Review: Sons of Liberty Hop Flavored Whiskey

Remember last year’s Pumpkin Spice Flavored Whiskey from Rhode Island’s Sons of Liberty? Well, here’s another seasonal, the more straightforward Hop Flavored Whiskey. Here’s how it’s produced: This whiskey started its life as an IPA. After retaining the IPA flavors through distillation we aged the whiskey in American oak barrels. Once the aging process was…

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Review: Blanton’s Single Barrel Select Private Selection from Quality Liquor Store

Four Roses and Jack Daniel’s aren’t the only single barrel private selection bottlings out there. Check out this bad boy from Quality Liquor Store, which is based in San Diego but which has a nice online selection of spirits. Today we’re looking at QLS’s private bottling of Buffalo Trace’s highly regarded Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon.…

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Review: Wines of Balletto, 2015 Releases

Balletto is primarily a grape grower — 90% of the company’s harvest is sold to other vintners — but it also vinifies its own wines, including a wide range of NorCal classic styles. Recently we tried four modestly priced bottlings. Thoughts follow. 2014 Balletto Rose of Pinot Noir Russian River Valley – Fresh, with light strawberries…

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Review: Wicked Spirits Wicked 87 American Light Whiskey, Wicked 84 1/2 Whiskey, and Wicked Lightning Moonshine

Oh, how I’ve procrastinated on these reviews, a collection of light whiskeys and moonshines bottled by a Kansas company called Wicked Spirits, aka Wicked Tango. With their mascot, Dirty Darcy (ahem), Wicked wants to rule the college shot market with this collection of minimally aged spirits made from 100% corn. Before I lose my nerve, let’s…

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Book Review: The Mason Jar Cocktail Companion

Am I the only one who doesn’t like drinking out of a mason jar? Yeah, it looks old-timey and all, but the fat lip and groove for the lid always seems to make things sloppy. That said, for the kinds of cocktails in The Mason Jar Cocktail Companion, by Shane Carley, this kind of delivery mechanism should…

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Review: Tippleman’s Not Quite Simple Syrups

Our friends at Bittermilk cocktail mixers have recently expanded to the world of syrups. Bottled under a new name, Tippleman’s, these are all sweet, non-alcoholic mixers designed to sub in for the “sweet” component in your drink. We tried them all on their own and in a cocktail. Each comes in 500ml bottles. Here’s what we…

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Review: 2013 Santa Cristina Umbria Bianco IGT

Cheap Italian white doesn’t get much better than this, a crisp blend of grechetto and procanico (plus unnamed others) from the Umbria region. Very light peaches, tropical fruits, and a dusting of coconut form the core of the wine. The finish showcases some banana notes and a touch of vanilla cookie. Nothing fancy here, but…

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Review: The Exceptional Malt – Blended Malt Scotch Whisky

The Exceptional Blended Malt is a line extension of The Exceptional Grain Whisky, which came out earlier this year. The Exceptional Malt is a blend of single malts, with no grain whisky added, including: a 16-year-old Ben Nevis, a first-fill sherry butt of Glenburgie, a vatted barrel of Balvenie, Kininvie, & Glenfiddich, a 13-year-old Speyside, a…

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