Review: Effen Cucumber Vodka

Holland’s Effen expands its line of flavored vodkas — the black cherry version is insanely popular — with this unlikely extension: Cucumber Vodka. Effen isn’t the first cucumber flavored vodka on the market — Square One makes a good one — but this isn’t half bad. Read the fine print and you’ll see that Effen…

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Review: Lunazul Anejo Tequila

Lunazul: “When the night calls.” Hmmm. From rather cheesy beginnings come this workmanlike product, designed to bring 100% agave, anejo-class tequila (aged 18 months in oak) to the masses, with a $22 price tag. That kind of pricing is completely unheard of in the work of 100% agave anejo tequilas, and Lunazul is proof that…

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Review: No. 3 London Dry Gin (2011)

This new gin from London’s Berry Bros. & Rudd features a mostly traditional recipe with just six ingredients: Juniper, orange peel, grapefruit peel, angelica root, coriander, and cardamom. No. 3’s little twists are pretty minor, inconsequential, really: This is a juniper-heavy gin, hot with alcohol like “real” London Dry, and bracing with a clean, citrus-fueled…

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Review: Samuel Adams 2010 “Category 23” LongShot Competition Winners

Every year the folks at Sam Adams hold a competition for homebrewers: Contestants submit their recipes to the company along with samples, the lab rats have a taste test, and the three winners (one is always a Sam Adams employee) get produced, bottled, and sold on an experimental basis. Here are the three 2010 winners…

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Review: Vegefeuer Overproofed Herbal Liqueur

Wow, Germany, thanks for the firewater! No, seriously: At 110 proof, Vegefeuer Likor Spezialitat can be ignited. The creators take pride in this — in fact, it is supposed to be ignited for a minute or so before consumption — which perhaps makes this clear, overproof, herbal liqueur is “a drink for friends” that it…

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Review: Three Ribera del Duero Wines, 2011 Releases

These wines hail from the northern, central portion of Spain and are composed exclusively of Tempranillo grapes. Yet, like many varietals and regions, Ribera del Duero comprises a huge range of wine styles — though all are surprisingly light in alcohol (under 14%). Here’s how three vintages of RdD stack up. 2007 Bodegas y Vinedos…

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Review: Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey

Gotta say, Jack Daniel’s knows how to launch a product. The sample bottle of its new honey-and-whiskey liqueur came in a refrigerated box, for no particular reason — it certainly doesn’t need to be kept chilled at all times — except that it is intended to be served cold. Well, it’s been in my fridge…

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Review: Four Roses 2011 Limited Edition Single Barrel Bourbon

Another unique winner of a vintage single barrel bourbon from Four Roses, this rendition of its annual release a 12-year old bourbon from barrel code OBSQ (click here to see what this means), the distillery’s rye-heavy whiskey recipe. The preview sample of the 2011 Single Barrel is hot — 118 proof, though this will change…

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