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.
October 5, 2005
Description: Shot glass with built-in chaser
Typical Price: $7.99 for one; Best Deal is $24.99 for a Quaffer Sampler Pack (2 Glass Quaffers, 2 Plastic Quaffers, 2 Beer Quaffers, 2 Pour Spouts, 2 Recipe Cards, and 2 Stickers), or get your Quaffersat Amazon.
If you'd asked us two weeks ago, we would have said our current shot technology was just fine. You take the shot, then use your other hand to bring the chaser to your mouth. We were young then, naive. We hadn't tried the Quaffer shot glass.
As we said in our earlier Quaffer coverage - the premise is so simple, we can't believe we didn't think of it. A quick and easy way to layer a shot, combining the shot and chaser into one glass. Genius, right?.
Our initial foray into the world of the Quaffer was with Jim Beam and ginger ale. We filled the lower chamber with ginger ale, affixed the special pouring spout that comes with the Quaffer sampler pack to the bottle of Beam, and layered it on top. The process was quick, easy and mess-free, and we went from unwrapping the glass to drinking the shot in about 30 seconds.
The only problem we had during our test was that we were a bit exuberant. Expecting to have to slam it back like a normal shot, we suspended the Quaffer vertically and the liquid had a tough time getting through the narrow bottle neck in the middle. We had more luck when we kept the glass at more of a 45 degree angle instead of 90 degrees, and had no more troubles with booze squirting out the corners of our mouths. Take it from us, it'll be much easier if you're relaxed while you drink, instead of trying to slam it down.
We'll keep you posted when we get a chance to try out the beer Quaffer...it's basically a bigger version of the glass, designed for drinks like Car Bombs. We can only guess it will reduce the overall mess over those kinds of drinks, because you don't have to drop the shot glass into the beer. We've ended up with Guinness and Bailey's lining the walls of our offices by doing that shot the traditional way, so we welcome the change. (On another note, we recommend being careful when you order this one out in bars...it's a great drink with a harsh name, and we've seen an Irish bartender completely refuse someone service after he ordered one, because she was so offended. That's why the beer Quaffer will come in handy...you can whip them up in the privacy of your own home.)
Rating: Four and a half out of Five
Shop for Quaffers here...
shipping is free. [Edit: Looks like the packages we found are no longer available; hit the link above to find the right Quaffer package for you.]
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