Review: New Riff Maltster Bourbons and Winter Whiskey

Most bourbon drinkers know that the typical bourbon is made from three grains — corn, rye or wheat, and barley. Of those, only the lattermost is typically malted, a process in which the grain is gently germinated in order to make it easier to ferment while adding a more enjoyable flavor to the finished spirit.…

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Review: 2018 Robert Mondavi Fume Blanc and Chardonnay

Summer drinking usually means keeping it light and simple, and these two wines from Mondavi, both from the 2018 vintage, definitely fit the bill — and at a reasonable price. 2018 Robert Mondavi Fumé Blanc Napa Valley – The wine that put Mondavi on the map is as tart as ever, an acidic, grapefruit-heavy wine…

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Review: Larsen Cognac Aqua Ignis

Larsen’s new Aqua Ignis has a curious claim to fame: It is the first spirit in the world aged in steam-toasted barrels, specifically “triple-steamed brasero toasted barrels.” What does that mean? Instead of only toasting the barrels with open flame, they are immersed in hot water, then toasted in a brasero, causing the water to…

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Review: 2017 Beronia Rioja Crianza

Beronia‘s widely available Rioja Crianza is now going to be even more accessible: screw-capped half-bottles are now on the market. This 2017 (the price below is for a 750ml) is a blend of 94% tempranillo, 5% garnacha, and 1% mazuelo. The wine is approachable but fairly innocuous, offering an attack of cherry, rhubarb, and raspberry,…

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Review: High Camp Firelight 375 Flask

Headed into the great outdoors this summer? Bring your cocktail to go with High Camp’s Firelight Flash — available in a 375ml version (reviewed here) or a 750ml option (which is pictured). The 375 version comes in your choice of five finishes ranging from rose gold to gunmetal; the 750 has three finish options. The…

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A Look Inside Spirited Away, New York City’s First Booze-Free Bottle Shop

In August 2020, corporate marketer and consultant Douglas Watters was sitting on his bed when a name popped into his head: Spirited Away. With no prior beverage experience — but a burgeoning passion for zero-proof drinks — Watters couldn’t shake the notion he’d found the ideal name for an alcohol-free spirits shop. With his wife’s…

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Review: NV Domaine Bousquet Brut Rose

This nonvintage sparkler hails from Domaine Bousquet’s estate vineyards in Tupungato, Alto Gualtallary, Argentina — and is grown at 4000 feet of altitude. A blend of 75% pinot noir and 25% chardonnay, the wine is loaded with lemon and orange notes up top, moving from there into a gently floral character as it develops in…

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Review: Deschutes Brewery Squeezy Rider

Here’s a rarity: A one-off review of a new release from Deschutes, Squeezy Rider, a west coast style IPA that joins the Squeeze-centric lineup of IPAs from the Bend, Oregon-based brewery. Built to be an approachable expression of IPA, it’s made with Cascade, Mosaic, and Galaxy hops — but focuses on Strata, which was developed by…

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