September 24, 2005
We discovered the Gray Kangaroo Liquor Filter last week
, and we knew we had to get our hands on one as soon as possible. After a full week of nearly tackling the mail man every time he approached the Liquor Snob offices, it finally arrived in the mail. We knew we had to put it through its paces. The site claims that the liquor filter will "take the stink out of your drink," so we knew we had to find the stinkiest, most foul booze around for the test.
And find it we did. If you're like us, when you think of quality vodka, you think of...Massachusetts. That's right. MH Gordon's, "distilled" and bottled in sunny downtown Somerville. Just looking at the bottle, complete with the $6 price tag, filled us with dread. It was perfect...if the Gray Kangaroo could take the stink out of this drink, we would be converted forever. We set up our testing apparatus, and the first thing we realized was that in order for the filter to work, you have to have a second, empty bottle. Sadly, our recycling had just been picked up.
We were able to cobble something together to aid in the filtering process, and the testing began. One note; when you test your Gray Kangaroo, don't make the same mistake we did. Make sure when you begin to filter that the Gray Kangaroo is right-side up, because there are two little holes in the upper half of the filter to make sure the booze can get into the filter quickly. If your filter is upside down, those holes will let the liquor miss the bottle. After we cleaned up the counter, we were able to get on with our vodka tasting
Round One: Unfiltered
: Clear, looks like water. But like some shark-infested sea, we knew it held hidden peril.
: Edging close to the shot glass for a whiff, we're pretty sure we saw our nose hairs go up in smoke. After we regained our sense of smell, the first thing that came to mind was "paint thinner."
: It burns! Oh, dear lord, it BURNS. We nearly called an old priest and a young priest for an exorcism. We dumped the rest of the glass through the filter.
Round Two: One Filtration
: Still looks clear and innocent, but we've been fooled before.
: Far less pungent...now, instead of paint thinner it smells like watered-down rubbing alcohol.
We closed our eyes and sipped and...instead of demonic convulsions we only shuddered a bit. Looks like the Gray Kangaroo is working, but we reserve judgment. Once again, the rest of the glass goes through the filter.
Round Three: Two Filtrations
: No change.
: Smells like...vodka? Could it be?
: Still tentative, we take a swig. It's...vodka. It tastes like some of the good, solid mid-range vodkas we've had in the past. Still not convinced of the miracle, we take another drink. By Jeebus, it's true! This time we're not filtering anymore, and we sip the rest of the shot.
We'll be putting the liquor filter through some more testing, but the fine folks at Gray Kangaroo have us convinced. Their product really works. It was able to take the most evil swill of a vodka we could find, and make it drinkable. Keep an eye out here at Liquor Snob as we test it out more, including Pepsi challenges comparing filtered vodka to the high-end stuff. And if you want to pick up a Gray Kangaroo of your own, head on over to the Gray Kangaroo site
and tell 'em the Liquor Snob sent you.
Hey-O! It's come to our attention that everyone's favorite late night sidekick has started his own brand of vodka called, appropriately enough, Ed McMahon Perfect Vodka
. We're glad he can find time, in between giving away million-dollar checks for Publisher's Clearinghouse and shilling for those Easy Mobility wheelchairs, and we hope the stuff is as good as he claims it is..
From the McMahon Vodka
Meet the vodka that is redefining the perfect cocktail. We call it McMahon Perfect - the premium Russian imported spirit that satisfies the discerning tastes of true vodka connoisseurs with its pure clarity, smoothness and taste.
Preserving the original techniques and time-honored practices of the Russians, McMahon Perfect is distilled using a special four-time filtration process that allows for strict quality control. Combining this with only the highest quality raw materials and over 200 years of experience, results in a vodka that truly distinguishes itself from all others.
Upon opening the bottle, your senses are drawn to its fresh, invigorating aroma. Pouring a cocktail unwraps the essence of its depth and character. And finally with a sip, you'll marvel at the smooth, crisp finish.
We thought tequila was only good for manufacturing blackouts and soul-crushing regrets, but apparently the drink may have more to it.
A group of Mexican scientists - suspiciously enough they're from the country's biggest tequila producing region - say juice from the blue agave plant, from which tequila is distilled, may help people lose weight and lower their cholesterol. OK, so maybe the valuable properties are lost when it's distilled...
Sadly for the world's growing band of tequila lovers, agave's possible health benefits are lost when the plant is distilled into alcohol.
Spiky agave plants has been cultivated on Mexico's arid central highlands for thousands of years and are woven into the country's history and mythology. But more than anything the plant is known for what Spanish invaders called "tequila wine."
Now however, researchers from the University of Guadalajara, close to the town of Tequila, the cradle of Mexico's famous alcoholic export, say the plant's powers go beyond inducing euphoric highs followed by crushing hangovers.
It's too bad blue agave loses its heath benefits when it's distilled, but we say it never hurts to try, right? Margaritas for everyone!
We're not usually ones for the fluffy human interest piece here at Liquor Snob, but there are some topics we'll cover no matter what. One of those topics is Jagermeister. We first discovered Jager in college, and like most of our college friends, when we run into it we usually end up far too drunk, losing our judgment and ending up on a roof wondering how to get down.
One person Jager hasn't caused trouble for is Sidney Frank, the owner of Sidney Frank Importing. In the first half of 2005, Mr. Frank sold 2 million cases of the herbal liqueur. He is the man who invented the Jagerettes, the squads of young ladies who go from bar-to-bar and event-to-event, promoting Jager. His company also went on to create Gray Goose vodka back in the late '90s, and he recently sold the company to Bacarding for "a lot more than $2 billion."
Mr. Frank's life is a regular Cinderella story, going from his early days on a farm in C,T to his current status as multi-billionaire liquor god, complete with a "fleet of cars, chefs, and golf instructors." It does our hearts good to see that liquor has been so good to Mr. Frank, and we raise our glasses to a man who's 85 years old and still going strong.
We'll leave you with some of Sidney Frank's best answers from the Q&A, so you can apply them to your everyday life:
On Succeeding in Business:
"I remember one time there was going to be a glass strike. So we rented every warehouse in the country and filled them with glass, and sure enough a couple of months later, the glass strike came on, and we had glass and no other distributor did. You have to be forward-thinking."
On keeping employees happy:
"I wanted to make sure that nobody in the company would quit. So we gave bonuses--if they were with us 10 years, we gave them a two-year bonus. It changed a lot of people's minds. Not one employee left."
Sounds like Mr. Frank knows how to run a business. Of course, if he hired us he'd just have to pay our bonus in bottles of Jager...though he'd have to keep the stairs to the roof locked at all times. Learn more about our favorite liqueur at Jager.com, and read the full Sidney Frank Q&A at Inc.com.
September 20, 2005
Due to unavoidable circumstances, we missed International Talk Like a Pirate Day. We know...we should be keel hauled. Not only did we miss our chance to talk like a pirate, we lost out on a great chance to drink rum. We've found two recipes to get you by until next September 19, one for pirates and one for those whose sensibilities are a little bit softer.
Grog: Rum For Pirates:
Rum and water
Mix together, drink, pillage.
Recipe Found in:
Davy Jones' Locker
Kiwi Fruit Daiquiri: Rum ForNon-Pirates:
1 kiwifruit, pared and sliced
3 tsp. sugar
1 tbsp. lime juice
2 oz Rum
1 drop green food coloring (opt)
8 ice cubes, crushed
2 slices Kiwifruit
Blend all ingredients except kiwifruit slices in a blender until smooth. Serve in stemmed glasses. Garnish edge of each glass with kiwifruit slice. Makes 2 servings.
Recipe Found at:
The Recipe Place
September 19, 2005
We love it when people to technology to practical use, and we can't think of anything more practical than the iPod bartender. Take your iPod, which you always have with you, and add 200+ drink recipes in 16 categories, and you've got a real winner for a night on the town or at home playing bartender. The iPod Bartender even lets you make an individual cocktail recipe playlist, called a BoozeMix, to fit different situations or outings.
Download the full iPod bartender program, or you can just stir up the BoozeMix that's right for you, or preview cocktail recipes, at the iPod bartender site. Don't have your iPod yet? Buy one at Amazon so you don't miss out on high-tech drinks of your own.
Here's what the site has to say about the iPod bartender:
"The iPod bartender and the iPod bartender shuffle are podSites, and allow any 3rd or 4th generation iPod owners to take a list of drinks with them, wherever they go. The iPod bartender contains all the drink recipes available. The iPod bartender shuffle lets you have a little fun, and specify a random BoozeMix™ to fit your night, and friends."
We found the iPod bartender thanks to productdose.com.
September 16, 2005
Here at Liquor Snob, we hate mixing drinks. That's probably why we instituted our "No More Than Three Ingredients" rule for the cocktails we swill...errr, sip. We've found a contraption that will take a lot of the irritation out of bartending.
The Bartender's Rotating Drink Dispenser doles out liquor in standard 1.5 ounce shots, making shot glasses and measuring cups obsolete. On top of that, you can keep up to four different bottles in there at once, handy if you're making different types of cocktails or, say, Long Island Iced Tea. The Amazon site has this to say about the contraption:
Create the perfect Manhattan for a guest without measuring cups or shot glasses. All you need is this handy drink dispenser from Global Décor. It holds four, 1-liter bottles of alcohol or mixers, and rotates to allow home bar tenders to mix party-pleasing beverages without juggling bottles. The tool is made of sturdy aluminum with a broad base for enhanced support. Spring-loaded rods keep bottles and their contents secure while in the dispenser. The dispenser pours precise, measured, 1-1/2-ounce liquid shots for martinis, daiquiris, and more.
When we checked, these bad boys were on sale, marked down from $89.99 to $39.99. Sounds like a bargain to us - buy your own rotating drink dispenserat Amazon.com.
We were going to call this one "Scotch for Dummies," but we didn't want to insult our readers since so many people are intimidated by the beverage. If you're one of those people, we know your pain - the first few times we tried the stuff we felt like we were sucking on a piece of peat moss soaked in lighter fluid. For us it was an acqured taste, but there are a lot of fierce Scotch drinkers out there who are as dedicated and choosy about their whisky as your typical wine snob is about the grape.
Scotch snob wannabes no longer have to go it alone. We found out that Kevin Erskine is attempting to change the image of the fire water, and make it more accessible for folks who want to expand the boundaries of their alcoholic enjoyment. Mr. Erskine's book, The Instant Expert's Guide to Single Malt Scotch, is aimed at the novice drinker, and as he says on his site, "It could be the perfect gift for someone in your life who has not yet discovered the joys of the finest adult beverage in the world! (And who knows, even the savvy Scotch drinker may learn something.)" We found the book at Amazon for less than ten bucks, which we think is a steal for the wealth of information it includes.
Buy your copy of The Instant Expert's Guide to Single Malt Scotchat Amazon.
Continue reading: "Scotch Whisky for...the Inexperienced"
September 15, 2005
What more can we say about the Gray Kangaroo personal liquor filter that hasn't already been said? This critter has already been mentioned in magazines like Maxim and Stuff and gone on the Warped Tour. Not only that, they have an awesome mascot, and judging by the lovely lady caressing the Gray Kangaroo on the website, they know how to appeal to their target market. Based on all that, if the darned thing works we're ready to drink ourselves into a gray, furry stupor.
So what does it do to your liquor? It basically does the same thing a Brita or Pur would do for your drinking water, trickling it through a charcoal filter to remove impurities. And what's so bad about those impurities, you might ask? They, along with dehydration and bad judgment, are the things that leave you green around the gills after a night on the town. The basic premise is that you can have a high-end experience for rotgut prices. Buy a bottle from the lowest shelf (the site says it works best with vodka, but will work its magic on any pre-packaged hard liquor), run it through the filter, and voila. Fewer impurities means fewer hang overs, assuming you drink responsibly.
But does it work? The site says "Try it: you will be amazed and never go back to high priced booze. Our customers aren't customers they're fans! Even if you believe in this product you have no idea how cool it is untill you try it!"
We're convinced. We'll be getting in touch with the fine folks over at Gray Kangaroo in the next few days to get our hands on a review model and put it through its paces. If you can't wait to hear what we think, head on over to the Gray Kangaroo site and buy a personal liquor filter of your own. You can get your hands on a single Gray Kangaroo for $29.95, or buy one with a spare filter for $40.95. Plus, they'll send you Emergen-C as a free gift, and a couple copies of everyone's favorite Modern Drunkard Magazine.
Don't forget to check out the "Featured Video" on the home page, which gives you advice on what to do if you've "Got the chicks back to the house but can't seal the deal." Priceless. Plus, learn more about Modern Drunkard in the Liquor Snob archives.
September 3, 2005
Looking for something to read while you have a drink? Look no farther than Modern Drunkard Magazine. With features like Bartender in Heat, Wino Wisdom, Booze Reviews and profiles of the Drunkard of the Month, you'll find something to keep you entertained even at your most alcohol-soaked. You can either browse online or subscribe to the magazine ($24.00 for six monthly issues).
The site also features a catalog of Modern Drunkard Gear, which features booze-related merchandise including the typical t-shirts and hats, plus a sweet Flask and my personal favorite, the Logo Hoodie.