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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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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Review: Ocean Vodka (2008)

By Christopher Null | March 29, 2008 |

Hawaiian vodka? Sure, why not? While you may be expecting a pineapple- or coconut-flavored spirit in Ocean, bottled on Maui (the first vodka ever bottled there), it’s actually a surprisingly supple, unflavored vodka, lightly sweet and incredibly smooth. In fact, it’s one of the smoothest vodkas I’ve sampled in recent memory, fine straight or as…

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Review: 42 Below Vodka

By Christopher Null | March 26, 2008 |

What, is it sweet vodka week at 42 Below is New Zealand’s entry into the vodka world (the name refers to the latitude of the distillery), a sweetish spirit thrice distilled from “GE Free” wheat and “washed in spring water” until it hits 84 proof, then distilled once more. The result is a more…

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Review: Ecstasy Liqueur

By Christopher Null | March 25, 2008 |

The red bottle and fancy writing make Ecstasy instantly appealing… but what is this “liqueur” that’s bottled at a whopping 70 proof and includes caffeine? Clearly marketed at the Red Bull & Vodka crowd, Ecstasy is a spirit (basically diluted grain alcohol) for the LiLo/Paris/Britney crowd, spiked with caffeine, ginseng, taurine, and other stimulants designed…

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Review: Level Vodka

By Christopher Null | March 24, 2008 |

People who say there’s no difference among vodka brands should be directed posthaste to Level. It’s a gut-punching vodka, in a way you might not expect. Level (a product of the Absolut folks in Sweden, distilled from grain at 80 proof), is immediately pungent upon opening the bottle, strong and thick when served from the…

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Review: Chopin Vodka

By Christopher Null | March 21, 2008 |

You’re a famous 19th century composer. What are the odds that someone is going to take your good name and turn it into a vodka 150 years later? Well, someone did: Polmos Siedlce and Millennium Import, of Minneapolis, Minnesota. The connection is Poland, where Chopin lived and vodka was (allegedly) born. Chopin is a traditional…

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