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"
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
October 14, 2005
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.
October 13, 2005
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.
October 11, 2005
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
October 9, 2005
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 7, 2005
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 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