Rated A

Reviews of spirits, wine, and beer (and various errata like mixers and garnishes) comprise more than 80% of the content at Drinkhacker, and the A rating represents the cream of the crop — excellent products with only minimal flaws. On a five-star scale, these products would score 4.5 stars. On the traditional 100-point scale popular with many wine and spirits graders, these products would merit scores of 94 to 97 points.

Review: Hooker’s House Bourbon and Rye (2013)

By Christopher Null | February 8, 2013 |

Color me a bit of a skeptic. Hooker’s House label declares these whiskeys as “Sonoma Style,” as in the California wine country. Where they do not make whiskey. Right? Heck, HelloCello (aka Prohibition Spirits) — best known for its artisanal lemoncello (and other flavors) — makes this whiskey. What on earth do these guys know…

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Book Review: Shake, Stir, Pour

By Christopher Null | February 2, 2013 |

How enticing do all those artisan cocktails you see these days look, with their organic cinnamon-rhubarb puree and house-made schnozzberry syrup? I frequently enjoy these libations, then regret that I’ll never be able to make them the same way at home. Well, with Katie M. Loeb’s Shake, Stir, Pour: Fresh Homegrown Cocktails, now you can.…

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Review: Master of Malt Worship Street Whistling Shop Cream Gin

By Christopher Null | February 2, 2013 |

Master of Malt has no shortage of bizarre concoctions, but this one is a new one for me: Gin distilled using cream as a botanical. The result is called, simply, cream gin. Cream gin, we are told by MoM, “was popular in the Gin Palaces of the Victorian Era, however back then the gin would…

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Review: Yao Ming Family Wines, 2009 Vintage

By Christopher Null | January 29, 2013 |

It’s not every day we get to try a $625 wine made by a former pro basketball player. OK, it’s never when that happens. Chinese phenomenon Yao Ming recently got the celebrity winemaker bug and launched his own wine label, but with a twist: His primary market is his homeland of China, and the U.S.…

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Experiment: Ice vs. Whiskey Stones vs. Tilt Chilling Sphere

By Christopher Null | January 27, 2013 |

The drinking industry’s war on ice is in full force. Fearful that ice will water down their precious booze, entrepreneurs are suggesting alternative chilling systems to bring the temperature of their hooch down. But do they work? Ice is effective at chilling a drink because it melts, releasing near-frozen water into your dram. Can alternative…

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Review: Wines of Lawer Family Vineyards, 2013 Releases

By Christopher Null | January 18, 2013 |

Lawer Family Wines is a new(ish) operation based in Calistoga, California, where husband and wife Betsy and David Lawer produce a trio of limited production wines under a variety of (non-Lawer) names. Each label is designed to commemorate a pursuit of the Lawer family, though I’ll leave it as an exercise for the reader to…

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Review: Cacao Prieto Single Origin Cacao Rum Liqueurs

By Christopher Null | January 6, 2013 |

Single-origin coffee beans? Sure. Single-origin chocolate bars? Why not? How about single-origin cacao liqueur, then? Can turning cacao beans from a single estate really make a difference? Is it actually possible for the individual character of a cacao bean to make it through the distillation process and into the finished product? Well, we’re about to…

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Review: Mandarine Napoleon XO Grande Reserve

By Christopher Null | December 26, 2012 |

Mandarine Napoleon relaunched in early 2012, and now owner DeKuyper is out with a new expression — an ultra-luxe, limited-edition release that has been produced on and off for 100 years called Mandarine Napoleon XO. What’s the difference vs. the $30 standard bottling? Like the original Napoleon, it’s a blend of Cognac and distilled mandarin…

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melka CJ

Review: 2010 Melka CJ Cabernet Sauvignon

By Christopher Null | December 17, 2012 |

Melka was a new brand for me that I wasn’t familiar with. This Napa-based winery produces only a few thousand cases a year under two major sub-labels, Matisse and CJ. Today we look at the 2010 CJ, named for the initials of the two children of Philippe and Cherie Melka. It’s unclear whose eyeballs are…

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Review: Wines of Chile’s Neyen, Ritual, and Primus, 2012 Releases

By Christopher Null | December 10, 2012 |

Huneeus Vintners manages a portfolio of wines from around the globe. Three of its South American Portfolio wines, all from Chile, were just released in new vintages. We tasted them all! 2008 Neyen Espiritu de Apalta Colchagua Valley – 80% Carmenere, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. Inky deep maroon. Big plum character, with ample cinnamon, dark chocolate,…

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