Review: Lotus Vodka

Lotus is a new vodka that hails from Italy. Rather, it’s a slight rebranding of an older vodka colloquially known as White Lotus Vodka, its bottle slightly revised to add a pop of color but otherwise keeping things clean. In the company’s own words, “Lotus Vodka is made from select European corn and is triple…

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Review: Stone Enjoy By 07.04.14 IPA

As always, Stone’s latest ultra-fresh bottling has less than a month to go before you can no longer “enjoy” it (35 days after bottling)… ostensibly, anyway. In keeping with the past iterations of this long-running series, this beer is bursting with liquid pine character. But 07.04.14 is balanced just a touch by some hints of…

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Review: Cune Rioja 2010 Crianza and 2013 Monopole

Cune, pronounced coo-nay, is a major producer of a range of Rioja wines. Alternately known as Compañia Vinicola del Norte de España (CVNE), Spain’s Cune dates back to 1879. Thoughts on two of its new releases follow. 2010 Cune Rioja Crianza – 80% Tempranillo, 10% Garnacha Tinta and 10% Mazuelo. What a delightful little wine. Simple but full…

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Drinkhacker Reads – 06.09.2014 – Frozen Spirits

Smirnoff has announced the arrival of its newest travel-only expression. Smirnoff White will come in at about $35 for 1 liter and will feature Smirnoff’s new freeze filtering process, where the vodka is chilled below freezing point and then charcoal filtered. No exacting word on its release, but no doubt we’ll be seeing it at…

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Tasting the Wines of Hourglass Vineyard, 2014 Releases

I recently had the opportunity to attend a live event with Napa-based Hourglass Vineyard’s owner Jeff Smith and its new winemaker Tony Biagi. Before tasting through four of the winery’s current releases, the duo discussed the changes involved with switching winemakers, including their new approach to winemaking and their return to higher-acidity, more elegant winemaking as they…

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Review: Phraya Deep Matured Gold Rum

“Luxury” rum from Thailand. If the gold-clad bottle doesn’t tip you off, the emphasis is squarely on “luxury.” The name phraya means “high ranking” in Thai, and the rum is aged at least seven years before bottling. As with Tanduay, another Asian rum, it’s an exotic spirit. The nose has a cachaca-like intensity, filled with dark…

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Review: Starr Hill Whiter Shade of Pale Ale, Soul Shine (2014), and Little Red Roostarr (2014)

Three new brews from Starr Hill, arriving just in time for summer barbecues. Thoughts follow. Starr Hill Whiter Shade of Pale Ale White IPA – A hybrid of Belgian wheat beer and India Pale Ale, a bit like one of my current favorite brews, Lagunitas Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’. Made with wheat and two-row malt along…

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Review: 2 Wines from the International Wine of the Month Club

Wine of the Month Clubs are legion, but if you want to get started with one that offers a pretty broad range of unusual (yet well curated) wines, perhaps you could do worse than one of the originals, the International Wine of the Month Club. The focus here is on imported wines, with selections coming…

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