Review: Balcones “1” Texas Single Malt Whisky Classic Edition (2015)

Distiller Chip Tate may now be gone from Balcones, but they’re still turning out whiskey (er, “whisky,” here) at the Waco-based operation. Balcones 1 — one of the distillery’s best-known spirits and a product that’s widely considered the best American-made single malt — is still being produced, and we got our hands on a post-Tate…

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Recipes: 2015 Spring Cocktails

The nation is thawing itself out from another weird and wild winter. Flowers are starting to bloom out, the sun is staying up a bit longer, the Kentucky Derby is right around the corner, and we’re worried about whether or not California is going to have enough water to make it through the summer. With…

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Review: Square One Bergamot Vodka

The bergamot is a type of sour orange, grown mainly in Italy, that often shows up in tea preparations (particularly Earl Grey) — and which is now arriving on the marquee of this new flavored vodka from Square One. Bergamot is really just the beginning, though. Based on the company’s outline of the infusion bill, there’s…

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Review: DeLeon Tequila Reposado

Hey, remember P. Diddy’s blanco tequila, DeLeon? Well, now we’ve got the next step — DeLeon Reposado. This expression spends eight months in ex-bourbon and former French oak wine casks before bottling. It’s a bit darker than most reposados due to the somewhat longer aging cycle, and the nose offers a light smoky character that you…

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Review: Hine Domaines Hine Bonneuil 2005 Cognac

Here’s a new, limited-edition Cognac from Hine (it rhymes with “wine,” by the way). I’ll allow Hine to explain how it came to be: Bonneuil 2005 will be the first expression in a new collection of single grand cru, single harvest cognacs, originating exclusively from Hine’s own 297 acre estate, Domaines Hine.  Only 18 casks…

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Review: Woodchuck Cheeky Cherry and Gumption Hard Cider

It’s time for two new ciders from Vermont-based Woodchuck. Here they are. Woodchuck Cheeky Cherry Hard Cider – Fresh apple melds with tart, sour cherry notes in this surprisingly balanced cider, which offers nothing unexpected aside from those two simple notes — apple to start, cherry to finish — but which drinks more like a…

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Tastes from the California Artisan Cheese Festival 2015

Cheese and wine (and beer) go hand in hand (in hand), so putting these together on a balmy March evening in Petaluma, California, made perfect sense to me. Recently I attended the California Artisan Cheese Festival’s “Chef vs. Chef – The Best Bite” competition, where about 20 restaurants vied to woo the public each offering…

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Review: Greenore Single Grain Irish Whiskey 8 Years Old

This single-grain whiskey is distilled at Cooley from a mash of 95% corn and 5% malted barley. Sound familiar? It’s the same whiskey as Teeling Single Grain, only Teeling is aged in wine barrels, while Greenore spends its eight years in bourbon casks. The difference is striking. The richness and sweet vanilla of Teeling is…

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