Review: Cardinal American Dry Gin

Cardinal Gin. Get it? Sure ya do. This American gin hails from Kings Mountain, North Carolina. The 11 (organic and wild) botanicals used in this gin don’t get enumerated, so we have to guess at them instead. Modestly juniper-infused and intensely floral, this is a gin with a different and unique style to it. Let’s…

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Review: Mickey Finn Irish Apple Whiskey

I’ve never quite understood the idea behind the Mickey Finn name. Yeah, it sounds Irish, but it really means a drink served to someone to knock them out (typically to take advantage of them in some way). Why you’d name your Irish whiskey brand after such a thing, I have no idea. Mickey Finn makes…

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Review: Wines of Matchbook, 2012 Releases

Based in Zamora, California, JL Giguiere’s Matchbook (not to be confused with Matchless, which also features a scorched label design and will likely soon be embroiled in a trademark lawsuit with this wine) can be found in the Dunnigan Hills AVA, in Yolo County north of Sacramento. Why “Matchbook?” Because, Giguiere says, he was a…

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Review: 2009 Robert Craig Affinity Cabernet Sauvignon

I’ve been reviewing Affinity since the 2005 vintage, and it’s fun to look back over my notes to see how this Napa-based wine has evolved. For starters, it’s now being produced from fruit from the “foothills of Mt. George” south of the Stag’s Leap district, it’s still a Cab-heavy (86%) wine blended with Merlot (5%),…

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Review: Ye Ol’ Grog Distillery Grogs and Vodka

Ye Ol’ Grog Distillery (aka Ye Ole Grog Distillery) is a St. Helens, Oregon-based outfit specializing in, well, grog. Many enamored with the lives of pirates have probably invoked he word grog in some fashion or another… but don’t really know what it is. So, what is it? In the old days, grog mainly meant…

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Review: Mionetto ‘IL’ SPR!Z

I’ve written about the Aperol Spritz — often just the Spritz — before. It’s a refreshing and tasty cocktail that’s incredibly easy to make. Along with the Bellini, it’s pretty much the official cocktail of Venice, and many Italian restaurants here and abroad have adopted the Spritz in their own menus. In Italy, you can…

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Review: Z Tequila

The brainchild of Pepe Zevada, a spirits industry veteran, Z Tequila is a fairly new brand of 100% agave tequilas based on Zevada’s own recipes. These tequilas use seven-to-nine year old agave plants and age the reposado and anejo in new Canadian oak barrels. We tasted each of the three expressions extensively. All are 80…

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Review: Jailers Tennessee Whiskey, Breakout Rye, and Forbidden Secret Cream Liqueur

Today we look at three new whiskey products brought to us by  a new company, the Tennessee Spirits Company, a division of Capital Brands. Formed by a group of spirits industry veterans, the focus here is (obviously) on Tennessee whiskeys, with this trilogy the inaugural releases. TSC doesn’t have its own distillery (yet) but plans…

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