We just got our review bottle of Southern Comfort's Fiery Pepper, a tabasco-infused twist on the whiskey liqueur. We can't wait to see what the addition of a little fire does for a spirit that's always been on the sweet side. Our review bottle came with a smoke detector and four light-up shot glasses too - we're looking forward to bringing the heat.
How much is it worth to you and your friends to be able to build a shot luge? We hope you said "I dunno, like a hundred bucks..." because that's how much the Build-A-Luge Blackout Edition will run you. Containing everything you need for said blackout, from ice trough to stand to pourers, for less than the cost of a single college textbook. There is no downside.
If you've been living under a rock for the last year or so, you probably haven't heard of Four Loko. Known in these offices as canned blackout, the high-octane (caffeine and alcohol) beverage was pulled off store shelves in 2010. The brand is accused of targeting underage drinkers with soda-like flavors, and linked to a surge in date rapes because of such. In the wake of the furor, the company's fratty founders have kept their heads downs, but that didn't stop folks from teeing off on them and their brand:
"If you set out to engineer a booze delivery system that is as cloying, deceptive and divorced from the usual smells, tastes and presentation of alcohol as possible, you'd be hard pressed to come up with something more impressive than Four Loko," wrote former New York Times restaurant critic Frank Bruni in the midst of the flap last fall. "It's a malt liquor in confectionary drag...Four Loko cans--I paid $3.50 apiece for mine--are something to see, each sporting a few ultrabright, childlike hues in a kind of rippling weave that evokes a camouflage pattern. Fatigues like these are what an army of Teletubbies would wear into battle."
Like you needed another excuse to drink on Thursdays, but here you go - the National Geographic show Ultimate Factories will be airing episodes about Jack Daniels and Coca Cola in March. The JD episode will air Thursday, March 10, and the Coke ep will air on the 17th.
Ultimate Factories travels to Lynchburg, Tennessee, where tradition and technology intersect to make 150 million bottles of Jack Daniel's Old No. 7 each year. The factory holds enough whiskey to fill 3 million bottles at any given time, fermented with yeast that descends from the same used in the original batch 140 years ago.
Coca-Cola reaches more countries than there are in the United Nations, and it takes a power factory to provide a beverage with a famously secret formula consumed in over 99 percent of the populated world. Machines in a bottling plant pump out almost 800 bottles per minute, utilizing specialized air-veyor belts to maximize efficiency.
Our recommendation is that you start drinking Jack & Cokes on the 10th and just keep going for the week. That way you'll be properly lubed up for St. Patrick's Day.*
The Bitter Truth - E**X**R
Amaro-style herbal liqueur
60 Proof (30% ABV) The Bitter Truth
They Say: "E**X**R is velvety smooth while at the same time clean, aromatic and herbaceous. It embodies the caramel sweetness of port and the bitter flavors of a classic Italian Amaro."
We Say: We're fans of The Bitter Truth bitters, and we were surprised when we heard they were making a liqueur. The nose is bitter, which is to be expected, and most folks would acquaint the smell with a certain famous herbal liqueur called Jagermeister. The flavor is sweeter than we expected up front, with a lingering herbal taste that lasts, and it feels a bit syrupy on the tongue. At the end it's much closer to a Fernet than a Jager, and it's something we'd like to experiment more with in terms of cocktails. One of the recipes on the website is E**X**R and Ginger, which we mixed and really enjoyed the way the herbal flavors opened up with the ginger beer.
The Verdict: E**X**R is an enigma wrapped in a riddle, smothered in mystery sauce. It starts off sweet and ends up with a pleasant bitterness that will appeal to adventurous drinkers and those who like their drinks with some zazz. Try it in Negronis, or swap it in for vermouth in your favorite drinks - give in to your spirit of adventure and we think you'll be pleasantly surprised.
As most of you know, it's Mardi Gras season all February, ending on Fat Tuesday on March 8. What you probably don't know, unless you have night vision goggles and a perch outside our window, is that we're sitting in front of a Mardi Gras-themed package sent to us by Southern Comfort to help us prep for the celebration.
And what is the first thing you think of when you think of Mardi Gras? Oh, right, beads. But what comes next? If you're us, the next thing you think of is drinking. Which is exactly why Southern Comfort sent us...a doughnut? Err, excuse us, it was actually a King Cake, a Mardi Gras delicacy. We're sure they're delicious, but by the time Fedex delivered ours it looked like a giant glazed donut someone had shot with Homer's makeup gun set to "whore." From our hazy memories, that sort of fits the whole Bourbon Street vibe, but we got the picture above from here anyway.
They also sent us a couple interesting SoCo recipes, one of which - the "Flambeaux Mambo" which contains Tabasco - really piqued our curiosity. Looks like we'll have to dust off our bottles of SoCo and hot sauce and tuck into some cake...we doubt it'll keep until March.
Check out SoCo on Facebook and we're sure they'll keep you up to speed on all things Mardi Gras.
European bitters producers The Bitter Truth have released a new bitters liqueur called E**X**R in the US, and the big hook is that it has digestive properties, meaning you can help quash your sour belly after you eat too much by mixing a cocktail. That is what we call a win-win-win. We've gotten our bottle in for review and will review it post-haste.
Firmly rooted in the traditions of both classic sweet vermouths and alpine digestive tonics. Enjoy E**X**R in a pre-dinner Manhattan or Negroni or enjoy it neat after a rich meal to aid digestion. It's as delicate as the finest vermouths with an alcohol content that allows it to defy oxidation and the need for refrigeration. It's thoroughly intriguing and the most astounding new addition to the cocktailian arsenal.
Someday, we hope to be at least this drunk while wearing a Santa costume. Until that day, we're going to have to be content with this amazing video of a Santa Claus doing the equivalent of trying to put on his flip flops.