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 the B rating is used for products that are good but which we don’t exactly love — and which we can provide with a qualified recommendation. On a five-star scale, these products would score 3 stars. On the traditional 100-point scale popular with many wine and spirits graders, these products would merit scores of 83 to 86 points.

Review: Bowmore 12 Years Old

By Christopher Null | August 28, 2009 |

One of the big names of Islay, Bowmore is a staple of bars around the world. Bowmore’s 12 year old bottling is its youngest single malt with an age statement, and it’s a solid entry point to Bowmore’s typical structure. Moderately gold/amber in color, Bowmore 12 offers a mild nose with a somewhat hot character.…

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Review: Lhasa Beer

By Christopher Null | August 27, 2009 |

Drink your way to Tibetan freedom? Now that is philanthropy that’s hard to pass up, and Lhasa, the first beer ever to be exported from Tibet, donates 10 percent of profits to doing good deeds in its homeland. So you can drink up and feel good about it. Lhasa is a lighter style pilsner, just…

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Review: Cocaine Energy Drink

By Christopher Null | August 9, 2009 |

You don’t name your beverage “Cocaine” because it’s subtle. Banned in numerous jurisdictions (despite the warning on the label that the product does not in fact include cocaine nor is it intended to be used a substitute for any street drug (“and anyone who thinks otherwise is an idiot”)), Cocaine is intended to raise eyebrows…

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Drinking and Dining with Tandem Wines’ Greg La Follette

By Christopher Null | August 8, 2009 |

Greg La Follette has a long history in winemaking (De Loach and Flowers are two labels you might recognize that he’s worked on) — on a global scale — and a passion for both his family (six kids, “Brady Bunch” style, as he puts it) and his leather pants. But get La Follette talking about…

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Tasting Report: Patz & Hall Wines, 2009 Releases

By Christopher Null | August 3, 2009 |

A few miles south of Napa, located in a nondescript corporate office park, you’ll find Patz & Hall‘s tasting salon. And yes, it’s open to the public and no, you don’t need an appointment. (Though, if you have one, you’ll get even more personalized service.) We had a fun 45 minutes (at least) talking wine…

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Review: Brinley Gold Flavored Rums

By Christopher Null | August 2, 2009 |

Operating out of St. Kitts in the Virgin Islands [er, apparently not], Brinley Gold offers a lineup of five rums, all flavored with natural ingredients and all bottled at 72 proof. The focus at Brinley is clearly more on the flavor than on the rum — all of these spirits are designed for mixing (sometimes…

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Review: Pinky Botanical Vodka

By Christopher Null | July 26, 2009 |

Is everything coming up pink these days? Pink tequilas are rampant, and now there’s pink vodka called, understandably enough, Pinky Botanical Vodka. Pinky begins with winter wheat, and it’s distilled five times into the base spirit (presumably at this point it’s the same thing as Sweden’s Svensk Vodka, which is the producer of Pinky). Pinky…

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Review: Mejor Tequila – Blanco, Reposado, and Pink

By Christopher Null | July 24, 2009 |

This new 100% agave tequila brand (the master distiller is formerly of Don Julio) arrives in four expressions — the usual three plus one you might not expect: blanco, reposado, anejo (we didn’t sample this one), and “pink.” What’s pink tequila? We’ll get to that. But first, let’s start with the basics. All are 80…

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Review: Fruit Lab Liqueurs – Citry, Crism, and Theia

By Christopher Null | July 9, 2009 |

The folks behind Tru Organic Vodka have set their sights on, well, a smaller, less lucrative market: Fruit- and flower-flavored liqueurs. Up first, a line of three curious concoctions, with even more curious names. All are certified 100% organic, sweetened with cane sugar, and weigh in at 40 proof, which puts them on the (very)…

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Review: 2008 Lander-Jenkins Chardonnay “Spirit Hawk”

By Christopher Null | July 7, 2009 |

At 14 bucks a bottle, Lander-Jenkins’ “Spirit Hawk” Chardonnay (sourced from unspecified California vineyards) doesn’t exactly aim for the stars. Lightly oaked, it’s a simple wine, with fair apple character, some grapefruit, and a good slug of hammy meat in the body. The mouthfeel is fairly rich and creamy, and a touch of pineapple on…

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