Rated C+

Reviews of spirits, wine, and beer (and various errata like mixers and garnishes) comprise more than 80% of the content at Drinkhacker. At the C+ level, we see products that are relatively undistinguished, except perhaps in one or two minor factors. These products are generally not recommended, as better alternatives abound. On a five-star scale, these products would score 2 stars. On the traditional 100-point scale popular with many wine and spirits graders, these products would merit scores of 75 to 78 points.

Review: Grace O’Malley Irish Gin

By Christopher Null | May 14, 2022 |

Previously we brought you coverage of the (solid) Irish whiskey of Grace O’Malley. Now we turn to another category of booze named after Ireland’s pirate queen: gin. Botanicals (14 in total) are not entirely disclosed, but include “the defining flavors from the west coast of Ireland including wild thyme, red clover, blackthorn, wild bilberries, and…

Read More

Review: Wines of Knotty Vines, 2019 Vintage

By Christopher Null | April 15, 2022 |

Knotty Vines is an unabashed budget brand from Rodney Strong, standing as the third (or maybe fourth) label in its arsenal. We recently tasted a collection of four wines from the brand, the full lineup of its offerings. 2019 Knotty Vines Chardonnay California – Here’s a real surprise to kick things off: This chardonnay has had…

Read More

Review: 6 Stirrings Mixers

By Christopher Null | February 14, 2022 |

Stirrings makes a bazillion mixers, and the company recently sent us a ton of stuff — all in response to missing out on our grenadine roundup — so we figured it was best to put it all here in one mixed roundup. Note that all the products in this roundup are non-alcoholic despite the “bitters”…

Read More

Review: Gold Bar Original Whiskey, Black Bourbon, and Rickhouse Cask Strength Bourbon (2022)

By Christopher Null | January 26, 2022 |

We first encountered this odd San Francisco-based operation’s whiskeys in 2018, when Gold Bar Original was the only expression on the market. Now Gold Bar has expanded to three offerings, including two bourbons. Only one is packaged in the “gold bar” decanter — although the “gold bar” bourbon is painted black — all of which…

Read More

Review: Buzzbox Perfect Margarita

By Robert Lublin | January 4, 2022 |

Ready-to-drink cocktails are showing up everywhere these days, and buzzbox (with a lowercase “b” to keep it casual) is a new company devoted to providing premium cocktails made without preservatives, additives, or artificial colors or flavors and packaged in eco-friendly boxes that look somewhat like — well, actually exactly like — my children’s juice boxes.…

Read More

Review: 2021 Sovi Non-Alcoholic Red Blend and Sparkling Rose Canned Wine

By Rob Theakston | December 18, 2021 |

It’s a bit of a double nightmare for wine drinkers of a certain pedigree: an alcohol-free wine arriving in a can. With the rumored forthcoming glass bottle shortage and supply chain issues, plus more people opting to no longer partake in traditional wine, it would be unsurprising if there was a market shift in favor…

Read More

Review: 2018 Hook or Crook Field Blend and Zinfandel

By Christopher Null | November 24, 2021 |

Hook or Crook is a “quiet little winery” in California’s Lodi region, where it produces a range of wines typical to the area — think zinfandel plus the usual Cali suspects — all at extremely reasonable prices. We received a pair of recent bottlings for review. 2018 Hook or Crook Cellars Field Blend Red Wine…

Read More

Tasting the Wines of Sicily, 2021 Releases

By Christopher Null | November 21, 2021 |

Today we present a collection of Sicilian wines, all part of a (Zoom-based) tasting organized by Assovini Sicilia, an association of 91 Sicilian wineries that is designed to promote the many wines of this region. A total of 10 wines were tasted, all made with indigenous grapes. Ready to dig in? Let’s go. 2020 Mandrarossa…

Read More

Review: Balcones Pilgrimage, Luckenbach, and Texas Bock (2021)

By Christopher Null | November 19, 2021 |

Whiskeys from Balcones, arguably Texas’s best-known distillery, have been stacking up here at Drinkhacker HQ. Today we’re killing a trilogy of bottles, including two new releases and the second edition of another well-liked expression. Balcones Pilgrimage – Texas single malt made from Golden Promise barley, aged in used casks and finished in Sauternes casks. No…

Read More

Review: Strainge Beast Hard Kombuchas

By Christopher Null | November 16, 2021 |

Strainge Beast is the hard kombucha spinoff of California’s Sierra Nevada, and the product is available in (at least) 6 flavored versions, at two different abvs. The standard version of the product, available in 16 oz cans, is canned at 7% abv. The newly released “light” version is just 4% abv and comes in 12…

Read More