Review: Social Hour Dickel Bourbon Smash

Social Hour is back with another canned cocktail made with high-end ingredients. Like its previous Harvest Whiskey Sour, the new Dickel Bourbon Smash is made with age-statemented George Dickel Tennessee whiskey, this time 8 years old instead of the monster 13 year old last time around. This “slow-sipping” bourbon cocktail is described as “a classic…

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Review: Ezra Brooks 99 Straight Rye and Bourbon Cream (2023)

Lux Row’s Ezra Brooks brand is getting the glow-up treatment, with new and reformulated versions  of two of its entry-level products, Ezra Brooks Straight Rye and Bourbon Cream. Both are changing proof, recipes, bottles, and labels, so let’s dig in and see if these changes are for the better. Ezra Brooks 99 Straight Rye (2023)…

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Review: Maraska Nocelino Chocolate Green Walnut Liqueur

Croatia’s Maraska, best known for its Slivovitz but also the producer of my #1 maraschino liqueur, has dropped a slightly odd new product which takes a distillate of macerated green walnuts and infuses it with natural chocolate. Nocelino Chocolate includes no artificial coloring or flavorings and can be used on its own or in place…

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Review: 2019 Louis M. Martini Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley

Louis M. Martini produces a number of excellent Cabernet Sauvignons from a variety of California regions and at various price points, and every year we’re delighted to see a new vintage of their Napa Valley offering. The 2019 vintage displays much of the character that we enjoy and have come to expect. It pours dark…

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America’s Gin Renaissance: Chatting with Gray Whale Founder Marsh Mokhtari

Aspiring distillers have been known to take big risks to get into the industry. For husband and wife team Marsh & Jan Mokhtari, that moment came in 2016, when they sold their house to finance Golden State Distillery and start a new gin brand. After hundreds of batches, they launched Gray Whale Gin with a…

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Review: Wines of Justin, 2023 Releases

Three new releases from Paso Robles-based Justin — at least two of which are summer-friendly. 2022 Justin Rose Central Coast – Made from mostly syrah. Fresh with strawberry notes and doughy, sweet cream, this is as agreeable a summer rose as you’re likely to find anywhere, though there’s not a whole lot of complexity to…

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Review: Holladay Soft Red Wheat Bottled-In-Bond Bourbon

Ben Holladay Distillery is keen on putting Missouri on the map among bourbon fans. Their Bottled-in-Bond Missouri Straight Bourbon Whiskey launched those efforts via their own distillate, which was then aged and bottled in Weston (population under 2,000). Now, they’re on the market with their second expression: Another bottled-in-bond bourbon, this time with soft red…

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Review: 2021 Sebastiani Pinot Grigio and Rose

I always associate Sebastiani with hearty reds, but here’s proof that you can find summery whites in its lineup too. Digging in to two fresher, paler offerings: 2021 Sebastiani Pinot Grigio Russian River Valley – A classic blend of peach and apple notes, melded with aromatic florals and a bracing minerality. Pinot grigio always brings…

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