Tasting Primitivo di Manduria, 2021 Releases

Primitivo is best known (to those who know it at all) as the Old World version of zinfandel, but while the grapes are extremely similar, they aren’t believed to be identical, at least genetically speaking. Turns out they’re both clones of a different grape called crljenak. The bigger difference between zinfandel and primitivo is where…

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Review: John Walker & Sons Celebratory Blend

John Walker opened his first grocery store in 1820, and would eventually (over 40 years later, in fact) dip his toe into whisky making. This bottling celebrates the 200th anniversary of that grocery store and calls back to Walker’s “Old Highland Whisky,” which was one of the first whiskies exported from Scotland. This Celebratory Blend…

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Cocktailing with Chocolate and Earth Echo Foods’ Cacao Bliss

ADVERTISEMENT Whether you’re baking a sweet treat or mixing up a glass of chocolate milk for a loved one, cocoa powder is a staple that every home cook needs on hand. Standard cocoa powder is made from the seed pods of the cacao plant. It is processed and heated, then ground into a fine powder.…

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Review: Signatory Staoisha Heavily Peated 5 Years Old

Staoisha releases originate from Islay’s Bunnahabhain distillery (write that down), and are an often-utilized pseudonym by the company for independent bottling purposes. A store pick for Chicago-based chain Binny’s, this Signatory release recently made its way down the interstate and into my hands courtesy of fully vaccinated, thoughtful friends passing through on their way to…

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Book Review: Be Your Own Bartender

I love a good infographic or flowchart, and I know I’m not alone. For Carey Jones and John McCarthy (a husband and wife team), getting you to your perfect cocktail is a matter of science, and Be Your Own Bartender is built around the idea that if you answer a few simple questions, you can…

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Review: WM Cadenhead Ardmore 8 Years Old

It feels as if Ardmore is popping up this year with greater frequency on the independent bottling circuit. That is most certainly all conjecture based on nothing at this point, but perhaps Beam Suntory is considering joining the trend of testing younger stock on the market, at first through independent channels, before introducing a similar…

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Review: Rhum J.M VO

We’re filling out our coverage of Martinique’s Rhum J.M line, finally looking at an oddity called Rhum J.M VO. The hitch: It’s aged for 3 years in toasted new American oak barrels rather than used bourbon barrels, which are the norm. The result is a rather sharp and heavy rum, at least on the nose,…

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Review: 2017 Opolo Mountain Zinfandel Paso Robles

This Paso-born wine is more zin than zin, a boldly fruited wine that pours on notes of black currants, ripe raisins, and a skin of milk chocolate that feels like a touch of Hershey’s syrup is slowly dripping into the glass. An iconic example of the wine, the bruisingly high alcohol product (15.9% abv) is…

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