Tasting Report: Alsace Wine + American Cheese Event, October 2008

Yesterday I consumed in two hours more Alsatian wines than I’d had in my entire life up to that point. You’re probably a lot like me: Aside from the occasional bottle of Hugel or Trimbach, you rarely, if ever, encounter wine from the region. Situated in the mountains between France and Germany, Alsace is known…

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Review: Buffalo Trace Antique Collection 2008 Edition

Each year the distilling masters at Buffalo Trace release limited-release whiskeys that connoisseurs will want to seek out. This year’s five whiskeys, rarities that may not see store shelves come 2009, are all worth exploring in depth. Some notes on each of the five (all officially 2008 releases) follow. (They are pictured in the order…

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Review: Drank “Anti-Energy” Drink

Leave it to folks in my home town of Houston to buck the trend and introduce the opposite of what everyone else is doing: Drank’s tagline is “slow your roll” and it’s an anti-energy drink. Instead of caffeine, guarana, and taurine, it’s loaded with Valerian Root (10mg), Rose Hips (10mg), and melatonin (1mg), all designed…

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Review: Oval Vodka

It takes guts to name your vodka after a shape. This 84-proof spirit hails from Austria, where it is distilled from wheat using a patented process that makes it, per the company, “the only structured vodka worldwide.” My understanding of this “structuring” system is limited, but Oval says it’s an entirely new way of making…

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Review: Cherry Heering (2008)

Cherry Heering has always been one of cocktaildom’s most puzzling spirits. Bartending books regularly call it either Peter Heering or Cherry Heering, sometimes in the same tome, leading novices to wonder if there is more than one kind of Heering out there. To compound matters further, the bottle itself just reads “Heering.” Beneath that you’ll…

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Review: 2006 Boho Vineyards Chardonnay

Wine in a box doesn’t have the most savory reputation, and for good reason: Most of it is awful plonk. Boho Vineyards is a welcome change to that equation, offering a three-liter box of not-at-all-bad Chardonnay that you can stow in your refrigerator so it’s always at the ready. The sell: three liters equals four…

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Review: Mini Thin Rush Energy Shots

I happened into a Phoenix gas station earlier this week and was stunned to see how many “energy” shots were on sale at the register. Over 20 different varieties and hundreds of little two-ounce vials. It’s become one of the biggest trends in nonalcoholic drinking: High caffeine, very small portions. Just suck down the shot…

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Angels: DENIED

A fascinating piece in the latest Malt Advocate (Q4 2008, page 18) still has me reeling and thunderstruck. It concerns efforts to thwart evaporation of whiskey, a natural part of the aging process. Evaporation is a huge expense for distillers: Conventional wisdom holds that 2 percent of a cask vanishes each year as it evaporates.…

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