Category Archives: Uncategorized

Christmas Drinking – A Drinkhacker Spotify Playlist

In the spirit of the holiday season, we present for your consideration our very first Drinkhacker Spotify playlist. We volleyed songs back and forth to come up with an hour-plus long playlist suitable for a wide variety of holiday drinking environments. Tune in, and get your nog on.

What are some of your favorite holiday songs? Drop us a line in the comments field. In the meantime, enjoy!

Notes on Grading

Today I received a comment on my review of the 2013 Buffalo Trace Antique Collection. The commenter asked whether my B+ rating of this year’s George T. Stagg bourbon meant I would rather drink Stagg Jr., which I awarded with an A rating last month.

It’s a good question, but also a bad one in some ways.

Grades and ratings are a tricky subject. I like grades. I use them the same way you the reader probably do: As a shortcut indicator of my overall impression of something. It’s much easier to say “Drinkhacker gave Stagg Jr. an A” than it is to say (or remember) “Drinkhacker said Stagg Jr. featured quite a collection of flavors, but it’s all in balance and not over-wooded.” I get that.

The problem comes when you have to start comparing products, and this has been a challenge for both readers and critics for ages. As many of you know, I’ve been a professional film critic for more than 20 years, and I’ve dealt with this issue (literally) thousands of times. Is Fight Club better than E.T.Is Annie Hall better than Citizen Kane? I don’t know the answer to either of those questions. I love all of those movies — perhaps even equally — but I might “grade” them differently.

In general, any critic will tell you grades are meant as a rough guideline, and they are completely subjective. In the case of a spirit (like it or not), a grade is impacted by what I’ve recently reviewed, the state of my palate at the moment, my opinion about the value of the product, and even what I ate earlier in the day. I will often review a spirit over more than one day to try to mitigate some of the variability in this, but in the end it’s always going to be completely subjective.

One special caveat is that I generally don’t intend ratings to be competitive. If I gave a $12 bottle of wine an A and a $3500 bottle of Cognac a B+, that doesn’t necessarily mean I’d always drink that $12 bottle of wine if given a choice. The Cognac may have a lower rating due to value considerations, or the wine may have a higher one for the same reason. The Cognac may in fact be wonderful — a B+ is a solid rating, after all — but may have a finish that I don’t like or some other defect that otherwise sullies what is in fact a delightful experience on the whole.

Now, in the case of Stagg vs. Stagg, the competitive nature of the rating is hard to avoid. Stagg Jr. is in fact a lower-cost reproduction of sorts of Stagg Sr., so how could you not compare them? Well, go ahead and do so. Remember of course that Stagg Sr. is an annual release that varies (a lot) every year, while Stagg Jr. is meant to be a regularly available bottling. Would I recommend Stagg Jr. over the 2013 Stagg Sr.? Yes, I would. But I wouldn’t say the same thing for 2010 or 2009 Stagg. 2013 is just a slightly weaker year for this classic bottling.

The bottom line is that I enjoyed both of these whiskeys, but I wouldn’t hesitate to order either one if they were offered to me at a bar. The catch is I would choose one over the other based on the mood I was in… and, of course, how much it was going to cost me.

Let my grades be a guideline, but ultimately your palate is your own. Use it and, please, share your own opinions in the comments!

Poll: How Would You Like Drinkhacker’s Home Page to Look?

Quick question for regular readers.

We’ve long put full stories and images on the home page, and I’m concerned that this may just be a bit too much to digest, and that it may be burying content down the page that people would like to see more easily. So I’m taking a poll:

Would you prefer the site to A) stay the way it is or B) change to a new design where the home page provides a digest of many posts (just the first paragraph, perhaps), and you have to click the post title to read more.

Vote here or leave a comment on Facebook, thanks!

“Bad Santa” Running Amok with Poisoned Schnapps

Remember, never take a drink from a stranger — even one dressed as Santa Claus.

A 15-year-old girl fell ill at a Berlin Christmas market on Saturday, bringing to eight the number of confirmed Christmas-market-poisonings this week. This time, though, the poisoner was apparently dressed as Santa Claus.

The unknown man offered the girl a paper cup containing the German spirit Schnaps at the market near Berlin’s Alexanderplatz. After drinking it, she vomited and suffered short-term memory loss.

Doctors confirmed that a substance, not yet identified, had been mixed into the drink….

Police said the victims may have been given a mixture of alcohol and so-called “knockout drops” meant to render people unconscious so they can be robbed or sexually assaulted.

The World’s 10 Strangest Spirits

It starts with Cynar, and takes a trip through Bakon, but really, this top 10 list of oddball alcoholic items at The Daily Meal had me at smoked salmon vodka.

 

Featured on Foodista

So we’re the Featured Drink Blog of the Day at Foodista. It’s kind of a big deal, I guess. Here’s our badge to prove it.

Foodista Drink Blog of the Day Badge

Osmosis Online Interviews Yours Truly

Want to know more about me and Drinkhacker? Osmosis Online asked me a lot of questions to get to know the man behind the blog. This blog, I mean. Fun interview, I think.

Try the Purell Old Fashioned

It’s either this or Robitussin, I guess…

The best way to drink hand sanitizer is straight, like whisky, and down it “like a shot,” explains Tyler, a Grade 10 student who lives in Toronto. Undiluted, the alcohol-based liquid tastes a little like “vodka and bug spray,” he adds.

The alarming comment from the 15-year-old mirrors a growing number of news reports about teenagers and children drinking the antiseptic hand-cleaning products. Most hand sanitizers have an alcoholic content between 60 and 90 per cent, which means that even small amounts have led to a number of cases of alcohol poisoning in younger children.

Thanks, society!

Testing WordPress-to-Twitter Feature…

Follow us at: http://twitter.com/drinkhacker — all posts will be fed to Twitter starting tonight!

When You Write About Drinking…

…this is what you get for Christmas.

xmas-booze

Not that I’m complaining!

The 21 Best Movie Alcoholics of All Time

Today Filmcritic.com offers the end-all be-all list of the best movie booze addicts:

Something tells us that when the Oscars next televise one of their precious “tribute montages” — like they do for “comedy,” “westerns,” or “trains” — it won’t be to honor that most essential of cinematic characters: The drunk. And yet, flip through the history books and you’ll see that some of cinema’s greatest and most-honored performances have come from actors playing men (and women) who were a little heavy-handed with the bottle.

Videos included for almost all of the honorees, but Nicolas Cage’s liquor store dance from Leaving Las Vegas may be the best of the bunch.

Epicurious’s Top 10 Food Trends for 2009

Epicurious previews the menus of tomorrow with this interesting list.

Noodle bars are becoming more popular (Blade Runner, here we come!)! Peruvian food is in! Ginger is the new mint!

And apparently we’ll be eating a lot of smoked food next year… and drinking smoke-infused cocktails as well:

Bartenders are smoking their bourbons (Eben Freeman at Tailor, for example), and chefs, recognizing the national craze for BBQ, are smoking more than just salmon and ribs: nuts, salts, even smoked steelhead roe (at Chicago’s Alinea). Who says smoking’s bad for you?

And the hip place to eat in ’09? You’re gonna have to schlep all the way to Portland, Maine.

Now That’s an Obituary!

The world mourns for Jim Adams. Read to the bottom…

In lieu of flowers, he asks that you make a sizeable purchase at your favorite watering hole, get rip roaring drunk and tell the stories he no longer can.

Drinkhacker on Facebook

Hey Drinkhacker fans — we’ve got an official fan page on Facebook now. Join up, because drinking is always more fun with friends!

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Drinkhackercom/24406722336

Welcome to Drinkhacker!

Welcome to Drinkhacker.com! This blog will be devoted to cocktails and cocktailcrafting/mixology, with diversions into wine, beer, bar food, and other tangential subjects. Consider the site in beta for now. We’re setting up a small studio to photograph drinks properly and commissioning a real site designer after that. Expect loads of new and classic cocktail recipes, beverage reviews, bar coverage, and more! Got an idea for coverage? Email me at n u l l /at/ d r i n k h a c k e r /dot/ c o m!