September 26, 2013

Breathometer Makes Your Smart Phone Smarter...About Your BAC

breathometer-smartphone-breathalyzer.jpg

It's been a while since we reviewed any portable breathalyzers around here, but it looks like it's time for all that to change. We just found out about Breathometer, touting itself as the "World's Smallest Smartphone Breathalyzer." It fits on a key chain, the device plugs into the audio device on your iOS or Android device and measures your BAC through the use of a mobile app installed on the phone.

It'll cost $49.99 and you can currently pre-order through the Breathometer website for a ship date in October. According to the tech specs page on their site, it weighs less than an ounce, takes a AAA battery, and is calibrated to stay accurate for 250 tests at an accuracy of 0.01% BAC @ 0.02% BAC. No word on whether Anti-Beer Goggles functionality will be baked into the app at some point.

If you want to learn more, the product will be featured on ABC's show Shark Tank this Friday, and you can check out their promotional video and our favorite parts of their press release below.

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September 18, 2013

Whiskey: Instant Expert Book

whiskey-instant-expert.jpgA review copy of a book called Whiskey: Instant Expert was just mailed to us by the kind folks at Princeton Architectural Press, and it just hit our grubby little hands so we haven't had time to give it a full perusal. We have flipped through the book, however, and we wanted to let you know about it. It will be officially released on October 8, but you can pre-order it on Amazonbefore then.

Written by Whisky Man of the Year (for two years running) John Lamond, the book is aimed at helping you understand, find, purchase, and savor whiskey to its fullest. It offers the spirit's history, discusses distilling, and offers tasting notes on all kinds of whiskeys, including Scotch, American, Irish, Canadian, and other types worldwide.

As we page through the book we really like the info on how to track down great whiskeys (including websites, email addresses and phone numbers for distilleries, as well as good places to look here in the states), we think the tasting notes are right on point, and we love the entries marked "Expert Essential" saying you should go out of your way to pick up a bottle or try it in a bar. With other items including how to buy whiskies at auction, store your bottles effectively, cocktail recipes, and even ideas for societies to join, we think this book is a great gift for yourself or any whiskey-phile on your list.

Whiskey: Instant Expertat Amazon

Read More in: Booze Books

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September 16, 2013

How to Tailgate in Style

tailgating-in-style.jpgWith Fall sporting events coming quickly down the pike, it's time to start thinking seriously about your tailgating options. Bon Appetit has put together an extremely thorough tailgating article that runs down your options, from which tailgating association to join (they have those?), to which magazines to subscribe to, to how you can spend that extra $150,000 you have lying around (pictured).

Of course, you don't have to go quite as luxury as all that, but there are some options for making your life a bit easier as you root, root, root for the home team - we'll add more if we think of anything we're missing.

  • Tailgate Table for a 2-Inch Trailer Hitch: This four-foot long table quickly and easily attaches and detaches from your 2" trailer hitch, giving you all kinds of room for life's essentials - burgers, dogs, beer, and maybe even some cocktails.
  • Portable Bar: If you can't figure out why you might need a portable cocktail creation tools whilst you're tailgating, you probably shouldn't be tailgating. Just make sure it's out of sight when security strolls by - and you mix cocktails responsibly.
  • Portable Beer Pong: Apparently, the trend is to play Beirut with cups of water on the table these days, out of squeamishness of drinking beer full of floaties from the ground. Kids these days, amirite?
  • Beer Can Covers: The jury is still out on how well these camouflage a beer can, and you're SOL if you're drinking from bottles (hint: you shouldn't be), but in our experience most of the security in the parking lots is fine as long as you don't wave your beer cans in their faces.

Read More in: Lush Lifestyle

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September 15, 2013

PAMA's Versatility: Any Booze, Anywhere, Anytime

Welcome to our series of Liquor Snob posts in partnership with PAMA pomegranate liqueur. If you like this one, check out all of our PAMA-related stories.
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One of our favorite things in the world is the look on someone's face when they try a cocktail they've never had before, and they love it. A great aspect of this is when you tell them it's a drink they've heard of before - a margarita, say, or a daiquiri - but this drink looks and tastes nothing like they're used to while still being delicious.

The ability to develop these slightly off-kilter, yet still delicious drinks, without the need for a fully-stocked bar containing hundreds of bottles, can be a challenge however. That's why it pays to have a few bottles in your hip pocket that are versatile enough to play multiple roles in multiple cocktails.

One of PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur's claims to fame is its versatility - the ability to work with any spirit, make cocktails that work in any season and any time of day. So how can we use PAMA to its full potential? Let's explore below.

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September 11, 2013

Simple Home Bar Liquor Substitutions

bottles.pngWhen you're making cocktails at home, one of the most disappointing things is to find a recipe you really want to make, and then finding out you don't have all the ingredients. We know your pain - in the Before Time, in the Long Long Ago, before we had a home bar big enough to punch a hole in even David Hasselhoff's liver, we often ran into the same problem. One of the most important parts of becoming a confident home bartender is knowing when to give up and make something else, or if it's possible to substitute for another ingredient.

Luckily, Michael Dietsch of A Dash of Bitters has put together a really nice liquor substitution guide for those cursed with a low-stocked bar at Serious Eats.

Below is an excerpt from his Substitution Cheat Sheet for liqueurs (with a scant few of our own additions) and he offers some great base liquor substitutions as well:

If you don't have maraschino, try:
triple sec, other cherry liqueurs, a floral liqueur such as St.-Germain, a spicy liqueur such as a ginger liqueur.

If you don't have sweet vermouth, try:
Port, sweet Madeira

If you don't have dry vermouth, try:
dry sherry, Lillet Blanc, Cocchi Americano (or another Amaro)

If you don't have triple sec, try:
maraschino, cherry liqueur, pomegranate liqueur, a floral liqueur such as St.-Germain or St. Elder, a spicy liqueur such as Ginger Liqueur

If you don't have Chartreuse, try:
Pastis, Benedictine, Galliano, Strega


We actually did something like this recently when we were making a Satan's Circus but couldn't get our hands on Cherry Heering - we swapped in Cointreau and it still made for a delightful cocktail. Be adventurous in your swapping - you might discover a new flavor you like even more!

Read More in: Drinking Advice

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August 28, 2013

Vodka Zinger Review

vodkazing-thumb.pngWe've spent the last few weeks playing around with our Vodka Zinger liquor infusion system for the last few weeks off and on, and we've put together some thoughts on the system and how well it works. Liquor infusions are a quick and easy way to impart some new flavors into your booze, and it's a fun hobby for a lot of people who are looking into dipping a toe into the mixology pool. So - does the Vodka Zinger simplify the infusion of your booze enough to justify the price tag, or are you better off sticking to your mason jars and strainers?

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Read More in: Bar Accessories | Liquor

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July 26, 2013

Smuggler's Notch Distillery Bourbon Launch Party at TPT

snd-bourbon-launch-cocktail.jpgWe helped organize and run a launch party at Three Penny Taproom for the new Straight Bourbon from Smuggler's Notch Distillery last night, and we have to say it was a blast. We were offering tastings, full pours, and we created a simple but delicious cocktail featuring the whiskey that was selling like bourbon-flavored hotcakes. Everybody had a great time, the bourbon was delicious, and we got great feedback all around - the cocktail recipe is below.

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July 19, 2013

Vodka Zinger Liquor Infusion System

vodkazing-white.jpgFlavored liquors have been the rage for quite a while now, and as more and more cocktail enthusiasts get bolder and bolder with their drinks, home-infusing spirits has become increasingly popular. Generally, you can get away with just dumping some fruit (or something) into a bottle of vodka (or something), let it sit for a while and come out with something relatively tasty on the other end, but there is usually some level of straining and filtering that needs to be done.

The folks at Zing Anything say they're making liquor infusions more convenient with their Vodkazinger, a 20 oz. canister made of double-walled food-safe stainless steel. It's got an "ingredient cup" you screw on the bottom to let your infusion flavors meld with your booze, but save you some cleanup time on the other end.

The stainless steel bottle has a bottom-mounted grinder that retains the ground pulp of your ingredients, but allows the pure extracted flavors to travel through a fine-combed mesh screen and infuse the water. All you need to do is add fresh ingredients, twist, and shake!

We haven't tried it yet, but it seems like a good way to quickly infuse your spirits - this thing will hold the lion's share of a bottle of booze (20 oz. is about 600 ML) which will leave you some to drink while you're infusing your strawberry rhubarb basil chili lemongrass citrus raspberry rosemary zingerita.

Vodkazinger is available for under thirty bucks including shipping at Zing Anything.

Read More in: Bar Accessories

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July 12, 2013

Sharknado Drinking Game

sharknado.jpgThe world is abuzz about Sharknado. That's a fact. We've been looking forward to it for months and it was every bit as teriffi-terrible as we could have possibly dreamed when we watched it last night. We've seen a couple Sharknado drinking games on the Web (TheBestWords, Wil Wheaton) , but we didn't check any of them out before we started watching. The game we played evolved organically, with our four players (mostly experienced Syfy movie afficionados) calling out the rules as they came to us.

Below are our favorites from what we came up with, though not even close to all our rules. If you haven't seen Sharknado and you want to catch a buzz, let this drinking game be your guide. If you have, you're obviously going to watch it again, so same rules apply.

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July 2, 2013

Three Penny Taproom Cocktail List, Spring 2013

corpse_reviver_2.jpgThings have been pretty quiet around here, we admit. Part of that is because our fearless Editor In Chief decided he was going to try his hand at some actual bar tending rather than sitting around the Liquor Snob offices in a whiskey-stained kimono cracking the whip at the interns. Without his steady hand at the wheel, our work ethic got a bit lax, but we're sure you'll forgive us.

If you want to see the fruits of his labors, check out the cocktail list at Three Penny Taproom. He's also been cheating on his Liquor Snob, maintaining a blog with cocktail recipes for the bartenders & servers at Cocktail Chasers - he's particularly proud of the posts for Atholl Brose (which we'll admit is delicious with a chocolate brownie) and he's really excited about the customer response to Purple Drank and Spike Hyzer.

We still plan to hold up our end on news & reviews here at Liquor Snob if we can punch through the lethargy. Check out Cocktail Chasers for cocktail recipes and experimentating. Oh, and thanks for stopping by!

Read More in: Cocktail Recipes

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