Review: Marzadro Le Diciotto Lune Stravecchia Grappa

Ah, grappa. Brandy’s skunky cousin. I’m still a bit lost on the appeal of grappa — which is made from grape pomace — skins, seeds, and stems leftover from the winemaking process, rather than the grape juice itself, as brandy is made. But even I will recognize there are some fine grappas out there, especially…

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Review: Absolut Brooklyn Vodka

The latest Spike Lee joint has nothing to do with the movies but with vodka: Absolut’s latest entry into its city-themed series of limited edition spirits. Lee worked with Absolut to come up with the flavors infused into this vodka, and worked on the design of the bottle, which features an iconic “stoop life” scene…

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Review: G’Vine Floraison and Nouaison Gin (2010)

In the beginning, there was just G’Vine. This upscale gin hails from France and is distilled from grapes, making it unique in the gin world, and its mild citrus-forward flavor made it a hit with Drinkhacker in the early days of the site — where it was one of the first spirits we reviewed back…

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Review: Batch 19 Beer

Curious about that new brew on tap at your local watering hole? MillerCoors is testing a new beer called Batch 19 in just five cities (Chicago, Milwaukee, San Francisco, San Jose, and Washington DC) and in limited quantities. According to the company, Batch 19 is based on a pre-Prohibition recipe found in brewery archives predating…

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Review: Bacardi Classic Cocktails Strawberry Daiquiri and Pina Colada

So-called “instant” cocktails don’t have to be bad. I mean, they usually are, but they don’t have to be. Bacardi, which makes a pretty good instant mojito, has now released two new pre-mixed cocktail flavors, a strawberry daiquiri and a pina colada. As with the mojito flavor, these use real ingredients, not malt liquor and…

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Review: Camarena Tequila Silver and Reposado (2010)

This tequila is just arriving in the U.S., but the family behind it (Familia Camarena, natch) claims six generations of tequila-making experience. Farmed in the Los Altos Highlands region of Jalisco, this 100% agave spirit arrives in two varieties to start (sorry, no anejo), both big bargains. Both 80 proof. Camarena Silver is intensely peppery…

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Is Duty Free Ever a Good Deal?

International travelers, you know the drill: You can bring in up to one liter of booze without paying the duty on it. And if they have a special name for it (“the duty!”), that must be a lot of cash, right? Hence the existence of duty free shops in every international airport on earth. But…

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Tasting the Wines of Bolgheri, 2010 Releases

During my visit to Ornellaia, I also had the chance to sample three other wines from the neighborhood, comparing them in the relatively controlled environment of a local wine and salumi joint. Some thoughts follow: 2007 Ornellaia – I’ve covered this one extensively here, but noted more rich chocolate character in this tasting of a…

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