Review: Stella Artois Cidre

One of the more curious line extensions in recent years comes from Stella Artois, which after decades of making pilsner decided to launch a cider. Cidre was introduced in 2011, and came to the U.S. in 2013. Today it is one of the more widely available ciders — thanks, likely, to its ownership by Anheuser-Busch as…

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Recipes: National Rum Day, 2016

Tomorrow (August 16) marks the annual passing of National Rum Day, a holiday with an impressive longevity in comparison to other spirit-inspired festive occasions. Here are a few cocktails we pre-tested over this past weekend and which received our stamp of approval. Bear in mind: All of these cocktails are best served without listening to Jimmy…

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Review: Barking Irons Applejack

Barking Irons Applejack is a new apple brandy which is distilled (for its owners) at Black Dirt Distillery in upstate New York. The applejack starts with a distillate of jonagold, macoun, and gala apples that is aged in #2 char oak barrels (time unstated but said to be just a few months) at Brooklyn’s Van Brunt Distilling before being…

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Review: D. George Benham’s Sonoma Dry Gin

The ornate and elaborate label on D. George Benham’s gin looks like it could be straight out of old Londontown, but the truth is it hails from Sonoma County, California. What’s a “Sonoma Dry Gin?” As Graton Distilling Co. owner Derek George Benham describes, it’s a cross between old school London Dry and fruitier New…

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Review: VDKA 6100 Vodka

Here’s the bullet points on VDKA 6100. It hails from New Zealand (the 6100 refers to the 6,100 miles from the U.S. (where the vodka was envisioned) to NZ, where it is made). It is triple distilled from a mash made not using potatoes, corn, or wheat but from whey — yes, whey, the by-product…

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Tasting the Beers of Devils Backbone: Five Apostles Saison, Pear Lager, Golden Stag, Black Rock Milk Stout, Catty Wompus, and Trail Angel Weiss

Lexington, Virginia-based Devils Backbone has been cranking out craft brews for years, and earlier this year the operation was acquired by Anheuser-Busch. The company says that the Bud connection won’t stifle its autonomy, and that it will keep releasing daring beers for years to come. That’s starting with the brewery’s new Adventure Pack, which includes Five…

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Tasting Sicilian Grillo: 2014 Tasca and 2013 Firriato

Grillo is a Sicilian grape variety (thought to be a cross between moscato and catarratto) known best as one of the varietals used for the production of Marsala — but it can also be used to produce a lively table wine that echoes pinot grigio, but with a bolder and rounder body. Recently we sampled…

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Exploring Port Wine: Touring Porto and the Douro Valley

Port is unlike any other wine you’ve tasted, and as such it’s only fitting that the place the make it — Porto and the adjacent Douro Valley — is unlike any wine region you’ve visited, either. For those unfamiliar with Port wine, a brief primer is in order. All Port is made here in northern…

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