We've been following the Bacardi True Originals video series with some interest, as we see various bartending styles and their different ways of approaching the craft. This latest, The Apothecary (below), focuses on bartenders who are willing to experiment and break conventional drinks to rebuild them in a more delicious way.
To go along with this idea, the company is having a contest right now where you can put your own distinctive twist on the classic mojito recipe for a chance to win a first edition copy of the Savoy Cocktail Book, signed by Harry Craddock, Yarai seamless mixing glass from Japan and Japanese bar spoon. Learn more and submit your twist on the mojito at the True Originals Facebook page; no word on a contest deadline but the sooner the better, right?
A couple weeks back, we took shipment of three Thatcher's Organic flavors - Coffee, blood orange, and yumberry to be exact. Now that we've fought our way through a cold the likes that God has never seen* we can actually smell and taste it, and give you our two cents on the proceedings. So...here we go!
Coffee is the flavor we're most familiar with among these three, considering the fact we suck down at least a cup of the stuff every day, and Thatcher's doesn't disappoint. It looks and smells exactly like a cup of real, honest to goodness coffee. When you hold it up to light it goes a bit amber, just like real coffee, and doesn't have the syrupy blackness we see in some coffee liqueurs. The smell is similarly on point - evoking a fresh-brewed cup of joe which smells even better because we know it has booze in it.
The mouth feel is light and not too syrupy, with a lingering coffee taste that's not too sweet and not too bitter. We can see ourselves mixing up a perfect Black Russian, or maybe even a White Russian, and saying to ourselves "You make a mean Caucasian, Jackie!"**
The blood orange is a striking fruit, the sanguine tint of its flesh making it live up to its name. Thatcher's Blood Orange does so as well, with a scarlet tint when you hold the bottle to the light. The nose is delicate, with a tinge of citrus and fruit hinting at its mysterious flavor.
Thatcher's Blood Orange has a solid orange taste without veering into Tang territory, and the finish is incredibly long, with complex citrusy notes that lasted a long while after we tasted it. This would be excellent in any citrusy cocktail, and the Thatcher's website suggests mixing it into a margarita. Don't mind if we do!
Yumberry was the liqueur we were most eager to try, mostly because we haven't had much exposure to yumberries. In fact, we're pretty sure we wouldn't be able to pick one out of a lineup. Thanks to good old Wikipedia, we know it's a fruit that grows predominantly in Asia, and that it has some purported medicinal values. The liqueur is bright, just this side of hot pink...definitely on the racy side.
The nose is all berries all the time - the closest we could approximate is a more complex strawberry. Sweet without being syrupy, it's delicate full of berry punch. Delicate but long-lasting, we can see this in a slew of berry-based cocktails, and we're thinking about putting it into a gin fizz to see how it holds up.
More info at Thatcher's Organic; get the full scoop on all eleven flavors. We are incredibly impressed with what we've tried so far, and highly recommend you pick up a bottle if you can.
* You are the Kiwsatz Haderach if you picked up that Dune reference.
** Big Lebowski reference...we're throwing rocks tonight!
A while back, we wrote about Thatcher's Organic Elderflower as a well-received replacement for the ubiquitous St. Germain. We're fans of Thatcher's and what they're doing with various liqueurs, and today we're happy to report three new flavors (and the fact they've arrived safely on our doorstep). The three new expressions have been in development for the last 18 months, and are known as Coffeehouse, Blood Orange, and Yumberry. Rather than try to sum them up ourselves, we'll give you the rundown right from the horse's mouth - Dave Racicot, founder of Thatcher's:
Coffeehouse comes from a blend of organic coffees which we have found work pretty well together. The hard part was some regional taste differences such has dark and earthy like the Pacific Northwest and sweet like the Northeast. The one universal point was people did not want artificial, syrup, tacky.
Yumberry I had tried when in China and loved what could happen with it so I was off to the races. The strawberry/raspberry fusion was perfect for spring, summer and warm weather cocktails. We have been having it in sparkling wine/champagne during Sunday brunch and it is a huge hit. There are so many cocktails that can be created from it, martinis, mojitos, margaritas, and even in sparkling water there are some very cool combination's which friends have been coming up with. Plus, the name Yumberry, how cool is that!
Blood Orange was the near death of me. Finding enough organic blood oranges to get everything from color, aromatics and taste was very hard. They come from the US and Sicily, Italy. I have always loved Blood Oranges and wanted to find a way to capture it in a liqueur in a way nobody else has. We have found it to work well in margaritas, martinis and be a great with a nice blanco tequila on the rocks.
We'll be playing around with these as soon as we can, but until we do, learn about all 11 (eleven!) flavors at Thatcher's Organic.
Jager is one of those things people either love or hate. With its syrupy consistency and punch-you-in-the-tongue flavor, this herbal liqueur is definitely not for everyone, but the people who love it love it fiercely, and the people who hate it swear they'll never drink it again. We won't come out and tell you which camp we fall into - let's just say it will always be part of the tapestry of booze we have woven through our lives.
Most people we know don't mix Jager - they screw up their courage and shoot it straight, drop it into an energy drink, or find some other way to consume it rapidly. This is why we nicknamed it "blackout juice" in college., but it is possible to enjoy Jager slowly. We haven't tried the recipes below you can bet we're going to try Jager & root beer sooner than later.
We're not big ones for looking back at last year, mostly because that smacks of introversion, self-awareness, and work. Luckily, other people are a bit more prone to it, and Colleen from Cocktails.About.com has put together a nice roundup of her favorite new spirits that were released last year. We've tried two from the list (Square One Botanical and Red Stag) and we have to say we love those, so we're thinking we should track down the rest.
Check out all of Colleen's Best New Spirits of 2009, and please let us know if there are any other new spirits from last year we should know about in the comments.
It's time once again, ladies and gentlemen, for the holiday tradition that is the Liquor Snob Holiday Gift guide. If you're wondering what to buy for the boozer, sot, or lush of your life, fret no more, because we're gonna hook you up.
This year we're changing the format a bit to include some hot deals and gift guides we've noticed (which will be updated as we find more) and the Top 11 items people have bought through us at Amazon in the last year (which pretty much translates to "things we want for Christmas"). To top it all off, we've also rounded up a bunch of other cool stuff we covered this year too.
Holiday Deals and Gift Guides
We plan to update these deals and guides as the holiday season moves forward, but these are the things that have hit our inbox so far. If you hear about any great deals or stumble across a cool booze-related holiday item, just let us know and we'll add it to the list.
The Jim Beam Holiday Gift Guide - we thought this was worth a read, with its plethora of tips for how to save money, gift ideas to avoid, and some hot-off-the-presses cocktail recipe ideas for when you need them...and you will.
Cocktail Vibe Black Friday Sale - get 45% off everything on the Cocktail Vibe site during their Black Friday sale, and they've got some really nice stuff...we love ours. Just use the code CVBLACKFRIDAY at checkout.
Internet Wines & Spirits has a nice selection of unique bottles that are pretty danged gift-worthy...we know we were pumped when our bottle of Crystal Head vodka showed up from there.
Also, this isn't necessarily liquor-related, but if you're not following BFAds.net for Black Friday discounts and deals, do yourself a favor and sign up
25% off all orders at Sailor Jerry between 12/15 and 12/17 - use code SJGIFT. [Updated 12/14]
For the Beirut enthusiast on your Christmas list, check out Go Pong - most portable beer pong tables you'll find are over $100, but these are less than sixty bucks. We haven't played on them, but you can't go wrong for the price. Customizable too! Get the skinny at GoPong.com. [Added 12/3]
Top 11 Booze Gifts of 2008/2009
We don't make a secret of the fact we have an affiliate partnership with Amazon - in fact, generous folks like you shopping there through our site help keep this website afloat. So, we took a look at all the items that were bought over the last year, from November 1 2008 through today, to show you what the booze hounds gentle readers of our site saw fit to buy. Who knows? Maybe it'll get your creative juices flowing, but if you don't like them don't blame us. There's no accounting for taste.
If you're still bankrupt for ideas, we've included a whole mess of products we've covered in the past year for your perusing pleasure, and you can also check out our gift guides from previous years (2006, 2007, 2008) for more ideas.
It's fall, and apparently that means we've more reviews to do. While we're (finally) digging through our backlog of tastings and reviews to write up, the FedEx men have been busy the last few days bringing us all sorts of goodies. Below is what we've gotten lately, most of which we've already tasted and ramping up to write the reviews:
Pernod Absinthe Superior
It's been a while since Pernod has included the word "absinthe" on its label instead of the more innocuous "liqueur," and we're looking forward to trying it out. We'll taste it as an absinthe, and in comparison to some of the Pernod liqueur we bought before the absinthe ban was lifted. Looking forward to checking it out; if you're unfamiliar with it we couldn't find a permanent product page for it, but check out last year's press release about it.
Kahlua Coffee Cream
"I like my coffee like I like my women - creamy, sugary, and tasting a little bit like coffee." That's a quote from a friend of ours from years ago, and it came to mind when the Kahlua Coffee Cream arrived. We've been feeling very non-dude lately, and we think making some Kahlua Cream Caucasians is just what we need to get right. Wake up and smell the coffee (cream) at Kahlua.com.
Hiram Walker Spiced Liqueurs
We're ready to get seasonal with two liqueurs from Hiram Walker - Gingerbread and Pumpkin Spice. We're thinking these two could add a nice seasonal flair to our cocktails, and we're looking forward to experimenting. We've been thinking about creating some signature drinks for Thanksgiving, and since no one makes a turkey liqueur yet, these will do nicely. Check out the Hiram Walker Seasonals page for more details.
It might surprise people to hear the Liquor Snobs have been a bit late to the elderflower liqueur party. St. Germain has been the belle of the ball for quite a while now, but we never got into it too much due to a sweetness that we found borderline overbearing. Yeah, we know it's meant to be used in small amounts, but hey - taste is taste.
That's why we're psyched our man on the street DKF has gotten a chance to sample Thatcher's Elderflower, an organic liqueur he says knocks the stuffing out of St. Germain. In fact, he says St. G is the tawdry, syrupy older sister of Thatcher's, and at half the price. We have to agree - our last bottle of St. Germain was almost $40, and BevMo has Thatcher's Elderflower for under $20, along with two more of their eight total flavors.
We've just caught wind of a new Margarita-aping juicebox that has an interesting twist. Instead of distilled spirits filling the booze portion of the proceedings, they're slightly lower-test so they can be served by restaurants without spirits licenses. In the words of the company:
The mar-GO-rita is made from a fermented version of the blue agave plant that classifies our product as wine instead of distilled spirits. The wine classification allows beer and wine retailers the opportunity to sell premium margaritas under their beer and wine license.
The pouch allows the consumer to place the product into a freezer and enjoy a frozen margarita without the hassles of mixing or blending. We use a screw top and provide the straws for a true "On-the-Go Experience". Simply freeze, squeeze and enjoy!
Mar-GO-ritas are available in California, South Florida, Louisiana, Virignia and Texas, and they've got some new flavors on the horizon as well (Pina-Go-lada and the Daiq-GO-ri. We're not kidding). An interesting concept and we like the idea of having a freezer full of boozed-up slushies, so we'll see where this goes...and how they taste. More info - and a store locator - at Big Easy Blends.
Jake here, Editor in Chief of Liquor Snob, and I wanted to take some time to write a quick note. We've gotten some mail lately wondering where the hell we've been, and I wanted to let you know not to give up on us. We were MIA for most of August and the beginning of September, but we don't want you to worry that we've given up on the site or lost interest in boozing. This month is my five year anniversary of running Liquor Snob, and it's been a bittersweet time for me as I haven't been able to focus on the site as much as I'd like.
I lost my brother in early September after a long illness, and while the last few months have certainly driven me to drink, it made it tough to focus on the site and give it the love and attention it deserves. But we haven't lost our focus or our drive, and I wanted to write to tell our readers not to give up on us, let the the liquor companies know we we haven't run away with their review bottles, and ask our fans to keep submitting their questions, comments, and tips.
Thanks to everyone who's been supporting me over the last few months, and I look forward to helming Liquor Snob into its next five years and beyond.