect...if the Gray Kangaroo could take the stink out of this drink, we would be converted forever. We set up our testing apparatus, and the first thing we realized was that in order for the filter to work, you have to have a second, empty bottle. Sadly, our recycling had just been picked up.
We were able to cobble something together to aid in the filtering process, and the testing began. One note; when you test your Gray Kangaroo, don't make the same mistake we did. Make sure when you begin to filter that the Gray Kangaroo is right-side up, because there are two little holes in the upper half of the filter to make sure the booze can get into the filter quickly. If your filter is upside down, those holes will let the liquor miss the bottle. After we cleaned up the counter, we were able to get on with our vodka tasting
Round One: Unfiltered
: Clear, looks like water. But like some shark-infested sea, we knew it held hidden peril.
: Edging close to the shot glass for a whiff, we're pretty sure we saw our nose hairs go up in smoke. After we regained our sense of smell, the first thing that came to mind was "paint thinner."
: It burns! Oh, dear lord, it BURNS. We nearly called an old priest and a young priest for an exorcism. We dumped the rest of the glass through the filter.
Round Two: One Filtration
: Still looks clear and innocent, but we've been fooled before.
: Far less pungent...now, instead of paint thinner it smells like watered-down rubbing alcohol.
We closed our eyes and sipped and...instead of demonic convulsions we only shuddered a bit. Looks like the Gray Kangaroo is working, but we reserve judgment. Once again, the rest of the glass goes through the filter.
Round Three: Two Filtrations
: No change.
: Smells like...vodka? Could it be?
: Still tentative, we take a swig. It's...vodka. It tastes like some of the good, solid mid-range vodkas we've had in the past. Still not convinced of the miracle, we take another drink. By Jeebus, it's true! This time we're not filtering anymore, and we sip the rest of the shot.
We'll be putting the liquor filter through some more testing, but the fine folks at Gray Kangaroo have us convinced. Their product really works. It was able to take the most evil swill of a vodka we could find, and make it drinkable. Keep an eye out here at Liquor Snob as we test it out more, including Pepsi challenges comparing filtered vodka to the high-end stuff. And if you want to pick up a Gray Kangaroo of your own, head on over to the Gray Kangaroo site
and tell 'em the Liquor Snob sent you.
Hey-O! It's come to our attention that everyone's favorite late night sidekick has started his own brand of vodka called, appropriately enough, Ed McMahon Perfect Vodka
. We're glad he can find time, in between giving away million-dollar checks for Publisher's Clearinghouse and shilling for those Easy Mobility wheelchairs, and we hope the stuff is as good as he claims it is..
From the McMahon Vodka
Meet the vodka that is redefining the perfect cocktail. We call it McMahon Perfect - the premium Russian imported spirit that satisfies the discerning tastes of true vodka connoisseurs with its pure clarity, smoothness and taste.
Preserving the original techniques and time-honored practices of the Russians, McMahon Perfect is distilled using a special four-time filtration process that allows for strict quality control. Combining this with only the highest quality raw materials and over 200 years of experience, results in a vodka that truly distinguishes itself from all others.
Upon opening the bottle, your senses are drawn to its fresh, invigorating aroma. Pouring a cocktail unwraps the essence of its depth and character. And finally with a sip, you'll marvel at the smooth, crisp finish.
We thought tequila was only good for manufacturing blackouts and soul-crushing regrets, but apparently the drink may have more to it.
A group of Mexican scientists - suspiciously enough they're from the country's biggest tequila producing region - say juice from the blue agave plant, from which tequila is distilled, may help people lose weight and lower their cholesterol. OK, so maybe the valuable properties are lost when it's distilled...
Sadly for the world's growing band of tequila lovers, agave's possible health benefits are lost when the plant is distilled into alcohol.
Spiky agave plants has been cultivated on Mexico's arid central highlands for thousands of years and are woven into the country's history and mythology. But more than anything the plant is known for what Spanish invaders called "tequila wine."
Now however, researchers from the University of Guadalajara, close to the town of Tequila, the cradle of Mexico's famous alcoholic export, say the plant's powers go beyond inducing euphoric highs followed by crushing hangovers.
It's too bad blue agave loses its heath benefits when it's distilled, but we say it never hurts to try, right? Margaritas for everyone!
Sometimes it can be overwhelming to have a Google News alert set up for every kind of booze we can think of. Yeah, we get all sorts of liquor-related updates, but we also get constant emails about things we couldn't care less about, like what the Gin Blossoms are up to and how many umbrella drinks were consumed last night on Taradise.
Sometimes, however, we get a nugget that we have to print. Apparently Anthony Hopkins used to drink so much tequila he ended up envisioning himself in some Charleton Heston movie. One time we drank so much gin we thought we could fight like Rocky. He's since given up the sauce, but all we can say is "Well played, Mr. Hopkins. Well played."
Sir Anthony Hopkins says he became badly addicted to alcohol, to the point of suffering severe hallucinations.
The Oscar winner has been clean and sober 30-years after battling alcoholism. During his darker period, in the early 1970s, Hopkins drink of choice was strong Mexican tequila, which he claims induced strange side-effects.
Hopkins says, "I was really sort of on a prolonged acid trip. I saw things and had peculiar quasi-religious experiences. I thought I was John The Baptist, and I would talk to the sea at Malibu and the sea would talk back to me. It was weird."
From All Headline News.
We're not usually ones for the fluffy human interest piece here at Liquor Snob, but there are some topics we'll cover no matter what. One of those topics is Jagermeister. We first discovered Jager in college, and like most of our college friends, when we run into it we usually end up far too drunk, losing our judgment and ending up on a roof wondering how to get down.
One person Jager hasn't caused trouble for is Sidney Frank, the owner of Sidney Frank Importing. In the first half of 2005, Mr. Frank sold 2 million cases of the herbal liqueur. He is the man who invented the Jagerettes, the squads of young ladies who go from bar-to-bar and event-to-event, promoting Jager. His company also went on to create Gray Goose vodka back in the late '90s, and he recently sold the company to Bacarding for "a lot more than $2 billion."
Mr. Frank's life is a regular Cinderella story, going from his early days on a farm in C,T to his current status as multi-billionaire liquor god, complete with a "fleet of cars, chefs, and golf instructors." It does our hearts good to see that liquor has been so good to Mr. Frank, and we raise our glasses to a man who's 85 years old and still going strong.
We'll leave you with some of Sidney Frank's best answers from the Q&A, so you can apply them to your everyday life:
On Succeeding in Business:
"I remember one time there was going to be a glass strike. So we rented every warehouse in the country and filled them with glass, and sure enough a couple of months later, the glass strike came on, and we had glass and no other distributor did. You have to be forward-thinking."
On keeping employees happy:
"I wanted to make sure that nobody in the company would quit. So we gave bonuses--if they were with us 10 years, we gave them a two-year bonus. It changed a lot of people's minds. Not one employee left."
Sounds like Mr. Frank knows how to run a business. Of course, if he hired us he'd just have to pay our bonus in bottles of Jager...though he'd have to keep the stairs to the roof locked at all times. Learn more about our favorite liqueur at Jager.com, and read the full Sidney Frank Q&A at Inc.com.
September 23, 2005
September 22, 2005
Our idols over at Modern Drunkard Magazine are at it again, and this time they've moved away from their monthly format into something more permanent. That's right, Frank Kelly Rich, the genius behind Modern Drunkard Magazine, has written a book that will touch you...or at least do shots with your inner wino.
Book Description of The Modern Drunkard from Amazon.com:
"Attempting to deconstruct America's joyless obsession with sobriety, The Modern Drunkard offers today's befuddled drinkers a comprehensive and instructive manual on how to drink-and how to do it well. Through articles, anecdotes, cartoons, and illustrations, Frank Kelly Rich campaigns to revive the lost art of tippling and taps a deep vein of boozy lore and legend through the ages, uncovering etiquette and expertise from some of history's greatest guzzlers."
Until recently our only exposure to the drunkard was through Modern Drunkard online, but we've just gotten our hands on the our first hard copy and it lives up to our every expectation. Plus, the title on the front cover got some funny glances while we read it on the bus, and there was more than enough booze and cheesecake in its pages to last a half-hour ride. Drunkards of the world unite, or as they say on the Drunkard site, "Say it Loud, Say it Plowed!"
We expect the same magic from the book when it's released on October 25. The book retails for $14.00, but you can get it at Amazon for closer to $11. Pre-order your copy of the The Modern Drunkardat Amazon.com.
September 21, 2005
We were never very interested in school, but we've finally figured out the reason why - boring classes, girls wouldn't talk to us and there was no scotch there. Whisky School, on the other, seems much more our speed. Caring teachers, applied chemistry, snazzy green coats, the works, all in a real, working distillery.
Plus, you get to learn about scotch. And smell scotch. And drink scotch. And bring home a bottle of the scotch you made. We don't see a down side. Well, except for the fact that we'd have to find our way to Scotland somehow, but we'd manage.
Read more from the Whisky School website below.
Continue reading: "Three Words: Scotch Whisky School"
Here at Liquor Snob, we dream of a world where every single item on our body can be used to open a beer. We've succeeded with lighters, wedding rings and even belt buckle bottle openers, but our feet have always been tragically underutilized. We don't know if you've ever tried to open a beer with your typical flip-flop, but it isn't pretty. That's a problem no more, because the fine folks at Reef have developed sandals with a bottle opener built right in, so you can pop the top on your beer or soda and barely break stride.
They're a bit spendy, with a price point around $40, but just ask yourself...is it worth it so you can be the first guy on your block to kick off a shoe and open a lady's beer? If so, buy your Reef Fanning sandalsand make sure to brush the dirt off the sole before you pop the top.
Learn more at the Reef site.
We've had our eye on these bottle opener belt buckles from Body Candy for a while. At first we were nervous...we don't usually go for clothes that have slogans like "Got Beer?" and "Rock Star" emblazoned across them. You might feel the same way, but just like us, you'd be missing the big picture - you can amaze your friends with your foresight and open a bottle anytime, anywhere.
We love our opener belt. Plus, it's worth the price of admission to see the nervous look on your friends' faces as you offer to open their beer and move it toward your crotch. Believe us, the look of relief on their faces is priceless when you stop at the belt buckle, pop the top and hand it back.
We like our classic style belt buckle (pictured), but you can browse the full line and buy a belt buckle bottle opener in your own style.
What would happen if you turned a beer keg into a robot? In a perfect world, it would also have legs to follow you around - a little R2D2 of malty beverage goodness. The people over at Kegbot have done the next best thing...they've installed a robot brain in their kegerator that allows it to perform a whole host of tasks.
We're not kidding - this thing has multi-user access control with iButton, drink and user tracking, thermostat software, and our personal favorite - an AIM chatterbot interface. According to the the Kegbot site, the chatterbot "responds to questions such as 'what is the beer temperature?', 'who had a drink last?', and can be trained to do more." Plus, " in the future, it is expected that an extension will be added to this bot to allow it to pester known drinkers. 'mike, you had a drink 45 minutes ago, and i'm currently ice cold. want another?'" It doesn't get any better than that.
Continue reading: "Kegbot: The Future is Now"
September 20, 2005
Ever wished you had access to perfectly poured draft beer in the comfort of your own home? Hoping and dreaming for all that without the usual $500-$600 expense of your typical kegerator? We have the same dream, and we finally found it.
What is this miracle product, you ask? It's called PerfectDraft, and it's heaven sent...to Europe. That's right, the PerfectDraft, which is made by Philips, is currently only available in Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands or Germany. Definitely one to think about starting a letter-writing campaign for, or at least putting on your Christmas wish list. Learn more about it at PerfectDraft (hint: if you want to read it in English, go to the Belgian site).
Continue reading: "Draft Beer at Home with PerfectDraft...Almost"
Due to unavoidable circumstances, we missed International Talk Like a Pirate Day. We know...we should be keel hauled. Not only did we miss our chance to talk like a pirate, we lost out on a great chance to drink rum. We've found two recipes to get you by until next September 19, one for pirates and one for those whose sensibilities are a little bit softer.
Grog: Rum For Pirates:
Rum and water
Mix together, drink, pillage.
Recipe Found in:
Davy Jones' Locker
Kiwi Fruit Daiquiri: Rum ForNon-Pirates:
1 kiwifruit, pared and sliced
3 tsp. sugar
1 tbsp. lime juice
2 oz Rum
1 drop green food coloring (opt)
8 ice cubes, crushed
2 slices Kiwifruit
Blend all ingredients except kiwifruit slices in a blender until smooth. Serve in stemmed glasses. Garnish edge of each glass with kiwifruit slice. Makes 2 servings.
Recipe Found at:
The Recipe Place
September 19, 2005
We love it when people to technology to practical use, and we can't think of anything more practical than the iPod bartender. Take your iPod, which you always have with you, and add 200+ drink recipes in 16 categories, and you've got a real winner for a night on the town or at home playing bartender. The iPod Bartender even lets you make an individual cocktail recipe playlist, called a BoozeMix, to fit different situations or outings.
Download the full iPod bartender program, or you can just stir up the BoozeMix that's right for you, or preview cocktail recipes, at the iPod bartender site. Don't have your iPod yet? Buy one at Amazon so you don't miss out on high-tech drinks of your own.
Here's what the site has to say about the iPod bartender:
"The iPod bartender and the iPod bartender shuffle are podSites, and allow any 3rd or 4th generation iPod owners to take a list of drinks with them, wherever they go. The iPod bartender contains all the drink recipes available. The iPod bartender shuffle lets you have a little fun, and specify a random BoozeMix™ to fit your night, and friends."
We found the iPod bartender thanks to productdose.com.
If you ask us, it's never a bad thing when booze helps push the boundaries of art. Don't believe us? Just look at Jackson Pollock, Ernest Hemingway and now, Bong Vodka. Bong Vodka is the latest entry in the art-meets-booze world, a designer vodka from Holland that brings new meaning to the term "dutch treat."
Recently approved for sale in the US, the controversial liquor has won government approval and will be landing in Florida in November. Rumors are already flying about a blowout planned in Miami's South Beach to celebrate the arrival of the vodka in December, and there's also talk of a series of events that will include national acts as well as up-and-coming artists and musicians. You can expect to see the vodka get a wider release in selected states in January 2006.
We checked out their website, bongvodka.com which doesn't seem to be quite finished yet, but even without a site offering more information they stand out because of the bottling. It doesn't look like your typical hard liquor container, but it is evocative...let's just say, even if they don't capture their modern hipster market, every stoner in the land is going to want to get their hands on a bottle.
Plus, they have a great profile on MySpace that shows they're anything but a bunch of stuffed shirts. Check out the blurb:
"Hi, I'm a designer vodka envisioned by a group of contemporary artists to fuse together a new wave of progressive fashion and designer attitude with an age-old Dutch product of exceptional quality. My artisanal formula has been handed down through five generations of master distillers and produced through a 150-year manual process, rich with traditional standards and superior craftsmanship. I'm here to unite those various lifestyles together in spirit, by way of expressionism and appreciation for ultramodern music, art, and culture. Won't you join me?"
Plus, in the "Who I'd Like to Meet" section, they add, "I'm a silky smooth sophisticated artisan from Holland, seeking ultramodern hipsters with great taste... for cultural exchange." We're pretty sure we're not ultramodern hipsters here at Liquor Snob, but that makes us want to meet a bottle in the darkened corner of our favorite bar.
Check out the full Bong Vodka MySpace profile to become friends online, and don't forget to keep your eye peeled in your local liquor store so you can meet in person and do a little vodka tasting of your own.
September 17, 2005
Don't ask us why, but there are some days when you need to have six beers on you, but you can't carry them in a cooler or bag. Maybe you're going for a jog, maybe you're sneaking them into a movie theater, but whatever your reason, we've done the research to find out your options.
Not only do the Beer Belt and the Hops Holster offer amazing portability and comfort, you can bet you'll be on the cutting edge of fashion. Or maybe not. Whether it's for you or for a beer drinking friend, we've compared the two so you'll know which one to buy. All in all, we think the Hops Holster is the better deal, but we leave the final decision up to you.
Slogan: "Never Be Thirsty Again"
Stats: "Hold a six-pack without your hands! Our fully adjustable beer belt allows for hands free convenience while keeping your precious beer at no further than an arm’s length. Accommodates both cans and bottles."
Our Thoughts: While their model does add some sex appeal, the beer belt loses some points because its "pockets" are open on the sides, so we can't see it keeping the beer very cold. You'd better hope it's snowing outside if you want cold beer, or plan to drink up pretty quickly.
Available at: Baron Bob Gifts
Slogan: "Forget Double Fisting - Roll With Six Cans at a Time"
Stats: "Adjustable waist: 28" to 48" Height of each beer pocket = 4" plus 3/4" lower for the strap that holds can at bottom. So 4 and 3'4" inches is height of each pocket. Diameter of each individual beer pocket is 3" Hidden pocket: 5" wide x 3 and 1/2" long vertically."
Our Thoughts: The Hops Holster features neoprene pockets, the same material used in wet suits and the like, and each pocket functions as a mini-cooler. The Hops Holster site also features keg coolers and shoulder bags, if wearing beer in a belt doesn't quite do it for you.
Available at: HopsHolster.com, or call 888-886-HOPS.
For most people in the US, vodka is not much more than a mixer, a building block for the Bloody Mary, the Screwdriver, the Cosmopolitan. But many Americans are starting to realize what Europeans have known for a long time - if you're drinking the right kind of vodka, it can be an amazing experience when you sip it straight. When you're ready to take your vodka up a notch, buy a vodka setto throw a tasting party and sip high-end vodka with your friends.
We're not suggesting you do this with that rubbing alcohol, plastic bottle, dorm room stuff, either. If you want to keep your taste buds, you'll choose your vodka from a higher shelf, or at least run it through a personal liquor filter. If you're not sure about which vodka to go with, read the label. Now, we know every bottle will say it's of the highest quality and steeped in tradition or whatever, but there are some brands out there you wouldn't want to strip paint with. Your bottle will definitely be made out of glass, and your vodka will most likely be made from only one ingredient, like potato, wheat, rye or even soy. Still concerned about getting the right one? Learn more about choosing the right vodka at Cocktail Times.
Vodka Tasting Steps from Cocktail Times:
- Select a variety of 3 or 4 high quality vodkas. Chill them in the freezer to have them more viscous and possess cleaner tastes.
- Once the vodkas are chilled, pour a shot glass size serving, about 1 - 2 oz. each.
- Lift the first shot glass and hold about an inch from your nose and gently take in the aroma. This is called "the nose" and contains many of a vodka's defining characteristics, such as fruit, grain or spice. The aroma of a high quality vodka will be soft and have various subtleties.
- Pour the shot into your mouth, and swirl it around to feel the texture. Quality vodka will be smooth and should not burn.
- Swallow it to completely take in the flavor experience. A high-quality vodka will possess certain characteristics that are distinct to its distillery such as hints of flavors and materials used in the distillation and filtering process.
Take your time and get to know each vodka during this process. Each sample should take anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes to take in the full aroma, texture and flavor profile. You can learn more about drinking vodka straight up
at Cocktail Times.
September 16, 2005
Here at Liquor Snob, we hate mixing drinks. That's probably why we instituted our "No More Than Three Ingredients" rule for the cocktails we swill...errr, sip. We've found a contraption that will take a lot of the irritation out of bartending.
The Bartender's Rotating Drink Dispenser doles out liquor in standard 1.5 ounce shots, making shot glasses and measuring cups obsolete. On top of that, you can keep up to four different bottles in there at once, handy if you're making different types of cocktails or, say, Long Island Iced Tea. The Amazon site has this to say about the contraption:
Create the perfect Manhattan for a guest without measuring cups or shot glasses. All you need is this handy drink dispenser from Global Décor. It holds four, 1-liter bottles of alcohol or mixers, and rotates to allow home bar tenders to mix party-pleasing beverages without juggling bottles. The tool is made of sturdy aluminum with a broad base for enhanced support. Spring-loaded rods keep bottles and their contents secure while in the dispenser. The dispenser pours precise, measured, 1-1/2-ounce liquid shots for martinis, daiquiris, and more.
When we checked, these bad boys were on sale, marked down from $89.99 to $39.99. Sounds like a bargain to us - buy your own rotating drink dispenserat Amazon.com.
We were going to call this one "Scotch for Dummies," but we didn't want to insult our readers since so many people are intimidated by the beverage. If you're one of those people, we know your pain - the first few times we tried the stuff we felt like we were sucking on a piece of peat moss soaked in lighter fluid. For us it was an acqured taste, but there are a lot of fierce Scotch drinkers out there who are as dedicated and choosy about their whisky as your typical wine snob is about the grape.
Scotch snob wannabes no longer have to go it alone. We found out that Kevin Erskine is attempting to change the image of the fire water, and make it more accessible for folks who want to expand the boundaries of their alcoholic enjoyment. Mr. Erskine's book, The Instant Expert's Guide to Single Malt Scotch, is aimed at the novice drinker, and as he says on his site, "It could be the perfect gift for someone in your life who has not yet discovered the joys of the finest adult beverage in the world! (And who knows, even the savvy Scotch drinker may learn something.)" We found the book at Amazon for less than ten bucks, which we think is a steal for the wealth of information it includes.
Buy your copy of The Instant Expert's Guide to Single Malt Scotchat Amazon.
Continue reading: "Scotch Whisky for...the Inexperienced"
September 15, 2005
What more can we say about the Gray Kangaroo personal liquor filter that hasn't already been said? This critter has already been mentioned in magazines like Maxim and Stuff and gone on the Warped Tour. Not only that, they have an awesome mascot, and judging by the lovely lady caressing the Gray Kangaroo on the website, they know how to appeal to their target market. Based on all that, if the darned thing works we're ready to drink ourselves into a gray, furry stupor.
So what does it do to your liquor? It basically does the same thing a Brita or Pur would do for your drinking water, trickling it through a charcoal filter to remove impurities. And what's so bad about those impurities, you might ask? They, along with dehydration and bad judgment, are the things that leave you green around the gills after a night on the town. The basic premise is that you can have a high-end experience for rotgut prices. Buy a bottle from the lowest shelf (the site says it works best with vodka, but will work its magic on any pre-packaged hard liquor), run it through the filter, and voila. Fewer impurities means fewer hang overs, assuming you drink responsibly.
But does it work? The site says "Try it: you will be amazed and never go back to high priced booze. Our customers aren't customers they're fans! Even if you believe in this product you have no idea how cool it is untill you try it!"
We're convinced. We'll be getting in touch with the fine folks over at Gray Kangaroo in the next few days to get our hands on a review model and put it through its paces. If you can't wait to hear what we think, head on over to the Gray Kangaroo site and buy a personal liquor filter of your own. You can get your hands on a single Gray Kangaroo for $29.95, or buy one with a spare filter for $40.95. Plus, they'll send you Emergen-C as a free gift, and a couple copies of everyone's favorite Modern Drunkard Magazine.
Don't forget to check out the "Featured Video" on the home page, which gives you advice on what to do if you've "Got the chicks back to the house but can't seal the deal." Priceless. Plus, learn more about Modern Drunkard in the Liquor Snob archives.
OK, so maybe that needs a little bit of explanation...It was announced this week that Brown-Forman, the company that owns Jack Daniels, will partner with billionaire Richard Branson's Virgin brand to create a new line of wines. Virgin, which is already known for its young and hip attitude in the cell phone, music and airline industries, will use its cool image to try to lure younger drinkers into wine country.
The new line, called "Virgin Vines," will feature screw tops for the cork-ophobic, and slogans like "Unscrew it, let's do it." Not only will the wines move away from the typical image of uptight sippers spitting perfectly good wine into buckets, the wine will also have an attractive price. Full 750 ml bottles will most likely range from $8-$10, and four-packs of smaller 187 ml bottles will also cost about $9. With such low prices and the ability to sell the smaller bottles at concerts and stadiums, Virgin hopes to take the youth market by storm.
Read more about Virgin Vines at courier-journal.com.
We hate to break it to you, but even though the temperatures may still be warm outside, summer is over. While it may be time to pack up your barbecue grill and put away your lawn chairs, you can still enjoy fresh, summery drinks to remind you of the hazy days of summer. We've found a book of summer cocktail recipes you can enjoy any time you want to remind yourself of sitting poolside watching the sun go down.
Buy Summer Cocktailsat Amazon, and find great recipes for Sangria, Maragritas, Long Island Iced Tea and more.
Plus, we've found other summer drink recipes with exotic names like Magliorito and Paloma, at Forbes.com (of all places).
September 14, 2005
"Even kids cannot stand life unless they have a drink." We're not kidding...that's the slogan for kidsbeer, a new non-alcoholic brew being released in Japan, targeted at the younger set. It's basically just soda, but its color and packaging are designed to let kids feel like little boozers.
"The beverage, one of whose ingredients is the Latin American plant guarana, sells for around 380 yen per 330-milliliter bottle. The bottles themselves are colored brown to make the drink look even more like its more potent counterpart, the company said."
We wonder how many the tots will have to drink before they exhibit other booze-related traits. We can see it now: "Oh, man I just tried to call my mommy on my candy cell phone, then I threw up behind the monkey bars." It might seem kind of shady, but If nothing else, at least Japan is getting their kids ready for college.
Read more about kidsbeer at The Japan Times.
September 13, 2005
If there's anything we like more than drinking beer, it's drinking beer while eating something cooked in beer. While the alcohol in the food will have cooked off, you still get the satisfaction of knowing you're ingesting booze in two forms as you wash it down with a sip.
We've had a copy of Cooking and Eating With Beer for the last few years and we've loved every recipe in there. There's also information about pairing foods with beers, and other great info, plus people are always impressed with the food. The book is out of print, but you can still find it, along with other books about cooking with beer at Amazon.
Plus, check out tons other great information for the beer chef at beercook.com, including a whole bunch of recipes in the beercook.com database.
Last week, we offered you our humble opinion on absinthe, the fabled green fairy that is said to have caused so much trouble back in the 19th century. We've found another blog article on the subject, one that offers a different opinion of the drink than its typical "You've Gotta Try It!" image.
The article states that most of the drink's notoriety comes from its counterculture vibe, and that interest would plummet if it were to become legal. It also says that there is no evidence that any absinthe, today or from the past, that can give the sort of hallucinations and mind-bending experiences that have been attributed to it.
"King of Spirits Absinth boasts '100mg of psychoactive thujone,' the sort of claim that is mocked on La Fee Verte, which dismisses the 'glorious descriptions of absinthe highs in 19th century literature' as 'so much flowery hot air.' Although 'thujone is assumed by modern-day druggies to lend some sort of buzz,' says the site, 'it does not.' Or maybe it does. 'Some people claim to experience secondary effects from absinthe,' La Fee Verte concedes, including 'a markedly clear-headed drunkenness.'"
I have to say I felt some cool waves of badassery as I drank my greenish-tinged cup, but that most likely came because I knew the bottle was "smuggled" into the country via the Internet. Plus, the thujone (wormwood's psychedelic ingredient) didn't alter my consciousness, and the binge itself didn't take me anywhere more exotic than Hangover Town.
If you're still undeterred to dance with the green fairy, you can try making your own to avoid the pitfalls of having it imported. You can buy an absinthe kit at Amazon.com and make your own at home! Of course, Liquor Snob is not responsible for any bad behavior, vomiting, marriage proposals, or anything else associated with home-brewed absinthe. (UPDATE: Nor do we take responsibility for the fact that the end result will most assuredly be what one of our readers calls "sickly herb flavored vodka.")
Read the full article, The Search for Real Absinthe, at reason.com.
September 11, 2005
Miller Brewing will be shifting the perspective of its TV ads, moving away from its typical male-centric ads to one featuring someone from the fairer sex. In an industry inundated with sex-sells advertising this might not sound shocking, but you might be surprised by who that woman is.
"Beginning next week, the "High Life Man" campaign will give way to spots featuring a female figuratively and literally out of this world: the "Girl in the Moon" character who has symbolized High Life on packages, signs and ads since 1907, four years after the brand was introduced.
The moon maiden, believed to have been inspired by a Miller family daughter, granddaughter or goddaughter, is to be brought to life to narrate commercials that are 30, 60 and 90 seconds long, to be followed by online and retail ads. The spots, by the longtime High Life agency, Wieden & Kennedy, take a highly unusual tack for mainstream beer advertising, typically aimed at, if not the lowest common denominator, then perhaps the very next one up."
Read more at nytimes.com.
The campaign will start Thursday during the season premiere of "Survivor," and the long version of the ads will be viewable at millerlightlife.com.
September 10, 2005
Most days, if you told us you wanted to make us a drink containing rum and champagne, we'd call you crazy. Well, maybe not crazy. Who are we kidding? We'd tell you to mix it strong. Anyway, we found a great-looking recipe that looks like a Mojito on steroids, and makes us wish we were sitting on a wind-swept veranda, smoking contraband cigars. We haven't tried it yet, but we plan to ASAP...if you give it a shot let us know.
The Old Cuban
1½ ounces rum
1 ounce simple syrup
¾ ounces fresh lime juice
2 dashes bitters
2 ounces Champagne
7 sprigs fresh mint
Measure lime juice, simple syrup, and six sprigs of mint into a mixing glass, and muddle. Add rum and bitters, ice, and shake well. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass, and top with Champagne. Garnish with mint sprig.
The article mentions that a good way to enhance the mint flavor is to "spank" the mint, which means you slap it between your hands before adding it to the drink. Sounds like a great idea, especially if your mint's been a bit naughty.
Browse mojito productsand more at Amazon, including recipe books, muddlers, and glasses.
Read the full article, In Mint Condition, plus learn about spanking your mint, at nytimes.com.
We're not usually fans of drink recipes with too many ingredients here at Liquor Snob, but loyal reader Marcus submitted a recipe that looked interesting enough to try. Not only does it have a great name - Dumpster Juice - but Marcus claimed it was full of anti-oxidants, and the ingredients promised a brownish-green hue that would not be for the faint of heart, no matter how frilly it tasted. We were sold, so we mixed up a batch.
1 oz vodka
1 oz 151 rum
1 oz orange juice
1/2 oz each Midori and Chambord
We happened to have most of the ingredients lying around (we had to replace the Midori with Blue Curacao, and we added a bit more OJ to counteract the 151), so we gave it a try. Not only were we pleasantly surprised by the taste and color, we were able to convince two parental-unit types to try it, and they loved it as well. Two out of two parents agree, Dumpster Juice is great!
Have a great drink recipe you'd like us to feature? Please let us know the name, ingredients, instructions and any interesting drink history, and we'll do our best to get it featured on the site.
It's been a long time coming, but Jim Beam has finally jumped on the bandwagon for new-fangled technology to get their message out to prospective customers - it's called "television." That's right, after 210 years in the distilling business, the company will start running ads on cable TV stations including CMT, Comedy Central, Discovery Channel, FX, Fox Sports Network, OLN and Spike TV.
"... the new commercial is a television version of the print campaign for Jim Beam that BBDO Chicago introduced last year, carrying the theme "The stuff inside matters most." And Jim Beam Brands is paying to run the new spots, from a budget estimated at $8 million to $12 million.
Indeed, by next year television "will be the lead medium" for the brand, said Keith Neumann, marketing director for Jim Beam bourbon at Jim Beam Brands in Deerfield, Ill."
Can you imagine that, sinking so much money into a new and untested medium like TV? I mean, the darned thing was only invented 80 years ago...
Read the full article Jim Beam Discovers the Power of TV at nytimes.com.
New Study Reveals Wine Industry Suffers 'Curse of Orson Welles'
"A national survey of U.S. wine consumers released today shows that most people who enjoy wine don't know what the vintage date on a wine label means, and many cling to the belief that older is always better when it comes to wine.
The study of 429 wine drinkers was commissioned by the California Association of Winegrape Growers and performed by Wine Opinions, a research provider to the U.S. wine industry. A principal finding of the survey was that while 71 percent of U.S. wine drinkers feel that vintage dating of wine is important, few understand it. Only 33 percent of wine drinkers correctly believe that a vintage date on a wine label refers to the year the grapes were harvested."
Read the full press release from Wine Opinions at prweb.com.
We're not sure what the "Curse of Orson Welles" means in terms of wine, but we did find more information on what's involved in a wine vintage at decanter.com.
September 9, 2005
We got some not-so-shocking news from the Great White North today that Canadian alcohol sales rose last year.
"Canadians bought more beer, wine and spirits last year, but the growth in alcohol sales slowed slightly, Statistics Canada reported Thursday. In total, Canada's beer and liquor stores and agencies sold more than $16.1 billion worth of alcoholic beverages during the fiscal year ending March 31, 2004, up 4.9 per cent from the year before."
The article goes on to say that while the sales are up, the growth has slowed down overall as compared to the year before. Hey, we're not judging - we grew up in VT, so we know what those long, cold winters are like when there's not much else to do but have a couple beers and some back bacon. All we can say is, "Bottoms up, you hosers!"
Read the full article, Canadians spending more on alcohol, at ctv.ca.
September 8, 2005
I know just about everyone is still reeling over the destruction and chaos happening in New Orleans right now, and it might not be readily apparent what you can do to help. We encourage everyone to give generously to the charity of your choice, but even if you can't donate you still have a chance to help. Help out with relief efforts and raise a toast to the brave people of Louisiana, picking themselves up after the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina, at the same time with a charity cocktail hour.
On Monday, September 12, the Museum of American Cocktail and Southern Comfort are sponsoring a fund-raising cocktail hour to try to help you. From 5-7 PM in bars all around the country, you can buy Big Easty-inspired cocktails for $10 apiece, and the proceeds will be donated to help relief efforts. Participating cities and states include: Aspen, Boston, Cleveland, Las Vegas, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, D.C.
Please go to the Museum of American Cocktail's site for a full list of participating restaurants and to learn more about the Save New Orleans Cocktail Hour.
Not that I have anything against the American scientific community, but I think it's time they start taking their cue from their counterparts across the Pond. It seems that European scientists, specifically a Belgian team, are turning their gaze to something that really has an impact on us all - the nutritional content of beer. A team at the Meurice Institute in Brussels has spent the last three years analyzing the nutritional quality of speciality and microbrewed beers. So far, they have found that many refermented and specialty beers contain Folate, a B vitamin that helps people rebuild cells and help avoid diseases like cancer and anemia. One scientist on the team stated that they wanted to "rehabilitate beer as a daily beverage to be consumed in moderation," just as wine is. We'll keep you posted as we do beer research of our own.
Read more in Scientists analyse nutrition in beer at BeverageDaily.com.
September 7, 2005
Well, maybe not from the future
, but we came across this article from Britain's Huddersfield Daily Examiner, dated September 25, 2005 . Since that's a that's not quite here yet, we're guessing someone is beaming us a way to get buzzed from the near future, or author Dan Hobson was still drunk when he posted the article. Three cheers to him if he was...we're not quite sure which one we hope for more, actually.
Anyway, it looks like a couple of good mixes if it's your style, plus you can click through to the article for ratings of each cocktail recipe. You'll have to take them with a grain of salt, though, because the scores seem to get more and more generous with each drink they take. We're planning to try the Vanilla Russian ASAP and let you know what we think.
Here are the recipes:
Continue reading: "Drink Recipes from the (Near) Future"
Flavored vodkas have been all the rage over the last few years, increasing the market for the much-loved and versatile spirits. With flavors like Absolut Peppar and Citron and Stoli Vanilla and Raspberry flavors to name just a few, the flavored vodka craze is introducing a whole new generation of imbibers to a love of the cocktail and now makes up 20% of all vodka consumption. The wide range of assorted flavors is leading bartenders to be more creative with their drink mixing and leading to far more combinations than your typical screwdriver or bloody mary.
We found tons of unique ideas for new cocktails using flavored vodka, including the bubblegum martini (a combo of raspberry and vanilla Stoli with a splash of Jones Blue Bubblegum soda, garnished with gumballs) and a cold-weather concoction made with mandarin orange vodka and orange pekoe tea. The article also mentions the Moscow Mule, a drink made popular here in the states in the '50s, which is a combination of vodka, lime juice and ginger beer and sounds like an echo of one of my favorite drinks, which some call the Mark and Stormy. So what's on the horizon for the tangy versions of this adult beverage? Apparently "Asian flavors may be the wave of the near future, with ginger, honey and multiple-spice at the fore." Sounds tasty.
Read the full article, VA-VA-VOOM: Flavored vodkas create the hottest drinks at the bar, at the Detroit Free Press.
The National Football League and the Coors Brewing Company announced on September 6 that Coors will continue to be the "official" beer of football. The brewing company, which is now owned by the Canadian-American conglomerate Miller-Coors Brewing, will have its pigskin privileges extended through 2010. Coors edged out other major beer competitors Budweiser and Miller, both of which were vying for the coveted spot. The company, which already has outdoorsy connotations due to its Colorado roots, which will only be strengthened by the continued NFL partnership. We got this information via Forbes.com, and the main reason we covered it is because of the last line of the article, which we've quoted below, where they outline Coors's products; "Coors Brewing Company's U.S. brands include Coors Light, Aspen Edge, and for a bit of international flair, Killian's Irish Red and Molson Canadian. And if anyone cares, it also makes Zima. " DOES anyone care about Zima anymore?
Read the full article, NFL Names Kiely's Coors 'Official Beer Sponsor' at Forbes.com.
That juggernaut called "science" isn't always a popular thing, especially since scientists haven't even gotten around to inventing personal jet packs yet, but one thing I can say for scientists is that they seem to like their booze. Studies are constantly being revealed touting the good effects of liquor, and most of them specify a certain type that is especially good. A recent study from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard School of Public Health in Boston reveals that drinking alcohol three to four times a week can be good for your heart, a higher number than in other studies I've read. The study contains a lot of terms and scientific gobbledygook I don't understand, but the long and short seems to be that the "researchers safely concluded that there is a causal inverse relation between alcohol consumption and heart attack." Between that and news that booze builds brain cells
, I should be the model of good health.
Read the full article, entitled "Toast Your Health - Alcohol Helps Heart Health
" at HeartZine.
September 4, 2005
Stemmed glasses have long been a mainstay of wine tastings, because wine snobs say holding the glass by the stem keeps your pesky body heat from changing the taste of your wine. According to a recent article in Time magazine, however, "the hippest new wineglasses, like the O series from Riedel, leave the stems on the vine. Stemless glasses are sturdier, can be stacked in your cupboard, and fit in a dishwasher. Purists say the stem keeps the hand from warming the wine, but most palates don't notice."
Read the full article, The Story of O
, at Time (Subscription Needed)
If you're looking to get your hands on this next generation of wine drink ware, Amazon carries a full line of the aforementioned stemless "tumblers" from the Riedel O series, with different types for various wine varietals, plus assorted colors. Prices start at around $14.95 for a set of two.
Buy Riedel stemless wine tumblers
If you're like me and you want to be on the forefront without breaking the bank, Amazon also carries a suspiciously similar line of stemless "goblets" from a company called Libbey. They only have two varieties, a narrow one for whites and a wider one for reds, but you can get sets of four glasses for $14.99.
Buy Libbey stemless goblets
Believe it or not, a recent Gallup poll shows that more people claim to favor wine over beer when they're looking for a drink. While this may seem very surprising at first glance, beer drinkers probably don't have to worry much about their liquor store's coolers being ripped out in favor of wine racks. As usual, of course, what the numbers mean completely depends on where you get your information.
If you listen to wine people, you can take the news at face value:
According to the recent poll, some 63% of American adults say they drink alcohol. According to news reports, 39% of those prefer wine while 36% opt for beer.
This is an amazing turnaround from the situation in 1992, when beer was the choice of 47% of drinkers and 27% chose wine. Further, beer consumption is down among young adults, ages 21-to-29, but still holds about half of that group's loyalty. Among those over 50, the poll showed wine a clear leader.
There is a split in the demographic by gender, with women opting for a glass of wine and men for a pint of beer -- but it is a bias that is decreasing as more men take up wine.
"There has been virtually no change in preference for liquor among men and women, but the percentage naming beer has declined since 1992/1994 by 12 points among men, and by 6 points among women," Gallup said.
Read the full article at winesandvines.com
Beer people have a slightly different take, however. They agree that the data shows an upswing in people claiming to like wine, but point out that "on the flip side, consumers spent $82 billion on beer in 2004, $49 billion on distilled spirits and $23 billion on wine."
Learn more at Realbeer.com
Oregon won't begin harvesting its wine grapes for at another month, but all signs point to a supply that is far less than the rising demand. Blame whomever you want, whether it's Mother Nature for being stingy with the grapes, or the producers of Sideways for reminding everyone how great wine is. Whatever it is, industry types are saying that it's "an industrywide phenomenon and you're going to see upward price pressures as a result." Might be time to stock up on your Oregon wines before the mad stampede for the liquor store...
Full Story: Wine inventories low and demand is up in Oregon
Gary and Mardee Regan are self-confessed "spirits and cocktail freaks" who take their liquor very seriously. And after checking out their wealth of magazine articles and books to their names, as well as their Ardent Spirits
website, I'd have to agree with them. After browsing the recipes on their site, many of which are reader-submitted, I found that many of them included too many ingredients for my personal taste and level of laziness, but they all looked tasty and worth a try.
The Joy of Mixology
by Gary Regan
Bartender's Best Friend
by Mardee Regan
New Classic Cocktails
by Gary and Mardee Regan
Bourbon-Mint Iced Tea
- 1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
- 3/4 ounce simple syrup
- 1/4 ounce Branca Menta
- 3/4 ounce Maker's Mark bourbon
- 5 ounces cold brewed tea
- 1 lemon wheel, for garnish
- 1 mint sprig, for garnish
Shake all ingredients except for the tea, and strain into a large glass filled with ice. Top with brewed ice tea.
Find more recipes at Ardent Spirits
Here's another interesting battle in the whiskey war, because they're making it with a new ingredient. Whiskey is typically made of fermented grains like barley, corn, and rye, but a small distillery is making a splash by trying something new. According to a story at the Louisville, Kentucky Courier-Journal
Heaven Hill Distilleries is going against the grain with a new addition to the popular and highly profitable small-batch whiskey category.
Bernheim Original Kentucky Straight Wheat Whiskey, the company said, is the first on the modern market distilled primarily from wheat -- a selling point the company hopes will create a buzz among connoisseurs who are willing to pay the $40-a-bottle price.
Winter wheat makes up 51 percent of Bernheim's grain recipe, with 39 percent corn and 10 percent malted barley.
The story goes on to say that the creation "is not as sweet as bourbon...and has a tang usually associated with scotch or rye whiskey." I like the sweetness of bourbon, but I'm always up to try something new. I'll keep you posted if I can get my hands on a bottle.
DIAGEO, the company that owns Guinness, has set its sites on toppling Jameson's as the world number one selling Irish whiskey. The company has acquired Bushmills Irish Whiskey for £300 million (about $550 million USD), and has announced plans to market the liquor head-to-head against its rival.
Jameson, which is owned by Pernod-Richard, is currently the fastest-selling whiskey brand in the US. Pernod-Richard formerly owned Bushmills, but was forced to sell it on acquiring Jameson.
All I can say is that a price war is never a bad thing, especially when the commodity involved is whiskey, and Irish whiskey at that. It'll be interesting to see how this shakes out.
Read the full article at IrishExaminer.com.
September 3, 2005
Matt Hopkins at washingtonpost.com has hit on a combination I can really get behind with his article Pick Wine for Fast Food. He recommends the pairing of the grape and the french fry (among other things) and offers suggestions for perfect combinations.
Even though I'm an avid reader of wine magazines, a veteran of wine club tastings and known among my friends for my improper thoughts, it still took time for me to concoct the odd idea to combine my two vices: A wonderfully deep fruity zinfandel would be just about perfect with my new favorite mushroom Swiss burger (I'm a sucker for those "limited time" sandwiches, too). The wine's peppery plums, hints of herb and a strong currant nose fit so well with the rich mushroom reduction, subtle creamy Swiss paste and firm sesame bun that for a moment I could not remember the reason they weren't delivered through the window of my car as a packaged meal deal.
A couple of his recommended pairings include:
Meal: HARDEE'S MUSHROOM 'N' SWISS BURGER
Wine: 2000 Ravenswood Zinfandel Vintners Blend
Why it works: This fruity wine is good at cutting through the fat and adding a little punch to the sandwich. Another option: A simple bordeaux, which would serve the same function with a bit more herb and a lot less fruit.
Meal:TACO BELL BURRITO SUPREME
Wine: 2003 Vina MontGras Cabernet Sauvignon Syrah Reserva
Why it works: This blend, which would go nicely with just about any food with a bit of kick, seems especially designed for the spicy grilled smack-in-the-taste-buds that this wrap's hot sauce provides.
Meal: WENDY'S SPICY CHICKEN SANDWICH
Wine: 2003 Domaine Puech Cocut Merlot, Vin de Pays d'Oc
Why it works: The acerbic, earthy table wine is a perfect pair for the dry spice on the chicken. Most syrahs and some Italian wines would also partner well, but the Puech Cocut tends to be a better bargain.
Maybe it's time for us here at Liquor Snob to team up with the folks over at Fast Food Fever and find some great combinations of our own.
According to a study published by Sweden's Karolina Institutet back in April of 2005, moderate alcohol consumption can help create new brain cells. From the study:
Moderate alcohol consumption over a relatively long period of time can enhance the formation of new nerve cells in the adult brain. The new cells could prove important in the development of alcohol dependency and other long-term effects of alcohol on the brain.
This happens from moderate booze intake? Pardon me while I go join Mensa.
No Alcohol Online Casinos
Looking for something to read while you have a drink? Look no farther than Modern Drunkard Magazine. With features like Bartender in Heat, Wino Wisdom, Booze Reviews and profiles of the Drunkard of the Month, you'll find something to keep you entertained even at your most alcohol-soaked. You can either browse online or subscribe to the magazine ($24.00 for six monthly issues).
The site also features a catalog of Modern Drunkard Gear, which features booze-related merchandise including the typical t-shirts and hats, plus a sweet Flask and my personal favorite, the Logo Hoodie.
After the first glass, you see things as you wish they were. After the second, you see things as they are not.Finally you see things as they really are, which is the most horrible thing in the world.
I've had Absinthe a few times, and I would have to agree with Mr. Wilde. Banned for a 100 years in Europe because of the widespread problems it caused in the 19th century, more Absinthe was drunk than beer between 1890 and 1914. Absinthe was drunk by notables including Wilde, Ernest Hemingway, Pablo Picasso, Edgar Allen Poe and Vincent Van Gogh. Some even speculate visits to the Green Fairy led to the decision-making process that caused Mr. Van Gogh to remove his ear.
Absinthe was loved not only for its high alcohol content, ranging from 50 to 70 percent (that's 100 to 140 proof), but also for the dreamlike effects brought about by the wormwood. Sounds great, doesn't it? Never fear, la Fée Verte is back on the market, and while the ban is still in effect in the U.S., the stout of heart can buy all the Absinthe they need online.
- Ridiculously High Alcohol Content
- A Completely Different Kind of Buzz
- Makes You Feel Like a Literary Giant - or at least I did
- A Chance to Try Something New - and no, I don't mean cutting off your ear
- Very Spendy - when I looked it was AT LEAST $100/bottle, plus shipping unless someone is visiting Europe and can bring it back
- Blinding Hangovers - I swear I was blind in one eye for two hours, but I might be able to trace that back to drinking one too many Bull Rushes (see below)
- Bitter Taste - unless you like the taste of what my friend calls "liquorice from Hell"
- Everyone Who's Heard of It Wants to Try It - If you get a bottle, keep it under lock and key or you'll constantly hear "You have Absinthe? Can I have a taste?"
- That Whole "Illegal in the United States" Thing
Traditionally, Absinthe was drunk mixed with water, or if a batch had a particularly high wormwood content, strained through a sugar cube and splashed with water. Below are a couple recipes I modified from the Sebor Absinth website, and have enjoyed immensely:
Put two ice cubes in a champagne flute
Add 2 shots Absinthe
Fill glass rest of the way with champagne
Mix 1 can red bull, 1 shot vodka, 1 shot sebor
pour over ice
Where to Buy Absinthe
If you're up for the challenge, my friend got his bottle from Sebor Absinth, or you can go to the Absinthe Buyer's Guide to shop around.
September 2, 2005
You really have to hand it to Boston for loosening some of their puritanical liquor laws lately. First, they let liquor stores sell beer on (shocker!) Sunday. Now the state is thinking of passing a new law allowing restaurant patrons to bring opened wine bottles home with them, instead of being forced to finish drinking them with dinner or leave partial bottles behind. Mass. would join about 30 other states which have implemented similar laws. Proponents of the proposal claim that this could lower drunk driving rates because people won't feel that they have to drink everything in front of them, and could even increase alcohol sales in restaurants. One concern raised by opponents is that some patrons could end up drinking the wine in the car on the way home, but some states force restaurants to makr bottles at the level of the remaining wine, and companies like WineDoggyBag.com are offering sealable solutions to keep you out of your bottle until you're safely home.