Author Archives: Rob Theakston

The Drinkhacker Shopping List – 01.09.2015

Hello and welcome to the Shopping List, our regular look back at the best and worst products we’ve reviewed over the past several weeks. Lots to choose from for our first Shopping List of 2015, including some excellent editions in the Buffalo Trace Single Oak series (which winds up the spring), and plenty of excellent wines.

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Drinkhacker Reads – 01.07.2015 – Turmoil in Tuscany and Texas

Lots of interesting stuff for your consideration today, so let’s get to it:

Trouble in Tuscany: Irate Italians plagued by wine counterfeit scandals. [USA Today]

And now for our weekly update in the wild world of Balcones: Ousted master distiller Chip Tate is now filing a defamation lawsuit against the distillery manager’s wife. And we thought this was turning into a season of Dallas before this lawsuit…. [Waco Tribune]

The Beer Bloggers conference has assembled its second annual 20 Most Influential Beer Websites list. [Beer Bloggers Conference]

Buffalo Trace delivers another ominous message: We may never catch up to meet demand. [The Spirits Business]

With a newly published study, science confirms what we already know: Binge drinking hurts your immune system. [Science Times]

With a newly published study, science finds out why women who drink white wine get depressed or upset. [Tribune]

Shanken reports that analysts believe sparkling wine will help drive industry growth in 2015. [Shanken News Daily]

CNBC investigates Taiwanese whiskey, which won the Malt Maniacs Awards in a big way this year. [CNBC]

Insider Monkey lists out the most expensive rum brands in the world. Saving you a click to the end: J. Wray & Nephew’s $54,000 bottling tops the list. [Insider Monkey]

Gizmodo takes a look behind the scenes at the science and art behind barrel making. Informative for those who are unfamiliar with the process. [Gizmodo]

The A-List – December 2014

Hello and welcome to the A-List, our tip of the cap to the stellar products we’ve received and reviewed over the last month. December certainly had its fair share of quality offerings and sent off 2014 on a high note. Plenty to choose from for a wide variety of tastes and price points.

(Rob’s note: for me, this month the inaugural offering of the Old Forester Whiskey Row series was a welcome surprise. I’ve been an OF fan for as long as I can recall, and this variation was a welcome addition to my cabinet, while it lasted.)

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Drinkhacker Reads – 01.05.2015 – Great Lakes Brewing Rebrands, Gandhi Gets a Beer

We’ve heard the phrase “new year, new you” all over Twitter in the past few days, and that’s good news to hear. We can think of many people who need to take this mantra to heart. One company really going for it in ’15 is Great Lakes Brewing, which has announced a total overhaul of its packaging, and released its seasonal schedule for the entire year. [Beer Pulse]

Our nation’s capital is about to welcome in a third distillery opening within its borders. One Eight is on target to open this Saturday (January 10th), and WTOP spills the details. Elsewhere in DC, Mitch McConnell and the entire bourbon industry is still holding on to hope that the now mythical “Bourbon Summit” will eventually take place between he and President Obama. [WTOP]

New England Brewing Company is coming under fire for putting Gandhi on a beer label. The bewildering Gandhi Bot features a cyborg replicant of the famous non-violent, fasting-prone resistance leader. The company has since apologized but insists that Ganhdi’s grandkids “admired” the artwork. [BBC]

Japanese whisky legend Takeshi Taketsuru has passed away at the age of 90. The Nikka master distiller and son of distillery founder Masataka Taketsuru was credited with the much of the brand’s modern success. [The Spirits Business]

Cosmos magazine tackles the debate of whether or not wine making is an art or science. Who says it can’t be both? Haven’t most scientists over the ages felt there was beauty and grace in their work? [Cosmos]

RoyalSaluteChivas has unveiled a new look for its 21 Year Old expression. It is expected to be released in February and will arrive in three different bottle colors: sapphire, ruby and emerald. There’s also a 28 year old Aberfeldy coming out soon, and Sku digs up two new Jack Daniel’s expressions: a single barrel rye and a barrel proof version of the original recipe.  [Billionaire]

Recipe: New Years Eve 2014 Cocktails

While the big moment on New Year’s Eve usually calls for champagne, we found a few recipes worthy of your time and consideration to serve prior to the stroke of midnight.

SugarSpiceSugar and Spice
1 oz. Ketel One Citroen
1 oz. cranberry juice
½ oz. fresh squeezed lime juice
¾ oz. honey syrup
Drop of allspice dram liqueur

Shake with ice in a cocktail shaker. Strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a sprinkle of cinnamon on top.

Forbidden Punch
24 oz Fords Gin (1 750ml bottle)
8 oz ruby red grapefruit juice
6 oz lime juice
6 oz agave nectar
2 oz absinthe
24 oz water
1 750 ml bottle champagne or sparkling wine
2 grapefruits, sliced into thin wheels for garnish
1 cinnamon stick, for grating
12 star anise pods

Combine all ingredients except sparkling wine in a large punch bowl. Add a large block of ice. Add sparkling wine and stir slightly. Garnish with grapefruit and star anise. Lightly grate cinnamon on top.

Ruffino Holiday Sparkler
3 oz. Ruffino Prosecco
3/4 oz. apple cider
3/4 oz. cranberry juice
1 tsp. maple syrup
Squeeze of 1 lemon wedge

Add ingredients directly to a mixing glass with ice and stir briefly. Strain into a chilled champagne flute that has been rimmed w/ cinnamon sugar. Garnish with a mint leaf floating on top.

Casa Santo Domingo
1 ounce Zacapa XO Rum
1/4 orange liqueur
6 dashes Angostura Bitters
3 dashes Peychaud Bitters
2 dashes Orange Bitters
Orange twist for garnish

Combine Zacapa Rum XO, orange liqueur, Angostura bitters, Peychaud bitters and orange bitters in cocktail shaker. Stir gently. Strain contents into cocktail glass.Garnish with orange twist.

Snap, Crackle, Drop
(Created by mixologist Salvatore Calabrese)
1 1/2 ounces Tequila Don Julio Reposado
7-8 dashes Angostura Bitters
4-5 twists freshly ground cracked black pepper
Lime wedge

Stir Angostura Bitters and pepper on a saucer until it turns into a paste. Coat on side of a lime wedge with the paste and serve on the side of the drink. Pour Don Julio Reposado into shot glass.

Drinkhacker Reads – 12.30.2014 – End of Year Wrap Up Edition

Things are winding down for 2014 and we’re getting ready to welcome in 2015 with a bang tomorrow. Here’s what’s been happening since we were on break for the holiday season:

• In case this wasn’t already obvious to everyone, a new report claims we drink more in the winter months than any other time of year. [CBS Detroit]

• In another victory for evolutionary theory, scientists got a bunch of birds drunk to find out if they slur their speech. They do. [Washington Post]

• NPR’s Noah Adams files a report about the demand for bourbon barrels reaching record levels. [NPR]

• The New York Times‘ Clay Risen provides an excellent and balanced account of the Balcones Saga. As an epilogue to the story, Chip Tate’s lawyers are now suing him for legal fees. This whole situation could very well serve as Season 2 for Serial. [New York Times]

• This one’s for the ladies: NPR (which now stands for National Pub Resource apparently) continues the much-needed coverage of women in the whiskey industry. Bustle supplements the article with a listcle of things one should not say to a lady ordering whiskey at a bar. [Bustle]

• If you’re in the UK, it might be a good idea to switch from vodka to something else this year. A warning has been issued over deadly, fake vodka now on sale around the country. [Telegraph UK]

• Finally — and most importantly today — while you’re enjoying New Year’s Eve, please do be mindful to enjoy in moderation. And should you find yourself being a bit overserved, do err on the side of caution and find a ride home. There are plenty of local free ride services available, and we want you back for more fun in 2015. Have a safe and happy time kissing 2014 goodbye!

Drinkhacker Reads – 12.22.2014 – Budweiser Myths, Pappy Preferences, and More

Forbes takes on the myths and trends behind the recent major brand vs. craft distillery sales conversation. [Forbes]

• This latest round of diplomatic talks between Cuba and the United States could have major ramifications for the rum industry. Bring on the Havana Club! [The Daily Beast]

Pappy Van Winkle 20 Year Old outranks everyone else in consumer ratings, according to the Spirits Business and an app called Distiller. [The Spirits Business]

• The documentary Kentucky Bourbon Tales is now available for streaming on Kentucky Educational Television’s website. While it’s beautifully shot and produced, there are a few things missing, according to Chuck Cowdery.

• Tom Bulleit of Bulleit bourbon pens an op-ed for the Lexington Herald-Leader thanking everyone for their support in making his dreams come true. [Herald-Leader]

• Researchers in France have discovered that shaking your bottle of Champagne actually decreases the overflow. [Daily Mail]

• Cheaper gas and oil prices are good, but of course there are other consequences. Namely, the price of wheat and grains may increase, which will have a direct impact on the cost of some drinks. [Vox]

• Related: Putin is also encouraging his constituents to drink less beer and more vodka. [Quartz]

• Business Insider investigates why and how Trader Joe’s Three Buck Chuck wine is so cheap. [Business Insider]

• And finally today, an Indiana Supreme Court decided that being drunk and annoying in public is illegal. [WSJ]

Recipe: Holiday Cocktails, 2014 Edition

The holiday season is now hitting its height. Office parties are lively, Hanukkah has begun, and Christmas and Kwanzaa are right around the corner. With so many different events from which to choose, we’ve selected the following holiday cocktail recipes from a flurry of options decorating our inbox.

StElizabethFlip-1 St. Elizabeth Flip
1 1/2 oz. Appleton Estate Reserve Jamaica Rum
1/2 oz. Demerara Simple Syrup
1/2 oz. cream
1/2 oz. port
1 egg yolk

Combine all ingredients and dry shake (without ice). Add ice and shake vigorously. Double strain into a footed glass and garnish with nutmeg.

Organic Vodka Santa’s Helper
1 ½ oz. Ocean Organic Vodka
2 Basil Leaves
8 Fresh Bing Cherries
½ oz. Lemon Juice
½ oz. Simple Syrup
1 oz. Prosecco

Muddle cherries and basil in a shaker. Add vodka, lemon juice, simple syrup, and ice and bruise. Strain into a champagne flute. Top with Prosecco.

EggNogAppleton Reserve Pumpkin Egg Nog
1 1/2 oz. Appleton Estate Reserve Jamaica Rum
1/2 oz. Navan Vanilla Liqueur
1 oz. egg nog
1 oz. pumpkin purée (from the can)
4 dashes of Fee’s Aromatic Bitters
1 barspoon of maple Syrup

Shake (or blend?) and serve up.

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The Drinkhacker Shopping List – 12.19.2014

Hello and welcome to another edition of the Drinhacker Shopping List, our regular look back at the best and less-than-best of the last two weeks on the site. Once again we’ve got lots to offer this time around, suitable for any and every holiday occasion and taste. Lots of quality here, including one of those rare “A+” ratings from this year. Looking for something but not quite finding it here? Why not try our Gift Guide?

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Drinkhacker Reads – 12.17.2014 – Quick Links Edition

• In what has to be one of the best whisky ad campaigns of 2014, Laphroaig offers up this hysterical holiday set of ads. set to Christmas carols. Well done. [AdWeek]

• More on the march of the craft distillers in America, this time from the Financial Times. They also take us to China to look at the rise of premium spirits among the growing Chinese upper class. [Financial Times]

• The Wall Street Journal takes a look at some of the ideas companies are using to sell their wares. From chairs to a vapor mist made from Johnnie Walker Blue, it seems as if the gimmicks are becoming more outlandish year after year. [Wall Street Journal]

• Belvedere announces its new partnership with the James Bond franchise. For those fanboys playing along at home, this will mark return of Bond to the vodka martini after he ditched it for beer and scotch in the last film. The newest addition to the Bond saga, Spectre, is slated to be released in November 2015. Some of us can hardly wait. [Economic Times]

• The Sydney Morning Herald takes a quick inside look at the Yamazaki distillery, and we suddenly get awfully thirsty. [Sydney Morning Herald]

Caribbean Journal has announced its ten best rums of 2014, and Men’s Journal offers a list of non-Bourbon, non-Scotch whiskeys that made an impact during the year. Just a friendly reminder with your last minute shopping that we also publish a rather swell gift guide every year.

• Oliver Sweeney Shoes: now with a bottle of Johnnie Walker hidden inside. [Business Insider]

The Spirits Business makes some predictions (oddly, not many) for some of the world’s largest spirit brands and where they’re headed in 2015. Also, it’s got the scoop that Suntory/Beam is going to be upping the price on many of its beloved brands, including Yamazaki. [The Spirits Business]

• Fox News reports (you decide) on the most commonly searched beers, according to Google. [Fox News]

• And for you folks who just can’t wait for the final episode of Serial tomorrow, here’s an update on the Pappy Thief case. The police think they know who did it, but proving it may be very difficult. [Bourbon Blog]