Book Review: Champagne Cocktails

I’m on record as saying that sparkling wine is perhaps the most underused cocktail ingredient around (the other: Damiana Liqueur), so I was really pleased to get A.J. Rathbun’s book, Champagne Cocktails: 50 Cork-Popping Concoctions and Scintillating Sparklers. It’s a slim, hardbound tome, with just 50 recipes included, spanning both classic and original cocktails, and…

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Review: Kilbeggan Irish Whiskey (2012)

Part of the recently-founded (1987) Cooley Distillery mini-empire (which includes Tyrconnell, Connemara, and Greenore), Kilbeggan is perhaps the best known bottling that this Cooley Mountains-based distillery offers. Why? Because the brand dates all the way back to 1757 (making it one of the oldest existing whiskey brands in the world). It changed hands many times…

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Review: 2011 Virage Rose of Cabernet Franc Napa Valley

Cabernet Franc is rarely used on its own, and almost never as a rose wine, but here Virage takes fresh Cab Franc presses and blends in a touch of red Cab Franc, then lets it chill out in stainless steel for a few months. The results are a pale and inviting pink. Don’t be afraid…

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Review: 2010 Four Vines Naked Chardonnay Santa Barbara County

How can cult Zinfandel winery Four Vines be putting out a $12 Chardonnay? Because Four Vines sold its name (and some of its wine production) to Purple Wine Corp., which has dived right in to its new brand via its The Naked & The Willing winery in Graton, California. (Four Vines, by the way, is…

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Review: Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao Ancienne Method

Triple sec or curacao are an essential ingredient in so many cocktails, and stylistically they cover a wide range of focuses. But they all tend to have one thing in common (well, besides tasting like oranges): They’re generally quite sweet. And so it was that cocktial god David Wondrich teamed up with Cognac producer Pierre…

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Review: Bruichladdich The Laddie Ten 10 Years Old (2012)

Bruichladdich calls this “without doubt the most important release in our history.” That is some heavy language, and so far the world has responded in agreement. It was recently named the single malt whisky of the year from Whisky Advocate, capping a run of high praise for the dram. Why is this humble 10-year-old so…

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Review: Red Brick Old Stock Ale and Wee Heavy Ale

Brewing out of Atlanta, Georgia, Red Brick offers the Brick Mason series alongside its year-round core brands. This series focuses on higher abv beers with more unique ingredients (such as the smoked vanilla beans in Vanilla Gorilla). This week, I was able to get the chance to review two beers from this series. Red Brick Old…

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Review: 1512 Spirits Signature Poitin

I’m not sure if it will be the “next big thing,” but if you haven’t heard of poitin already, prepare yourself for it. What’s poitin? It’s an Irish spirit distilled from potatoes and/or barley, heavy on the alcohol, dating back hundreds of years. Not quite a vodka and not quite a white whiskey, it occupies…

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