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: 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…

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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.…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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Review: Tyku Sake – Junmai and Junmai Ginjo (2021)

By Stephen Allison | October 27, 2021 |

It’s been seven years since we last reviewed Tyku’s (no longer Ty Ku) line of sake, and it’s high time for a refresh. Tyku, made by Nara prefecture’s Umenoyada Brewery, is one of the largest and easiest to find brands of premium-grade sake in the United States. While Umenoyada is well known for their sweet…

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Review: Ron Rubin 2020 Pam’s Un-Oaked Chardonnay and 2018 Pinot Noir

By Robert Lublin | October 26, 2021 |

Located in Sebastopol, California, the Ron Rubin winery is Certified Sustainable and devoted to producing widely available and enjoyable wines at a reasonable price. Today we’re trying two wines that we’ve tried before, an unoaked Chardonnay bottled under the Pam’s label and a Pinot Noir. Let’s see how the newer vintages stand up. 2020 Pam’s…

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Review: Mountjoy Non-Alcoholic Spirits: Ing, Quileta, Yer Hiskwey

By Christopher Null | October 8, 2021 |

Mountjoy is best known for its CBD-infused seltzers, but its latest endeavor is much different endeavor: Non-alcoholic spirits designed to mimic gin, tequila, and rye whiskey. Each bears an anagrammatic name — and 170mg of CBD per 750ml bottle (or about 10mg CBD per serving). There’s not a whole lot of information about what these…

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