Review: Distilleria Varnelli l’Anice Secco Speciale

You know those recipe blogs that always start off with some long-winded anecdote about family traditions or a trip the author took to someplace magical, and all you want to know about is the recipe or how the product rates? I hate those too. Which is why I’m absolutely not going to tell you the…

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Review: Smith & Cross Traditional Jamaican Rum

Smith & Cross, named for two 18th century London rum traders, is very proud of its funk. The label touts it as a badge of honor, proclaiming that it contains only Wedderburn and Plummer pot still distillate, both high ester styles of Jamaican rum that went out of vogue generations ago (although some are starting to…

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Recipe: Van Winkle Old Fashioned

The Old Fashioned was certainly not the first cocktail, but its popularity and versatility over generations has made it perhaps the most classic of classic cocktails. Your devoted Drinkhacker cocktail sleuths have unearthed several variations over the years (Brown Butter and Oaxaca to name just a few). We’ve even shown you (at length) how to…

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Review: Jean-Luc Pasquet L’Organic 07 Cognac

  Jean-Luc Pasquet produces this Cognac expression from ugni blanc grapes, grown in Grande Champagne, taking two vintages of Cognac, each at least 7 years old, and blending them together. The idea is that Pasquet can find a better sense of balance by combining the styles of two vintages. All of it is organic. Let’s…

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Review: 2020 Duck Pond Pinot Noir and Rose

Duck Pond Cellars, owned by Great Oregon Wine Company & Distillery and based in Willamette Valley, recently announced that its 2020 Pinot Noir and Rose were the first recipients of a new wine certification from a third party organization called the Clean Label Project, “which is helping to transform the wine industry by defining what…

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Review: McFarlane’s Reserve Bourbon

  When my brother was tasked with bringing some bourbon for a recent family gathering, the staff at a local franchise of a major retailer suggested McFarlane’s Reserve as an affordable Weller alternative. Just now your mind may have come to a screeching halt as mine did; perhaps due to its rather daring, and to…

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Review: 2019 Planeta Cometa Sicilia Menfi DOC

We last reviewed Planeta’s Cometa bottling back in 2012 (in a tasting with Francesca Planeta herself), when Sicily didn’t even have DOC status. The wine here hasn’t really changed — it’s still 100% fiano — but my impressions of it have evolved. Surprisingly dry, it offers hints of melon, lemongrass, and and a thick layer…

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Review: Vara High Desert Gin

Recently we brought you reviews of Taylor Garrett whiskeys, an accelerated-aging spirit line produced in New Mexico. Vara is a gin made at a sister distillery, and since it’s unaged, there are no tricks up any sleeves with this one. The double-distilled gin includes a bill of botanicals that are fairly straightforward but heavy on…

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