Review: Jose Cuervo Reserva de la Familia Tequila 2016 Edition

Jose Cuervo’s top-end bottling, Reserva de la Familia, is out for 2016. This year’s box design was produced by Jorge Mèndez Blake, a Guadalajara native, who is “famous for merging different historical and geographical elements as he promotes Mexican art.” This year’s expression immediately feels a bit spicier than the bottlings of the past, though not enough…

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Review: Redd’s Blueberry Ale

The latest in Redd’s flavored beer lineup is this “limited pick release,” Blueberry Ale. It’s a surprisingly refreshing concoction, a little candylike but far from offensive, with mild (but clear) blueberry juice masking anything by way of the beer base beneath. The finish is a bit green and a touch bitter, but this works with…

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Book Review: ReMixology: Classic Cocktails, Reconsidered and Reinvented

The tagline for ReMixology, by Michael Turback and Julia Hastings-Black, is a bit of a misnomer. This is a recipe book that doesn’t reinvent classic cocktails so much as it uses them as inspiration for updated drinks. The standards are all presented as exactly that — the margarita, Manhattan, and other classics are all described with…

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Highlights from the 2016 California Beer Festival – Marin

Finally I was in town to visit the Marin stopover of the roving California Beer Festival, which I last attended in 2013. This year saw plenty of worthwhile brews on tap for the hop-loving supplicants, as well as an ample collection of ciders, sours, and even a refreshing kombucha or two. With live music and…

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Review: Frey Ranch Vodka and Gin

Nevada-based Frey Ranch produces its spirits with an intense estate focus — just about everything that goes into the products is produced on the Frey Ranch estate. As the company likes to say, “When you purchase a bottle at our distillery, it is the first time any of these quality ingredients have ever left Frey…

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Review: 2012 Les Cadrans de Lassegue Saint-Emilion Grand Cru

“Affordable Bordeaux” is always a loaded term, and this release from Lassegue’s second label shows why. A very simplistic wine, it exudes a heavily earthy and vegetal character, with notes of truffle, tobacco, and green beans. The body is surprisingly thin, while the finish is thick with a canned vegetable aftertaste.  It has a few…

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Review: 2013 Newton Unfiltered Chardonnay Napa Valley

A big (huge!) wine from Newton, this wine showcases some bold flavors not typically associated with chardonnay, including apricot, toasted marshmallow, and figs. In time, a pear/apple core emerges, punched up by tons of vanilla and a moderate to heavy lumberyard influence. Pair with something that can stand up to it. B+ / $60 / newtonvineyard.com…

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Review: Havana Club Anejo Classico Puerto Rican Rum (Bacardi)

Havana Club is one of Cuba’s most noteworthy and famous rums. So how exactly does this bottle come from Puerto Rico? Allow me to explain the best I can… Like many things today, Havana Club isn’t a rum per se but a brand. The vast majority of the world knows Havana Club as a rum brand…

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