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: Craft Distillers Low Gap White Wheat Whiskey

By Christopher Null | July 2, 2011 |

The white whiskey craze continues to rumble along, and artisan producers keep driving the trend. Our friends at Craft Distillers offer this spirit, distilled from Bavarian hard wheat (wheat with a higher protein content) and fermented to an 8.8% alcohol beer. It’s then double-distilled in a copper pot still and bottled at about 90 proof,…

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Review: Jarritos Mexican Cola

By Christopher Null | June 22, 2011 |

Hipsters who want a soft drink know how to order their fix at any taqueria: By asking for a Mexican Coke instead of a can of domestic crap. Why? Because in Mexico the Coca-Cola is made with real sugar. Here, of course, it’s made with corn syrup. Is that worth the extra buck? You be…

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Review: I Spirit Italian Vodka

By Christopher Null | June 20, 2011 |

Italy and vodka: Two names that, well, I’ve never heard together before. I Spirit bills itself as “the original Italian vodka,” and I’m hard-pressed to argue with that self-assessment. The distillation base includes both grape and grain components, distilled five times in both copper and column stills, then blended with water from the Dolomites to…

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Review: Alexander Keith’s Nova Scotia Style Beers

By Christopher Null | June 15, 2011 |

Alexander Keith was a Scotsman who moved to Canada in the early 1800s. He got into the beer business and started making Scottish-style brews. 200 years later, his company is still going and it’s bringing three new beers to America — they’re actually new versions of the company’s Canadian brews, which are slightly different. These…

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Review: 2006 St. Francis Merlot Sonoma County

By Christopher Null | June 14, 2011 |

Merlot Day has come and gone, but considering how poorly Merlot wine has been selling (ever since Sideways, it’s true), there’s plenty of the stuff on the market ripe for the picking. Merlot of course has gotten a terribly bad rap in the last seven years. A lot of juice on the market is incredibly…

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Review: Absolut SF Limited Edition Vodka

By Christopher Null | June 11, 2011 |

For its fifth city-themed, limited edition vodka, our friends at Absolut have brought us something awfully close to home: Absolut SF (because presumably “San Francisco” was too long for the bottle). Three fruity infusions are added to this special bottling: grape, papaya, and dragon fruit. No huge explanation for the flavoring agents is offered; however,…

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Review: Germain-Robin Select Barrel XO Brandy

By Christopher Null | June 9, 2011 |

Craft Distillers’ Germain-Robin makes just ten barrels a year of this California brandy, now featuring a blend of 12 varietal brandies, seven of which are Pinot Noir. At 17 years of age, this spirit is young and a little brash by European standards but stands now as one of the best American brandies being produced…

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Review: Courvoisier Rose Cognac Liqueur

By Christopher Null | June 8, 2011 |

A rose wine: Sure. But how does one make a rose brandy? By blending cognac with red wine, that’s how. Courvoisier calls this a “Cognac Innovation,” and that’s an understatement. Adding wine to cognac — something I didn’t previously think was possible but which, in retrospect, makes plenty of sense on its merits — creates an…

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Review: 2009 Shafer Chardonnay Napa Valley Carneros Red Shoulder Ranch

By Christopher Null | June 6, 2011 |

A big — but not overwhelming — Chardonnay from Shafer, this Carneros bottling offers a creamy and buttery body, a nice slug of wood (evident on the nose), and a finish the heads into apples, pears, figs, and a touch of herbs. Thyme and rosemary? Ultimately the butter comes back in the end, leaving the…

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Review: Wines of Mercer, 2011 Releases

By Christopher Null | May 17, 2011 |

This Washington winery produces a full line of affordable whites and reds. We tasted three of its newest releases. (The photo below isn’t one of the actual wines reviewed but will give you a sense of the label at least.) 2009 Mercer Pinot Gris Yakima Valley – Light and pleasant, and quite fruity for Pinot…

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