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 solid products that we don’t exactly love, but which we still heartily recommend. On a five-star scale, these products would score 3.5 stars. On the traditional 100-point scale popular with many wine and spirits graders, these products would merit scores of 87 to 89 points.

Review: Tanteo Flavored Tequilas (2009)

By Christopher Null | June 18, 2009 |

Thanks to new Mexican legislation, flavored tequilas continue to arrive, and Tanteo has two of the most intriguing concoctions we’ve seen yet (plus one already-familiar infusion). All 100% agave, these three tequilas add natural flavors to an 80 proof base, with curious results. All appear to use unaged blanco tequila as the starting point: Though…

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Review: Oro de Oaxaca Mezcal

By Christopher Null | June 16, 2009 |

Nothing about Oro de Oaxaca Mezcal screams “premium.” It’s got a cheap bottle (with plastic cap), primary-color logo, and mystery bag of “chile” attached to the neck (more on that in a moment)… and of course it’s also got a worm sunken to the bottom of the bottle. Ignore all that and tuck into a…

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Review: 2006 Bonny Doon Cardinal Zin

By Christopher Null | June 15, 2009 |

Straight outta Livermore, the quirky wine nuts at Bonny Doon have turned their eyes to zinfandel, with this “Cardinal Zin” (get it? GET IT!?) now hitting the market. Grapes are sourced from “Beastly Old Vines” in the Oakley area (the far outer suburbs of the San Francisco Bay Area; the wine bears only a “California”…

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Review: Thatcher’s Blueberry and Dark Chocolate Liqueurs

By Christopher Null | June 10, 2009 |

Previously we’ve raved about three of Thatcher’s Organic Liqueurs, and now we’re about to rave about two more, so put on your happy hats. Thatcher’s Blueberry Liqueur is as simple as they come: Organic blueberry smashed into 30-proof oblivion. The flavor is clean and authentic, a berry bomb that is clearly sweet, unadulterated blueberry. It’s…

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Review: The Diamond Standard Vodka

By Christopher Null | June 8, 2009 |

The world is awash in $30 vodkas. It takes serious cojones to price what is supposed to be a flavorless, clear spirit at more than twice that. At $73 and up, The Diamond Standard Vodka is one of the most expensive vodkas on the market (though there are pricier ones). Calling itself “fashion you can…

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Review: Avitae Caffeinated Water

By Christopher Null | June 5, 2009 |

Take water. Add caffeine. You have just made Avitae, “energy water,” and officially written as “ávitãe” (but with a long dash over the second “a” instead of a tilde, can’t make ’em with HTML). Avitae’s promise is simple: You get purified water with 45mg of natural caffeine added (putting it in the same ballpark as…

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Review: Deschutes Brewery Mirror Mirror (2009)

By Christopher Null | June 2, 2009 |

Take Deschutes’ Mirror Pond Pale Ale, double the strength to 11% alcohol and age 35 percent of it in oak barrels, and you get the cleverly named Mirror Mirror. The moniker is a bit misleading. “Mirror” would seem to imply clarity and smoothness, but Mirror Mirror is a deep bronze color with a lot of…

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Review: Malibu Island Melon Rum

By Christopher Null | May 27, 2009 |

The original Malibu coconut-flavored rum isn’t just a staple of every bar, it’s also one of the most venerable flavored spirits on the market, dating back to 1980. Lately, Malibu’s been branching out into other flavors, since 2004 launching Mango, Pineapple, Passion Fruit, and Banana expressions. Malibu Island Melon marks the company’s first step into…

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Review: Finlandia Tangerine Fusion

By Christopher Null | May 26, 2009 |

Not sure if Finlandia’s Tangerine Fusion is the solution to the energy crisis, but it’s a catchy name nonetheless. Many orange (and related fruits) flavored vodkas give off a vague citrus character that lies somewhere between orange and lemon, which is never altogether satisfying. Finlandia eschews both major ends of the citrus spectrum in favor…

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Review: Vermeer Dutch Chocolate Cream Liqueur

By Christopher Null | May 23, 2009 |

Chocolate-based liqueurs are hardly a new phenomenon, but few spirits we know of have works of art reproduced on their labels. In this case, it’s Johannes Vermeer’s “Girl with the Pearl Earring” gazing out at you while you get your chocolate fix. Now we don’t know what kind of a drinker Vermeer really was —…

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