Review: Ursus Vodka, Straight and Flavored

Everyone needs a gimmick, but the vodka industry, where product is legion, needs it more than anyone. Ursus Vodka, which hails from the Netherlands and is distilled “from grain,” is a budget brand with a trick: Like Coors Light’s newer bottles, the bears on the label turn from white to blue when it’s chilled. (It…

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World’s Strongest Beer Concocted

At 120 proof, or 60% alcohol, is it really a beer? $45 will get you a third of a liter and, probably, a trip to the ER. A Dutch brewer with a penchant for competition has laid claim to creating the world’s strongest brew: a beer that is some 60 percent alcohol by volume. “You…

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Review: Tequila Avion, Complete Lineup (2010)

This new brand hails from New York, where a former Seagram exec decided to strike out on his own in the brave new world of tequila. As the story goes, founder Ken Austin scoured Jalisco for the best spirit that hadn’t made it to the U.S., and found it on the highest agave plantation in…

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Visiting Del Dotto Winery and Caves

Do you want to taste some seriously “lights out*” wines? Look no further than Del Dotto, a postmodern institution along Napa’s main wine trail, and the proprietor of a tour I’ve been hearing about for years as a “must experience” event. This weekend I finally summoned up the courage and paid the whopping $50 to…

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Review: El Jimador “New Mix” Tequila Cocktails

“New Mix” is not a slogan stuck on the can of El Jimador’s ready-to-drink tequila cocktails. It’s the actual name of the product: New Mix. Hugely popular in Mexico, New Mix now comes in five flavors. We’ve had the first three flavors sitting in the fridge literally for months, and finally we are getting around…

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Review: Bohemia Clasica Beer

Yes, Virginia, there is more beer in Mexico than Corona. Don’t be fooled by the dark, squat bottle. Bohemia is a fairly simple pilsner, a light gold beer that offers a nice, easy-drinking balance of sweet and bitter. There’s a distinct note of gingerbread on the nose, which is quite pleasing, and the body comes…

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Review: Balcones Baby Blue and Rumble (2010)

The uninitiated may think of Texas as the frontier, a place where whiskey is probably as common as water. Not so: In fact, for years, Tito’s has been the state’s only legal distillery. Now a few upstarts are coming out of the skunkworks, and the state has its first whiskey since Prohibition. Operating out of…

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Review: 2007 Chateau d’Aiguilhe Comtes von Neipperg

This is Bordeaux? This blend of 80 percent Merlot and 20 percent Cabernet Franc has an intense, New World character that does not feel like Bordeaux at all. Ripe with black currants and thick plum character, the Merlot shines through, and the tannins, in just a few years, have mellowed into a silky and smooth…

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