December 19, 2005

Evan Williams Bourbon Egg Nog Review

Evan Williams Holiday Egg Nog
30 proof egg nog liqueur mixed with Evan Williams bourbon
Typical Price: Under $10 for 750ml

Evan Williams Egg NogInitial Thoughts: For most people, egg nog is a drink that goes hand-in-hand with the holidays. For us, bourbon is a drink that goes hand-in-hand with most days. If you're looking for a solid combination of the two for under ten bucks, we recommend the pre-mixed variety from Evan Williams, because it gives you the holiday comfort and the buzz, without the muss and fuss of making your own nog. Plus, you don't actually have to see all the eggs that go in there.

This stuff is sweet, but that's to be expected from any egg nog, and the bourbon offers a nice caramel back end that augments the natural flavor of the nog, and helps fortify you for time with the relatives. We liked the cinnamon and nutmeg flavors that swirled around over our tongues as well, keeping the eggy sweetness from being overbearing.

Cocktail Recipes: This stuff is ready to go right from the bottle, unless you want to splash a little more Evan Williams in there. It's the holidays...who are we to judge?

Finishing Thoughts: Don't be surprised if this stuff is a little less thick on your tongue than the virgin nog that comes out of your local dairy case. We found it to be very tasty, however, and a far better holiday tradition than fruitcake in any form, to say the least. You'll definitely want to drink it chilled, or at least over ice, because it will help thicken it a bit and give you the full egg nog experience. You also might enjoy sprinkling a little bit of cinnamon or nutmeg over the top of your glass, or dropping a cinnamon stick in there. We recommend it for your company's holiday gift swap, Christmas Eve (or Christmas Morning), and next to the plate of cookies you're leaving for Santa.

For more information about the bourbon that graces this noggy goodness, go to EvanWilliams.com.

Jake Jamieson at Permalink | Comments (15) | social bookmarking

December 18, 2005

Hpnotiq Liqueur Review

HPNOTIQ
34 proof blended liqueur of vodka, cognac and tropical fruit juices
Typical Price: About $25 for 750ml - Buy it at Internet Wines & Spirits

Hpnotiq LiqueurInitial Thoughts: We have to admit, when we picked up our bottle of Hpnotiq, it already had three strikes against it. First, it already breaks our "too many ingredients" rule right at the outset by combining vodka, cognac and a multitude of fruit juices. Second, it's bright blue and has a hip, trendy name. Third, our first impression was that it smells a bit like the alcoholic version of blue Gatorade.

We were impressed with the heavy, frosted champagne-style bottle, however, and we know the stuff has been garnering tons of buzz. All sorts of stars and heavy-hitters swear by the stuff, and according to an Hpnotiq press release, NBC called it "the drink of choice for celebrities." Hell, if it's good enough for Lil Jon, who are we to turn up our noses?

When we tasted it, we liked the fact that it wasn't as sweet as we'd expected, and the tartness of the juices made for a much more complex experience than we'd expected. It was pretty tasty on the rocks, and if you like your cocktails to feature fruit juice heavily, we say you're going to dig it. Plus, while some people do drink it straight, there are so many Hpnotiq cocktail recipes out there we realized that was probably the way for us to go.

Cocktail Recipes: We usually don't drink a lot of cocktails, preferring our liquor on the rocks or straight up. We did mix up a few cocktails we really dug, however, and we decided that at least around the Liquor Snob offices, the true value of Hpnotiq was as a mixer. There are all sorts of hpnotizing drink recipes all over the Web, and there were a coupe at the official website with superhero themes, and since we're comic book geeks we've compiled them for your mixing pleasure.

Hpnotiq Hulk
2oz Hpnotiq
2oz Cognac (We used Hennessy)
Layer over ice in a rocks glass, let the drinker stir it up to watch the transformation...it's all the rage.

Green Lantern
2oz Hpnotiq
1oz premium vodka
1oz Red Bull
Combine ingredients over ice in a rocks glass. The site recommends garnishing with a lemon wedge, but we don’t because the Green Lantern's power is diminished by the color yellow (we told you we were geeks).

Blue Devil
1.5oz Hpnotiq
1oz dry vermouth
.5oz scotch
Combine Hpnotiq and vermouth over ice in a rocks glass; float scotch over the top.

We were also able to mix up an amazing batch of dumpster juice, replacing the Midori with Hpnotiq.

Finishing Thoughts: All in all, the drinks we made with this liqueur were a pleasant surprise, and we can see why the illuminati are gravitating to it. We recommend Hpnotiq when you're looking for a classy pre-mixed cocktail that will impress your friends, at your next Oscars party, or when you want to pretend to be a super hero. It also strikes us as a great wedding present (old, new, borrowed, blue...get it?), and there's a section of the site dedicated to integrating Hpnotiq into your wedding festivities. Plus, we challenge our readers to come up with tasty cocktail recipes with Smurf-related names, just for fun.

To learn more, find recipes and catch up on what people are saying about this drink, go to Hpnotiq.com.

Jake Jamieson at Permalink | Comments (11) | social bookmarking

December 5, 2005

AI Bar Is, Like, Wicked Smart

AI BarWe're not sure what it is, but we're a bit creeped out by the concept of robot bartenders...maybe it's the herky-jerky movements, the stilted post-pour conversation, or the fact that they could go HAL on us at any moment if we spill our drink. We'd be a lot more comfortable with something between the beer-only Kegbot and the "I could crush your face with robot strength" of T-Rot and RoboBar. Luckily, thanks to the fine folks over at The Sporting Life, we may have found it in the AI Bar:

This modified refrigerator houses up to sixteen different liquor/mixer bottles and a keg, all powered by CO2. The real magic? It plays bartenders, too. On the left half of the unit, where you might normally find a water/ice dispenser, you’ll find a touchscreen running bartending software that allows you to select from a huge variety of drinks, cocktails, etc. After making your selection, the unit pours the drink for you–voila!
via TheSportingLife

According to the AI Bar site, this mechanized mixologist can make over 1,000 drinks, and there are plans in the works to commercialize it. Plus, the inventors plan all kinds of upgrades, like remote ordering through PDAs and cell phones, voice recognition software (imagine programming yours to say "Free Drink") and card readers for automatic credit card charges. Sounds like a vending machine from drunken heaven to us.

Learn more at AIBar.com.

Jake Jamieson at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

December 3, 2005

Amarula Cream Liqueur Review

Amarula
34 proof Marula fruit cream liqueur
Typical Price: Around $23 for 750ml - Buy it at Internet Wines & Spirits

Amarula Cream LiqueurInitial Thoughts: We didn't know much about Amarula when we got it, so we had to begin by judging it by the bottle itself. It comes in a swanky-looking shaped brow bottle, done up in gold labeling with a charging elephant on the front. We figured that was a good start. When we read that it was a liqueur made from "fresh cream and the unique fruit of the Marula tree," our first question was, "What's a Marula?"

According to the Amarula site, it's a tree that only grows on the plains of Africa, and its fruit is often enjoyed by elephants, which munch away on the berries whenever they get a chance. In fact, the berries are known to drive elephants a bit mad because they can ferment a bit after lying on the ground. So we know the Marula is good for getting elephants drunk (a sight we'd love to see), but how does a liqueur made from it measure up? Find out after the jump.

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Jake Jamieson at Permalink | Comments (6) | social bookmarking

November 22, 2005

Assorted Roaring '20s Liquor Arrives

Roaring 20s LiquorToday 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

Cigars:
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.

Jake Jamieson at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

November 13, 2005

Reason #312 to Drink Liquor Straight

Long Island Iced TeaWe'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.

Jake Jamieson at Permalink | Comments (2) | social bookmarking

November 9, 2005

Paula's Texas Orange Liqueur Review

Paula's Texas Orange Liqueur
80 proof liqueur reminiscent of an orange lemoncello
Typical Price: Under $25 for 750ml; currently only available in Texas

Paula's Texas Orange MargaritaInitial 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.

ORANGE-PLOSION
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.

Jake Jamieson at Permalink | Comments (3) | social bookmarking

November 3, 2005

Paula's Texas Orange Liqueur Arrives

Paula's Texas Orange LiqueurA 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.

Jake Jamieson at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

October 25, 2005

Potcheen Irish Moonshine Review

Bunratty Export Potcheen
90 Proof Unaged Grain Whiskey
Typical Price: Less than $20 for a 750ml bottle - Buy it at Internet Wines & Spirits

Bunratty Potcheen Irish MoonshineInitial 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.

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Jake Jamieson at Permalink | Comments (1) | social bookmarking

October 19, 2005

Uber Tap, Meet the Ultimate Cocktail

Uber TapOK, 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.

Ultimate CocktailPlus, 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

Jake Jamieson at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

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