Review: Finlandia Grapefruit Fusion Vodka

Grapefruit is a tricky flavor: It’s so sour that few people eat can each grapefruit with a dollop of sugar on top. Yet, in many a cocktail, grapefruit makes an ideal ingredient… hence its natural status as a vodka infusion. Finlandia’s Grapefruit Fusion offers a nose of lemon, orange, and other unclear citrus character. The…

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Review: Galliano L’Autentico and Ristretto

Even if you don’t actually know what Galliano is, you’ve seen the bottle: It’s the usually enormously oversized obelisk from Italy, filled with day-glo yellow liquid that sits untouched at the end of the bar. The only reason the dust gets blown off of it is in the unlikely event a Harvey Wallbanger is ordered.…

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Review: ZU Zubrowka Bison Grass Vodka

No lie: The provenance of “Zubrowka” is confusing. Several bison grass vodkas are on the market, and they all call themselves Zubrowka, which is the generic Polish term for the spirit. If you go looking for a brand name, you’ll find it, usually buried or hidden behind the Zubrowka label. It’s the equivalent of Jack…

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Tasting Report: Wines of Argyle, 2011 Releases

A recent trip to Oregon took us down to the Willamette Valley, where we had the chance to visit, well, one of the few wineries that was open on New Year’s Eve: the celebrated Argyle. Tasting through several sparklers, whites, and Pinots and found that Argyle is still making some classic Oregon wines. Notes follow.…

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Review: Deschutes Brewery The Abyss Aged Stout 2010 Edition

Deschutes’ annual release of The Abyss (2008 release reviewed here) has been languishing in my cellar for months… but that’s not a bad thing: Abyss carries on it a “drink after” date, not a “drink before” one, suggesting that this is the rare beer that improves with age. With the 2010 edition, I did a…

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Review: Charbay Doubled & Twisted Light Whiskey (2011)

Charbay’s Master Distiller Marko Karakasevic, a 26-year veteran of the business, has created his first spirit, an unaged “white whiskey,” part of the big push to make moonshine, er, white whiskey palatable to the drinking public. Whiskey is essentially distilled beer, and Karakasevic’s idea was that, especially if you aren’t going to age your spirit,…

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Review: Excellia Tequila, Complete Lineup

This new tequila brand comes from 100 percent blue agave grown in the highlands of Jalisco — and then comes a twist: All the tequilas are aged in Sauternes and 20-year-old Cognac casks, a big twist vs. the usual old Bourbon barrels in which most tequila is aged. The results are, in at least one…

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Review: Dream Dust Sleep Aid

Following on the heels of a variety of “relaxation shots” comes Dream Dust, which is not dust but rather a liquid in the familiar plastic “shot” bottle, designed to help get you to sleep. (Motto: “Better Sleep, Better Health, Better Life.”) The composition is very similar to Mini Chill, including Vitamin B6, Magnesium Zinc, GABA,…

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