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: Blue Ice Organic Wheat Vodka

By Christopher Null | April 25, 2009 |

Blue Ice expands its line of vodka the month with this second rendition. The original was made of potatoes, this one’s (as the name suggests) distilled from organic wheat. Incidentally, the bottle’s clear this time around, making the name a bit of a misnomer, but hey, it’s what’s inside that counts. Funny then that Blue…

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Review: Firemans Brew Blonde Beer, Brewnette Beer, and Redhead Ale (2009)

By Christopher Null | April 20, 2009 |

What is it about firemen and beer? Hmmm, makes sense, I guess: When I get merely warm I reach for a brew. One can only imagine what actually being in a fire might do to one’s thirst for a beer. Firemans Brew comes out of Los Angeles, a microbrew crafted by two active-duty firemen who…

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Review: Agave Loco Pepper Cured Tequila

By Christopher Null | April 19, 2009 |

The story goes that master distiller Tom Maas and his crew found that, in the old days, some enterprising people in Mexico were preserving peppers not in vinegar but in tequila. And rather than simply eating the deliciously tequila-flavored peppers, someone had the idea to try to do it the other way around: Use the…

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Review: Smirnoff Melon and Pomegranate Vodkas

By Christopher Null | April 19, 2009 |

On a broiling spring day in San Francisco we turn our attention to these two new flavors from Smirnoff (which now brings the number of flavored Smirnoff bottlings to a whopping 15), both of which are excellent choices for warm-weather cocktails, which usually involve lots of ice, fruit, and/or a refreshing mixer like lemonade. Both…

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Review: Ron Abuelo 12 Anos

By Christopher Null | April 17, 2009 |

12 years is a lot to ask for a rum. Well, some rums handle that kind of time without complaint. Some end up begging for mercy. When last we visited Ron Abuelo I was gushing over the Panamanian rum company’s seven-year old expression, and I stand by that. Tasting it fresh today, it’s still delicious,…

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Review: Zuvo Water Purifier

By Christopher Null | April 17, 2009 |

By now everyone knows how terrible bottled water is, environmentally speaking, churning out 18 godzillion pounds of trashed plastic bottles and belching 430 quadrazillion tons of greenhouse gas into the air as bottles are shipped around the world. But what if your tap water tastes like crap? Then what are you supposed to do? Purifiers…

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Review: Tequila Ocho Plata Single Estate 2008 and 2009

By Christopher Null | April 10, 2009 |

Vintage tequila? You betcha. Tequila Ocho produces tequilas in individually numbered bottles and dated to the vintage of the agave harvest from the estate in question. It’s said to be the first single-estate tequila to be released in the U.S. — bringing to the tequila world what has worked (and worked well) for wine. We…

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Review: Big Sky Brewing Montana Trout Slayer Ale

By Christopher Null | April 9, 2009 |

Does one really “slay” a trout? I’m not much of a fisherman (and it turns out “Trout Slayer” has a long history which I’m not going to begin to go into), but this is indeed as close to a “gone fishin’” brew as I can fathom. It’s a very light wheat ale, starting out with…

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Review: 2007 High Note Malbec

By Christopher Null | April 8, 2009 |

Judging by the amount of malbec that rolls in here, it really is the fastest growing wine varietal in the U.S. Oftentimes, malbec is weedy, green, and super-tannic, but sometimes a really nice bottle rolls around, like High Note’s 2007, which also happens to bear a rock-bottom price This Argentinian wine from Mendoza is lightly…

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Review: Michael Collins Single Malt Irish Whiskey (2009)

By Christopher Null | April 4, 2009 |

We’ve looked at Michael Collins’ blended Irish before, and now we turn our attention to the distillery’s single malt, presumably a higher class of spirit and one which is winning lots of awards these days in spirits competitions. On first blush, I found Collins’ single malt hotter than expected, with a distinct alcohol kick at…

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