October 31, 2005
Apparently there's some controversy around a new tequila that's on its way to market, and while we don't have an opinion either way we thought it was interesting. Frida Kahlo Tequila, named after the famous Mexican artist, is expected to be released in November. The thing that caught our attention about this story is that Frida wasn't just known as an artist, she was also an alcoholic known to polish off a bottle of tequila a day. Critics of the new tequila say her niece, who authorized the brand, is just trying to cash in on her aunt's name without respecting her memory.
In statements made to Notimex, through the tequila manufacturer, Isolda P. Kahlo replied that she has "always paid attention to the smallest details ... my family is proud to present this product to the world."
The statement added that the tequila was of a quality and taste that "(Frida Khalo) would expect of her favorite drink." The company did not release financial terms of the deal.
For art historian Teresa del Conde, the matter shows a lack of respect to the great Mexican painter, who suffered greatly from physical ailments throughout her life.
Ms. del Conde went on to say that if Frida knew about this tequila deal, her "ashes would burst out of the urn they rest in." We'll be keeping an eye out to see how this shakes out.
You can read the full story at El Universal Online, plus brush up on Frida Kahlo Tequila by reading the original press release.
October 30, 2005
We love any combination of technology and drinking, and the Google drinking game we found this morning is right up our alley. Just like any other drinking game, it doesn't have to be played with drinks, but if you ask us that's kind of like saying baseball doesn't have to be played with a ball.
The idea is to create a word snail – an ever-growing sentence – by having each person in the group add one word in turns. Say, the first person starts with “Feelings”. Now the second person adds a word, “are”, so we get “Feelings are ...”.
Now every time a word is added, the phrase (using quotes) is googled for, and the resulting page count is announced to the group. The one person who created a sentence with zero results in Google loses and has to drink something (or get a minus point, if you want to play with points; in that case, the last person who created a sentence with results in Google will win a point). To prevent cheating, the one whose turn is next is not allowed to look at any search result snippet.
Let’s take our sample, and see what we get:
Peter: “Feelings ...” (53,200,000 results in Google)
Mary: “Feelings are ...” (2,100,000 results)
Jake: “Feelings are nothing ...” (1,090 results)
Susan: “Feelings are nothing and ...” (19 results)
Peter: “Feelings are nothing and we ...” (0 results)
The way we play, Susan wins, so she takes a drink and everyone else takes two. But we suppose you could just have the winner choose who has to drink (or empty their glass, if you're feeling ruthless).
Via Google Blogoscoped
October 29, 2005
We've covered absinthe a few times before, most recently to debunk some absinthe myths that surround the world's most famously banned liquor. According to a Wired article we found this week, however, not everything about the drink's mystique is smoke and mirrors.
Ted Breaux, described as an "obsessed microbiologist," has broken absinthe down to the molecular level, and has come up with some interesting findings. His tests are rigorous, and his findings interesting - Breaux agrees with our assessment that most of the newfangled absinthes you find nowadays are just a pale imitation of the real stuff.
Breaux wasn't the only one rediscovering the long-banned beverage. In Europe, food regulations adopted by the EU in 1988 had neglected to mention absinthe, and when they superseded national laws, the drink was effectively re-legalized. New distilleries were popping up all over Europe, selling what Breaux dismisses as "mouthwash and vodka in a bottle, with some aromatherapy oil." Absinthe had disappeared so completely for so long that no one knew how to make it anymore. Including Breaux, who continued trying to reverse engineer it in his lab.
Apparently Breaux has distilled three absinthe variations of his own based on the pre-ban liqueur. The plus side is that it wasn't affected by the recent hurricanes since it's distilled in France, but the downside is that you still can't buy it here in the US because it's against the law. We never thought we'd have a reason to idolize the French, but this might just be it. Plus, watch out NicoShot
- Breaux's next release will be a tobacco-based liqueur.
Read the full article at Wired. Plus, visit the Jade Liqueurs site, where you'll also find details about how to buy their absinthe online.
October 29, 2005
We're not big rum drinkers, especially after the Screech Rum incident of '05, but we opened our b3ta newsletter this morning and found this video, and we couldn't stop laughing. It feels like a mash-up of Captain Morgan and the new Burger King ad campaign, but whether it's satire or some edgy guerilla marketing being perpetrated by the Captain, we liked it. There's a small part of us that says this video wasn't made by them, but the world may never know.
See the video and decide for yourself at putfile.
Oh, and sign up for the mailing list at b3ta; as long as you don't mind the fact that you won't get some of the British-oriented jokes, they send out some funny-ass newsletters.
October 28, 2005
Here at the Liquor Snob offices, we consider The Big Lebowski to be nature's perfect movie. It's got everything. A crazy John Goodman sporting shooting glasses and at one point, an Uzi. A sublime John Turturro playing a bowling pederast named "The Jesus." A portly Jeff Bridges sucking white russians out of his beard. The blond guy from Fargo playing a character named Karl Hungus, who comes to fix the cable. A missing toe. Tara Reid before she became a raving drunk, and we should know...we smell our own.
If you haven't seen this movie, you have to mix up a batch of White Russians and see it right now. And then you have to watch it again. And again. Until you get it. Until you realize the Coen brothers pried open your skull and scooped out the contents onto film. There will be a quiz.
Whether you've seen it or not, you also need to pick up the Achiever's Edition, which apparently contains the "widescreen CE (collector's Edition) together with The Big Lebowski Bowling Shammy Towel, 4 Collectible Coasters that include photos and quotable lines from the movie, and 8 Exclusive Photo Cards from Jeff Bridges’ personal collection."
Buy your copy of the Big Lebowski Achiever's Editionnow, or pick up the Big Lebowski Widescreen Collector's Editionat Amazon. Her life is in your hands, dude.
Oh, and if you're wracking your brain to remember how to mix them, here's a recipe for White Russians (AKA Caucasians). Substitute non-dairy creamer for light cream at your own risk.
Sometimes we find something on the Internet that is so stupendous, we're not sure how to cover it. The Topless Academy's Guide to Bartending is not one of those things. We know exactly what we want to say. But, our mothers read Liquor Snob, so we'll try to keep things relatively tame.
One thing we've put together in our...ummm...research is that this isn't some gimmicky video that puts the topless over the bartendering. L.A. bartender George Hobbs leads you through the proceedings, and while the buxom young ladies assist him, it apparently doesn't distract from the knowledge you'll gain. We'll put that in the "see it to believe it" category, and oh yes, we''ll most likely see it...as long as our moms say it's OK.
Learn more about the video and get the DVD for $19.95 ($14.95 for VHS) at ToplessAcademy.com. (Adult Content)
We keep hearing whispers about Jon, Mark and Robbo's Easy Drinking Whisky. And honestly, everything we hear, we like. We've also checked out their website, and while we don't always believe everything we read on the Web, we like the cut of their jib. For one thing, they consider their scotch to be "whisky with jeans on." For two, they recommend enjoying their whisky with a burger and fries, instead of foie gras or whatever else you might expect scotch drinkers to eat.
According to their recent press release:
The whiskies will appeal to family and friends who like the idea of trying something which has become a favourite amongst industry insiders. Jon, Mark and Robbo have a refreshingly simple approach to whisky drinking: “We believe our whisky is the best there is for us and the great thing is we’ve chucked out the rule book, so drink it where you like, when you like and how you like, it’s for enjoying not worshipping,” says David ‘Robbo’ Robertson.
We like the sound of it, and we've heard talk that Jon, Mark and Robbo's Easy Drinking Whisky is available here in the states. We haven't seen any of the three varieties - The Rich Spicy One, The Smooth Sweeter One, and The Smokey Peaty One - in our liquor store yet, but we'll keep looking.
Read the full press release here, or learn more at Jon, Mark and Robbo's site.
Update: We found a list of liquor stores that carry Easy Drinking Whisky, currently only in California, Colorado, Illinois, New York, South Carolina, and Texas, at The Scotch Blog.
October 27, 2005
Apparently cell phone maker LG has introduced a breathalyzer cell phone in Korea, which is flying off the shelves, and it sounds like a pretty sweet packags. Beyond the breathalyzer function, these cell phones include "an advanced remote control for your TV, DVD and karaoke machine, etc." Lucky Koreans.
Not that we have a lot of electronics we need a remote for...or ever sing karaoke...but we can barely get our cell phones to stay connected through an entire call, much less do anything extra. Here's what the article we found had to say about the LG breathalyzer cell phone and its usefulness.
Having an alcohol measurement device attached to something like a cell phone is nothing but brilliant, especially among younger crowds who regularly drink after work or school and like to party. To use the sensor an intoxicated individual simply opens the phone and blows on the sensor, the LCD will tell you whether your level of alcohol in your blood is safe to drive.
We're not sure how sensitive or accurate the sensor in a cell phone might be...or what a sports car phone is... but think of the other possibilities. Making sure you're OK to drive isn't the only application...locking your cell phone so you can't drunk dial is another. Actually, that's the most important thing we can think of. We'd really like you to stop drunk dialing us late at night. We need our beauty sleep.
Read the full article at MobileMag.
October 26, 2005
Bing Bong Table
Folding Portable Beer Pong Table
Stats: 8' Long X 2' Wide X 21" Tall
Typical Price: $149 (Buy One)
We got our Bing Bong table last week, and we couldn't wait to test it out. We hadn't played beer pong in a while, but as soon as we reviewed the Bombed game we were hooked again. We checked out the Bing Bong table on a few criteria, including portability, durability and playability.
Portability: Thumbs up on this one. We like the fact that the Bing Bong table lives up to its claim of being "portable," folding up to about the size of a suitcase, 2'X2', and weighing in at 20 pounds. We actually walked about a mile carrying the thing, and while we had to switch hands a few times, that's mostly because the heaviest thing we've lifted recently weighed 12 ounces. We wouldn't want to take it backpacking, but it's the perfect size and weight to toss into the car.
Durability: We didn't exactly have Inspector 12 banging this thing around, but it seems sturdy and we didn't have any worries about the table collapsing as we played, no matter how rowdy things got.
Playability: We've read one complaint about the Bing Bong table that it was too short to play effectively. We call that hogwash. Standing at 21", this table is a few inches shorter than the ping pong table in the Liquor Snob offices. We had a lot of fun playing with this table, both with the typical Beirut rules, as well as with the Northeast regional bouncing rules. The only place it falls short (literally) is in length - the Bing Bong table is only 8' long where a ping pong table measures 9'. But honestly...would you rather show up at a party with a beer pong table that's a foot short, or with no beer pong table at all?
Cool Factor: As we mentioned when we first got our table, this thing is just damned cool. As soon as we unwrapped it, everyone in the office was clamoring to see it set up and itching to play immediately. Just imagine next time you're at a party and you're the guy who brought the Bing Bong table. Instant superstar anyone?
All in all, we think the Bing Bong table is bad ass. Plus, we talked to a man on the street (when we were doing our portability test), who lived with five other guys in a college apartment. He said they wouldn't mind paying $150 to have a beer pong table of their own, especially since they could split it, and mentioned it seemed like a better idea than their current table, which is a door they knocked down in their apartment. There you go...100% of the people we interviewed say Bing Bong tables are great!
Learn more about the tables and buy one of your own at BingBongTables.com.
Here at the Liquor Snob offices, we love Bud Light's Real Men of Genius ads. We listen to them and laugh and laugh, sometimes until Bud Light squirts right out our noses. That's why we perked up when we read an article from CNN stating the latest one, "Mr. Discount Airline Pilot Guy," has discount airline AirTran in a huff.
(The ad) includes such taunts as "Your minimal experience flying a plane will never land you at a reputable airline. Luckily, you don't work for one" and "You put the fly in fly-by-night operation."
The Wall Street Journal, which first reported the story Monday, said AirTran Airways is considering dropping Bud and Bud Light beer from its flights unless Anheuser apologizes.
Oh no, a discount airline might stop serving Budweiser products on its flights? How will Anheuser Busch ever recover from that? Listen up, AirTran, just like the ad points out, your customer base is willing take 12 extra connections to save nine bucks. How much beer could they actually be buying?
Read the full article at CNN Money, plus you can listen to Mr. Discount Airline Pilot Guy at putfile.
October 25, 2005
Bunratty Export Potcheen
90 Proof Unaged Grain Whiskey
Typical Price: Less than $20 for a 750ml bottle - Buy it at Internet Wines & Spirits
Initial Thoughts: In Ireland, the word potcheen (AKA poteen or poitin) has a similar connotation to the words "white lightning" in the American South. That's right, potcheen is moonshine, a drink that has been banned since the 1600s and until fairly recently was only distilled in illegal pot stills in remote areas.
There are two reasons we decided to review Bunratty's today. The first is that the Irish version of Bunratty's has the greatest slogan we've ever seen on a liquor bottle (Now Legal!), which would make us buy pretty much anything. The other is that some people around the office had Ireland on the brain (Yes, Jake, we know you took your honeymoon in Ireland. Happy anniversary to you and Kathleen). But we digress.
Continue reading: "Potcheen Irish Moonshine Review"
This has been floating around the Web for a couple months now, but it's such an interesting idea we couldn't help but cover it. Apparently, a German company is deveoping a nicotine-laced beer called NicoShot to help cut down the craving for people trying to quit smoking, or at least make it through a night out without stepping outside to smoke.
Nautilus GmbH Laboratoriumsbedarf announced today the recent European launch of NicoShot™, the world’s first smoking-cessation beer containing a shot of natural nicotine, about what you would get in a couple of regular filtered cigarettes.
NicoShot is brewed to the German Purity Law of 1516 and contains 3 milligrams of naturally derived nicotine alkaloids, 63 calories and 4.5 carbohydrates, with 6.3% alcohol by volume per 250 ml shot can. The cutting-edge nicotine beer is fire brewed separately and a standardized herbal extract of natural tobacco leaf Nicotiana tabacum L.) of the Solanaceae nightshade family is added at the end of the natural brewing process.
The press release goes on to state that "NicoShot...can significantly control cigarette cravings, yet it tastes like a fine imported European beer." Why do we picture it tasting more along the lines of when someone puts a cigarette out in your beer can?
Read the full press release here.
October 24, 2005
We found the following news report about Coors today, and we have to admit it makes us a bit worried.
According to a news report in Monday's Denver Post, Coors Brewing Co. uses waste from the beer production process to produce approximately 1.5 million gallons of ethanol, which is then sold in the wholesale market.
Coors, which partners with area engineering firm Merrick & Company to produce the alternative fuel, said they plan to build another ethanol facility due to the success of the program, according to the paper.
Not that we have anything against alternate energy sources - we love anything that will help battle high prices at the gas pumps. Plus, we think it's great to see beer fueling something other than bar fights and blackouts. No, our major concern is that if they start putting beer into gasoline, we'll have a full-time job keeping the interns from drinking the 93 octane.
Read the full story at CNN Money.
Ah, what a drunken century it's been, and thankfully the Modern Drunkard has been there to guide us through. From its humble beginnings in Boston, the Modern Drunkard has survived Prohibition, multiple world wars and the wine cooler-addled '80s with wit and style.
Our favorite headlines from the past:
"Should the Drinking Age be Raised to 13? No!" The Genteel Drunkard Sep. 1909
"Top 10 Speakeasy Passwords." Modern Drunkard Jan. 1922
"I Invested Millions in Scotch - One Bottle at a Time!" Filthy Rich Drunkard Aug. 1928
"Are Light Beers Light Enough?" Moderate Drinker Mar. 1985
Learn the full history of this plastered periodical with the comprehensive and humorous retrospective, 100 years of Modern Drunkard Magazine. And while you might have trouble finding back issues that extend all the way to the turn of the century, make sure to subscribe now so you don't miss out on any more fun in the future.
And while you're at it, don't forget to pick up your copy of the Modern Drunkard book.
October 23, 2005
Halloween's only a week away, and you're not ready yet. Oh, you might think you're ready, but you're not. Want to know how we know? Because you don't have a Skull Shaped Beer Funnel, that's why.
Just pour beer into a skull-shaped funnel, wrap your lips around the base of the attached spine and chug it down. What could possibly be more Halloween than that? Get yours, along with other eerie imbibing implements, at FrightCatalog.com.
(Thanks for the tip, Dan!)
October 22, 2005
We told you about the Bing Bong beer pong table a couple weeks ago, and we were giddy as school girls about the idea of a portable beer pong table. Ours arrived yesterday, and we have to say, the thing just looks damned cool. We pulled it out of the box, and suddenly everyone in our office was grouped around, begging to set it up and play.
We did unfold it and set it up, and our initial assessment is that the folks at Bing Bong aren't lying about its portability. It clocks in somewhere around 20 pounds, and has two suitcase handles attached to the side. For the record, we will be playing our beer pong with beer instead of water, even in the face of the Budweiser's Bud Pong shenanigans. Our livers have written letters to the governor, asking for a pardon, but we promise to play responsibly.
We'll be doing a full review ASAP, but in the meantime you can learn more about Bing Bong tables and get one of your own.
October 21, 2005
If there's anything on God's green earth that scares the stuffing out of us, it's Tara Reid. She scares us more than Godzilla and sad clowns combined, and that's saying something. A couple months ago, we discovered the Tara Reid Drinking Game, and today, we decided to inflict it on you. Basically, you play High/Low with Tara, and if you get it right she drinks. If you get it wrong, you drink.
Play the Tara Reid drinking game and beware the Frankenboob.
We're hoping it'll give us some kind of positive Pavlovian response where we associate Tara Reid with drinking, thus giving ourselves a positive opinion of her. Well, at least we're halfway there, anyway.
Willie Nelson has a tradition of opening his shows with his song Whiskey River, and he's been doing it a long time. That leads us to believe he knows a little something about the subject of whiskey, so we're very interested in Old Whiskey River, a bourbon he helped to develop. We're not sure exactly what (or who) he's trying to forget in the song, but but we know we're going to do our best to remember to pick up a bottle next time we're at the liquor store.
Old Whiskey River has been around for a few years in a 750ml bottle, and a new 1.75L bottle will be available soon to make sure your whiskey river don't run dry. We also did some poking around, and if you pick up the Old Whiskey River gift pack you can also get a CD of Willie's music. Bourbon and outlaw country music - two great tastes that taste great together. We know that's a gift pack we'd be fired up to find it in our stocking on Christmas morning. Or underneath our pillow if we lost a tooth, for that matter.
Learn more at the Old Whiskey River site.
Wine snobs used to look down their noses at wine from a box, but wineries are getting creative with their packaging and wine drinkers are loving the convenience.
We've never understood people's aversion to wine from a box. Sure, it doesn't fit in your wine rack, but it's much easier to stack in your shopping cart. Plus, you can take that little tin foil baggie right out of the box and squeeze a long-distance stream when you're in a wine fight. Wait, what do you mean you don't have wine fights?
Anyway, apparently there are other benefits to boxed wine other than turning it into a ranged weapon.
Jon Fredrikson, an industry consultant based in the San Francisco Bay area, said boxed wines appeal to the growing number of Americans drinking wine more regularly. They want something that doesn't need uncorking and will last longer than just a few days.
"The advantage of boxed wines is just one of extreme convenience," Fredrikson said. "Once they're open, it's just so easy to draw a nice glass of wine. It's ideal for working couples, people that are kind of passing in the night."
Learn more about the upswing in boxed wine sales from the Associated Press
October 20, 2005
You mean people were playing beer pong with BEER? Say it ain't so!
Anheuser-Busch will discontinue a national promotion called "Bud Pong," a drinking game the company says is supposed to be played with water.
However, participants in the game — played with a ping pong ball and plastic cups — often were drinking beer as they lost points, according to a front-page story Sunday in The New York Times.
The No. 1 U.S. brewer has been promoting Bud Pong competitions since July, supplying tables, balls and glasses to wholesalers across the United States.
Players on one team try to sink a ball into another team's liquid-filled cups. If successful, the opposing team must drink.
Anheuser-Busch says the game's instructions called for water to be consumed during play, not beer, which is the company's main product.
Seriously...we can understand the CYA
aspects of saying beer pong shouldn't be played with alcoholic beverages
. But for a company like Bud to pretend they thought something called "Bud Pong" was going to be played with anything other than beer is like a certain cigarette company saying a certain cartoon camel
wasn't supposed to appeal to kids.
Read the article about the pulling of the promotion at USAToday.com, plus read the New York Times article that started it all. And ask yourself why anyone would play beer pong with beer, when they could play with cool, refreshing cups of stale tap water.
Update: Apparently, there are now charges that underage kids were playing Bud Pong with beer...didn't we mention something about them earlier? Spooooky.
(Thanks for the tip, Wil)
The Instant Expert's Guide to Single Malt Scotch
Vital Stats: 68 Pages of information on single malt scotch, from malted barley to mouth
Author: Kevin Erskine
Publisher: Doceon Press
Typical Price: $8.95 at Amazon
Initial Thoughts: When it comes to the world of scotch, we've always been on the outside looking in. Because of our scotch inexperience we never felt confident enough to go out and buy a bottle of the good stuff, and because we weren't confident we remained inexperienced. That's not to say we didn't enjoy a nice glass every once in a while, on a recommendation or a whim, but single malt scotch wasn't something we were comfortable buying.
That's why we read Kevin Erskine's book from cover to cover the moment it arrived in our mailbox. It's a slim book, but chock full of all kinds of information, including things you would expect like whisky basics to how and where scotch is made. The book is filled to the rim with interesting facts we'd never encountered before about the origins of scotch, and a discussion of distilleries by region. One of our favorite pieces of trivia was about the symbiotic relationship between scotch and bourbon (here's a hint: it has something to do with the barrels they're aged in).
Continue reading: "Instant Expert's Guide to Single Malt Scotch Review"
We're all about DIY drinking and the desire to make your beer cooler faster, or at least for longer. The Peltier Beer Cooler seems slightly over the top to us, but it's damned cool nonetheless. Maybe we should tell this guy about these new inventions we've heard of...coolers and ice.
According to the author:
While drinking certain dark beers in the sun, I came to think about how to keep the beer cold until I finished it. Normally this isn’t a big problem as I usually finish them before they get warm, but on really hot days this can be a problem. Having some hardware lying around in my apartment, I decided to build something that could keep the beer cool.
Learn more about the Peltier beer cooler at Grynx.com
Plus, if you have even more spare parts lying around and too much time on your hands, check out the jet-powered beer cooler, an oldie but a goodie.
(Thanks, Eric and Sarah!)
October 19, 2005
OK, we admit, we're a little bit late getting on the Uber Tap bandwagon. We heard about it a few weeks ago from our friends over at Bombed, but we completely forgot to cover it, and now the Daily Candy and Gizmodo got in line before us. Shame on us. Luckily, with the Uber Tap all three of us can be served at once, and no one's going home thirsty. We'll figure it out amongst ourselves who's going to hold the cups and who's going to run the foot pump to keep the beer flowing.
Plus, all is not lost for faithful Liquor Snob readers. Even though we were apparently sleeping one off when the news about the Uber Tap broke, you're still the first to hear about its ingenious companion, Ultimate Cocktail. Slosh your liquor and mixers together in the Ultimate Cocktail tank, attach a keg tap (or Uber Tap if you really have a need for speed), and you can tap any beverage you want.
The site says that "by linking a keg tap to the Ultimate Cocktail, party throwers can now eliminate the all too common mess, sticky floor, and drunken beverage contamination, while providing their guests with a signature cocktail for any event." We love it when a plan comes together.
Learn more about the Uber Tap and the Ultimate Cocktail
Other Uber Tap coverage: Daily Candy and Gizmodo
We're not very familiar with Podcasts, mostly because we have no truck with anything Apple-related. Yes, we like computers and MP3 players, but no, we don't need them monogrammed and in lime green.
We've found a site that might make us break our Apple boycott, however, in the form of Tiki Bar TV. The site features sporadic video podcasts in Quicktime format, each of them featuring a different cocktail recipe. The episodes resemble Mystery Science Theater 3000 meets Julia Child at her booziest, and they definitely made us chuckle with their silly humor.
Most of the episodes seem to revolve around a doctor and "cocktologist" who prescribes different drinks for various situations. Drink prescriptions? Those are covered by our insurance, right? Plus, the mailbag sections of the videos we watched were hilarious, with our favorite taking a shot at an anonymous troll who told them what they were doing was dumb. Here's to your mother, anonymous!
Check out the episodes at Tiki Bar TV.
(Update: We have been notified by our loyal readers that video podcasts are not Apple-specific, and that vcasts, as they're known, can be enjoyed on any platform. We're thankful for the update, and we'll do our research next time we decide to use a post to rail against the the latest iPod Fluffy and whatever is the case du jour. Consider us properly chastisted.)
Tito's Handmade Vodka
80 Proof, Corn-based Texas Vodka
Typical Price: Under $20 for 750ml - Buy it at Internet Wines & Spirits
Availability: Tito's is available in 40 states; check their website for availability in your state or buy it online
Initial Thoughts: We've been big fans of all the vodkas we've reviewed so far, but there's something very special about this one. We're going to keep our review clean, simple and straight to the point, just like Tito's.
Cocktail Recipes: Tito's is the only vodka we've reviewed so far that we preferred straight; all we needed was a slight chill from the freezer. It was also tasty on the rocks, or mixed in drinks, but it just felt right to drink it on its own. There was very little nose, which is rare for vodkas, which in our experience tend to have at least a whiff of alcoholic tang.
As for the taste, it was straightforward and mostly prevalent on the front of the tongue, with of a woody or herbal back end. Very clean, very pure, very tasty. We suppose this is the advantage to distilling your liquor six times, and we finally understand why this stuff has been so lavished with praise from everyone who's tried it.
Finishing Thoughts:We're going to go out on a limb and say Tito's vodka is the smoothest we've ever tasted. That's not to say there's no better vodka out there, but between the taste and the price, which is an added bonus of a small company with low overhead and no importing costs, we're Tito's converts. We can't think of any reason, barring two broken legs and a restraining order from the liquor store, why we won't always have a bottle of Tito's in our cabinet.
Learn more about Tito's vodka, and by all means, go out and get a bottle of your own. Buy Tito's online at Internet Wines and Spirits.
October 18, 2005
Love beer? Wear your heart on your sleeve, or at least a keg on your chest, with The Keg Polo from Snorg Tees.
Ready to proclaim your love for everyone's favorite carbonated malt beverage? Let people know about your love for beer by wearing it on your chest. At the very least, you'll never hear anyone ask you "What's your poison?" ever again.
From the Snorg Tees site:
What you wear reflects on who you are. The Keg Polo will show that you've got class...and like to drink.
-100% cotton pique
-7 oz. 2 button placket
-Double needle bottom hem
-Welt knit collar and cuffs
Grab your own beer keg shirt in blue or red, and browse through some other cool shirts at Snorg Tees. And for Jeebus's sake, please don't pop the collar.
Tommy Guns Vodka
80 Proof, Imported Polish Rye Vodka
Typical Price: About $25 for a frosted 750 ml bottle; about $50 for machine gun-shaped bottle - Buy it at Internet Wines & Spirits
Availability: Currently you can buy bottles all over Illinois, and in 13 other states; check with your local liquor store to learn where to find it. We had the best luck finding it in online liquor stores, and the Roaring20s.net site has an online store of its own on the way.
Initial Thoughts: There is something ineffably cool about Al Capone. Sure, he was a thug and a gangster, but he had a knack for giving people what they wanted, as long as they wanted booze...or a baseball bat to the back of the skull. Of course, we're basing that impression solely on DeNiro's representation of him in The Untouchables.
That same vibe of inscrutable coolness permeates Tommy Guns Vodka. When we tried it straight, it had a mellow nose that made us think of a cool breeze blowing down a Chicago street. On the tongue, it was as warm as hot jazz on a chilly night. Sure it's evocative of the '20s, but this is no bathtub affair...Tommy Guns vodka belongs on the top shelf.
Cocktail Recipes: While we liked this vodka on the rocks, it also made some great cocktails. In fact, it had the potential to be as dangerous as a real machine gun, because once you stirred it with the mixer, it was so smooth it was easy to forget there was booze in there. We preferred it in a simple vodka tonic, and it made a spectacular Bloody Mary.
The Roaring 20s site also recommends some other Tommy Guns drink recipes, which we haven't tried yet, but we're sure we will. Shake each with ice, and strain into a chilled martini glass. Here are some of our favorites:
The "Scarface" Al Capone Martini: 1.5oz Tommy Guns Vodka, .5oz Chilled Espresso, .5oz Remy Martin, .5oz Kahlua.
The "Godfather" Martini: 1.5oz Tommy Guns Vodka, .5oz Sambuca, Splash of Sweet Vermouth.
The "Untouchable" Hotshot: 1oz Tommy Guns Vodka, .25oz Lemoncello. Serve this shot with a wedge of lemon generously sprinkled with sugar; suck the lemon before doing the shot.
More Tommy Guns Martini Recipes (pdf)
Finishing Thoughts: All in all, we found Tommy Guns vodka to be much like its namesake - cool to the touch when you first pick it up, but smoky hot when it goes to work. This is one that's definitely worth getting your hands on, even if you don't spring for the machine gun-shaped novelty bottle. But like we told you before, that bottle is damned cool too.
Learn more at TommyGunsVodka.com.
Maine is known for its potatoes, and finally someone from Vacationland has come up with an idea for spuds we can really sink our teeth into.
Normally, we don't ask for much from our potatoes. Mashed, baked or french fried, we're pretty happy with them however they turn out. The Cold River Vodka company holds their tubers to a higher standard, however...they turn them into super-premium vodka.
The vodka, which will be on store shelves in a few weeks, is already starting to get local attention. We heard about it through the grapevine a few days ago, and they're already getting coverage.
After months of work, taste testers will help Maine Distilleries LLC decide this week on the final formula that will be on store shelves within a matter of weeks.
At $31.99-a-bottle, the company is aiming for the top of the shelf, and its founders are confident that their Cold River Vodka can compete with the world's best.
Learn more about Cold River Vodka at Boston.com
, or check them out at their Web site
October 17, 2005
Last week, we told you about the Coldpole flask ski pole. This week we're doing a snow dance because our poles arrived in the mail. It'll be a month or two before we can try them out on the slopes, but we had our staff skiing expert give them a once-over. On a side note, is it weird to drink out of a ski pole while you're still inside?
Model: We got the Black Diamond model, which is a step down from the Expert series but will save you $20. After unscrewing the grip, the inside of the poles still smells a bit pungent, but It smells like a problem easily solved with some soap and water. The Expert Series comes with a cleaning brush, and we'd recommend adding one to your order if you get the Black Diamond if you want to make sure the inside is pristine.
As a Ski Pole: One thing we were a bit concerned about was that these were going to be chintzy novelty poles, but as it says in the literature that accompanies them, "this is not a novelty pole - this is a high performance pole with a novelty feature." That about sums it up, too - they're solid, lightweight and strong. We're not sure we'd use them to run bumps all day or go in the backcountry, but they definitely seem like they'd hold up under normal use.
As a Flask: One nice thing is that the Coldpole folks thought of is to make the the actual nozzle you drink from out of plastic. They probably flirted with making it out of metal to make them stronger, but if you've ever had your flask freeze to your lips when it's 30 degrees outside, you know why we mention it.
We also double-checked to make sure it would be simple to re-cap, because you don't want to spend 10 minutes in the cold trying to get your ski pole grip lined up again. The grip is designed to re-align automatically, so when the cover is fully closed, the grip is lined up. Hot damn.
Overall: We're impressed with what we've seen of the Coldpole, and we'll do a full review once we're able to try them out. Somebody get on the horn with Mother Nature and let her know we need some snow in the Northeast, would you?
Learn more about the Black Diamond and Expert Series' at Coldpole.com.
80 Proof, Neutral Grain Black Vodka
Typical Price Around $20 - Buy it at Internet Wines & Spirits
Initial Thoughts: We have to admit, it was a bit disconcerting at first to drink black vodka. It kind of felt like opposite day, where up was down, Goths were cheerful and vodka was black instead of clear.
But we got over that quickly, and we were very impressed with Blavod Black Vodka. It has a pleasant nose, and while it's definitely got a bit of a bite, the aftertaste is spicy instead of the medicinal flavor you get with some vodkas. It was tasty on the rocks, but we enjoyed it most in mixed drinks, if for no other reason than the fact that they looked cool.
Cocktail Recipes: We tried a few recipes we found on the Blavod site, and we've included our two big favorites below:
Screwed-Up Screwdriver: Fill chimney glass with ice, pour in 3oz chilled tangerine juice, layer 3oz Blavod on top. Garnish with a licorice straw (optional).
Black Widow: Fill highball glass with ice, pour in 3oz chilled cranberry juice, layer 3oz Blavod on top.
Black Bull: Mix Red Bull or other energy drink with Blavod, serve on the rocks in a highball glass.
The Black Widow was our favorite, both because of the red-and-black look and the tartness and spice in the mouth. On thing to note is that while the layering looks extremely cool, having the vodka floating on top can make the taste overwhelming for less-experienced drinkers. We recommend serving these drinks with a straw or swizzle stick, so people can get the visual impact and then mix them up themselves.
You can also find a bunch of other recipes, including Ghosts in the Graveyard, the Black Cat and the Dim-Lit Gimlet. Most were more ingredient-intensive than we typically like, but many of them have cool holiday-related themes for your Halloween cocktail party. To find more black vodka recipes, go to the Blavod site and click on "In The Glass."
Finishing Thoughts: Overall, we were impressed with Blavod, both for the flavor and the look. It doesn't just rely on the ooh-aah factor of being a black vodka, and delivers on the tastebuds as well. We recommend it when you're mixing up a batch of Halloween drinks or just looking for something a bit different to impress your guests.
Think you've got the hand-eye-liver coordination it takes to be a world champion beer pong player? You can find out in January, but you have to act fast; the registration deadline is not far away.
Nope, we didn't know this existed either, but it sure does make a hell of a lot of sense. Beer pong is making a resurgence (or did it ever go away?), and it's been showing up on our radar all over the place, from the Bombed game to portable Bing Bong tables.
Before you even have time to recover from your New Year's hangover, the World Series of Beer Pong will be taking place in Nevada from January 2-6, 2006. This is the largest beer pong event in the country, and there will be 120 games being played at any given time, with over 120 kegs of beer involved. If that doesn't get your motor running, maybe the words "$10,000 Grand Prize" will do it for you? That's right, there are some pretty big stakes, but don't let the dollar signs in your eyes throw off your depth perception.
You'll have to pay for your own transportation and food, but the tournament rates are pretty reasonable - you'll pay $370 if you want a single room, or if you cram four people in your room you'll pay $230 apiece. This includes lodging for your four-night stay, tournament admission, free tournament beer and an all-you-can eat barbecue for each of the three days of the tournament. Does life get any better than that?
Learn more at the World Series of Beer Pong site. Or, get your beer pong balls out of your purse and sign up for the event, but don't hesitate; the registration period ends on November 1.
October 16, 2005
Get ready for Michael Collins whiskey, an irish whiskey created by the Cooley Distillery, Ireland's last remaining independent distillery.
Remember Sidney Frank, the liquor pimp we told you about a few weeks ago? He is the man responsible for importing our favorite nectar Jagermeister into the US, and we just got wind that he will soon be adding a new liquor to his portfolio. The newest booze? Michael Collins Whiskey, a tribute to the life of the Irish patriot, and the announcement coincides with Collins' birthday, October 16, 1890.
According to a British newspaper, Mr. Frank's decision to launch the whiskey was inspired by the movie about Collins' life.
Sidney Frank, the company’s founder, saw the movie and then read Tim Pat Coogan’s 1990 book, Michael Collins: A Biography. Coogan has been retained as an adviser for the launch. The company has trademarked the name. Einsidler said a percentage of sales would be paid to Collins’ descendents, to be given to a charity of their choice.
Read the full article at the Times Online
. Plus, learn more about Michael Collins
, and check out the Cooley whiskey
site for more information on this Irish distillery.
Or, if you don't feel like reading, buy the movieat Amazon.
A wise man once said, "One tequila, two tequila, three tequila, floor." Or maybe we read it on a t-shirt. Either way, we've rounded up information on various tequila types so your next purchase is an informed one.
Do you know someone who lives in abject fear of tequila? You mention the word and they go pale, shake their head frantically and stammer out that no, they're not interested because of a bad experience with it. That's because the American idea of tequila (and its bastard cousin, Mezcal) seems to be that it is only good for mixing up batches of margaritas, or for doing shots.
Not that there's anything wrong with licking, slamming or sucking, but not all tequila should be consumed so abundantly. Like wine and single-malt scotch, tequila tastes different depending on who makes it, the process used, and the growing environment of the Blue Agave (tequila's defining ingredient). We've rounded up information about the drink's history, as well as how to buy and taste it, plus we made some recommendations for bottles we like, in a variety of price ranges.
Continue reading: "Tequila Tasting 101"
October 15, 2005
Learn how to avoid a hangover, and what to do to feel better if you're already hung over.
There are very few things that are worse than a hangover. It's hard to tell which is more debilitating, the headache or the nausea. You keep asking yourself "How could I feel so good last night, and be so miserable this morning?" The best way to avoid a hangover is, obviously, to avoid drinking or drink responsibly, but some days that doesn't seem to be an option. Believe us, we know how you feel after last night's Screech rum debacle.
To help you (and us) through the battle with hangover demons, we found information at howstuffworks.com about what you can do before, during and after drinking to minimize the hangover impact. There were nine or ten pages of scientific gobbledygook about things like "vasopressin" and "congeners," but we were too hung over to read them so we just skipped to the overview.
Continue reading: "How To Beat The Hangover Blues"
October 14, 2005
Update: Liquor Snob recently posted a retraction to this Screech Rum review. Yes, we know it's been four years. We didn't want to be too hasty.
Regrettably, a couple weeks ago, we covered Newfoundland Screech Rum.
Tonight...we reviewed it. A few minutes ago...two of us finished the entire bottle.
Screech Rum may be from Newfoundland, but it tastes like Toronto with a Detroit chaser. And somehow...against all advice...we finished the bottle. Because once the cap comes off, you realize it should never go back on. It gets dumped in one of two places: your mouth or the sink.
Things Screech Rum doesn't mix with: Orange Juice, Cranberry, High Life, Tomato Soup (no joke - we hoped it would kill the taste).
Things Screech Rum mixes with: Nausea, Exuberance, Anger, Melancholy, Regret and Nausea.
Even the Quaffer couldn't help. We used it for the shots so we wouldn't have to pause for the chaser, but the stuff is deadly and it burns like napalm going down.
Kill Us. For the love of all that is holy...kill us.
We're thinking we should start calling ourselves "Vodka Snob," based on all the vodka we've been covering lately, but what can we say? We're finding some really cool stuff.
The latest bottle we've gotten our hands on is Tito's Handmade Vodka, the only spirit of its kind made deep in the heart of Texas. Now, we're pretty sure that's tequila country, but based on the reactions we're seeing from Texas and elsewhere, it's good stuff. We've been itching to give it a try since we first discovered Tito's, and the bottle is chilling in the Liquor Snob freezer as we write.
We'll do a full review as soon as we can, and until we do, you can learn more at the Tito's vodka site.
Booze briefcase offers portability and flexibility to all your drinking missions.
Y'know how cool it is in the movies, when they show an assassin put together a sniper rifle from random knick-knacks pulled out of an innocent-looking briefcase? We think it would be scads cooler if instead of nightvision scopes and bullets, he whipped out shot glasses and liquor bottles.
Now you can be that impressive liquor assassin with the Trav-L-Bar Briefcase Bar. Here are the vital statistics:
- Made of vinyl that looks like two-toned burgundy and black leather
- Holds 3 bottles (not included)
- Combination lock and gift box
- Includes 4 metal cups, serving tray, 3/4 X 1 1/2 oz. jigger and wood-handled opener
- Liquor bottles not included (duh)
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to pick up your own briefcase barfor under $50, and drink with extreme prejudice. Or, if this one doesn't fit your professional style, check for other bar accessoriesfrom Harvey's Easy Living at Amazon.
We love truth in advertising, and there's nothing that turns us off faster than a product sporting a wacky name with no relevance to the item in question. We think it's important to let people know what you're about instead of trying to dazzle them with BS. Take our site, for example...we like liquor and we're totally snobs about it.
We've discovered another interesting product recently, Paula's Texas Orange Liqueur, that seems to follow the same tenets. Let's break it down, shall we?
Paula's: Yep, there really is a Paula, and she got the idea for her product from the Lemoncellos she enjoyed while in Italy.
Texas: Sure thing - this stuff is made right in Austin, TX. Actually, we heard about Paula and her liqueur from her fellow Austinites over at Tito's Handmade Vodka.
Orange: According to Paula's site, "because it is made with only the best fresh oranges, it really tastes like oranges." Sounds like a good one to mix with Orange V if you want to set yourself up for a real orange-plosion.
Liqueur: One of Dictionary.com's listings for the word "liqueur" states the definition as "a usually sweetened alcoholic beverage variously flavored (as with fruit or aromatics)." Sounds like this stuff fits the bill, being made from oranges and clocking in at a hefty 80 proof.
Right now, this stuff is only available in Texas, but we'll do our best to get our hands on some for a review. You can check out the Paula's Texas Orange site for more information, and to find out where you can pick some up if you're in the area.
Don't be surprised if you start to hear the word "Michelada" a little more often. In a time when beer cocktails are starting to become more popular, the Michelada is a spicy version that is coming on strong from south of the border. Your basic Michelada is beer served with lime juice, assorted sweet-and-sour spices, chile pepper or Tabasco and ice, in a glass with a salted rim.
Sounds pretty tasty, and according to the Houston Chronicle you can expect to find pre-made versions and recipe mixes springing up soon all over the US. Or, read on if you want to mix up your own batch.
Continue reading: "Make Mine a Michelada"
October 13, 2005
Typical Price: $14.99 at the Bombed Store
We've been out of college for a while, and we'd almost forgotten how much fun beer pong (AKA Beirut) can be. Or, as they say up here in the Northeast, "Beer pong is wicked fun, dude," except "beer" would sound more like "bee-ah." But we're getting off the point, which is that we tested out the Bombed game this past weekend.
You should note that as we stated in earlier Bombed coverage, it specifically states on the box that the game is "Not intended for use with alcoholic beverages." That's why we have decided to swap all further references to the word "beer" in this review with the name of a certain world-reknowned pan flautist so we don't look like horrible drunks. We hope you'll understand.
We gathered up a couple interns (thanks, Sean and Kathleen) and had them set up the game according to the specifications in the rule sheet. We didn't have access to an actual Ping Pong table at the time, but we were able to set up on two card tables the specified distance apart. The Bombed game comes with two racks, 20 cups and 3 official balls, as well as a list of official and suggested rules.
The first thing we noticed was that the racks made it much easier to pour the Zamfir into the cups without spilling, and it offered a very quick set up. We were skeptical about the rack at first, especially when it was time to re-rack, but they didn't get in the way at all. Plus, as we expected, they were a life saver when the ball hit near the rim, because it kept the cup from tipping over and the Zamfir spillage to a minimum.
The biggest problem we had was that we're more used to sipping instead of chugging, but that was the only way to keep the game moving at a steady pace. Intern Sean, the consistent victor over the course of the evening, kept having to wipe the Zamfir out of his beard as it dribbled out of the corners of his mouth. C'est la vie.
Intern Kathleen was a little squeamish about fishing the ball out of the Zamfir and drinking it, especially after it had rolled under the table a few times. That's why the rinse cup was a life saver. Of course, after a few cups of Zamfir, the squeamishness seemed to evaporate anyway.
We also thought it was great to have the rules so readily accessible. There are a lot of regional and house rules in Zamfir pong, so every time we had a question we referred to the sheet. It was really nice to have them around so you could wave them under your opponent's nose if you were right...or slink back to your end of the table if you weren't.
We had a lot of fun with the game, and we wholeheartedly recommend it. For $15 bucks you can't go wrong, plus it makes a great gift for your favorite Zamfir pong player. You can pick up the game (along with a couple Bombed T-shirts...we're partial to the "Nice Rack" shirt) at GetBombed.com.
You can keep your SMS and your PSP and your iPod (unless it's got iPod Bartender installed that is). We've finally found an invention that actually DOES something. Introducing the Coldpole, the world's first ski pole with an inner reservoir.
We're sure you're thinking about all the hot chocolate and steaming soup you could keep in each pole's 8 oz. reservoir, but quit kidding yourself. If you've ever been skiing before you know this is the perfect vehicle to chill your booze for when you come off the mountain. Imagine - the end of the day, everybody's packing into the bar jostling for an overpriced drink.
Meanwhile, elsewhere in the lodge, you unscrew the handle on your ski pole and shake up the perfect martini. Think the ladies won't be flocking around your table?
Here's what the Coldpole folks have to say:
The Coldpole ski pole shaft is manufactured by a top U.S. ski pole manufacturer in your choice of Black Diamond Series or Expert Series. These shafts are lightweight, strong, and durable.
The secret is in the handle. It is designed to have the look, feel, and comfort of a typical ski-pole handle, but it opens to provide access to the natural storage capability of the pole.
During the manufacturing process, the pole reservoir is thoroughly cleaned before the handle and tip are attached, and while a thorough rinsing with soap and hot water is all that is needed for future cleaning, a cleaning brush is available.
The Expert Series comes in sizes 44"-52" and comes with a cleaning brush for $74.95. The Black Diamond Series comes in sizes 44"-54" and retails for $54.95. Both come with a plastic funnel for filling.
To learn more, and for ordering information, go to Coldpole.com.
-Special thanks go to The Snow Junkies for letting us know about these.
Even with the many late-night hookups their products have inspired over the years, it's hard to imagine the liquor industry as a very sexy beast. Sure, their counterparts in the beer world have known for a long time that you're more likely to sell your wares if someone in a bikini is waving it around, but liquor has taken a bit longer to catch on. Their ads have historically been more tasteful, product-oriented, subtle - if we're talking in sitcom terms, liquor is the Frasier to beer's Sam Malone.
But now that beer is slipping in popularity, it seems liquor companies are finally learning to aim their ads where they'll have the most effect. Not only are they running more effective campaigns, but according to an article at the Washington Post:
The ads these companies are running, too, have become considerably sexier and more youthful. And it's working.
"Because of the extensive marketing that's been done by a lot of these premium spirits brands, it's now quite cool and quite trendy to go for those kinds of long drinks," said John Michalik, North American director for the London-based beverage consulting firm Canadean Ltd.
The real test will be seeing if they end up going overboard and targeting the "extreme" youth culture and kids that are too young to drink. The last thing we need to see on TV is a guy jumping out of a plane strapped to a snowboard, chugging a bottle of Jack Daniels.
Read the full article at WashingtonPost.com.
October 12, 2005
On The House: The Bizarre Killing of Michael Malloy
Typical Price: $7.99 at Amazon
We've been sitting on our review of On The House for the last couple days, because we weren't quite sure what to say about it. That's not to say we didn't like it - we just needed a little while to catch our breath and process it.
On the one hand, the book's setup is true crime meets pure horror - a group of ruthless blackguards (always wanted to use that term) who want to kill an unsuspecting man who calls them friend, and make a buck off it. To do so, they feed him gallons of poisonous liquor and plates of food full of tin scraps. They run him over with a taxi cab. They douse him in water and leave him passed out in sub-zero temperatures. In a lot of ways, this is the stuff of which nightmares are made.
On the other hand, parts are pure comedy, because these guys are the bumblingest 'murder trust' we've ever heard of. The closest analogy we could come up with was 'Inspector Clouseau convinces the Three Stooges to help him murder The Tick.' No one can do anything right, and even when they come up with plans that should work, the title character's legendary constitution lets him shrug off all the damage like he's nigh invulnerable.
On the technical side, author Simon Read obviously did his research - he details the story down to its minutiae, and if it becomes convoluted on the page, you get the feeling that's only because he was slave to real events. This isn't fiction, where you can make your story as simple or broad as you want, and Read reports the facts. That being said, however, we found his writing to be most engaging when he moved away from the brutal truths.
The sections that really popped as we read it were the spots where Read stepped into the heads of his characters, reconstructing what they might have been thinking. For example, there is a sequence in the second chapter, where Mike Malloy wakes up with a hangover, that made us cringe with gut-twisting empathy, from his throbbing eyeballs to his lips "like two Polish sausages slapped together." We liked these forays away from cold facts, and relished them when we found them sprinkled through the book.
All in all, as the title suggests, this is not a book for everyone. If you're not interested in reading about people sinking to ridiculous criminality to make a few pennies off someone else's misery, stay away. Even the background details can be shocking and disturbing, like the blinding of a speakeasy owner with a handkerchief covered in "muck collected from a gonorrheic discharge." But all in all it is a shocking portrayal of the depths of the Depression, and the even deeper lows to which people can sink.
We found it well worth the read if you can stomach it, and while you might want to steady yourself with a drink or two beforehand, be warned: this is a book that will probably put you off the booze for a couple days.
On The House: The Bizarre Killing of Michael Malloyby Simon Read at Amazon.
Previously On Liquor Snob:
On The House Arrives for Review
Booze Books: On The House
Name: Orange V Vodka
Alcohol Content:76 Proof
Typical Price: Under $30 (750 ml bottle)
Most of the time when we try a flavored vodka, the taste falls into two categories. On one end of the spectrum, the vodka taste is overpowering while the flavoring is hidden away, waving to your tastebuds from a distance. On the other extreme, the vodka can be overpowered by the chemical flavoring of a convenience store popsicle. Not so with Orange V, an organic American vodka we recently discovered.
With Orange V, the citrus flavor is right out there in front, coating your tongue with an intense flavor of oranges. But we're not talking about the Tang of chemical orange flavors, either...this is the real stuff. We're talking Valencias, Mandarins and Tangerines; real Florida oranges and essential oils, making your palate stand up and take notice. To be honest, our reviewers either loved or hated the stuff - if you like your orange vodka to taste a whole lot like oranges, go get a bottle. If you like your orange vodka to taste more like vodka or the flavoring to be subtle, you may want to look elsewhere.
We're not saying the vodka is anything less than quality - it's a well-crafted, quadruple distilled spirit that happens to kick you in the tongue with citrus flavor. We enjoyed it chilled, and one reviewer swore up and down that the citrus taste was so pure they could taste the pith of the oranges after a sip. We also mixed it with fresh-squeezed orange juice to make the best Screwdriver we've had in years. It also tasted good, and developed a more delicate tinge, when we mixed it with mandarin orange-flavored seltzer water, on the rocks.
One thing we think is important to remember is that while it's important to test liquors under optimum conditions, there are a lot of vodkas that taste good when mixed with orange juice fresh out of the juicer. But it's also important to stress-test your booze too, to make sure it holds up under adverse conditions.
In a move that would probably make Orange V's creators cringe, we also mixed Orange V with Orangina, which hid some of the vodka's sweetness and made for a slightly more tart experience. We also mixed up a batch of Dumpster Juice, and we're happy to say Orange V held its own against some very sweet liqueurs.
All in all, Orange V was offered the most intense orange flavor we've had this side of a liqueur, without the added sugar. We recommend it both as a mixer in orange-based drinks, and on the rocks. We've also heard it makes Cosmopolitans sing, though we haven't had a chance to try them yet.
Rating: Four out of Five
Previously on Liquor Snob: Orange V Vodka Arrives for Review
We didn't need any new gussied-up beer ads to tell you that Miller High Life is the champagne of beers. We've been drinking it for years, savoring it more for the low price than for the taste. That's why we reported on High Life's new ad campaign last month with some trepidation...we had a feeling that it was going to focus a little too much attention on our undiscovered gem.
It turns out we were right...according to the Slate ad report card, people are digging the new campaign.
This spot is laughably formulaic. Its recipe for nostalgia includes a basket of familiar ingredients. 1) The sequence of iconic snapshots. 2) The wildly overused marimba theme from the film True Romance (which is itself derived from an older composition featured in Badlands). 3) The medley of vague, airy musings about savoring "the moments."
This voice-over script is a tribute to inanity. "These are the moments that matter. Sometimes I don't know what will come next. But then it does. Like it always does. It's you. Your life is made up of a history of moments. It's a scrapbook packed with the photos of your life." And on, and on.
But amazingly, I think the ad works. Simply because it looks like no other beer ad that's out right now.
The thing that made us most nervous was Slate's claim that "according to an industry expert I spoke with, is almost certainly to start charging more per case again for Miller High Life (or 'increase the pricing power,' as they say)." First it happened with PBR, now with the champagne of beers. If you need us, we'll be stocking up on the high life while we can still afford it.
You can download the TV ad spots at MillerHighLife.com, under "See My TV Moments."
October 11, 2005
We don't usually report on things from sources we don't recognize, but this story has a little bit of everything. Well, that's the case if you consider Jessic Biel and vodka to comprise "everything." We discovered the following via a site called Contact Music:
Actress JESSICA BIEL is desperate to introduce a new vodka drink she discovered while filming in Prague, Czech Republic, to America - because it's one of the best things she has ever tasted.
The sexy BLADE: TRINITY star tried her first Vodka Molester while she was shooting new film THE ILLUSIONIST this summer (05), and she's convinced it could become a bar staple in her native California.
She says, "It's a shot of vodka and a slice of orange and you take the orange and dip it on either side in coffee grinds and then you take the shot and you bite the orange.
"You get the instant rush of caffeine and sweet - it's a fantastic shot."
And, as for the name of the drink, Biel explains, "We were trying to come up with a great name and on set my friend started calling me Jess, and then Jester and then it ended up being Jester The Molester... It just rhymed."
We're not sure if this story has even a grain of truth, but come on...it contains the words "Jessica Biel" and "vodka molester." We're ready to go out and buy a bag of oranges and a can of coffee, and see if we can get ourselves arrested.
via Contact Music
Trying to get into the world of scotch, but scared off by the drink's hoity-toity image? Enter Monkey Shoulder, a blend of three scotch whiskys bottled in a small batch of bourbon casks. They're calling it a "triple-malt," and this drink seems specifically designed to be entry-level. We're not sure how widely available it will be, nor can we find American prices, but they had us at "Monkey Shoulder." Learn more at MonkeyShoulder.com.
Plus, if you want to bone up on scotch so you can do your kilt-wearing friends and family proud, take a look at the Instant Expert's Guide to Single Malt Scotch.
We found Monkey Shoulder via Luxist
We don't generally play a lot of roulette but when we do spin the wheel of fortune, we use the Passenger 57 method - always bet on black. We're not sure how effective it is, but it gives us a chance to scowl and swear like Wesley Snipes in the movie, and it keeps the croupiers entertained.
Now, you can develop your own ridiculous roulette betting system in the comfort of your own home with the Roulette Shot Game we discovered via productdose. Below are more details on the game, which we found at Amazon:
Bring Las Vegas home to your next party with the Roulette Shot Glass Game. This is a authentic working casino-style roulette wheel made of durable high impact plastic. It features an attractive, working 5-3/8 inch gold-tone wheel. The set comes with six shot glasses, each shot glass is labeled by number and color. When the ball lands on your number, you get to drink! A fun addition to any poker or casino party. Compact tabletop design. Spare ball and six shot glasses included.
You can get your own set of Roulette Shot Glasses
at Amazon, and start gambling for drinks. Plus, to learn another way to mix boozing and betting, check out our coverage of BetCRIS and George Bush
We're not usually big fans of drinks that come in stemmed glasses, but we do love martinis, the dirtier the better. Problem is, you need olive brine (the juice the little suckers float in) to make a good dirty martini, and if you make enough you're going to end up with bone-dry olives and no brine left. That's where our new friend Dirty Sue comes in.
Dirty Sue is twice-filtered olive brine that is bottled specifically for mixing drinks, so you don't have to use up an entire jar of olives to make your martini as dirty as you like. Plus, according to the folks at productdose who first tipped us off about Dirty Sue, the stuff "adds a really nice touch to a Bloody Mary, too, which makes it one more perfect reason to expand the bar." Not that we need any more reasons to expand the bar, but there you have it.
You can learn more (and see a glowing product endorsement from Northern Exposure's John Corbett) at the Dirty Sue Website.
October 10, 2005
We have to say, we were pretty excited when we first discovered Tommy Guns vodka. But now that our bottle has arrived for review, we've decided to act like the responsible, objective Web journalists that we are, and set that excitement aside.
Actually, who're we kidding? We've been chasing the interns around the office for the last 20 minutes now, pretending to shoot them and talking like gangsters. They're probably tired of pretending to die in a hail of gunfire, but what do we care? What good is having an intern if you can't make them re-enact scenes from The Untouchables?
A review will be coming soon, and don't forget to check out TommyGunsVodka.com for more gangster booze.
Please, don't be alarmed. There's nothing wrong with the color settings on your monitor. The vodka bottle you're seeing is completely black. Actually, it's not the bottle, it's the vodka itself. Yes, that's right...we've gotten our hands on a bottle of Blavod black vodka. It's black as night. Black as a goth kid's lipstick. Black as Johnny Cash's laundry basket.
Ever since we first discovered Blavod a couple weeks ago, we've been reading up on the stuff. According to a Bloomberg report we found, you can expect to see a lot more black vodka in your local bars and liquor stores, so you'll get a chance to try it out for yourself.
Blavod Black Vodka case sales increased approximately 137 percent in the July-September period, with U.S. sales jumping 284 percent and U.K. sales gaining more than 55 percent, the London- based company said in a Regulatory News Service statement today.
We'll be doing a review as soon as we can, and we'll let you know if it lives up to the hype. Plus, we'll give you some ideas for cocktail recipes that fit the new color scheme. Until then, you can learn more about Blavod at the Black Vodka
Apparently, the hottest tipple trend in Hollywood right now is to drink your booze like you did when you were little. Or, at least that's the case if you're sipping The Margarita King. We'd never heard about this pre-mixed bottled margarita before, but of course we're not usually on the Hollywood invite lists.
Apparently, The Margarita King is "the first gold medal winning margarita in a bottle." It does sound tasty, with a blend of "premium double-distilled blue agave tequila, orange liqueur, lemon and lime juices and sugar cane." The real hook, however, is that you can have it served in a baby bottle if you say “King me, baby!” to a bartender in the know, or one of their "King Me Babes."
The Margarita King press release ticks off a "partial list" of the Hollywood A-Listers who have been seen around town sucking on a glass (or rubber nipple) of The Margarita King. We've included it below:
Jamie Foxx, Colin Farrell, Usher, Beyonce Knowles, Sting, Gwen Stefani, Pink, Nelly, Chris Rock, Lil’Kim, Lil’Jon, Snoop Dogg, Jay Z, The Donnas. Jessica Simpson, Nick Lachey, Paris Hilton, Nicole Ritchie, Andy Dick, Outkast, Black Eyed Peas, Jessica Alba, Paula Abdul, Forrest Whittaker, Cedric the Entertainer, Babyface, Tyra Banks. Rene Russo, Queer Eye Fab 5, Cold Play, Christina Aguilara, Britney Spears, Ellen de Generes, Adam Sandler, Jenna Jameson, Carmen Electra, Pamela Anderson. Terry Hatcher, Eva Longharia. William Shatner, Leonardo DiCaprio, Martin Scorcese, Enrique Iglesias, Charlize Theron, Keanu Reeves, Stevie Wonder, 50 Cent, Linkin Park, Run DMC, Tom Cruise, Cuba Gooding, Jimmy Fallon, Maroon 5, Green Day, Lindsay Lohann, Randy Jackson, Annette Bening, Glenn Close, etc.
What, no mention of Jaleel White? We found his photo on the website, and we think booze in baby bottles makes for real Family Matters. Hell, if we made booze that Urkel would drink in public, it'd be the center of our ad campaign.
You can find more info at The Margarita King site, and find it at a bar or liquor store near you, so you can drink like a star. But remember: Always suckle at the tequila teat responsibly.
October 9, 2005
There are a few movie scenes that are truly classic - the goodbye at the end of Casablanca, the wedding sequence in the Godfather, the destruction of the Death Star in Star Wars. And then there are some movie scenes that are indelibly burned on the retinas of men everywhere - the train scene in Risky Business, the threesome in Wild Things, the fridge scene in 9½ weeks.
But one of the biggest cultural icons among sexy movies scenes has to be the interview scene with Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct. Even now, 13 years later, you can mention that movie to nearly anyone, and they will know exactly what scene you're talking about. William Lawson's Scotch is betting on this with the release of their new TV ad called "Scottish Instinct."
In the video, Stone and a companion are in the lobby of a swanky hotel, and a young scotsman in a kilt sits down across from them. What happens next is a tongue-in-cheek rendition of Stone's most famous scene, which you can watch here at IFILM.
We don't know much about William Lawson...we know they're owned by Bacardi, they're a blended scotch, and they're starting a funny advertising campaign, but that's about it. You can learn a bit more about William Lawson's scotch right here, at their refreshingly low-tech site. Most booze sites are very Flash-heavy, and their is good old HTML...they must have used up all their Flash with that Scottish guy's kilt. Ba-dum-bum.
We've been hearing a lot about the new spate of alcoholic energy drinks that are hitting the market, and we've been curious for a while. We've been fans of the old "mixing liquor with Red Bull" trick for a while, and new products like Anheuser Busch's B to the E (or B^E as the cool kids write it) and Sparks are hopping on the bandwagon for a little while now.
We hadn't tried any of the combo drinks, and the original point of this story was to do a comparative test of a few different kinds. The problem was, we couldn't bring ourselves to buy something called Bud to the Extreme, and the only other kind of alcoholic energy drink we could find was Tilt, also made by Anheuser Busch. We picked up a can of Tilt, and read the label which said the drink was a "premium malt beverage with caffeine, ginseng and guarana extracts, natural flavors and certified color." Certified color? What the hell does that mean? We shrugged and bought the can hoping for the best.
The best is not exactly the word for it. Where we were expecting something light and crisp along the lines of Red Bull and vodka, or our new favorite Red Bull and Tuaca, Tilt is sickly sweet and syrupy, with an oddly disturbing beer taste on the back end. In fact, it tasted like someone left an open can of Budweiser out in the sun for a few days, then stirred in a packet of Kool-Aid.
Anheuser is marketing Tilt as a happy hour drink, something you would drink right after work before a night of going out. And it will probably do well with young hipsters who want a rush from their beer...this stuff has 6 percent alcohol, more than beer, and more caffeine in it than Mountain Dew, another EXTREME beverage. Plus, in Tilt's defense, we have a friend who claims to really like it a lot, although what does he know? He just sits around and drinks coffee all day.
Rating:Two out of Five
Learn more about Tilt, B^E and Sparks at their respective sites.
It's happened to all of us before...you set down your drink at a crowded party, and the next thing you know it's lost in a sea drink doppelgangers. You never have to wander around, holding drinks up to the light to figure out which one is yours again with the Litecube, a dazzling invention that will turn your booze into a beacon from the inside. Here's what we found out about these glowing ice cubes:
Litecubes are made of non-toxic, FDA-approved plastic and contain a gel that allows it to be frozen to help keep beverages cold. Simply pressing the button on the Litecube once makes it strobe, press it twice and it strobes faster, and a third time and the cube will stay lit all the time. Because the Litecube is re-freezable and when used intermittently its battery lasts for dozens of hours. Unlike the single-use "glow sticks" that are popular these days at concerts and parties, the Litecube can be turned off and then reused time and again.
The Litecube comes in a variety of colors; red, orange, blue, green, yellow and orange. You can learn more or get three assorted Litecubes for $11.99 at beWild.com
October 8, 2005
We just got in a review bottle of Orange V Vodka, a relatively new addition to the flavored vodka market. A couple things that make it stand out are the fact that they only use organic grain, and they use essential oils from three kinds of Florida oranges - mandarin, valencia and tangerine - to kick things up in the flavor department.
We're interested in these guys because they're the David in a market full of Goliaths...huge companies with names like Absolut, Gray Goose and Stoli. We'll be doing a full review of Orange V as soon as we can, and we'll see how organic ingredients and triple orange flavor measure up to some of the big guys.
Learn more about Orange V vodka at their site.
We got our review copy of the Bombed Beirut game in the mail yesterday, and we'll be reviewing it this weekend. As we reported earlier this week, the Bombed game package comes with two racks, enough cups to play and 3 balls. There are also
One thing we thought was interesting when we got the package out of the shipping box is that at the bottom of the box, in fine print, it says "Not intended for use with alcoholic beverages." We guess that means we'll have to do our review with refreshing fruit juice, or maybe some Coors Cutter non-alcoholic beer. Actually, we may bend the rules a bit and play with beer...don't tell on us.
Learn more about the game at GetBombed.com.
October 7, 2005
A couple weeks ago, we wrote a story called "Bush Drinking Again? Wanna Bet?" The long and shot of it was that recently the Enquirer broke a story saying Bush was hitting the bottle again in the wake of stressful current events. Shortly after, a betting site called BetCRIS put out a press release saying they were putting odds on whether it was really true, along with some other interesting betting (like Bush becoming a Muslim, for example).
It was a blatant publicity move, but we liked the cut of their jib. And we were also curious whether anyone was actually betting on our fearless leader falling off the wagon. So, we went to their site and chatted with one of their customer service reps about it, and learned...nothing. They had no idea. So we emailed the BetCRIS marketing department about it, but a week later we haven't heard back.
We don't think anyone is actually betting on it, but we have a question for our readers. If George Bush is drinking again, what kind of libation would you mix up for him if you got a chance? Gin and Tonic? Rum and Coke? We recommend a Hurricane...you'll find the recipe below.
Continue reading: "Betting on Bush Drinking Again"
We know we've been covering a lot of vodka lately, but we were in the liquor store today and the clerk found out about Liquor Snob and what we do, and would not stop gushing about this vodka we'd never heard of. At first, we were skeptical, because the words "vodka" and "they make it in Texas" escaped his lips. But, snobs we may be, we're always open to hear about a new entrant in our spirits world.
The drink that had our liquor purveyor in such a tizzy was Tito's Handmade Vodka, and he was right...it's made in the Lone Star State. In Austin, to be exact. Last we checked, that's about as far from traditional vodka territory as you can get. But the more of Tito's story we read, the more we're convinced...it just might be as good as people say.
Continue reading: "Show Us Your Tito's"
October 6, 2005
You'll have to forgive us if things are a little blacked out here at Liquor Snob over the next couple days, because this is apparently the week of Beer Pong. Yesterday, we covered the Bing Bong portable beer pong table; today, it's a Beirut system called Bombed.
We should mention that earlier, we mistakenly said said Beer Pong and Beirut were the same game. A couple notes from irate readers later and we're properly chastised...apparently, beer pong is played with paddles, and in Beirut you toss the ball at the cup. If that's the case, we play Beirut and have been calling it the wrong name for years. Consider it noted.
Bombed is a Beirut (or Beer Pong...take that, irate readers!) game system that lets you rack up the cups, just like you would in pool. Each tray has slots specifically designed for keg cups, allowing you to fill the cups easily and create that beer-amid we know so well from our college days. Plus, it looks like it'll minimize the cup knockovers that happen when you hit the cup near the rim, cutting down on beer wasteage. Fun AND economical!
The Bombed system includes 2 racks, 3 balls, 20 cups, 2 wash cups and official rules, for $14.99. Wait a second...wash cups? Whatever happened to the way we used to play, where you drank the beer, grit and dust balls and all? Oh well, you can't stop progress. One thing it doesn't come with is a table, so you'll have to supply your own, or become a true juggernaut by combining this system with Bing Bong.
We've got a Bombed game on its way to the Liquor Snob offices, so we'll try it out and keep you posted. That's right...we'll play hours and hours of Beer Pong and Beirut, testing our limits and the game's, because we care about you, the reader.
Learn more and Get Bombed at their website.
We're all about the witty t-shirts here in the Liquor Snob offices, because they allow us to be funny without having to do any work. Our favorite new tee is the Beethoven's Fifth shirt from Busted Tees, which we discovered thanks to our friends over at Shirt Snob. Not only is it funny, it's brand new, so you can be the first on your block to own one. Plus, it's $18, which is less than a lot of fifths you'll get your hands on.
But don't take our word for it...we're experts on tipples, not t-shirts. Head on over to Shirt Snob and learn from the experts.
October 5, 2005
We just got in our review copy of On The House: The Bizarre Killing of Michael Malloy, by Simon Read, which we covered recently. That's what we love about these InterNets...you say you want something one day, and the next it's on your desk, face down in a puddle of spilled booze.
We can't wait to give it a read, for all the liquor-soaked reasons we told you about, plus there's already a review on Amazon calling the book "dark comedy at its best" and comparing it to the Coen brothers films. We'll read up and let you know if the comparison holds true.
While you wait for the full review, you can learn more about the book and buy it at Amazon.comfor $7.99. As if a tawdry tale of drunken nights and attempted murder wasn't enough to make you want to pick it up, it's also eligible for Super Saver Shipping! Hooray!
Description: Shot glass with built-in chaser
Typical Price: $7.99 for one; Best Deal is $24.99 for a Quaffer Sampler Pack (2 Glass Quaffers, 2 Plastic Quaffers, 2 Beer Quaffers, 2 Pour Spouts, 2 Recipe Cards, and 2 Stickers), or get your Quaffersat Amazon.
If you'd asked us two weeks ago, we would have said our current shot technology was just fine. You take the shot, then use your other hand to bring the chaser to your mouth. We were young then, naive. We hadn't tried the Quaffer shot glass.
As we said in our earlier Quaffer coverage - the premise is so simple, we can't believe we didn't think of it. A quick and easy way to layer a shot, combining the shot and chaser into one glass. Genius, right?.
Our initial foray into the world of the Quaffer was with Jim Beam and ginger ale. We filled the lower chamber with ginger ale, affixed the special pouring spout that comes with the Quaffer sampler pack to the bottle of Beam, and layered it on top. The process was quick, easy and mess-free, and we went from unwrapping the glass to drinking the shot in about 30 seconds.
The only problem we had during our test was that we were a bit exuberant. Expecting to have to slam it back like a normal shot, we suspended the Quaffer vertically and the liquid had a tough time getting through the narrow bottle neck in the middle. We had more luck when we kept the glass at more of a 45 degree angle instead of 90 degrees, and had no more troubles with booze squirting out the corners of our mouths. Take it from us, it'll be much easier if you're relaxed while you drink, instead of trying to slam it down.
We'll keep you posted when we get a chance to try out the beer Quaffer...it's basically a bigger version of the glass, designed for drinks like Car Bombs. We can only guess it will reduce the overall mess over those kinds of drinks, because you don't have to drop the shot glass into the beer. We've ended up with Guinness and Bailey's lining the walls of our offices by doing that shot the traditional way, so we welcome the change. (On another note, we recommend being careful when you order this one out in bars...it's a great drink with a harsh name, and we've seen an Irish bartender completely refuse someone service after he ordered one, because she was so offended. That's why the beer Quaffer will come in handy...you can whip them up in the privacy of your own home.)
Rating: Four and a half out of Five
Shop for Quaffers here...
shipping is free. [Edit: Looks like the packages we found are no longer available; hit the link above to find the right Quaffer package for you.]
October 4, 2005
We got a mysterious email over the weekend, one that made us sit up and take notice. As we sat and blinked at our screen, a few words jumped out at us: "Murder Trust," "poisoned oysters" and "syphilitic speakeasy owner." For a nervous moment, we thought it was a veiled threat from someone we'd offended the night before while still in the clutches of the shiny demon known as Jagermeister.
Once we cleared the mental cobwebs, we realized that the sender, identifying himself only as the "Night Editor," was telling us about a new book, called "On the House: The Bizarre Killing of Michael Malloy." Knowing we weren't in any immediate danger, we read on and were immediately interested. The book, written by Simon Read, chronicles shady dealings and attempted murder that took place back in the Depression.
We didn't need much coaxing...syphilis, poisoned shellfish and booze, all in the same book? Sounds like the goings-on in the Liquor Snob offices. You know we'll be getting a copy. See what the Night Editor had to say about On the House below:
It's grisly. It's gritty. It's gory. It's guzzly. It's a cult classic in the making. "On The House: The Bizarre Killing of Michael Malloy" is the true story of a Depression-era drunkard who thwarted numerous attempts on his life. All except the last one, of course.
It would be called "the most grotesque chain of events in New York criminal history." Michael Malloy was a drunk stumbling through life in a whiskey haze. His fellow barflies saw something else, though -- a chance to get rich quick.
A gang dubbed the Murder Trust took out several life insurance policies on Malloy and then set about to kill him. That was no easy task. The perpetrators -- including a crooked undertaker, a syphilitic speakeasy owner, a psychotic cabbie -- plied Malloy with bad booze, rounds of wood alcohol, poisoned oysters and tainted sardines. They tried to freeze him in the bitter Depression winter of 1933. They tried to run him down with a cab. But Malloy kept coming back for more drinks on the house.
Eventually -- miraculously -- the Murder Trust got their man. But the plot unraveled and the case turned the sadly oblivious victim into a headline-making symbol of Depression-era resilience. Meanwhile, the plotters actually sang on their way to execution at Sing Sing prison.
Michael Malloy inspired a hit song by the group "Primus." He came alive on the 1950's series "Gangbusters." Now, his story is recorded in print. "On the House: The Bizarre Killing of Michael Malloy" will keep readers flipping pages well into the night.
On the House is being released today in paperback. You can buy it at Amazon
for eight bucks, plus you can get your hands on Frizzle Fry, the Primus album mentioned above, here
Plus, learn more about the book at the author's web site: www.simon-read.com.
One problem we've always had with beer pong (or Beirut, as some call it) is that it's hard to find a good place to play. Outside of frat houses and the Liquor Snob offices, there are very few places with a ping pong table available for use, and even fewer places that will let you spill beer all over them. Trying to build a table never works either, because you never think of it until you're already half in the bag, and it never comes out level or playable, if you ever get anything put together at all.
The Bing Bong portable beer pong table seems to be the solution to all our problems. It's a lightweight aluminum folding table that weighs 20 pounds and wraps up into its own carrying case. It's got extendable, locking legs, and it looks sturdy enough to handle even the roughest bumping from a drunken competitor. Plus, the Bing Bong table offers a waterproof surface to avoid damage from spills (not that those ever happen in beer pong), and you can check out their printable PDF of suggested rules, so you'll never have to argue about what happens to the losing team.
It retails for $149, which is a great deal, especially if you play a lot or can get a couple people to chip in. Learn more and get your own at the Bing Bong Tables site.
October 3, 2005
Name: Tuaca Liquore Italiano
Brandy-based liqueur, infused with citrus and spices
Alcohol Content:70 Proof
Typical Price: $20-$25 (750 ml bottle) - Buy it at Internet Wines & Spirits
We should start this review off by saying we don't usually like flavored liquors. They're generally too sweet, and leave a cloying aftertaste that overpowers their mixers. That being said, we were very, very impressed with Tuaca. It is a bit sweet, but not ridiculously so, and the citrus and spices served each mixer we tried differently, bringing out a variety of tastes.
We chilled our bottle in the freezer before the review, and our first taste was neat, in a shot glass. The taste was mellow and fairly complex, and while it's not something we would normally drink straight, we liked it. We didn't really find Tuaca to be a shooting liquor either, or at least not straight...we liked it in a slower, sipping-oriented way.
Next, we cued up a Tuaca Blaster, a combination of a shot of Tuaca and Red Bull (pictured, in a layered shot glass). We liked this a whole lot better than your traditional Red Bull and vodka, because the citrus undertones of the Tuaca covered up the Red Bull's medicinal taste and gave the whole drink a great flavor.
Our third and final test drink was a shot of Tuaca mixed with coke, which also impressed us. It was a little bit sweeter than your typical rum and coke, and overall it tasted like a vanilla coke with a twist of lemon. Tuaca's alcoholic taste was understated, and we could imagine ourselves sitting on a porch somewhere at sunset, sipping it and feeling the day's cares drain away.
Some other cocktail suggestions include the Tuscan Mule (Tuaca and ginger beer, garnished with lime), Tuaca Hot Apple Pie (mix it with hot apple cider and garnish it with a cinnamon stick), or even a splash of the liqueur in coffee. Find more Tuaca recipes at the the liqueur's site, and let us know if you have any other suggestions.
Overall, we liked it, and we liked it a lot. While it's not something we would typically think to keep around the Liquor Snob offices, our liquor cabinet will now be considered lacking if it doesn't contain a bottle.
Rating: Four out of Five
Previously on Liquor Snob: Tuaca Liqueur: Support Your Local Bartender
October 2, 2005
Ever wish you could drink vodka out of a bottle shaped like a gun? No? Well, you should think about it, because we've stumbled across two brands you can set your sites on - Vodka Kalashnikov and Tommy Guns Vodka. We've rounded up the relevant information for you below, and there's part of us that's a little disappointed that neither one is marketed as "the vodka that will blow you away."
This stuff comes in a bottle shaped like an AK-47, the famous Russian machine gun. According to their site, VodkaKalashnikov.com, "Vodka Kalashnikov is based on a select recipe approved by Mikhail T. Kalashnikov, designer of the AK-47 Rifle. It was the first vodka ever to be created by combining salt, sugar, vanillin and glycerin." We're not sure how all those ingredients will affect the taste, but who are we to argue with a guy who invented a machine gun?
Apparently they're not just relying on the cool bottling and name recognition, either...they've won quite a few awards in Russia, which is saying a lot because the Russians take their vodka very seriously. Plus, if you decide to grab a bottle, each one comes with a carrying strap and engraved dog tags.
Tommy Guns Vodka
From Russia to the Roaring '20s, Tommy Guns Vodka is a Polish vodka that comes in a bottle shaped, appropriately enough, like a tommy gun. The folks who make it also make a bunch of other prohibition-themed booze, including Speakeasy Scotch, Bootleg Bourbon, Bathtub Gin and a variety of beers. This stuff is apparently very tasty as well, but it's currently only available in limited areas - though you could probably get your hands on a bottle online.
According to Strange New Products, where we found out about Tommy Guns Vodka, "The gun shaped vodka product actually began selling as early as January of 2005, but only locally in the DeKalb and Sycamore areas of Illinois. Since then it has been selling in 5 states, 6 countries, and all Army and Air Force bases. The company plans to roll it out nationwide by 2008." We can't wait to get our hands on some and pull the trigger! Learn more about Tommy Guns Vodka at TommyGunsVodka.com.
This has been a crazy month for Liquor Snob, what with the fact that we launched this month, and all. The whole thing feels like a month-long bender with no hangover involved.
We've discovered all sorts of cool new bar accessories, from the Quaffer, a shot glass with a built-in chaser, to IceOlate drink coolers and the Gray Kangaroo liquor filter, an amazing contraption that acts as a Brita filter for booze. Plus, we also discovered all sorts of great clothes to open bottles on, including belt buckles, Reef sandals and rings.
On the page we found some great books to curl up and read with a drink, including The Modern Drunkard, as well as two scotch-related treatises, Scotch Whisky: A Liquid History, and the The Instant Expert's Guide to Single Malt Scotch.
We also found an Alcohawk keychain breathalyzer, to keep you out of trouble after a night on the town. Also on the technology front, we were impressed with the iPod Bartender, a brilliant new email-enabled beer coaster, and Kegbot, which isn't really a product, but we think it's the coolest beer-serving contraption out there.
We've also dug up all sorts of cool liquors for you to check out, including Tuaca, an Italian brandy-based liqueur, and Newfoundland's Screech Rum, a hearty liquor that'll make you yell for mercy. It was also a big month in the vodka world, with the announcement of hip Dutch newcomer Bong Vodka coming to the states in November, the slightly less-hip introduction of Ed McMahon Perfect Vodka, and our discovery of Blavod, the world's only black vodka (that we know about). We also stumbled across 3 Vodka, a soy-based spirits that's finally taking soy away from the hippies.
On the news front, we found out this month that people are betting on whether George Bush is drinking again, and we also heard that wine is beating beer as the most-loved adult beverage. We also discovered at Tuaca liqueur has relaunched its website, and is offering an interesting "thank you" to the bartenders of the world.
If you want to wet your whistle into October, we also found some great drink recipes, including beer cocktails, recipes to help you hold onto summer, and our favorite of the month, Dumpster Juice.
Plus, don't forget to add us to your My Yahoo or Google Personalized page, or to Bloglines so you get updated right away whenever we post. We wish you a good buzz tonight and no consequences tomorrow.
October 1, 2005
Last week, we told you about the Quaffer, an interesting shot glass with a built-in chaser. We were so fired up to do a review we had some shipped right out to us. Our Quaffer sampler pack has just arrived in the mail, so we'll be reviewing it as soon as we can.
The sampler pack includes two glass Quaffers, two plastic Quaffers, two beer Quaffers, two pouring spouts, stickers and instructions. We can't see a down side to getting the shot and the chaser all wrapped up as one, so we're definitely looking forward to this review.
If you can't wait for our two cents, pick up your own Quaffer sampler and let us know what you think.
Update: Two minutes after posting this story, we realized that with all these cool shot glasses staring at us, we weren't going to wait to try them out. We did one with ginger beer and Jim Beam, and it worked like a charm - the layering was easy and so was the gulping. A more thorough review will follow, but we just had to let you know.
In the Liquor Snob offices, the word "soy" conjures up pictures of crusty hippies in wool socks and Birkenstocks, snacking on tofu and jamming out to the Dead. Or at least, it did, until we discovered 3 Vodka, which claims to be "the only vodka in the world made smooth from soy."
We don't know if that means they're the only soy vodka in the world, or if all other soy vodkas are made rough from soy, but we're intrigued. Apparently so are others, because they've got celebrity pictures out the wazoo at the 3 Vodka site. Usher AND one of the Queer Eye guys? Be still our hearts.
Oh, and apparently it's low-carb and Atkins-friendly too, so we won't have to worry about adding to our already-expansive waistlines. So we've got that going for us, which is nice.
Earlier this week, we covered the PerfectDraft, a home draft beer system. This week, we heard that Heineken is suing PerfectDraft manufacturer InBev, for infringement of "intellectual property rights."
Apparently, Heineken is in a tizzy about the similarity of PerfectDraft to its own product, the Beertender. We don't know what intellectual property is, but we know we can get behind the idea of draft beer at home. We'll be monitoring this case to see how it works out, but all we can say is "Can't we all just get along?" We don't know who invented it first, but we don't really care. Our question is when we're going to be able to get one of these systems here in the states - currently they're only available in Europe.
Learn more about PerfectDraft, and compare it to the Heineken Beertender, and then somebody let us know when we can get our hands on either system.
Read more about the the lawsuit at Forbes.com.