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: Sweetens Cove Kennessee Bourbon

By Drew Beard | May 22, 2022 |

On the back label for their newest release, Sweetens Cove asks: “Did we just become best friends?” That question seems intended for any number of recipients including, most obviously, consumers, but also the rival whiskey-producing states from which these bourbons are sourced and perhaps even to Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly fans (Google it).…

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Review: Hella Cocktail Co. Bitters & Soda, Complete Lineup

By Monica Uhm | May 18, 2022 |

Hella Cocktail Co. is leaning into the spirits-alternative category with five bitters-centered non-alcoholic sparkling beverages. The Bitters & Soda expressions all feature “gentian tincture,” aka a tincture (medicine) made from the root of flowering plants in the Gentiana genus. Gentian root has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries across the continents. Let’s dig right…

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Review: Luretta NV Principessa and 2018 Gutturnio Superiore

By Christopher Null | May 17, 2022 |

Luretta hails from the Gutturnio region, a new DOC in northern Italy, south of Milan. Frizzante style wines are most common here, and while the winery produces sparkling wine — in the metodo classico style — it also produces a still red wine, also reviewed here. NV Luretta Principessa Blanc de Blancs – A brut…

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Review: Barrell Bourbon Batch 31 and Batch 32

By Drew Beard | May 14, 2022 |

Barrell Bourbon ended 2021 with Batch 31 of its flagship bourbon and kicked the new year off with Batch 32. Each release is a blend of sourced stocks from Kentucky, Indiana, and Tennessee, which has become a consistent theme in recent years (with the exception of Batch 30). Dig a little deeper, however, and you’ll…

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Review: 2019 Don Melchor Cabernet Sauvignon Puente Alto Vineyard

By Christopher Null | May 13, 2022 |

It’s hard to believe that it’s been 9 years since we’ve reviewed Don Melchor, a semi-cult wine from Chile’s Concha y Toro empire, a wine which launched in 1987. This vintage is a blend of 92% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc, 2% Merlot, and 1% Petit Verdot. One can generate few complaints in tasting Don…

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Review: 10 Barrel Brewing Club Tread and Rock Hop

By Christopher Null | May 13, 2022 |

Two new brews from 10 Barrel Brewing, including our first look at the “It” beer of 2022, a Cold IPA. 10 Barrel Brewing Club Tread Mandarin IPA – IPA and orange are natural bedfellows, and here they work together fitfully, imbuing the fairly low-abv beer with a bright orange quality. It’s not particularly identifiable as…

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Book Review: The Art of Whisky: The Vanishing Spirits of Single Malt Scotch

By Rob Theakston | May 11, 2022 |

When photographer Charles Button named this book, he could not have been more literal. The Art of Whisky does not speak to the chemical construction and craft of spirits, nor does it consider bottles or label artwork, as each already enjoys numerous volumes of published commentary. Instead, it presents the patterns of various whiskies as…

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Review: Monkey 47 Distiller’s Cut Gin 2021

By Christopher Null | May 11, 2022 |

Our second look at Monkey 47’s limited release “Distiller’s Cut” gin reminds us of how it’s made: 47 ingredients go into the standard Monkey 47. The Distiller’s Cut adds a 48th, in this case Scarlet Monarda, an aromatic flower that’s largely grown for decorative purposes. The aroma is said to be similar to a bergamot…

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Castle and Key Bourbon

Review: Castle & Key Small Batch Bourbon Batch 1 and 2 and Restoration Rye 2022 Batch 1

By Rob Theakston | May 4, 2022 |

Now for the moment some of us have been waiting for since first signs of re-awakening appeared at the abandoned Taylor distillery off McCracken Pike. After several years of patience, time, and change, the inaugural batches of Castle & Key’s bourbon have been delivered. The first round of Restoration Rye went live in early 2021,…

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Review: Del Maguey Mezcal – Vida, Las Milpas, Chichicapa, and 100% Tobala

By Christopher Null | April 22, 2022 |

Ron Cooper founded Del Maguey (pro tip: “del ma-gay”) in 1995, created the category of artisanal mezcal in the U.S. singlehandedly. The brand has gone nowhere but up since, thanks certainly due to the way it works. Rather than being a bulk product, Miller works with 12 different families in 10 villages in Oaxaca (and…

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