Review: Spike Your Juice Homemade Booze Kit

I’ve seen some weird stuff in my day, but Spike Your Juice is pretty much the strangest of them all. Put simply, Spike Your Juice is a system for turning ordinary fruit juice into good old-fashioned hooch. Inside the colorful box you’ll find a few little mystery packets. You pour the packets into an off-the-shelf…

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Review: 2008 and 2009 Monthaven Boxed Wines

Monthaven’s 2008 Chardonnay didn’t exactly impress us. Today the company is back to try again with its 2009 release, plus two new reds from the 2008 vintage, all served up in convenient 3 liter boxes. Yes, that’s 9 liters of wine. No, we did not drink it all. (Not possible.) 2009 Monthaven Chardonnay Central Coast…

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Review: Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection Maple Wood Finish

Another semi-experimental Bourbon from Woodford Reserve. The spin this time (it’s the company’s 5th installment in the Master’s Collection) is the use of maple wood in the finishing barrels. This is big news because it had been felt, according to Woodford, that maple wood couldn’t be used to make a barrel because of certain characteristics…

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Review: Tranquila Relaxation Shots

Tranquila isn’t the first “relaxation” shot on the market, but it is, to my knowledge, the first one without the word “chill” in the name. The format is familiar: Little plastic vial holding 2 fluid ounces of super-sweet liquid. Tranquila is available in two varieties, with quite different formulations (but both with zero calories, sweetened…

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Review: Emperor’s Brand Giorgio G XO Limited Edition Cognac

Hardly a household name in America, Emperor’s is slowly stretching its legs into our shores. We had a chance to try the company’s Giorgio G XO cognac, a 35-year-old blend of over 70 eaux de vie from Grande Champagne. The results are a success. A tabby orange spirit, Giorgio G XO is lush with orange…

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Review: 2007 Anka Pargua II Maipo Valley

From Chile’s Maipo Valley, Vina Pargua ‘s “Anka Pargua II” is built from an odd blend of 30% Cabernet Franc, 27% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot, 11% Syrah, 6% Petit Verdot, and 2% Carmenere — all organic. The results are intriguing. Extremely dry at first blush, it opens up after a few minutes in the glass,…

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Book Review: Whiskypedia

The beauty of books about whiskey (vs. books about wine) is that they needn’t be replaced quite so often with new ones. Compared to the wine world, the whiskey world is relatively plodding in speed, and the Black Label you drink today is going to taste and be made an awful lot like the Black…

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Review: Yorkville Cellars Mendocino 2006 Wines

Mendocino’s Yorkville Cellars is a unique little oddball in the wine world. It produces classic Bordeaux varietals (plus Carmenere), but it’s based in Mendocino, known mainly for Zinfandel production (which Yorkville doesn’t make). Then, it doesn’t blend those varietals: It bottles them separately. In fact, Yorkville says is Rennie Vineyard is the only place in…

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