Reviews of spirits, wine, and beer (and various errata like mixers and garnishes) comprise more than 80% of the content at Drinkhacker, and here you’ll find the entire Drinkhacker review archive in one place. Products are rated on a letter-grade scale that should be familiar to most, with F as our lowest, “failing” grade and the very rare A+ as our top score.

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Tasting Report: Vini Portugal, April 2008

By Christopher Null | April 24, 2008 |

In the world of wine, Portugal is known for two major things: Expensive, fortified dessert wines (Vintage Port), and super-cheap whites (primarily from the Vinho Verde region). Recently, nearly 40 Portuguese wineries, importers, and distributors gathered in San Francisco to offer an updated perspective on the wines of Portugal. The verdict: About the same as…

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Review: Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy

By Christopher Null | April 20, 2008 |

Continuing on the summer theme here at Drinkhacker we turn to this unique summer beer, a pre-mixed shandy! Leinie’s Summer Shandy is a Weiss beer mixed with lemonade (or at least, per the bottle, “with natural lemonade flavor”), and it doesn’t take long to find both flavors in the bottle. The beer side is very…

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Review: Plymouth Sloe Gin

By Christopher Null | April 18, 2008 |

Sloe Gin Fizzes were the first cocktail I mastered, but it’s been years since I’ve had one. No reason why, really. Sloe gin, a liqueur flavored with sloe berries, the fruit of the blackthorn tree, has hardly seen the renaissance that other spirits have in recent years. There hasn’t exactly been a clamoring for the…

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Review: 3 Vodka

By Christopher Null | April 15, 2008 |

Get ready for this. 3 is the world’s only soybean vodka. And by “soybean vodka” I mean “vodka that’s made from soybeans.” No, really. If you were to ask me what a soybean vodka might taste like, I’d probably come up with something like this: A meaty spirit with strong overtones of bitter herbal liqueurs…

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Review: Bacardi Classic Cocktail Mojito

By Christopher Null | April 10, 2008 |

Premixed cocktails are usually a mixed bag. In fact, they’re hardly cocktails at all but rather heavily carbonated malt liquor, watered down to about 6 or 8 percent alcohol and flavored with a variety of components that can be either reasonably tasty or very nasty. Bacardi (which makes it share of the aforementioned malt liquor…

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Review: Russian Standard (Original) Vodka

By Christopher Null | April 7, 2008 |

Does price matter? Russian Standard offers an “original” version of its vodka in addition to a “Platinum” bottling and its vaunted “Imperia,” which I’ve previously reviewed. All are made in basically the same way, with a few differences, namely in the filtration systems they employ. But Russian Standard “Original” is just $22 a bottle, while…

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Review: Zyr Vodka

By Christopher Null | April 5, 2008 |

How Russian is Zyr Vodka? There’s a picture of the Kremlin on the bottle, that’s how. Distilled from Russian rye and wheat (“made from the rich black soil of Russia’s heartland”) and created with water drawn from deep in Russia’s aquifers, the only way this could be more Russian is if the ghost of Lenin…

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Review: Tenoch Tequila Reposado

By Christopher Null | April 3, 2008 |

As far as I can tell, Tenoch makes only one type of tequila, this reposado bottling that’s lightly golden, aged in oak, and bottled in a stoneware jug designed to look like an agave plant is enveloping it. Tasty stuff, it’s lightly peppery and sweet like caramel, with herbal notes dancing around your mouth. For…

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Review: Ketel One Vodka (2008)

By Christopher Null | April 2, 2008 |

Mad props to Ketel One. This brand is pretty much singlehandedly responsible for introducing ultrapremium vodka into the market, and it’s still going strong today. Made in The Netherlands from wheat, the 80-proof spirit is very traditional on the whole, and not in a bad way. The taste is clean, lightly citrusy and tinged with…

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Touring Oregon’s Willamette Valley, March 2008

By Christopher Null | March 31, 2008 |

If it weren’t for the many gravel roads and all the snow, I would have sworn that, while touring Oregon’s Willamette Valley, the crown jewel of its growing wine operation, I was in the heart of Sonoma. Willamette has everything you’d expect from Northern California wineries: Gorgeous tasting rooms, courteous staff, weekday crowds, and even…

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