Herradura’s Battle of the Tequileros

I recently had the great opportunity to attend Tequila Herradura’s battle of eight Bay Area mixologists, each trying to outdo the other. Some photos of the event held at San Francisco’s Tres Agaves — including a live “harvesting” of agave plants… oh, the carnage — follow. My favorite drink of the evening — Tony Devencenzi’s…

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Review: Old Rip Van Winkle Family Reserve Bourbon 23 Years Old

23 years is epic for any spirit to sit idle in a barrel, but for bourbon it’s almost insane. Old Rip Van Winkle’s 23-year-old bottling (this sample is from the 2009 limited edition) is positively intense with wood character — and alcohol. It’s 114 proof, which is hefty, but I’ve had far higher-proof whiskeys that…

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Review: Square One Botanical Vodka

Is it vodka or is it gin? Infused with eight ingredients — pear, rose, chamomile, lemon verbena, lavender, rosemary, coriander, and citrus peel — Square One Botanical certainly looks on paper a lot more like a postmodern gin than the vodka it claims to be on the bottle. Ultimately, labels are meaningless — all gin…

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Review: 2008 Two Hands Gnarly Dudes Shiraz Barossa Valley

Two Hands has a reputation as one of Australia’s most well-regarded wineries, and its 2008 shiraz releases are now hitting the market. We tried the Gnarly Dudes bottling, made with grapes from Australia’s Barossa Valley, and found a true oddity in store for us. The big surprise up front is not the nutty and chocolaty…

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Review: Lagavulin Distillers Edition 2009 – Distilled 1993

Last year Lagavulin released a 16-year-old special edition whisky and this year (2009) it’s continuing the cycle, offering a single malt double-matured in Pedro Ximinez sherry wood casks. This is a smoother whisky than last year’s phenolic monster, more delicate while still carrying plenty of briny, peaty notes that Lagavulin is so well-known for. The…

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Review: Bulldog Gin

Yes Virginia, they still make gin in England, despite all the Johnny-come-latelys operating out of the States and other countries. In fact, you might say they still make the best gin in England, as time and time again these blokes prove that they can’t be beat when it comes to flavoring neutral spirits with the…

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Review: ResQwater

ResQwater is a clear beverage in a single-serve bottle, meant to be consumed “before, during, or after” a hangover… though the name would certainly imply it’s here to rescue you once you’ve already been struck down. Sweet and a little syrupy, it’s fortified with N-acetyl L-cysteine, fructose, prickly pear juice, vitamins B1, B6, phosphorus, sodium,…

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Review: 2007 Paul Jaboulet Aîné Parallèle 45 Côtes du Rhône

Parallèle 45 is one of the most venerable of French wines, a grenache and syrah blend from 25-year-old vines in the Rhone valley, and it’s usually something you can find for under $10 a bottle. This 2007 rendition is no departure from the house style, a burly wine with a big herbal punch — rosemary…

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