November 30, 2005
The Donald is making the vodka. Yes, you heard right, even though we never thought we'd see the day where Mr. Trump would stoop to shamelessly attaching his name to a consumer product willy nilly, but apparently that day has come. Prepare your pedestrian taste buds for Trump: The World's Finest Super Premium Vodka...at least he's not letting it go to his head.
Trump isn't the first celebrity to dabble in high-end spirits - we've already covered Willie Nelson's whiskey and Ed McMahon's vodka - and we're sure he won't be the last. And hell, who says it isn't time for more celebrities to throw their weight around for the booze industry? We've already seen that chick from Sex and the City shilling for low calorie rum, and Billy Dee Williams was the MAN when he used to sell Colt 45.
Learn more about The Donald's vodka plans at the Globe and Mail.
November 30, 2005
You asked, and we listened. Just in time for the holidays, we bring you the Liquor Snob Intern t-shirt. The best of all worlds...you can wear the flashy t-shirt and be the envy of your friends, without having to take all the abuse we heap on our real staff. The shirt, available at Cafe Press, is made of white cotton and comes in all sizes from Kids' Small to 4X-Large for only $14.99.
We picked the shirt we did because it's affordable for when you buy them as gifts for everyone you know, but this isn't some cheap shirt that's going to fall apart the first time you wash it. According to the Cafe Press site, this is the most comfortable t-shirt ever - "Our 100% cotton, Hanes Authentic Tagless T-Shirt is preshrunk, durable and guaranteed." That's right, it's tagless so you won't have that itchy little bugger tickling your neck when you tip your head back to take a drink. How's that for foresight?
We've set up a whole Liquor Snob store over at Cafe Press, so you can trust the quality of the goods and the guarantee of good service. Currently, the only products in there are the Intern shirt and a very cool Liquor Snob hoodie are in there (the hoodie runs for $27.99 and is great for keeping warm when you "fall asleep" on the way home from the bars...and we should know). We'll add more products as time passes and inspiration strikes, but we wanted to at least get the store started before the holidays.
All we can say is if you buy Liquor Snob gear for yourself and all your friends this year, you're guaranteed to be the best-dressed drunks in your town.*
Update - December 8 is the deadline for the cheapest shipping option...make sure to order before then if you want to save on shipping.
* - If you want confirmation, just send us a picture of you and your friends in your shirts...if yours is chosen we'll post it and tell the whole Internet how handsome you are.
November 30, 2005
Vital Stats: 100 proof corn whiskey
Typical Price: Less than $15 for 750ml - Buy it at Internet Wines & Spirits
Slogan: Less than 30 days old
Initial Thoughts: We made some bold claims about whiskey alternatives this week, but we're not afraid to come right out and say that for a brief moment, we were afraid we weren't tough enough to drink Georgia Moon whiskey. "Bottled" in a Mason jar, this stuff is supposed to be reminiscent of moonshine (AKA corn likker, AKA white lightning, AKA white dog, AKA liver varnish), and it does a good job. Other snobs who expect their whiskey to be aged might have turned up their nose upon seeing the "less than 30 days old label" - we were excited to try some fresh whiskey.
Georgia Moon is clear, and upon twisting off the cap we were hit with the potent tang of sour liquor, followed by the smell of sweet corn. We took our first belts directly out of the Mason jar, as nature intended, and found that the taste was a bit sour too, especially in comparison with the sweetness of bourbon and other American whiskeys. It wasn't unpleasant, however, and we found ourselves swishing it around in our mouths and marveling at the straightforward and simple taste once we got used to it. For a crew used to searching for complexity in our booze, the simplicity of Georgia Moon was, well, intoxicating. That and the fiery 100 proof trail it blazed down our gullets, of course.
Cocktail Recipes: We actually didn't mix any recipes with Georgia Moon. We just joked about putting on some overalls, slugged it out of the jar and reminisced about that old Bugs Bunny cartoon with the feuding hillbillies. When we searched the InterWeb to find drink recipes, we couldn't find any, but we did learn that the episode we were thinking of was called Hillbilly Hare.
Finishing Thoughts: Corn whiskey isn't something we'd normally think of when browsing in the liquor store, but it's definitely a unique drink. We're glad we tried it, and while it might not go into our regular rotation, for the price it's worth it to have the jar around as a conversation piece alone. We recommend Georgia Moon for late nights when your still is broken, romantic evenings with your shotgun bride and those not-so-rare evenings when you feel like drinking out of a wide-mouthed jar.
Georgia Moon is part of the corn whiskey family distributed by Heaven Hill - the other labels include Mellow Corn, Dixie Dew and J.W. Corn. Learn more about Heaven Hill's "Other Whiskeys" at their website.
November 30, 2005
Remember Kegbot, the Linux-enabled kegerator we told you about back in September? Looks like it's finally starting to hit the big time, because we saw write-ups all over the Web this week. Guess people are starting to see what we've known all along - there's always room for a robotic kegerator. It does seem to be a sticking point for some that if Kegbot decides you've had too much to drink, it will shut you off, but that reeks of an optional feature.
Here's the write-up from Popular Science:
Since the first brew fan installed a tap on the spare fridge and stuffed a keg inside, one question has been paramount: "Who's been drinking all the beer?"
Mike Wakerly's keg fridge will tell you. It'll also estimate the drinker's blood alcohol level and post it to a Web page; log his consumption for the night, week or month (and cut him off if you like); and keep track of his tab. The Kegbot can even send you a text message when the beer supply runs low.
Wakerly, a software engineer, got the idea during a spell of unemployment just before grad school. He built a microcontroller that directs a valve and a flow meter, and spliced both into the tap line of an everyday keg fridge. Then he wrote custom software for an attached Linux computer that can look up drinkers in a database and post their pour total to the Web.
Bitchin'. Oh, and for the record we're pretty sure this is the same Kegbot we reported on before, but "version 2.0" just sounded cool. Plus, they've enabled two new 'bots since we first reported...a cheap, mass-produced commercial version can't be far behind, right?
See the full write-up from PopSci, and check out the kegbot site.
November 29, 2005
Remember way back when, we told you about Bong Vodka and the fact that there were going to be some release parties in December to celebrate its arrival in the States? Well, December is almost here, and said parties are underway in Miami this weekend.
If you're going to be in the Miami area, take time out of your hectic schedule of retracing the footsteps of the Golden Girls to check it out. What could be better? Vodka in a bong, Red Bull, and according to the flyer (the image to the right), Bong Vodka girls chasing Evilgoose.
Wait, what's Evilgoose? Sounds like someone's been hitting the vodka bong a bit too hard maybe. Anyway, looks like Bong Vodka is a hit (wink wink). Here's the party schedule and information we found via Bong Vodka's profile at MySpace:
Thursday, December 1
--Pawn Shop Midnight - Close
Friday, December 2
--Official Launch Party at Mansion
Saturday, December 3
--Bong Pool Party at Al Capone Estate- Bong Red Bull Party
Saturday, December 3
--Design 05 Street Party- Diasporavibe Gallery
You can also check the Bong Vodka MySpace profile
for a list of liquor stores where it will be available, become friends with the vodka and more. Plus, go to the Bong Vodka site
to sign up for the newsletter and more.
A lot of the time when you hear about whiskey, people are talking about Bourbon or Scotch. There are obviously other popular types, including Canadian and Irish, but these major four types aren't your only options if you're looking for a full whiskey experience. We're huge bourbon fans here at Liquor Snob, but we've rounded up some bottles of corn, rye and wheat whiskey, and we'll be doing reviews soon.
According to the definition we found here, bourbon whiskey is "a distinctive product of the United States made from a fermented mash containing at least 51 percent corn, distilled at no more than 160 proof, aged at no more than 125 proof for at least two years in new charred oak barrels, and bottled at no less than 80 proof." Phew. We didn't know all that...we like it because it's sweet and brown.
Here's the rundown on how the other types differ from bourbon so you'll know what to expect:
Corn Whiskey: A forerunner of bourbon, corn whiskey is usually strong and sour with none of bourbon's sweetness. In fact, this stuff is pretty much a heartbeat away from the White Lightning moonshine you might taste from a backcountry still. Corn whiskey must contain at least 80% corn in the mash; the rest can be made of malted barley or rye. Corn whiskey does not have to be aged like the other varieties, and usually boasts a high alcohol content. Even though it's not as sophisticated as its cousins, any connoisseur should consider corn part of the whiskey education. The brand we will be reviewing is called Georgia Moon. [Update: Read the Georgia Moon review.]
Rye Whiskey: If corn whiskey is the Neanderthal ancestor of debonair modern bourbon, rye is the missing link in the evolutionary scale...Cro Magnon whiskey if you will. Straight rye whiskey must be made from a mash of at least 51% rye, and must be fermented in new charred oak barrels. Offering a sweeter flavor but still sporting a mule kick, rye is often an acquired taste, but one that is well worth acquiring. Our review bottle is Rittenhouse Bottled in Bond 100 proof. [Update: Rittenhouse Bottled in Bond Review.]
Wheat Whiskey: The wheat whiskey we'll be reviewing is called Bernheim Original Kentucky Straight Wheat Whiskey. It's hailed as the only wheat whiskey made since the repeal of Prohibition, and it's made with 51% wheat, plus corn and barley. Otherwise it's crafted to the exact same standards as bourbon, though it's rumored to offer less sweetness when you sip. This is the only alternative whiskey we have yet to try, and we'll get the review up as soon as we can. [Update: Bernheim Wheat Whiskey Review.]
All three of our alternative whiskeys are distributed by Heaven Hill Distilleries. To learn more about these and other whiskeys, go to the Other Whiskeys page.
November 28, 2005
Appleton Estate V/X Jamaica Rum
80 proof blended golden rum
Typical Price: Less than $20 for 750ml - Buy it at Internet Wines & Spirits
Initial Thoughts: We like rum. In fact, there was a time when we would drink it quite often, mixed with ginger ale or orange juice. That was back before the Screech Rum debacle of '05, however, and it's taken us a few weeks to get our rum legs back under us. In Appleton Estate V/X, we've found a drink that can soothe the hurts and make things right.
Appleton Estate V/X consists of various types of rums aged between five and ten years, which are blended together in oak vats and allowed to age for a few months. The result is a spirit somewhere between white and dark rum, which smells like molasses and brown sugar, with even a hint of maple. When you taste it, it's not too sweet, however, and the sweetness is balanced out by citrusy, nutty flavors. The rum has a creamy, mellow finish that is dry on the tongue and resilient enough to last until your next sip without being overwhelming.
Cocktail Recipes: We tried a few recipes suggested by the Appleton Estate website, and two of our favorites are included below:
1 ½ oz. Appleton Estate V/X Jamaica Rum
3 oz. Bloody Mary Mix
Season to taste with horseradish, Tabasco, pepper, salt, Worcestershire sauce, lime juice. Rim highball glass in sea salt and/or pepper. Garnish with celery stick, olives, tomolives. [Note: We're not sure what tomolives are; we just stuck to olives.]
1 ½ oz. Appleton Estate V/X Jamaica Rum
2 ½ oz. Cranberry Juice
3 ½ oz. Orange Juice
In a highball glass, pour rum and cranberry juice over ice. Slowly add orange juice and garnish with an orange wedge.
Finishing Thoughts: Appleton Estate V/X is unique and tasty rum, and a good way to dip a toe into the aged rum category without breaking the bank. It would make a great base for your typical tropical drinks without being too strong or too sweet, and we liked it on the rocks as well. One of our reviewers described it as tasting good without being "too rummy," and that just about sums it up for us.
We recommend drinking Appleton Estate V/X on a beach somewhere; if that's not possible, crank up the heat in your house, sprinkle sand in your living room and crack open a bottle to emulate the experience.
Learn more about Appleton Estate V/X and the other rums in the Appleton family at the Appleton Rum US website.
November 27, 2005
We're not religious folks here at Liquor Snob, but for us, drinking has always been a spiritual experience. In fact, there has been more than one night where we've spoken in tongues and seen mystical visions right here in our offices after we prayed at the altar of beer. Some may call beer a false idol, but that's why we were excited to learn about He'brew: The Chosen Beer from Schmaltz Brewing. It's just the combination of hops and holiness we need.
Not only do we like the fact that they're invoking a higher power with their beer, but think of the marketing potential...while most beer companies have to rely on boobies to sell their brews, He'brew can tap the Big Bubelah Himself, God, to be their omniscient spokes-being.
The beer currently comes in two main varieties, Genesis Ale and Messiah Bold, and the company just released a new beer to celebrate their ninth year in business. Enter Jewbelation 5766, a brew that contains nine different kinds of malt and nine types of hops.
Apparently the number nine has some pretty huge connotations in the Jewish faith, and we can see why. According to the Schmaltz site, here are just a few reasons why nine is so important:
- On Rosh Hashanah, nine blasts of the shofar howl our annual psychic wake-up call.
- At Chanukah, only the ninth candle can ignite the miraculous eight.
- Nine months of pregnancy incubate from conception to culmination.
- Danielle Steele has nine children and releases a book every nine months.
- Born Chaim Witz in Israel, Gene Simmons of KISS moved to Brooklyn at age nine.
Like we need any more convincing...you had us at Danielle Steele. Learn more about He'brew at Schmaltz.com
, and learn where you can buy all three He'brew varieties on their distributors page
November 26, 2005
Back in October we told you about Ted Breaux, the absinthe man. We had been skeptical about absinthe and its much-rumored psychotropic properties, and the absinthe we tried didn't really do much to change our opinion. Then we heard about Mr. Breaux and his reverse-engineering of the absinthe that was created before it was banned in the 19th century, and we were interested again. Not that we think absinthe will make you trip or anything, but this gentleman was making the same type of absinthe that may have caused van Gogh to cut off his ear, and sent Edgar Allen Poe into the "enchanted spaces of the unreal." Now that's something we'd like to try.
We learned today that the three varieties of absinthe made by Mr. Breaux's company, Jade Liqueurs, will be available for order starting Monday, November 28. Just think about the excited glow in your loved ones' eyes when they unwrap their bottle of the Green Fairy brought to them by Saint Nick. You can buy the three varieties, Jade Verte Suisse 65, Absinthe Edouard 72 and Nouvelle-Orleans from the Vintage Absinthe catalog.
Or if you're looking for something a little extra-special, Jade Liqueurs will be offering special signature pieces for the holidays. They're shrouded in mystery right now but they will be available soon at the Vintage Absinthe online boutique.
November 25, 2005
A couple weeks ago, we did a piece about Jello shots, and we joked that we'd rather get our hands on a pudding shot recipe. After writing that story we learned two things. One, you can actually make pudding shots. And two, our readers are actually looking for pudding shot recipes. No one actually delivered on our recipe, but we got tons of requests to let people know if we found one.
All we can say is keep dreaming big, you wonderful bastards.
And so, without further ado:
1 small pkg. INSTANT choc. pudding
3/4 C. milk
1/4 C. Vodka
1/2 C. Irish Cream
8 oz. Extra Creamy Cool Whip
Mix pudding and milk for a couple of minutes with an electric mixer, then add alcohol, mix well. Mix in Cool Whip.
Put into individual serving cups with lids and I furnish plastic spoons. Keep in the freezer.
Find this and other recipe ideas at Razzle Dazzle Recipes
They posted this as a Valentine's Day thing (nothing more romantic than pudding shots, eh?), but we can see it being good during the holidays too. We haven't made a batch yet but we plan to, mostly because we haven't been able to reconcile in our minds how you actually shoot pudding.
November 24, 2005
Our favorite time of year has finally arrived. Welcome to those precious few months where you can stuff yourself with food and drown yourself in drink and no one will even bat an eye. But remember - if you're driving, don't drink, and if you're drinking, don't drive.
Of course, if you're staying put this year, there's still time to turn today into Wild Turkey Day...
Over the last couple months, we've been trying to find out if Bush is drinking again. Thanks to a tip from Brendan, one of our readers in the Great White North that is Vermont, we learned that Wonkette has found proof that the president has indeed fallen off the wagon. The site also offers an interesting theory that he is combining beer pong, one of our favorite pastimes, with fermented yak's milk, which we have yet to try.
The sad thing about Bush resorting to drinking yak's milk isn't that it's yak's milk, it's that it's only 3% alcohol. Look, we've gone all Kitty Dukakis at times as well but if you're going to sink, make it count. Hairspray, paint thinner... as a friend told us, "Dude, I've drank NyQuil when there was nothing else in the house. Actually, it blends pretty well with grapefruit juice." Surprisingly, so does yak's milk.
And look at the picture: Yak's milk pong.
See the full post at Wonkette
Oh, and a note for our loyal readers - don't expect to see us reviewing yak's milk any time in the near future. There are some lines even we won't cross.
BJ's Beer Pong Tables
Folding portable beer pong table
Prices start at $69; Buy One Now
There's no excuse for how long it has taken us to post this review. Well, actually, there's a great excuse - we were busy playing beer pong. We've had our BJ's portable beer pong table for a couple weeks now, and if you've noticed a drop-off in our posts lately, it's because we've been having trouble tearing ourselves away.
BJ's makes tables in two sizes - "Dorm Room" which starts at $69, and "Classic House Party" which starts at $139. The Dorm Room model is 2'x7', and folds up into a 2'x3.5' briefcase that weighs about 25lbs. The Classic House Party is considerably beefier, starting out as a 1.5'x4' briefcase that weighs 45lbs, and folding out into a 3'x8' table. Both tables feature a cool, glossy finish, and they have raised foam-rubber skid plates to keep your cups from sliding around.
The thing we really liked about this table, however, was the customization option. You can replace the BJ's logo in the center of the table with whatever image you want. It obviously costs more for a customized table, but we figure it's short money for the chance to have yourself immortalized on your very own beer pong table. If your picture is on your beer pong table, people are going to know whose it is, and they'll give you the respect you deserve (and maybe give you a phone number? We haven't tested that yet). Or, if you're on a team and you put your team's logo right on the table, you'll put the fear of Jeebus into your competitors.
Learn more about BJ's beer pong tables, and pick up a stock or customized table of your own, at BJsBeerPong.com.
November 23, 2005
Battery-operated glowing shot glass
Typical Price: $9.99 each (or $7.99 each for 4 or more) plus $5 for shipping. Buy Now
You'd be surprised by the number of situations where a glowing shot glass might come in handy. Finding your glass after you've had a couple too many, gaining the element of surprise in a drinking game, escaping a mine cave-in...the list is endless. We've seen a few glowing shot glasses around, and may of them seem to be cheap plastic jobs with lighting mechanisms that are shady at best. Not so the Envious Ounce, a glowing shot glass we covered a couple weeks ago.
The Envious Ounce is made of frosted glass, with a little electronic doo-hickey attached to the bottom. It looks just like a regular shot glass until you whack it on a table (not so hard, Hercules). A nice, firm thwack of your Envious Ounce (not as dirty as it sounds) causes the glass to glow with a warm red light, opening up all sorts of possibilities. One thing they suggest on the Envious Ounce site is to use it to change up the game of quarters, and we can definitely see the posibilities in that, if everyone tries to get their quarter in before the lights go out. And don't forget about other possibilities, like convincing primitive cultures you're a god.
For $10 (or $8 each if you order four or more), you can get your hands on an Envious Ounce. It might seem a bit spendy, but money is no object on the path to illumination. We've enjoyed ours immensely, mostly as a way to torture the interns. We hide behind the couch, thwack our Envious Ounce and try to convince them we're the ghost of drinks past. They're not really buying it, but oh, the good times we have.
Learn more about the Envious Ounce and get your own at Envious.com.
November 22, 2005
Be the sharpest-dressed kid on your block with new t-shirts from the Scotch Blog. Not only are these shirts 100% cotton and functionally fashionable, they also say "Malt Whisky" across the chest in a font reminiscent of the one used by a certain Magical Kingdom reigned over by a six-foot-tall mouse who will remain nameless. The shirts come in sizes L and XL, and retail for $12.95. There's a limited supply, so put in your order now.
Also, the fine folks at The Scotch Blog are also giving you a chance to win a Malt Whisky shirt for free, and don't worry...if you buy one and then win, you'll get your money back (or another shirt). All you have to do is tell them why you deserve a free shirt...sounds simple enough to us.
The winner, selected by a panel of judges of my selection will soon be stylin' in one of these high quality 100% cotton class acts.
I'm partial to humor, but originality goes a long way with me, as I'm sure it will with the judges.
Don't let the contest stop you from ordering:
1. If you order your shirt now and end up winning, I'll either paypal you your money back, or you get a second shirt free - your choice.
2. What a great christmas gift! Nobody wants one of those disgusting petrified fruit cake things.
3. Really, do you think you are creative enough to win? Why chance it?
Entries are due by Monday December 12th.
Check out the full contest post, The Happiest Drink on Earth
, at the Scotch Blog and buy your shirt at Doceon Press
Aaah, Thanksgiving - the beginning of the holiday season. A time to be with the people you love and give thanks for everything you have. Like long airport lines, snarled highway traffic, relatives you only see once a year...for good reason. And don't forget those long, awkward silences when you tell people you've been spending all your time writing about liquor on the Internet. Oh, wait. Maybe that's just us.
But no matter what reason you have to drink this Thanksgiving, at least there's no question what should be in your glass. That's right, the only bourbon we know of with a holiday named after it...Wild Turkey. We recommend the 101 proof stuff to help you through the stickier situations, but use your own judgment.
Liquor Snob Wild Turkey Tips for Thanksgiving
- Take a few nips before you get to the table. You'd be surprised how many places you can find in your parents' house to sneak a drink. Hell, your mom's been doing it for years.
- Wild Turkey is a gentleman's drink. Don't forget to share with grandma. Alternately, you can share with any "available" friends your siblings may have brought home for the holiday (21 and older only, please). In a pinch, attractive cousins at least twice-removed are acceptable - they're called "kissing cousins" for a reason.
- Bring your bottle to the table. There's no reason to interrupt your Turkey consumption while people are stuffing themselves with bird. If your family doesn't approve, put it in a gravy boat and tell everyone it's vegetarian dipping sauce...it'll be all yours.
- Swish the bourbon in your mouth during and between bites. This is a way to try to rehydrate the dry, overcooked turkey, if necessary. It will most likely be necessary.
- Don't forget dessert! The Wild Turkey website says the taste of their bourbon "...is an American classic with caramel and vanilla and notes of honey and oranges. The finish is very long, rich and full-bodied, powerful, yet soothing." If Wild Turkey's not a perfect after-Thanksgiving-dinner drink, we don't know what is.
- Try to pass out right after dinner. This works well with the 101 proof variety. If you play your cards right, you'll be off in tryptophan and bourbon-induced slumber behind a potted plant well before your uncles start unbuttoning their pants to make room for seconds.
For more tips on how to enjoy Wild Turkey, go to WildTurkeyBourbon.com
This weekend, we told you about JB Wagoner and his quest to develop and distribute an American-made tequila. We also told you that that Mr. Wagoner's Ultra Premium 100% Blue Agave Spirits were barred from a tequila festival that was running right in his own back yard.
Not one to be excluded and take it sitting down, Mr. Wagoner put on a festival and tasting of his own in an adjacent Sheraton, and then decided to invite some people from the tequila festival over to make a comparison. Enter the JBW Girlz.
In spite of being officially banned, Skyrocket Distillers decided to send in some of "America's Finest" (aka The JBW Girlz) to attend the show wearing tanktops emblazoned with the "JB Wagoner's Ultra Premium" logo and a fist-full of free raffle tickets. The tickets were for a raffle to be held after the show at the adjacent Sherton Fairplex Hotel bar and were freely given to anyone who asked for one.
The Bottle The Girlz had toured the show for a few hours when, in a panic, the show's producers decided to put an end to the friendly participation by ejecting the ladies from the event by accussing them of solicitation. Once JB got word of what happened, he brought the girls back in to confront the show promoters on their unfair actions. This time, private security along with eight uniformed police officiers escorted Skyrockets' entire crew from the event.
That's what we call tenacity. Get the whole story on the event at JB Wagoners.com
Today is a happy day at the Liquor Snob offices, because our package of Roaring 20s liquor has arrived. Well, it may not be such a happy day for our livers and lungs, but the rest of our bodies are tickled pink. As you might remember, Roaring 20s is the company that brings you Tommy Guns vodka, our favorite premium vodka that comes in a machine gun-shaped bottle.
We went a little bit crazy down here and asked that they send their entire catalog over. Eight varieties of liquor, four types of wine, and for good measure we had them throw in a couple boxes of Speakasy and Bootleggers cigars too. What good's a 20s-themed bender if you're not puffing on cigars and talking in a gangster voice?
Included in the package, for review in the coming weeks:
Wine: Prices range from $5.99-$7.99
Hideaway Merlot, Legs Chardonnay, Swingin' White Zinfandel, Speakeasy Cabernet Sauvignon
Liquor: Prices range from $9.99-$13.99
Rumrunner's Rum, Speakeasy Scotch, Bathtub Gin, Hideaway Brandy, 4 Deuces Tequila, Bootleg Bourbon, Dixieland Vodka, Prohibition Whiskey
Speakeasy premium Dominican cigars in four varieties - Untouchables, Gangsters, Godfathers and Classics
Bootlegger "Sweet Hits" and "Sweeties" hand-rolled cigarillos in four flavors - Rum, Vanilla, Natural and Amaretto
We don't know much about cigars, so we might need some help reviewing those. But we'll get to work on the wine and liquor and let you know more as we go. On a side note, our livers just wrote a letter to the governor asking him to reinstate prohibition.
Learn about Roaring 20s liquors at TommyGunsVodka.com, and find out more about Speakeasy and Bootlegger cigars at Al-Capone.com.
November 21, 2005
What would you do if you had a whole mess of blue agave, the plant used to make high-quality tequila, growing on your property? If you're JB Wagoner, you'd distill it and turn it into "Temequila," a premium spirit with a name that's a take-off of the word tequila and your home town of Temecula. That's just what Mr. Wagoner did, but as soon as he bottled it and prepared to sell it he got in trouble with some powerful people from south of the border.
You see, like Champagne, tequila is a regional name. No matter how good it is, an agave-based spirit made anywhere outside the Jalisco region of Mexico cannot be called tequila. So when Mr. Wagoner tried to market his American-distilled tequila-like adult beverage, the Mexican Tequila Regulatory Council apparently came down on him like a ton of bricks. They expressed concern that Temequila was too close to the word tequila, even though there were those extra, pesky letters in there and the bottle was emblazoned with an American flag.
Even though he has a patent on the name "Temequila," Wagoner is not allowed to sell his liquor under that name. In order to take off some of the heat that was being brought down on him, he changed the name of his drink to JB Wagoner's Ultra Premium 100% Blue Agave Spirits. Even after the change to this slightly-less-memorable name, Wagoner still seems to be having troubles with the tequila lobby. In fact, Wagoner claims that he was barred from a recent tequila festival in southern California.
The Southern California distiller alleged he was barred from participating in the Los Angeles Tequila Festival in Pomona because a Mexican tequila trade group "doesn't want me there," Wagoner said.
"The event is in my own backyard, it's unfair that I can't attend," he said.
Read the full article at NCTimes.com
If this is the kind of thing that gets you up in arms, learn more about the legal battles and what you can do help out, including writing your congressman, at Temequila.com. Or, if you're more interested in the drink itself, find out where to purchase your own autographed bottle of JB Wagoner's Ultra Premium 100% Blue Agave Spirits at JBWagoners.com.
November 20, 2005
Title: Whiskey: The Definitive World Guide
Author: Michael Jackson (not that Michael Jackson)
Hardcover, 336 pages
Typical Price: $40, but currently available at Amazon for $26 - Buy It Now
There's a whole big world of whiskey out there, and it can be overwhelming for the novice or intermediate drinker to choose among the different varieties. Will I like scotch, bourbon, rye, Canadian, or Irish whiskey? And among those, what brand should I buy?
We picked up Michael Jackson's book a couple weeks ago, and we've been flipping through it a lot lately. It's got tons of information on the history of the liquor and information about the different types by region, plus it offers tasting notes on the major brands of each region. As we learned from the Instant Expert's Guide to Single Malt, whiskey is a very subjective experience and one man's favorite drink is another man's toilet water. But it is nice to be armed with some comparisons when you do your own tastings.
From the Amazon product description:
The occasional tippler may be intimidated by all the nuances of fine whiskey; after all, there are just so many variables to consider. What is the local climate and geography of the distillery? What the kind of grain is used, and how is it prepared for fermenting? What is the shape of the still? What kind of oak is used for the cask, and how long is the whiskey aged? Jackson's collection of essays and photographs will teach newbies how to answer all of these questions, but it will gratify the most obsessive enthusiasts as well. Every step of the process gets its own explanation, and there are even essays on food pairings and cocktail recipes. The bulk of the book, however, is taken up by an almost encyclopedic compendium of distilleries from all over the planet, including Germany and Japan. Individually, each section is informative; but taken together, the sheer amount of information may make novices feel overwhelmed. This is not to suggest that Jackson's "definitive world guide" is to be avoided. Rather, like the drink it celebrates, it's best in small doses. So here's what you do: buy a bottle of your favorite scotch, rye or bourbon, and another bottle of one that intrigues you. Read about each distillery, then check out Jackson's brief and informative section "How to Nose and Taste." Then pour two fingers in a highball glass, put on some relaxing music, and enjoy the spirit of the spirit.
This is a nice, big hefty book that will look great on the coffee table of any whiskey enthusiast, and we know we like to take it down and thumb through it before our trips to the liquor store. We thought it was a good deal for less than $30 at Amazon too, and we recommend that any whiskey drinker who wants to know more about the intricacies of the beverage buy a copy
(or at least receive it as a gift, hint hint).
Those Koreans are at it again. First, they come out with cool breathalyzer cell phones...now, they've got robot bartenders. Meet the T-Rot, a robot with an unfortunate name and some pretty cool skills behind the bar.
The skin, developed by a team led by Gang Dae-im and Kim Jong-ho from the Korea Research Institute of Standards and Science, has polyamide film and three-axis sensors that can detect vertical pressure and horizontal sliding. It is capable of recognizing the weight of objects with a less than 10 g margin of error when it holds a 100 g object.
That means it can pick up glasses and accept your tips without applying robot-like crushing force, plus it can apparently carry on a converation. Hope you don't mind chatting about oil viscosity and how robosexy R2D2 is.
We did some digging around after reading about T-Rot and found another robotic bartender a bit closer to home, and with a slightly more intuitive name. The RoboBar is made by MotoMan, an Ohio company, and comes tricked out in its own tuxedo. Customers order their drinks from a touch screen, and RoboBar mixes them up and distributes them. The system can also make batches of drinks for distribution to tables..
There's no word on whether either robot bartender can listen to your problems and give you robotic advice, a great feature we've found in flesh-and-blood bartenders. Plus, you can be assured that robotic bartenders aren't going to give you a heavy pour because they like you - although we just found out about a new wireless liquor spout that might keep human bartenders from pouring heavy too. Damn you, digital age. Pardon us while we go out to find some real-live bartenders while we still can.
November 19, 2005
Lately, we've become obsessed with the dry martini. As mentioned in our Level vodka review, we historically have liked our martinis the dirtier the better, but as we start to move to nicer gins and vodkas we don't need to mask the taste anymore. We'd been experimenting with ways to get the absolute least amount of vermouth into the shaker, but we hadn't been having much luck. Then, we discovered the Misto Martini Vermouth Sprayer at Amazonand suddenly it was a whole new ball game.
It takes the headache out of mixing a martini - you just pour your vermouth into the sprayer, pump it a few times, and give it a squeeze. With some practice you'll be able to control the dryness of your martinis pretty much down to the vermouth molecule. Plus, since it's a pump instead of an aerosol, there are no propellants to mess up the taste of your perfect martini. Below is the product description from Amazon:
Mixing an elegant, bone-dry martini is a snap with this stylish, non-aerosol vermouth sprayer. Just push the top with a manicured forefinger and mist the inside of a frosted glass or spray the top of your drink. The sprayer's glass vial holds 1 ounce of vermouth and refills easily with a tiny funnel (included). At just 3-1/2 inches high and less than 1 inch in diameter, the sprayer tucks into pocket or purse so it can accompany you to a cocktail lounge. There you can dazzle a bartender and get a conversation started by whipping out the satin-silver sprayer and adding your own benediction to icy gin. Sprayer, funnel, and drink recipes come in an elegant, charcoal-colored gift box.
What more do we have to say? Pick up your own Misto Martini Vermouth Sprayer
at Amazon, or buy one for a friend, for less than $15.
We've been sifting around all of the sites for simply the best we could find. With the holiday week coming up here in the US, we're pretty sure you'll need some ideas not just for conversation but also for the gift giving season. Check out some of these other sites and amaze your relatives with a vast array of coffee knowledge, gps insight, cooking grace, wine snobbery, and of course TV chit chat.
GPS Lodge.com: Fine Drive announces the Finedrive 400 and Finedrive 500 - "Hey Fool" you need Mr. T on your GPS - Route 66 Announces the Mobile 7 GPS Package for Mobile Phones - Garmin Fishfinder 340C, 160C, 140 and the 90; Announced
Single Serve Coffee.com: simplehuman Single Cup Pod Brewer $129.99 at Amazon.com - Review: Senseo Forbidden Fruit Raving Reds Coffee Pods - Review: Green Mountain Fair Trade Gingerbread K-Cups from Single Serve Coffee.com - New Melitta One:One Microwaveable Coffee Pod Mug Brewer - New Mr. Coffee® Home Café Single Serve Coffee Maker
Just The Chips.com: The Rise and Fall of Stuey "The Kid" Ungar, The World's Greatest Poker Player - World Poker Tour TV Handheld - XBOX World Championship Poker 2
Kitchen Contraptions.com: Modular Kitchens from Henrybuilt - Panik-Design Oven Gloves - Smell-Away Electric Griller - Thermal Brew Coffee Maker - Digital Dinner Plates
Shaving Stuff.comWhat Would I Look Like If I Shaved My Head? - 20% Off at Sephora - No Minimum - The Conair Chrome Hot Lather Machine - High-End Handles from The Art of Shaving - Get to Know Your T-Zone
TV Snob.com: What's Next? CSI: Las Cruces - Nielsen Media Research Top 10- Broadcast Primetime- Week of Nov. 7-Nov. 13, 2005 - "My Name is Earl" Lives! - I'll Take that Plasma TV on the Wall and a Side of Fries - I Paid My Freakin' Cable Bill, Leave Me the #%^Alone!
Shirt Snob.com: Tokyo Pop Embroidered Shirt by 3J Workshop - The Short Sleeve Belted Sweater - The Beaded Butterfly Top by LaROK - Cap Sleeve Sun Top by Lotta Stensson
Liquor Snob.com: Shotgun Party Beer Opener 2.0 Review - Reason #312 to Drink Liquor Straight - Jello Shots Today...Pudding Shots Tomorrow - Reyka Vodka: Tastes Like Iceland - Not To Sound Like Your Mom...
We keep reading in the news about people being up in arms about the dwindling privacy in our society. Cameras in dressing rooms, satellites that can track you within ten feet by your cell phone signal, the Patriot Act...all of these things pale when compared to the Orwellian nightmare that is Capton’s Wireless Liquor Monitoring System.
If this thing is adopted, gone are the days when you could sweet-talk your bartender into stiffer drinks, or they could give you a longer pour for stiffer tips. And Jeebus only knows what would happen if they tried to take the spout off the bottle...it probably features an exploding ink packet like they use to track bank robbers.
Capton’s Beverage Tracker system is an innovative liquor monitoring system that helps bar owners increase their liquor profits by providing real-time wireless liquor consumption data to help prevent against shrinkage. Our system help you identify over-pours and drink giveaways. Think of it as an electronic journal of everything that happens within your bar operations. Remember, you can’t manage what you can’t measure!
Welcome to 1984.
November 18, 2005
Shotgun Party Beer Opener
Slogan: One Trip to the Lip
Typical Price: Ranges from $3.95 for one to $0.50 apiece for 10,000. Order Now
A couple weeks ago, we told you about the Shotgun Party beer opener. In our initial coverage, we were foaming at the mouth when we read about how easy it proclaimed to make shotgunning. We got our hands on some as quickly as we could, and we did our review before you could say "Let's shotgun a beer." Due to some technical difficulties with our camera we have been waiting to get our pictures from that night, but instead of making you wait any longer we decided to go ahead with the review (which is too bad, because some of them were pretty funny).
We went to a party with a pocketful of the little red devils, and when we broke them out we were gods among men. People were completely fascinated by the idea, and when we did our first "demo" shotgun they were even more blown away. Just hold the beer upside down, attach the Shotgun Party opener to the bottom of the can, flick your wrist, and suddenly you're ready for a shotgun. No more fiddling with the hole to make it bigger or twisting back those irritating little metal shards you make with your keys. The people at the party were lining up to try it, and the place was bedlam. But it was nothing compared to the chaos that would ensue from what we pulled out of our pants next.
You see, while the red shotgun beer opener is great, it's not perfect. We spoke to its inventor and he told us he felt the hole the gizmo makes is too small, the tab opener gets in the way of popping the hole, and there are a few other production-related problems. That's why he has designed a next-generation beer opener, which we've lovingly christened Shotgun 2.0.
The 2.0 has a wider head on it so it makes a bigger hole, and the prototype model we had allowed us to do the fastest shotguns we've ever been a part of. We seriously think we may have beaten some world records. Bigger, faster, stronger, better; the new technology has been rebuilt to remedy the production flaws that made the first generation slightly less-than-perfect. In all honesty, even if you already have a Shotgun Party tool we recommend you pick up a new one when they're released on December 1. Whether you want to make shotgunning easier, hope to shave a few seconds off your time, or just cherish all things that are beautiful, the 2.0 will suit your needs. Have we ever steered you wrong before?
We think it's imperative for all Liquor Snob readers to get their hands on one of these magical beauties (and use it responsibly, of course). Also, we're going to be getting a batch of these suckers when they're released, so keep an eye on our site for discounts or even free giveaways in December. If you can't wait (and we completely understand that), order a shotgun key of your own at the Shotgun Party site. They make a great gift too - we're sure Grandma would love one.
To learn more, go to ShotgunParty.com.
November 17, 2005
We've discovered another portable beer pong table, and it's arrived at our offices for review. This one's made by BJ's Beer Pong, and like the Bing Bong tables we covered last month, it folds down into a suitcase-like form and has a handle for easy transport. Another cool thing about these guys is that they'll customize a table for you, replacing their logo with whatever logo you want on there. The possibilities are endless...customize your table with a picture of you chugging a beer, or form a beer pong league and let each team get a table with their own logo for the home court advantage.
The tables start at $75, with prices climbing for customized or larger tables. We'll be doing a full review as soon as we can, but until then, check out the BJ's Beer Pong site.
November 16, 2005
80 proof Imported Swedish Vodka, made by Absolut
Typical Price: Around $30 for 750ml - Buy it at Internet Wines & Spirits
Initial Thoughts: We're going to let you in on a little secret - we like to drink. That's why we do what we do. In fact, our general rule is that the more we drink of something, the more we like it, as we rinse away our judgment and common sense. The trick, therefore, is to find liquors we like right away...that's how we know they're the genuine article. Level vodka is one of those liquors.
The first thing we noticed when we opened the bottle was a whiff of citrus and booze, like a lemon that had been soaked in Absolut, and we mean that in a good way. When we poured it straight it had some bite, but left a fragile lemony tang that dissipated quickly and finished smoothly.
Cocktail Recipes: Level is a high-end vodka, so we went high-end; martinis all the way. We usually like our martinis extra-dirty. With Level, we found we liked them as dry as possible so the vermouth wouldn't take away from the taste of the vodka. And that's saying something - vodka martinis are usually two parts vodka to one part dry vermouth, and we usually add another part of olive brine (or Dirty Sue) to give it that filthy texture. The fact that we wanted to drink ours dry (as little vermouth as possible, for you martini virgins), with only a twist of lemon, says something about the quality and smooth taste.
In fact, we liked our Level martinis so much, we did something we normally wouldn't do. We noticed a cocktail recipe on the site that we would normally scoff at, and we just so happened to have the required ingredient in the office, so we decided to mix one up. And so, we present to you:
The Level Rosemary Martini
1 part Level Vodka
1 dash dry vermouth
1 sprig of rosemary
Stir all ingredients in a mixing glass without ice for a few seconds.
Add ice cubes and stir for a few seconds more.
Double-strain into a chilled cocktail glass; garnish with a sprig of rosemary.
We're not sure what possessed us to mix them, but we have to admit the rosemary added an interesting level of complexity to the drink. We also have to say we liked it...and admit we drank them with our pinkies extended.
Finishing Thoughts: We're not classy guys, but we're pretty sure we know it when we see it, and Level oozes it with their vodka as well as their packaging. Level comes in the kind of bottle that you want to break out of the freezer for someone you're trying to woo, because it will let you pass for the debonair 007 type you're really not. We recommend Level for romantic evenings, intimate get-togethers, and nights you just want to get suavely plastered.
Learn more about Level and find recipes and more at LevelVodka.com.
November 15, 2005
We're not usually the cocktail recipe creation types here at Liquor Snob. We're usually too busy drinking straight out of the bottle, or at best doing what we like to call "mouth mixing," where you mix your drink directly in your mouth without the added baggage of a glass. True, we did come up with the Orange-plosion, but while it's a great-tasting drink we fully admit we're not big on the name. But sometimes we're hit with a lightning bolt of an idea that strikes us as true genius. Our most recent is the World's Blackest Russian.
We were hit with the idea when we fell asleep cradling our bottle of Blavod vodka, and we realized you could make a mean black russian with it. We're sure we're not the first people to think of mixing Blavod with Kahlua, but here's where our stroke of genius came in. Kahlua is a coffee liqueur, right? Our idea for the World's Blackest Russian involved not only the deepest black color, but also the most intense coffee taste. So we cleaned out our ice trays, poured our leftover coffee from this morning's pot in there, and waited.
By now you can probably see the method to our madness, but we're going to spell it out anyway because we feel like geniuses. And so, we bring the world, the recipe for the World's Blackest Russian:
2 parts Blavod Black Vodka
1 part Coffee Liqueur
Coffee Ice Cubes
Mix the vodka and Kaluha together over coffee ice cubes. Drink. Repeat.
We're not kidding...it's black as night and tastes so much like coffee you might think about slipping it into your mug in the morning. Highly recommended. But maybe that's just because we invented it. Not that it's going to our heads...we totally have our wits about us even after extensive recipe testing. In fact, for a heady moment our next thought was to reinvent the white russian with a scoop of coffee ice cream, but we're going to leave that one alone because it already belongs to the Dude.
November 14, 2005
Ikon True Russian Vodka
80 proof Russian premium vodka
Typical Price: Less than $15 for 750ml - Buy it at Internet Wines & Spirits
Initial Thoughts: One of the things we find interesting about vodka is the fact that it's not really supposed to have a taste. Other liquors brag about their distinctive and bold flavors, but with vodka it's more like, "We taste the most like water." OK, maybe that's an oversimplification, but one of the things we liked about Ikon vodka was the fact that it had such a clean taste without an overpowering alcoholic tinge. We did some reading on the stuff, and that might have something to do with the fact that it's quadruple-distilled, and then filtered through birch wood four times before it's bottled.
We're not sure what effect the birch wood has on the taste, but we were impressed with the clean nose when we sniffed a glass of it straight. When we first discovered Ikon we were impressed by the vodka's lineage and the awards it has won all over the world. When we took our first sip, we were impressed by the taste. Clean and distinctive, it offered a slight mineral tang but it was never overpowering or oily on the tongue. When we sipped it over ice we liked it even better, and all in all we found it lived up to its claim that it could "out-Ketel" Ketel One. On top of everything else, typical retail price is somewhere in the neighborhood of $12.99, a damn good price for a damn good vodka.
Cocktail Recipes: We went simple with Ikon, enjoying it the most on the rocks or mixed with a splash of seltzer or tonic water. We also mixed up a mean martini that was a hit among the interns, and we were big fans of the Vodka Chiller, a recipe we found on the Ikon site:
1.5oz Ikon Vodka
7oz Ginger Ale
Garnish with Lime Wedge
Finishing Thoughts: Not only was Ikon great-tasting vodka, we were impressed with the value. You can get a bottle of the stuff for about the price of a twelve pack of micro-brewed beer. The last time we paid less than $15 for a bottle of vodka we nearly regretted it, but Ikon has once again restored our faith that great taste doesn't have necessarily have to be accompanied by a high price. The next time you're reaching for a top-shelf brand, think about picking up a bottle of Ikon instead, especially if you'll be using it as a mixer. Your tongue - and your wallet - will thank you.
Learn more about Ikon vodka and find out where to get a bottle near you at IkonVodka.net.
We're not in the ad game, so we wouldn't be able to tell you what makes a great ad great. But, like art or pornography, while it's hard to define a great ad we know it when we see it. The Carlton Draught beer Big Ad is great advertisement.
We don't know much about the beer, other than the fact that it's from Australia and is somehow associated with Foster's. We're not even sure you can get it in the states. But when we saw the Big Ad this weekend, we knew we had to share it with our readers. It's a really big ad. It's freaking huge. Watch it and bask in the grandeur at the Big Ad site.
Learn more about Carlton Draught (slogan: Made From Beer).
November 13, 2005
We've been trying to tell you for months. Everybody wants cocktail recipes to make their liquor taste less like liquor, but we've been telling you from the beginning - your drink should contain three ingredients or less, including ice. A new article from Forbes corroborates our anti-cocktail bias, but from a new standpoint, and we're sorry ladies...they make you fat.
After a night of drinking cocktails, most people will not only wake up the next morning with a screaming hangover, they'll wake up fatter too.
That's because the average serving of one ounce of 80-proof alcohol contains about 90 calories. And that's before mixers are added. While many people who spend hours on treadmills or yoga mats may smugly eschew dessert or ban butter from their diets, often they will happily consume a cocktail--or three--without giving it a second thought. But they do so at considerable peril to their waistlines. A Pina Colada, for example, has more calories than a Big Mac.
According to the slide show of fattening cocktails
, the Long Island Iced Tea is the biggest villain, but there are plenty of other drinks you'd think would be low-calorie and Atkins-friendly that will help you pile on the pounds. Why won't you listen to the Liquor Snob? Drink your liquor straight - the grimace is the price you pay for the buzz.
Read the full article at Forbes.com; thanks Craig.
November 12, 2005
We've never been big fans of Jell-o shots. The goopy consistency and nagging feeling that the vodka has been diluted has always led us to keep our Jell-o and our shots separate. A new experiment by some real drinking go-getters out there might make us change our tune, and it looks like they've figured out how to maximize the booze-per-shot, but we still have a problem with any shot you have to chew...
Ultimately we determined that the breaking point of a Jell-O shot – the point at which the gelatin began to lose its structural integrity (i.e., ability to gel and hold its shape) is somewhere between 19 and 20 oz. of vodka per 3 oz. package of Jell-O powder. That’s at least 14 oz. (1 2/3 cups) more than the 5 oz. of vodka in the original Jell-O shot recipe. The Jell-O shots we made with 19 oz. of vodka (lime) held their shape nicely when unmolded, whereas the shots made with 20 oz. (grape) began to slide apart, and the shots made with 21 oz. (orange) quickly disintegrated. The batch containing 19 oz. of liquor was 76% vodka by volume, and 30% pure alcohol by volume, very close to taking a straight shot of vodka.
All we really want is for someone to figure out how to create pudding shots, preferably chocolate. In fact, we're putting out a bounty on the idea. Make us pudding shots and we'll make you rich beyond your wildest dreams.*
We discovered these Jello shot idiot savants via two sources; The Sporting Life and our good friend Craig. Or, you can go right to the horse's mouth at My Science Project.
* As long as your wildest dreams don't involve you actually getting any money.
Update: We actually found our own pudding shot recipe. We thank you for your support.
We like ice. Ice is an ingredient in a lot of our drinks. Iceland has lots of ice, so they must just make drinks all the time. OK, so the logic isn't that great, but one drink from Iceland we'd like to try is Reyka Vodka.
Reyka Vodka is Iceland's first ever vodka. The word derives form the Icelandic word for steam; it is geothermal steam that powers the distillery. They also use perhaps the purest water yet used in the production of vodka, drawn from a 4,000-year-old lava field it is so pure that it requires no treatment or demineralization, which most other distillers have to do. Apparently the water used for Reyka is so pure that Volvic has a content of dissolved solids that's five times higher than Reyka's, Evian's level is nearly 15 times higher.
We were unaware that Iceland was known for its lava, being ICEland and all, but apparently Reyka is filtered through volcanic rock instead of the charcoal used by a lot of other vodka companies. I guess there aren't many trees in Iceland, and they don't want to burn them up to make vodka. Understandable. We've never had vodka filtered through lava before, but we bet it's AWESOME.
via Slashfood; learn more at Reyka.com.
November 11, 2005
...But you're all drinking responsibly, right? Yeah, we didn't think so...
Do you ever have that problem where you drink so many shots, you can't find your glass anymore? Would it help you out to have a shot glass that glows as red as Rudolph's nose? Well, we have the shot glasses for you. We bring you the Envious Ounce, a battery-powered shot glass that will make sure you can always find your next shot, no matter how blurred your vision is.
Without further ado, we bring you our favorite moments from the Envious Ounce FAQ, for your reading pleasure:
Continue reading: "Do It With The Lights On...Shots, That Is"
A couple weeks ago, we did some scientific research on how to beat a hangover. While it had lots of excellent advice and included scientific terms like "vasopressin" and "congeners," we realize that we didn't give you the information you need to truly beat a hangover.
For one thing, we didn't include a control group that was forced to lift weights and solve Japanese puzzles. For another, we obviously tested the wrong hangover remedies. Luckily, humorist David Nelson took one for the team and has come up with a full-on hangover remedy guide that will help you find the cure that will bring you physical, mental and social acuity, including cabbage, coffee and voodoo. We can't tell you what the most scientifical hangover cure was, but we decided to share our favorite moment from the experimentation.
Here's something you probably didn't know about beating a hangover by eating cabbage:
Bottom Line: I swear to god, I don't even really like cabbage, but I think it did clear my head a little bit. However, the trade off is not worth it. Between the liquor working its way out of my system, the pizza I had the previous night, and the cabbage, I didn't move my bowels, they moved me.
Read the full experiment at Points In Case
November 9, 2005
We Americans don't really ask much from our celebrities. All we really want is to be able to trust them implicitly when we send our kids to their massive and creepy ranches for a sleep over. For a brief time, we thought we weren't going to be able to trust Michael Jackson with our young'uns anymore, but luckily he was let off the hook for that whole pederast thing. But just when Jacko thought he could breathe a sigh of relief, here comes Jesus Juice wine.
The wine, which bears a label featuring a Jackson-like man in a Christ-like pose wearing a sequined glove, was trademarked by an actress and the producer of CBS Evening News coverage of Jackson's trial.
Westlake and Rheins filed to trademark the "Jesus Juice" name in January 2004, two months after the entertainer was arrested and days after news outlets first reported that Jackson used the term "Jesus Juice" when referring to wine he allegedly gave minors. On October 1, Westlake and Rheins provided USPTO officials--who are still reviewing the trademark application--with a copy of the proposed "Jesus Juice" logo, which features a photo of a barely clad man with a sequined glove, shiny loafers, stringy hair, and a black fedora that obscures his face. While carrying the name "Rheins-Westlake Winery," it appears that the wannabe winemakers's merlot production has, so far, been rather limited. In fact, two Westlake web sites seek a partner (preferably "a vintner with a sense of humor, but a seriously good line of wines") or someone to purchase the "Jesus Juice" trademark rights.
We're not sure if it'll ever be made, but can you imagine what an amazing conversation piece it would be if you served it with dinner.That's assuming that everyone at the table was over 21, of course.
Read more about Jesus Juice wine at the Smoking Gun.
We've said it before, and we'll say it again - we love truth in advertising. We just found out that Narragansett beer, a beer we remember hearing about from our fathers and our fathers' fathers, is on the comeback trail after being more or less AWOL for the past few decades. And in the article about 'Gansett, what was the thing that jumped out at us? The fact that a Rhode Island drinker, when asked why he would get back on the Narragansett wagon at the beer's launch party, simply told the interviewer about the lack of suckage.
Described by patrons as a crisp beer with no "after-bite," the 'Gansett on this night flowed from the tap and poured from the tall bottles and cans which have been graced with a new, classic label. Trays filled with pepperoni and cheese were spread about. Old friends talked at the bar. It's not that they couldn't have chatted over any other beer, it's that they were happy to have their beer back.
For the longest time, as these guys put it, 'Gansett wasn't worth the can in which it came.
That was enough for us to take an interest in the beer. We've never tried the 'Gansett, but with a lot of domestic breweries, especially the big names, the launch party would have been a ridiculous affair full of reality TV "celebrities" and sound bites. It sounds like the folks at Narragansett know that you don't have to jump through hoops in these days when the bulk of young hipsters are trading in their microbrews for solid, dependable and cheap mass-produced beer. You just have to let them know that the beer in the can they're holding just plain doesn't suck.
Read the full article at EastBayRI.com, and hop on the Narragansett beer bandwagon at Narragansett.net.
Anheuser Busch has been seeing some hard times, what with the whole Bud pong debacle and the fact that beer sales have been steadily slipping. That's not to say we think their executives wil be out on the street holding "Will make beer for food" signs or anything, but they seem worried enough about it that they're trying something new. The company is currently dipping its toe in the hard liquor pond, testing out a new liquor it's developed called Jekyll and Hyde, which comes as two liquors designed to be mixed together.
The product comprises of two liqueur bottles. Jekyll is a scarlet red, sweet spirit tasting of wild berries, while Hyde is an herbal tasting, black spirit that floats on top when poured over the red-colored Jekyll. The two products are meant to be served together, although consumers can drink them separately as well, the company said.
We're not quite sure about the idea of mixing wild berries and an "herbal" taste, but we're not in the early-20s demographic this stuff is aimed at, either. Jekyll and Hyde will be made by Long Tail Libations, a subsidiary of the beer giant, and if it is a success Busch will probably continue pursuing its hard liquor dreams. No announcement has been made yet about a national release of Jekyll and Hyde, and the jury's still out on whether it will give you split personalities, one good and one evil.
Read more about the new liquor at Reuters.
Paula's Texas Orange Liqueur
80 proof liqueur reminiscent of an orange lemoncello
Typical Price: Under $25 for 750ml; currently only available in Texas
Initial Thoughts: The first thing that hit us when we opened the bottle was the strong, citrusy smell that wafted up from it. On our first taste, we discovered that Paula's Texas Orange has a distinct and natural orange flavor, but it's not overpowering or too sweet, even when you sip it straight. We thought the natural-looking color of the drink was a nice touch as well - if this stuff was made by a big corporation they probably would have dyed it the color of Sunny D or Tang.
Cocktail Recipes: During our tasting, we whipped up a few cocktails with Paula's Texas Orange, two from Paula's site and one we came up with on our own.
The first drink we tried was Austin's Own Martini, a combination of Paula's and another Texas favorite of ours, Tito's vodka. We have to say that while we usually like our martinis on the dirty side, this one was crisp, clean and very tasty. One thing that's dangerous about this one is between the two liquors there's not a strong alcohol taste, which is great but you could get yourself into some trouble if you're not paying attention.
AUSTIN'S OWN MARTINI
1 part Paula's Texas Orange
3 parts Tito's Vodka
Shake over ice and serve in a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a fresh jalapeno or olive.
Drink number two was the signature recipe, Paula's Awesome Margarita. They call this a "turbocharged" margarita, and we can certainly understand why...
PAULA’S AWESOME MARGARITA
This one will make you buddies for life. One good lime generally makes enough for 2-3 margaritas.
1 part fresh-squeezed lime juice
1 part water
2 parts Paula’s Texas Orange Liqueur
2 parts premium tequila
Mix ingredients. To serve martini-style, shake with ice and strain into chilled margarita glass. For a more refreshing version, serve over lots of ice.
Drink number three is one we've had dancing in our heads since we first heard about Paula's, a combination of the liqueur with Orange V vodka, which we call an Orange-plosion. Yeah, we know it's a stupid name, but you'll understand it when you try one. The two spirits come together to form one of the strongest orange flavors we've had this side of biting into one.
2 parts Paula's Texas Orange Liqueur
1 part Orange V vodka (you can probably substitute another high-end orange vodka in a pinch)
Shake together and serve on the rocks. Garnish with a (surprise!) orange if you'd like.
Finishing Thoughts: Overall, we were very impressed with Paula's Texas Orange. It definitely lives up to its name, smacking your tongue with a tasty orange roundhouse. In fact, it's there's so much orange going on in your glass it's almost hard to believe this stuff packs the wallop it does, and you'll forget it's 80 proof. It's only available in Texas right now, but if you can get your hands on one we recommend keeping a bottle in your freezer so you can impress your friends with some souped-up margaritas. Oh, and try out the Orange-plosion, and please let us know if you can come up with a better name.
Learn more and find out where to get your bottle at Paula's site.
November 8, 2005
You might never have heard of him, but Jerry Thomas was a legend in his own time. A giant among men. A...well, you can add your own cliche here. So who was Jerry Thomas, you might ask? He was a bartender, one who paved the way to the modern cocktail by collecting and publishing a book of cocktail recipes, way back in the 1800s.
Jerry wrote the book on mixology, back before there was any such word. His book, The Art of Drink, was a bible for bartenders, and was one of the first places to mention some names you might be familiar with, including Manhattan, Juleps and Collins. His book went out of print a very long time ago, and it is finally part of the public domain, which means it can be reprinted and distributed for free.
All 130 pages of the 1887 version of this book are now available online, and contained in its electronic pages are some fascinating glimpses into the history of bartending, as well as a variety of recipes that still hold their luster for today's modern drinker. We perused the book today, and we found some great punch recipes we'd love to try - we like any drink recipe that calls for liquor by the gallon. On the flip side of the coin, the book also wastes some pages on "temperance drinks," which don't contain any booze at all. We forgive him, and who knows? Maybe we'll whip up a nice, refreshing batch of milk and seltzer for our next party.
Regardless, this book is a fascinating peek into the drunken culture of another century, and we encourage you to try some of the recipes next time you're ready for a stroll through history. Find the complete book at The Art of Drink.
We've gotten our hands on a bottle of Level Vodka, Absolut's entry into the super-premium vodka market, which we told you about last week. We were immediately impressed with the packaging, with the frosted bottle that definitely putting us in the mind to increase our own vodka level. Level is Absolut's effort to take a swing at other ultra-premium brands like Belvedere and Grey Goose, but can it reach the same...ahem...level as its established competitors?
We'll let you know if it measures up to other high-end vodkas, and flatten out a few cocktails, when we do a full review. For now, you'll have to entertain yourself by visiting the Level Vodka site.
November 7, 2005
Buy it Online
There was a time, not too long ago, when tattoos were cool. We're not talking about that Tasmanian Devil you have tattooed on your ankle, or your girlfriend's "tribal" lower back tattoo. We're talking the big, beefy sailor tattoos that involved manly things like snakes and skulls and half-naked women. We're talking the kind of morning where you wake up six states away from where you started with a black eye, an empty wallet and some badass ink on your forearm.
The folks over at Sailor Jerry Rum know a thing or two about that kind of morning as well. They make a 92 proof spiced rum that's based on the "customized" rums sailors used to make when they were bored on long ocean journeys. While this is no Screech Rum (a good thing), it's no pantywaist rum infused with coconut essence and pixie dust, either. Based on what we've read, Sailor Jerry rum is spiced with punk rock and testosterone, and they know a little something about bad ass - their namesake, "Sailor Jerry" Collins, was a Honolulu tattoo artist who spawned a mythos with when he redefined the old-school tattoo. From the Sailor Jerry site:
This is man stuff. Filled with the grit, romance and heartbreak that drives some men to do what most would not. There's a tension about port cities filled with men who consider themselves on a mission to have a good time and return with evidence of such. And it's drawn into all of Sailor Jerry's tattoos. Keep your eyes out for his work, not in galleries, but in bars and on the street. If you find yourself strangely captivated by the girl on an old man's arm, we suggest you go ahead and offer to buy the guy a drink of Sailor Jerry Navy Rum. Hopefully, he'll be so impressed with your taste in rum, he won't punch you out and maybe he'll tell you some stories.
You can keep your rums that feature Admirals and Captains - we'll stick with Sailor Jerry, and we'll get a review up as soon as possible. Until then, learn more about the rum and shop for tattooed Sailor Jerry gear including t-shirts and glassware at SailorJerry.com
or buy a bottle online
at Internet Wines & Spirits.
November 6, 2005
Yes, you read that right...$27,000. We're not exactly cheapskates, but we can't imagine buying a bottle of whisky that costs more than our car. The scotch, which was put together to commemorate the "200th birthday" of founder Johnnie Walker, is a blend of nine rare types of whisky.
Only 200 bottles of the Johnnie Walker Blue Label 1805 Anniversary Pack have been produced as a tribute to the founder, John Walker. The blend is made from whiskies at least 45 years old and come predominantly from distilleries that no longer exist.
Another interesting point is that this scotch isn't really meant to be drunk - it's meant to be bought by collectors and kept in a safe. We ask you...where's the fun in that? For more information about the 1805 blend, read the article at Drinks Business Review
, and learn more about Mr. Walker himself at Johnnie Walker.com
November 5, 2005
Hot Cock Toddy. Cock-a-Rita. Cock & Cola. They might sound like titles of movies you wouldn't want to watch with your parents, but in fact they're cocktail recipes for Fighting Cock bourbon. We are absolutely engorged with jokes we'd like to make right now, but we'll work hard on keeping them to ourselves.
Beyond the absolutely amazing name, from what we can tell the whiskey is good stuff too. It's a six-year-old Kentucky bourbon that clocks in at a hefty 103 proof, with rye substituted for the wheat normally in bourbon, to add that extra kick. We're looking forward to giving it a try. We'll let you know as soon as we tangle with the Cock, and then we'll probably end up going to confession.
Also, on top of the drink recipes we listed above, the site includes some excellent looking food recipes for cooking with bourbon. We're huge fans of cooking with booze, and there are a few recipes we'd really like to try. In a perfect world, every meal would automatically feature bourbon barbecue sauce and finish up with Kentucky bourbon pie, but we don't live in a perfect world, so you'll have to get yourself a bottle of Fighting Cock and put on your apron.
To learn more, go to the Fighting Cock site.
November 4, 2005
Update: Check out our review of the shotgun opener, plus find out about the future of shotgunning...
If you've ever shotgunned a beer before, you know that it can be a lot of fun, but it can also be a bit of a hassle. Fumbling with your keys or some other sharp implement, aligning the hole properly, bending back the metal so you don't cut your lips while you drink - it can be a pain, especially after you're a couple beers in. We've discovered a Shotgun Beer Opener specifically designed for all your shotgunning needs.
If you've never done it before, shotgunning is pretty simple, at least on paper. Before opening the beer, you punch a hole in the side of the can near the bottom rim and clear out the jagged metal. You put your lips to that hole, forming a seal, and pop the tab on the beer can. This causes all the beer in the can to have nowhere else to go but your mouth.
It's usually done as a race, but it can also be done recreationally to measure your personal best (not that we would know). The Shotgun Beer Opener promises to take a lot of the fumbling and guesswork out of preparing the cans, and it comes with a keychain hook so you'll always have it when you need it.
For more information, go to the Shotgun Party website, and you can order your own for four bucks from DrinkingStuff.com.
86 Proof, 16 year old Islay Single Malt Scotch
$40 plus for 750ml (Update: $40 was a misprint...we meant to type $100 plus. But what's $60 more for good scotch, right?)
Buy it at Internet Wines & Spirits
Initial Thoughts: We've said it multiple times that all scotch tastes the same to us, and it just so happens that we like that taste, but we had an experience last week that made us eat our words. After dining in a local pub, we asked our server to bring us a scotch we'd never tried before and he instantly perked up. He said he had one variety he liked so much he bought a bottle for the bar because he felt so strongly that they should stock it. He brought it to us, and we couldn't understand what he said when he told us the name. After some back and forth we turned on our hearing aids and realized he was saying "Lagavulin."
We took one whiff and we were instantly in love with the stuff before even taking a drink. Lagavulin is an Islay scotch, a region known for creating peaty whisky, but this stuff had a deep peat smell the likes of which we'd never experienced, and a rich amber color. Between the two, we were given the warm feeling of a campfire. The taste was a combination of sweetness and smoke, and very rugged, sticking around long after we swallowed. We made our server write down the name for us so we could use it for our first scotch review.
Cocktail Recipes: Bite your tongue!
Finishing Thoughts: We'd never had an Islay whisky before, but we've read about it and we're familiar with names like Laphroaig, another scotch from the region. And while we loved Lagavulin, we're scotch novices, so we got in contact with Kevin Erskine, the man who wrote the book on single malt scotch. He was kind enough to share a few thoughts with us, which we've included below:
There has long been a religious war of sorts between fans of Lagavulin vs. Laphroaig, though the discussion is much like the Coke versus Pepsi debate -most people couldn't tell the difference between the two in a blind taste test. As a result either can be considered to be a definitive Islay malt. For example Michael Jackon gives Lagavulin higher points, while Jim Murray gives a slight edge to Laphroaig.
That being said The Lagavulin IS excellent - garnering 99 points from the Beverage Tasting institute, 97 points from Wine Spectator and 95 points from Michael Jackson. This is a whisky to work your way up to. The peat can overwhelm the average palate, and the finish is smoky and sustained. It's been said so much, it's almost a cliche - Lagavulin is an acquired taste, people either love it or hate it.
Well, we're novices and we loved it. Kevin also went on to note that there is a shortage of the Lagavulin, which we assume contributes to higher prices and could make it tough to find. But if you do find it, especially in a bar where you can order by the glass, we recommend you give it a try.
For a plethora of information about a wide variety of scotch whiskies, visit Kevin's site, The Scotch Blog.
Women in Kiev, Ukraine will soon be able to enjoy vodka of their very own with the launch of La Femme Vodka, a flavored vodka designed to heed the tastes of the fairer sex. Some would say it's not true vodka because it's mixed with fruit juices, but the creators claim otherwise.
(a) top quality spirit is used in production and the mixture is filtered seven times for greater purification.
The drinks creators tried to heed the taste of the fairer sex, who are said to generally prefer their vodka with juice, adding peach, cherry, grapefruit and apple juices to eastern Europe's most recognized export. Its producers, however, insist that the new concoction is indeed a vodka and not a cocktail.
We'll leave the final verdict up to you, but we're pretty sure if you mix something with vodka, it becomes a vodka cocktail. And we'll stand by that...unless the ladies in our lives tell us otherwise.
Read the full story at Moldova.org.
November 3, 2005
For a while there, we'd given up on the green fairy known as absinthe. Yeah, we got incredibly drunk when we tried it but that was probably because we were mixing it with Red Bull and vodka (known as a Bull Rush, if we remember correctly). But after covering Ted Breaux, who we call the absinthe man, and his efforts on behalf of the misunderstood liqueur, we're starting to come around. We know the thujone in the wormwood doesn't make you trip like the college kids want to believe, but it does do something to make for an interesting experience.
We found some more absinthe coverage this morning over at The Sporting Life, so we figured we'd share it.
Re: the qualities of absinthe. A buddy and I finished an entire bottle one night and we saw very few “green fairies.” However, my friend did fall asleep screaming about going to some dance club that didn’t exist. So there’s that.
We're pretty sure the brand they're talking about is Absinthe Schulz, a Czech brand that weighs in at a whopping 120 proof. Head on over to The Sporting Life
and you'll find a link to where you can order it.
Calling all Boston pub crawlers, it's time for the eighth annual Sparhawk Liquid Urban Tour (S.L.U.T.). This thing is massive, and we do mean MASSIVE. We're talking a grueling 13 bar marathon through Allston and Brighton, with upwards of 500 people involved. We know we're not giving you much notice since the event begins this Saturday afternoon, November 5, but it's not like you had anything else planned and you can TIVO that Saved By The Bell marathon.
The event is incredibly well-organized, with official t-shirts, various competition categories, and a list of official rules, which we've included below:
- Have a drink of your choice at each bar
- Never pay a cover
- NEVER...I REPEAT NEVER... LEAVE A MAN BEHIND!!!!
- Puke away from your friends if you want to keep them
- Did I mention never leave a man behind?
- Make friends with at least one local. Try to convince them to join us.
- If you run into the cops, your name is Steve Vargas and you lost your green card.
- And last but not least....NEVER LEAVE A MAN BEHIND!!!!!
Sadly, we found out about this event too late so the official registration period is over. But just because you're not an official crawler and you won't get a shirt doesn't mean you shouldn't join the festivities and prepare yourself for next year. Plus, if you really want a shirt it's just a matter of making friends with someone your size and offering to hold theirs for them while they're throwing up...
Learn more about the S.L.U.T. at the official site, and proudly represent Liquor Snob's Boston readership by keeping up with the competitiors in the John Holmes category.
If you ask most people about the place they most associate with vodka, they're likely to answer "Russia." I mean the word itself is a diminutive of the Russian word for water. But while we've tried and reviewed vodkas hailing from Poland to Texas, we haven't reviewed any Russian vodka yet. That's something that's going to change since we've gotten our hands on a bottle of Ikon Vodka.
We're comic book fans here at Liquor Snob, and we're suckers for a cool origin story. Here's the one we found at the Ikon site:
IKON Vodka was born in 1862, when Vassil Vassilivitch Alexandrov, a merchant of the First Guild, was awarded an imperial license to produce superior vodka, for the Russian nobility. IKON Vodka's reputation spread across the Russian Empire. The rest of Europe also recognized the excellence of this vodka. Ultimately Ikon would capture 7 gold medals at International Exhibitions in Barcelona, Paris and London.
We're not sure if old Vassil could leap a tall building in a single bound, but he made vodka, so he's a superman in our eyes. We'll post a review as soon as we can, and for now you can check out the Ikon Vodka site
A couple weeks ago we found out about Paula's Texas Orange Liqueur, an orange-flavored liqueur based on Italy's lemoncello. We were pretty excited to try it out after our initial coverage, but we found out the Austin-based liqueur is currently only available in Texas.
It took a little doing, but we got our hands on a bottle, and we plan to review it as soon as possible. We keep hearing great things about the margaritas you can make with the stuff, and we'll make sure to mix it with some Tito's vodka since they're the ones who turned us on to Paula's. After a whiff of the orange-ness emanating from the Paula's bottle, we're expecting good things from that union.
Keep an eye out for the full review, and go to Paula's site for more information in the meantime.
November 2, 2005
We've been seeing print and TV ads for Level Vodka for a little while now, and they made us intrigued enough to do some research. What we've been able to come up with is that this is Absolut's foray into the super-premium vodka market, imported from Sweden. We're intrigued by their creation process, which involves two types of distillation, continuous and batch. Their website says "some vodka makers settle for distilling their vodka two to four times, but the continuous process pioneered by Absolut repeats the process thousands of times."
So are the distillation methods a gimmick, or do they actually mean something? We're not sure, but the site says one process is for purity and the other adds character. We like both of those, and with the price tag we've been seeing on Level bottles we hope it lives up to the claims. We'll plan to get a bottle as soon as we can and get back to you with our findings.
Until then, learn more about it at LevelVodka.com.
We went to Beer Advocate's New England Beer Fest last Saturday, and we had a great time. Not only was it absolutely packed despite the snow (we went to the night session on Saturday), we saw great costumes, met great people and drank great beer. Not a bad night, all in all. We put together some thoughts on the beers we tried, and we've included ways to track them down if you're so inclined.
It should be noted that there were four of us at the Beer Fest, and while we started off with the best intentions of taking copious notes, things seemed to derail a bit as the festival went on. Where our notes from the beginning of the night might look something like "A rambunctious hoppy flavor with a malty kiss at the end," the notes from the end of the night were more like "Beer good. Drink more." We've included our favorites in order, exactly as we wrote them. Today's sober comments are included in (parentheses).
Continue reading: "New England Beer Fest Review"
November 1, 2005
Modern Drunkard: A Handbook for Drinking in the 21st Century
Vital Stats: 205 pages of tips and information that will touch your inner drunkard
Author: Frank Kelly Rich
Publisher: Riverhead Trade
Typical Price: $14.00 ($11.20 at Amazonplus free shipping)
It's no secret that we consider Frank Kelly Rich to be the grandaddy of what we do here at Liquor Snob. Sure, we're more product- and news-oriented while his Modern Drunkard Magazine focuses more on the esoterics of boozing, but it was the spirit that got us interested in writing about spirits. That being said, we've got to say his Modern Drunkard book is one of the funniest, not to mention most informative and useful books we've ever read.
We've all heard the saying "it's funny because it's true," and when we got our copy of the Modern Drunkard book last night we couldn't stop laughing. It's not just because the book is full of witticisms and gin-soaked humor. It's because he offers real-life tips on how a drunkard can survive in a teetotaling world, and insights any drunkard can agree with.
The book is full of indispensable information for today's boozer. Read "Etiquette for Inebriates" for tips on how to make it through awkward drinking situations, like hitting on the wife of the host of the party you're attending. Smile knowingly at the "Know Your Bartender" section because you've seen them all in your travels, from the Mercenary to the Ladies' Man. Learn "Bar Signs" for when you've lost your speech in your local watering hole.
Issue yourself the personal challenge of trying to pull off the Modern Drunkard's "Best Bar Moves," like the unsolicited hug and drinking as war. Learn the "Zen of Drinking Alone," and pick up a few "Party Games for People Who Don't Like Party Games" - we know we'll be playing Your Favorite Band Really, Really Sucks the next time we're at a shindig.
But our favorite part of the book was the final section, entitled "365 Excuses to Get Loaded." We're not going to spoil them for you, but we're especially interested in February 21, which involves a Polaroid, and June 15, which is a great day to drink moonshine. Plus, find out why you should drink 15 pints every December 25.
The Modern Drunkard is a great read and a true boozer's bible, combining tongue-in-cheek humor with tried and true strategies and tips. In fact, we got more information out of flipping through its pages than we did in a decade and a half of school.
Buy your copyat Amazon today.
Plus, get the full experience, subscribe to the monthly magazine and browse the store at Modern Drunkard Magazine online.