Review: Upshot 2019 White and 2018 Red Wine Blend

New Upshot vintages from Rodney Strong’s line of approachable and affordable wines have arrived: both blends, as usual, one white, one red. Let’s taste. 2019 Upshot White Wine Blend California – A much different blend than 2018: 53% grenache blanc, 16% gewurztraminer, 17% pinot noir, 8% viognier, and 5% sauvignon blanc from all over California.…

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Review: Lucky Envelope Brewing Metal Ox Juicy IPA

Celebrating the Year of the Ox? Crack open Seattle-based Lucky Envelope’s new Metal Ox, which is brewed with Seattle Marketplace Lychee Rose Black Tea and double dry-hopped with Citra, Simcoe Cryo, and Loral hops. The beer is decidedly floral, with strong black tea notes early on in the game. From there, things settle down into…

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Review: Coconut Cartel Rum

The name of this rum brand comes from the fact that founders — brother and sister Dani and Mike Zighelboim — used to smuggle suitcases full of coconuts to hotels in Miami from their home in El Salvador. Eventually they were supplying coconuts to customers as far north as The Hamptons. Finally they went legit…

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Recipe: Tamarind Whiskey Sour

To be sure, this is a very brown drink. That’s because it’s made with tamarind paste, the basis for that sweet, exotic, vaguely spicy stuff you dip your samosas into at the Indian buffet. At Portland’s funky Pok Pok restaurant, they also make a cocktail with it — essentially a whiskey sour plus tamarind, which…

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Review: 2018 Cameron Hughes Lot 744 Zinfandel Dry Creek Valley

One rarely expects great things from zinfandel, but this wine is surprisingly lively and complex, showcasing tart cherry, raspberry, and gentle chocolate notes. It’s what comes later that elevates the wine, with cola and a little bay leaf adding a surprising complexity to what would otherwise feel largely on the level. Vanilla and some baking…

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Review: Lost Lantern Single Cask #3: New York Distilling Rye Finished in Apple Brandy Cask

Lost Lantern got its start by putting together a wild blend of American craft distillery whiskeys, but lately it’s setting its feet further afield, offering single cask releases of non-blended stock from a variety of distilleries. Today we’re looking at the third release in Lost Lantern’s lineup, which got its start as a straight rye…

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Review: 2019 Lucky Rock Pinot Noir County Cuvee

Lucky Rock’s County Cuvee wines are always made from a blend of grapes from Monterey, San Benito, and Sonoma counties — though with this 2019 vintage I don’t have any detail on vineyards and proportions from each region. Regardless, the 2019 bottling isn’t quite the delight that the 2018 County Cuvee pinot was, a bit…

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Review: Hendrick’s Lunar Gin

The latest special edition gin from Hendrick’s is Lunar, launched in January to celebrate the lunar new year — the Year of the Ox — as well as the night, seeing as it is “infused with natural oils of the night.” Instilled with botanicals that flourish below the light of the moon, Hendrick’s Lunar Gin…

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