Review: Becherovka Original Liqueur

For 200 years, Becherovka liqueur has been a Czech staple. Now it’s arriving on our shores, courtesy of Pernod Ricard. This strange, secret recipe spirit is nothing if not unique. The nose brings big, almost straightforward cinnamon, anise,$26/  and allspice notes. But taking a sip provides a vastly different experience. Initially quite sweet, Becherovka quickly…

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Review: Absolut SF Limited Edition Vodka

For its fifth city-themed, limited edition vodka, our friends at Absolut have brought us something awfully close to home: Absolut SF (because presumably “San Francisco” was too long for the bottle). Three fruity infusions are added to this special bottling: grape, papaya, and dragon fruit. No huge explanation for the flavoring agents is offered; however,…

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The Kentucky Bourbon Trail: Tips, Tricks, and Advice for the Traveler

In Kentucky, Bourbon is a religion. They have plenty of real religion here, too, but based on the statues, plaques, and other honorifics on every corner and wall, Bourbon is second only to Jesus. Any whiskey fanatic owes it to himself to visit at some point America’s most hallowed home of the stuff: Bourbon country.…

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Review: Germain-Robin Select Barrel XO Brandy

Craft Distillers’ Germain-Robin makes just ten barrels a year of this California brandy, now featuring a blend of 12 varietal brandies, seven of which are Pinot Noir. At 17 years of age, this spirit is young and a little brash by European standards but stands now as one of the best American brandies being produced…

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Review: Courvoisier Rose Cognac Liqueur

A rose wine: Sure. But how does one make a rose brandy? By blending cognac with red wine, that’s how. Courvoisier calls this a “Cognac Innovation,” and that’s an understatement. Adding wine to cognac — something I didn’t previously think was possible but which, in retrospect, makes plenty of sense on its merits — creates an…

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Review: 2008 Pina Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignons

Three amazing new wines from the always-enchanting Piña Napa Valley. We got early looks at these hard-to-find, single-vineyard reds — all 100% Cabernet from various parcels in the Napa region. 2008 Piña Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Rutherford Firehouse Vineyard – Another big, rich Cab from Piña. The first thought to hit my mind when I…

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Review: 2009 Shafer Chardonnay Napa Valley Carneros Red Shoulder Ranch

A big — but not overwhelming — Chardonnay from Shafer, this Carneros bottling offers a creamy and buttery body, a nice slug of wood (evident on the nose), and a finish the heads into apples, pears, figs, and a touch of herbs. Thyme and rosemary? Ultimately the butter comes back in the end, leaving the…

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Review: Firefly Skinny Tea Flavored Vodka

How do you cut the calorie level from a flavored vodka? Throttle down the alcohol level and cut out the sugar. The first idea is probably not a bad thing. The second one is what kills the deal. Firefly Skinny Tea opts for artificial sweetener instead of sugar, and to say that mars the “sweet…

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