Rated B-

Reviews of spirits, wine, and beer (and various errata like mixers and garnishes) comprise more than 80% of the content at Drinkhacker, and at the B- level we begin to shy away from recommending these products except in relatively uncommon circumstances or for certain types of drinkers. On a five-star scale, these products would score 2.5 stars. On the traditional 100-point scale popular with many wine and spirits graders, these products would merit scores of 79 to 82 points.

Review: Hallmark Christmas Wines, 2022 Releases

By Rob Theakston | December 6, 2022 |

It is the most wonderful time of the year for some, and the least wonderful for others: Hallmark Christmas movie season. This Countdown to Christmas in the Hallmark Cinematic Universe (HCU) features many new faces due to major defections to other networks. However, Hallmark still wears the crown, delivering gentle films featuring weird holiday miracles…

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Review: Diageo Scotch Whisky Special Releases 2022

By Christopher Null | December 2, 2022 |

Diageo’s Special Releases — its most prized Scotch whiskies in limited run formats — are here for 2022. And while you can try to ignore the insane messaging — with taglines like “the enchantress of the ruby solstice” — and the out-there bottle artwork, you certainly can’t ignore what’s in these bottles — all hitting…

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Review: Ancient Peaks 2020 Merlot and 2019 Oyster Ridge

By Christopher Null | November 14, 2022 |

Paso Robles-based Ancient Peaks recently dropped two new reds for wintertime sipping. Let’s give them a try as the temperature starts to dip. 2020 Ancient Peaks Merlot Santa Margarita Ranch – Surprisingly pruny for merlot, with notes of blackberry jam and well-steeped tea informing a dusky, licorice-fueled body. Far more extracted than expected for a…

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Review: 2021 Sosie Rose of Syrah

By Christopher Null | November 12, 2022 |

Here’s a syrah-based rose made from estate grapes grown at Vivio Vineyard in Sonoma’s Bennett Valley. The immediate surprise here is how salty this wine is: Loaded with saline, the saltiness detracts from the fruitier notes in the mix — strawberry, with some maraschino cherry blended in. Marshmallow cream is evident throughout, rounding out the…

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Review: Butterfly Cannon Blue Tequila

By Christopher Null | October 19, 2022 |

Blue cocktails are fun — aren’t they? Years ago, a healthy shot of blue curacao was the only way to turn your drink the shade of the ocean, but recently released products like Empress 1908 Gin have provided more hacks for the mixologist’s toolbox – a trick achieved by infusing the spirit with bright blue…

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Review: Austin Cocktails Mojito, Ruby Red, and Margarita

By Christopher Null | October 14, 2022 |

If you can guess where Austin Cocktails is based, we’ll buy you a drink next time you’re in town. You can probably also guess how the brand works: Canned cocktails, slightly fizzy, sweetened with agave and made using real spirits; two servings to an 8 oz. can. All three cocktails in the brand’s lineup are…

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Review: Traverse City Whiskey Lakeside Peach

By Christopher Null | October 8, 2022 |

Michigan’s Traverse City makes a wide range of whiskeys which we’ve covered in depth in the past. Now there’s a limited edition offering on the table: Traverse City’s bourbon infused with Michigan peaches (and natural flavor, natch). Let’s put it through its paces. The big question with a product like this isn’t whether it smells…

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Review: Botran Rum – No. 12, 15, and 18 (2022 Relaunch)

By Christopher Null | September 28, 2022 |

Guatemalan rum brand Botran has been unavailable in the U.S. market since 2019. Now the brand is back, with new expressions, new branding, and a new sustainability accreditation Basically: new everything. The bulk of the new Botran Rum line now carries a number on the label, unlike previous editions, but not that these are not…

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Review: Opihr Spices of the Orient Gin

By Christopher Null | September 20, 2022 |

Opihr “Spices of the Orient” is a London dry gin that’s inspired by the old Spice Route that stretched from Europe to Persia, India, and China. Its ingredient list includes cardamom, black pepper, and ginger from India; juniper from Italy; cubeb berries from Malaysia; coriander from Morocco; orange peel from Spain; cumin and grapefruit peel…

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Review: Rombauer 2020 Chardonnay and 2019 Zinfandel

By Christopher Null | September 19, 2022 |

The 2020 edition of Rombauer’s famous chardonnay has arrived. We review it here alongside a new zinfandel release. 2020 Rombauer Chardonnay Carneros – One of California’s most iconic chardonnays is renowned for its oakiness, and with this 2020 expression the reputation initially feels earned. Bright apple notes are paired with coconut and some sesame oil…

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