Esquire’s Best Cheap Booze

I expect to see lots of recession-minded lifestyle coverage in the upcoming months. Esquire magazine doesn’t disappoint with this roundup of the best cheap spirits — stuff that’s affordable but which you wouldn’t mind actually serving to guests. The winners: Paul Masson Grande Amber VSOP brandy, Brugal Anejo rum, White Horse Scotch, Gordon’s gin, and…

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Review: Zwack Liqueur

Zwack is wack! Sorry, had to do it. It won’t happen again. Zwack is a Hungarian company that produces amaro-like digestif bitters, dark brown liqueurs flavored with dozens of herbs and aged in oak. For years, Zwack produced only a spirit called Unicum, which is said to be so insanely popular in Hungary that they…

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Review: 2004 St. Supery Élu

St. Supery’s most prized wine, Élu, arrives this season in its 2004 incarnation. We got our hands on a bottle — marketed as a perfect Valentine’s Day bottle (trust us, she ain’t worth it!) — to put to the test. A classic Bordeaux blend, the 2004 Élu is 66% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot, 8% Cabernet…

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Review: Noah’s Mill Bourbon

Another entry from the Kentucky Bourbon Distillers consortium, Noah’s Mil is a standout from this bottling group. Produced in small batches, it arrives in the bottle at a downright sweltering 114.3 proof, and sipping without water makes one positively sweat. Add a touch of water to the amazingly dark, toffee-brown bourbon and you get something…

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Review: Clontarf Classic Blend Irish Whiskey (2009)

Named after a famous battle in Ireland (the one in which King Boru, another bit of history that’s become a liquor brand, died), Clontarf produces two Irish whiskeys, a blend and a single malt. Here’s the blend, which is a perfectly acceptable Irish, a light honey and butterscotch spirit that goes down with minimal fuss.…

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Review: Depaz Blue Cane Rhum Agricole

That extra H can only mean one thing: Martinique rum, or rhum, as the locals like to call it. Depaz is arguably the biggest name in rhum agricole, with Depaz Blue Cane a staple even on supermarket shelves. The aroma is quite pungent, unmistakably sugar cane with a bit of cachaca-like funk to it. The…

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Original Recipe: The Hope and Glory

The folks at Yahoo! Shine asked me to come up with an “Obamatini” in honor of Barack Obama’s inauguration next Tuesday. Rather than slop some liquor into a cocktail glass and color it blue, here’s an honest cocktail that will let you celebrate the occasion in style! For an authentic Hope and Glory, all the…

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Review: Jim Beam Distillers Series Bourbon (2008 Edition)

I’m on record as being a fan of Jim Beam as a totally solid, affordable bourbon, so I had to snag a bottle of Jim Beam Distillers Series — a reserve bottling, if you will — when I heard it was being produced. This new, limited-edition bottle features a line-art representation of each of the…

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