Rated D/F

Reviews of spirits, wine, and beer (and various errata like mixers and garnishes) comprise more than 80% of the content at Drinkhacker. This category is a catch-all for everything rated D+, D, D-, or F, our lowest rating. These products should be categorically avoided by everyone (and preferably discontinued altogether). On a five-star scale, these products would score 1.5 stars (for D+ ratings) or 1 star (for D, D-, and F ratings). On the traditional 100-point scale popular with many wine and spirits graders, these products would merit scores 68 or below.

Review: Lyre’s Non-Alcoholic Spirits – Amaretti, Aperitif Rosso, and American Malt

By Christopher Null | May 29, 2020 |

Non-alcoholic beer and wine have been around for some time. Now non-alcoholic spirits are becoming a thing. Lyre’s makes nearly a dozen non-alcoholic knockoffs of just about everything on your back bar, from gin to whiskey to spiced rum. What’s this stuff made out of? Mainly water and sugar. A typical ingredient list looks like…

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Review: 2018 Apothic “Cab” Cabernet Sauvignon California

By Christopher Null | April 30, 2020 |

Apothic is known for its aggressively flavorful, low-price red blends, and now it’s making its way into varietal wines for the first time, with a 2018 cabernet sauvignon. Alas, the wine is unapproachable from any angle, a ballbuster of a wine that is unctuous with notes of cheap candy, way-overripe berries, and Russell Stover-class milk…

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Review: Crown Royal Salted Caramel

By Christopher Null | April 29, 2020 |

Crown Royal has been churning out flavored expressions in recent years, and this might be its most decadent to date: Crown Royal Canadian whisky blended with salted caramel flavoring. As with other flavored expressions of Crown Royal, the guy in charge of doctoring the whisky has certainly done so with a heavy hand. The nose…

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The Best Banana Liqueur Roundup – Bols, 99 Bananas, Tempus Fugit, & Giffard

By Christopher Null | March 10, 2020 |

Come mister tally man, tally me banana! Banana liqueur tends to be one of those unsung cocktail ingredients that few give much serious thought to. A splash of something yellow to give a cocktail a vague tropicality, right? Think again. Banana liqueur has entered its own small renaissance, and mixologists are discovering myriad uses for…

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Review: Wines of Cline, 2018 Vintage

By Christopher Null | January 1, 2020 |

We’ve covered the wines of Cline on many occasions. Today we look at two of the operation’s bottlings from the Sonoma Coast, as well as its Sonoma County pinot noir. Let’s dive in. 2018 Cline Chardonnay Sonoma Coast – This is an approachable but somewhat innocuous chardonnay, particularly for a wine born in the rugged…

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Review: Stella Rosa Peach, Rose, and Black

By Christopher Null | December 13, 2019 |

You can’t drive more than 5 miles in California without encountering a Stella Rosa billboard (“It’s a Stellabration!”), and it’s safe to say that the brand has ample production to serve everyone who happens to drive past. Stella Rosa’s bottlings range from traditional blends to various fruit-infused expressions. Many of its wines are very low…

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Review: Wines of Chronic Cellars, 2019 Releases

By Christopher Null | October 19, 2019 |

Chronic Cellars is a hipster-friendly wine brand out of Paso Robles, California. With tongue-in-cheek brand names and eye-catching graphics (and, of course, it’s called “Chronic”), Chronic doesn’t immediately come across as a “serious” wine label. Turns out that’s not the case, as Chronic has a few impressive (and affordable) gems under its wings. That said,…

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Review: Cocktail Squad Canned Cocktails – Complete Lineup

By Christopher Null | October 15, 2019 |

Cocktail Squad is a series of ready-to-drink canned cocktails created by a Boulder, Colorado-based couple, Lauren and John Maggio. Now numbering six different products, these are all made with real spirits — no malt liquor here. Cans are 355ml and designed for single-serving use. Thoughts on the full lineup follow. Each product is canned at…

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Review: Virtue Cider Rose and Mezzo Spritz

By Christopher Null | July 2, 2019 |

Today it’s time for cider, with a visit to Michigan’s Virtue Cider. Specifically, we’re looking at one of the company’s oldest offerings (the Rose) — and its newest (Mezzo Spritz). Thoughts follow. Virtue Cider Rose – “A blend of hand-pressed heirloom Michigan apples aged in French oak barrels,” with added botanicals to give it color…

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Review: Wines of Butternut, 2019 Releases

By Christopher Null | July 1, 2019 |

Butternut is a brand from Napa- and Nashville-based BNA Wine Group, which — and I’m sure they would admit this — focuses on low-cost bulk wines packaged under a cute name. Butternut is also one of the pioneers in the burgeoning canned wine space, with four varieties available in familiar 12 oz. cans. The company…

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