March 27, 2014

Arctic Chill - Ice Ball Maker Molds

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If you're looking for an easy way to make ice balls for all of your favorite drinks we've found a great way - Arctic Chill - Ice Ball Maker Molds. You're drinks will stay cold for longer, but also have less water mixed with your more expensive whiskey and other liquors. 

These 2.5 inch ice spheres are made of quick release, non stick silicone molds. They're also made of High quality BPA Free, FDA approved, nonporous silicone. Easy to clean just pop it in the dishwasher, and you're good to go.

Iceball maker molds review

We received a set of 6 of these ice ball molds to review over the past 4 weeks. We've made countless ice balls with them, and they are very easy to use. Simply put the mold together and fill with water from the top. Put the ice ball maker into the freezer, and after a few hours you've got a nearly perfect ice ball. We love how easy they are to fill up, and they stay put on our freezer shelves with a sturdy bottom.

Using the ice balls with our favorite bourbons over the past weeks has also resulted in lots of tasty bourbon consumption with no watering down of our pour. Awesome stuff!

Iceballarticchill whiskey pour

A special thanks to Arctic Chill for sending us the ice ball maker to review.

Read More in: Bar Accessories | Whiskey

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March 23, 2014

Whisky: The Manual [Book Review]

whisky-manual-dave-broom.jpgWhisky is one of the most popular spirits in the world, and everyone seems to have an opinion on how you should drink it. Even people who've never drunk a drop beyond Jack n Coke have no qualms about telling you how you should enjoy it. The myth is that you can't mix single malts with anything, even water, and if you try people aren't worried about looking at you like you've been kicked in the head by a mule. Even your buddy who's drinking Grey Goose and Red Bull will sneer at you if you want some ice in your Glenmorangie. Does that seem fair?

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February 18, 2014

Flaviar Liquor Tasting Packs - Sample, Sip, and Save

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Flaviar has something unique to offer liquor lovers everywhere - samples of high end liquor that are sure to impress your friends and even yourself. Flaviar is a Community of Spirits Lovers who want to discover new & exciting drinks in the company of their friends, and their members receive 5 Premium Spirits in 1 tasting pack every month.

We were sent the “Spanish Brandy Inquisition”, and a really nice tasting guide with the 5 tasting bottles. The presentation is exceptional, and all of your Liquor Snob friends will surely be impressed with the details of each of the liquors along with the guide on how to taste and test them.

Flaviar photo homeOur home tasting kit from Flaviar. Get yours monthly or just buy the ones you want.

Here’s why Flaviar is a great way to discover new liquor:

  • Discover New & Exciting Flavours Every Month  
  • Tasting for a Fraction of the Bottle Price  
  • Socialize with Friends (Designed for a Party of 3)  
  • Gift-Ready (for a Flavourtastic Surprise)”

Thanks again to Flaviar for sending. Our tasting went really well over the past weekend on Sunday night, with our favorite Brandy being the Osborne Carlos 1 Imperial. There was much discussion and much liquor knowledge gained reading about all the different brandies.

Read More in: Liquor

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February 3, 2014

Avua Cachaca - Small-batch Single estate-sourced Cachacas

AvuaCachaca Prata LineUp

We received two samples recently of an amazing cachaca from a small batch single estate source - Avua Cachaca.  Avuá Cachaça Prata and Avuá Cachaça Amburana offer a glimpse into what we can safely call - excellent cachaca. Cachaca is often misclassified as ‘Brazilian rum’ by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, and if you have a taste of these two cachacas you’ll know why. 

The two cachacas from Avua are created in two different ways resulting in two very different cachacas. They produce one unaged (Prata), one aged in Brazilian wood (Amburana) – that showcase the vibrancy, nuance and elegance of Brazil.                                                                                                                                                 

Distilled by one of Brazil’s only female distillers using a family recipe honed over three generations, Avuá Cachaça begins in the single-estate sugarcane fields of a small, family-owned farm situated in the rolling hills near Rio de Janeiro. The cane, composed of three specifically chosen varietals, is hand-cut, ground with a waterwheel, and fermented for less than 24 hours using airborne wild yeasts, before being distilled in a copper-crafted alembic still at the distillery located in a long, thin valley between the hills of Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais states. 

  • Avuá Cachaça Prata (750ml / 42% ABV / $35.00) – Avuá’s silver cachaça is rested in steel tanks for six months before bottling. The result is a lush, crisp spirit with subtle floral notes perfect for creative variations on spirit-forward cocktails, such as the Negroni or Old Maid, or the famous classic peasant cocktail, the Caipirinha. Slightly bready on the nose with notes of mild lime and citrus, cinnamon and sarsaparilla, it has a clean finish and balanced structure.
  • Avuá Cachaça Amburana (750ml / 40% ABV / $50.00) – Matured for up to two years in casks made from Amburana wood – indigenous only to South America – this wood lends the aged cachaça warm, savory notes on the nose and the palate, ranging from nutmeg and honey to spice and basil. Top bartenders have been inspired to create spirit-forward, stirred cocktails with Amburana – such as those traditionally created with whiskies and aged rums; this aged cachaça is also ideal for sipping, in the vein of a cognac. 

We highly recommend you trying these both out as the flavors are unique and refined. 

More at Avua Cachaca

Read More in: Cachaca

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December 15, 2013

PAMA Bar Stars Series and Holiday Punch!

Welcome to our series of Liquor Snob posts in partnership with PAMA pomegranate liqueur. If you like this one, check out all of our PAMA-related stories.

Take a guess about what our favorite holiday-related thing is. Here's a hint: we love the excuse to see our families, get together with friends, and go to holiday parties. Give up? Our favorite thing about the holidays is that we are often in the presence of many other people, giving us an excuse to whip up large amounts of boozy concoctions in the form of delicious punch. Oh, and the hanging out with all those people is a nice side effect too.

If your only experience with punch is hawaiian punch and ginger ale with a hunk of sherbet floating in the middle, it's time to expand your horizons. Punch can be tart or sweet, still or effervescent, highly-boozy or more session-oriented, all depending on the recipe. The one common denominator with all well-made punches is that they're always delicious and always a crowd pleaser.

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The folks at PAMA know this, and they know their product makes a great addition to just about any punch - it's tart, zingy and with a beautiful crimson color. That's why they kicked off the holidays with a Bar Stars Event with holiday entertaining in mind:

On October 30th, PAMA brought together the famed DeGroff family for an evening of Stress-Free Holiday Entertaining with Punches. There's nothing that symbolizes the holidays more than family, which is why it made perfect sense to have the whole DeGroff family here, renowned bartender Dale, "King Cocktail" himself, his wife Jill, a famed saloon artist, and rising bartending star, son Leo. The father and son duo teamed up behind the bar to celebrate PAMA, family, holiday traditions, and the bartending profession.
The event was a smashing success and the first in a series of Bar Stars events held by PAMA as a way to give back to the bartending community. Check out Dale & Leo's holiday punch recipes below.

ArrowContinue reading: "PAMA Bar Stars Series and Holiday Punch!"

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December 8, 2013

WhistlePig Straight Rye Whiskey - Damn Good

WhistlePig 10yr frame

We recently got our dirty little hooves on some WhistlePig Straight Rye Whiskey courtesy of the WhistlePig themselves and we have to say WOW. This is not your friendly pig's rye this is the really good stuff any pig should hide. 

WhistlePig produces a 100-proof, straight rye whiskey, aged for at least ten years through a unique double-barrel process. We got samples of the 100/100 and the Boss Hog - both are amazing. There's something really special to this rye giving it a smooth yet polished upper set of rich notes and it's just yummy.

And we're not the only ones that think this is an amazing rye whiskey. WhistlePig Straight Rye Whisky has earned 96 points from Wine Enthusiast, their highest rating ever for a rye whiskey, a 'highest recommendation' from Spirits Journal, as well as accolades from The Wall Street Journal, GQ, Forbes, Maxim, Imbibe Magazine, and many others.

And we're just going to have to give it some major props at Liquor Snob. We love it because we've never had a rye that goes head to head with the best bourbons out there and with none of the lower end hangover. Great stuff and get it while you can before everyone is into WhistlePig and all you can do is wish you had drank more.

Read More in: Liquor | Reviews

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December 2, 2013

Imbibe Begins 12 Days of Giveaways

imbibe-12-days-giveaways.jpgDo you want free stuff around the holidays? Of course, we all do! That's why we've just started following Imbibe's 12 Days of Giveaways. They'll be giving away an item per day of their " favorite items of 2013," starting each day at 9 AM PST.

Today's item is a Williams-Sonoma wine glass and decanter set, and you can enter anytime until midnight PST tonight.

Read More in: Lush Lifestyle

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November 24, 2013

Apparently Breakfast Cereal in Cocktails is a Thing Now

mikey_likes_it.JPGCamper English is dropping some cocktail science, as per usual, but today it takes a little bit more of a...childish bent than usual. He tells of bars around the world (over a dozen by his count) utilizing kid's breakfast cereal to make delicious cocktails. In his words, "Some folks are serving them up in bowls with a spoon, while others are infusing cereal into milk or directly into liquor," and as odd as it sounds, some of them sound freakin' delightful. Maybe we'll get ahead of the curve with this breakfasty trend and make some Egg McMuffin cocktails - people seemed to like the McNuggetini cocktail that went around the web a few years ago, right?

Read more at Details [via Alcademics]

Read More in: Cocktail Recipes

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November 17, 2013

PAMA: From Grenadine to Persephone's Elixir

Welcome to our series of Liquor Snob posts in partnership with PAMA pomegranate liqueur. If you like this one, check out all of our PAMA-related stories.
In our opinion, there are two big tragedies related to the pomegranate. The first is what happened to Persephone - if you know your mythology, you know she got trapped in Hades for eating a few measly seeds. The second tragedy is what people usually do with them when they're turning them into grenadine syrup - and by that we mean the sickly sweet sugar syrup you see sitting on many a bar or liquor store shelf. As you can see in the tart-to-sweet scale below - this corn syrup concoction is the standard of sweetness at 100%.

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We've found a couple of interesting homemade grenadine recipes, if you're interested:


  • Jeffrey Morgenthaler offers a simple recipe that calls for pomegranate molasses and very little effort

  • The Kitchn proposes another recipe that calls for lemon juice to tarten things up a bit

  • Serious Eats takes out the lemon, keeps in the pomegranate molasses, and adds a dollop of rosewater just for fun


These recipes all sound pretty great (and pretty simple) but what if you didn't have to do anything but uncap a bottle to add pomegranate zazz to your cocktails? We've been working with PAMA for over a year now, and we can tell you its combination of pomegranate, vodka and a touch of tequila is more than enough to add tartness and color to your cocktail without you having to slave away in the kitchen, even for a minute.

The cocktail world is moving away from food coloring and corn syrup, and we're huge proponents of making our own cocktail ingredients. We know, however, that if you're a home bartender it can be a pain to make a full bottle of something like grenadine only to use a few ounces, then throw the rest away once it expires. That's why we like the fact you can still get natural flavors without going through that kind of Hades (see what we did there?) by using PAMA in your cocktails.

We included a one of our favorite recipes PAMA recipes, Persephone's Elixir, below. This drink is perfect for PAMA and really showcases how the spirit can be a great all-natural addition to your liquor cabinet.

ArrowContinue reading: "PAMA: From Grenadine to Persephone's Elixir"

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November 7, 2013

Ole Smoky Moonshine Arrives for Review

old-smoky-moonshine.jpgImagine our excitement when we came home from the bar today to find a box on our front stoop, because usually such cardboard receptacles only mean we've gotten in another shipment of unexpected booze. It was a little soggy from the rain, and when we got it inside we realized two things - it had been shipped from Tennessee and it hadn't been taped shut. Once we opened the box we understood maybe that wasn't an oversight, because how bootlegger is it to thumb your nose at shipping regulations? Very goddamn bootlegger, if you ask us.

Inside the box were three jars of Ole Smoky flavored Moonshine - Lemon Drop, Strawberry, and Apple Pie. If you're not familiar, Ole Smoky bottle their product - corn liquor - in Mason Jars for that down home feel.

We've watched Justified Season 2 so we're a little skeptical about the Apple Pie, but we'll make sure to be careful - it was in the glass, not the jar. We'll put together a full review of all the flavors, but you can find out more at the Ole Smoky website. All kidding aside, we're especially interested in Lemon Drop and Strawberry because they're currently only available at the distillery, but we'll keep you posted with a full review.

Read More in: Liquor

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November 3, 2013

DripDrop ORS Hydration Powder - for Hangovers!

dripdropbox.jpgWe recently heard about a hydration solution called DripDrop that purports to be scientifically better for you than other hydration option (read: sports drinks, etc.). Of course, when you say "oral rehydration solution" to us, our brain automagically translates it into "potential hangover helper" so we bought a box.

We don't know much about the science - the website says something about "low osmolarity and more sodium" being the marks of "medical grade hydration." All we can tell you is that it tasted lemony without being too sweet and it cut through our post-Halloween hangover like a hot knife through butter. Thanks science!

Available at Amazon and DripDrop.com.

Read More in: Hangovers

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October 26, 2013

Under the Table: A Dorothy Parker Cocktail Guide

under-the-table-dorothy-parker-cocktail.jpgThis past week we were sent a copy of Under The Table: A Dorothy Parker Cocktail Guide for review, and we've finally had some time to take a look through it (and whip up a few of the cocktails inside the pages). The book was written by Kevin C. Fitzpatrick, the "founder and president of the Dorothy Parker Society," and the author of another book about Parker. The foreword is by Allen Katz, founder of the distilling company that makes Dorothy Parker American Gin (we'd link but their website appears to be down). We can only assume these two gentlemen know a lot more about old Dot than we ever will, so we probably don't need to comment on that part of the book.

What really interested us was the the glimpse into the cocktail culture of Dorothy's time period. The book contains 75 recipes from the Jazz Age/Speakeasy era, and offers some fascinating insight on everything from Manhattans to bathtub gin. There are also modern takes on some of the cocktails of that age from modern mixers as well. Basically, if you want to have a flapper party, or are just interested in that era of the cocktail, this is the book for you.

Under the Table: A Dorothy Parker Cocktail Guide

From the Publisher:

A bar book for Parker enthusiasts and literary tipplers alike, Under the Table offers a unique take on Parker, the infamous Algonquin Round Table, and the Jazz Age by profiling and celebrating the drinks that she, her bitter friends, and sweetest enemies enjoyed and discussed. Each entry of this delicious compendium offers a fascinating and lively background of a period cocktail, its ingredients, and the characters associated with it.

Read More in: Booze Books

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October 15, 2013

PAMA Asks: Are You Indispensable?

Welcome to our series of Liquor Snob posts in partnership with PAMA pomegranate liqueur. If you like this one, check out all of our PAMA-related stories.
pamas-indispensable-cocktail-competition.jpg
There's not much time left to enter the PAMA "Are You Indispensable?" contest - a "cocktail competition for professional bartenders and mixologists, age 21+." The competition has been running since August, and you only have until October 31 to get your entry on the books.

The competition is meant to highlight PAMA's positioning as an "indispensable modifier" for cocktails of all kinds, no matter the base spirit, the occasion or the season. In PAMA's own words:

Bartenders and mixologists are invited to create a cocktail recipe using PAMA. Six finalists will be chosen to compete in New York City for a chance to win the $5,000 grand prize, second place prize of $2,000, or third place prize of $1,000. To enter your cocktail creation, visit www.shakestir.com/PAMA

Five thousand dollars is a lot of scratch to a lot of bartenders, so what would we be thinking about as we developed a new PAMA cocktail (if we were eligible)? We'll tell you below!

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October 10, 2013

Aviation Gin Arrives for Review

aviation-gin-bottle.jpgLast week we mentioned a cocktail recipe called Beer's Knees, which features hefeweizen and Aviation gin. Since then, the fine folks at Aviation have sent us along a bottle for review. You've probably heard of Aviation, but if you haven't it's batch-distilled gin from Portland, OR and it's probably a bit different from the gins you've had in the past.

This American gin still features juniper, but not as prominently as you might expect if your only experience is London Dry. Other botanicals include orange peel, cardamom, anise, lavender and sarsparilla, blended to make for a different drinking experience than you might expect. We plan to mix some cocktails and do a full review sometime soon, and if you're looking to pick some up it clocks in at 84 proof (42% ABV) and retails in the neighborhood of $30 for 750ML.

"Sip from the Bottle" Aviation Gin Review: The nose is more floral and citrusy without packing an over the top juniper punch. Our first sip was warming and mellow, with subtle hints of anise and a nice clean finish. A must-try for anyone looking to get into gin or expand their horizons.

Read More in: Gin

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September 30, 2013

Beer's Knees Hefeweizen Cocktail Recipe

beers_knees_cocktail.jpgBeer cocktails are all the rage right now, and we've found they're a great way to convince "beer only" drinkers that they might be cocktail people after all. We like this combination of Aviation gin, lemon, honey and Hefeweizen - we imagine it's floral, tart and sweet without being overwhelming. The Aviation folks say it pairs well with Buffalo chicken and football, so who are we to question that?

Beer's Knees Cocktail
Ingredients:
1½ oz. Aviation American Gin
1 oz. Lemon juice
1 oz. Honey syrup*
3 oz. Widmer Hefeweizen

Directions:
In a pint glass, add spirits and mixers (through beer). Fill with ice. Shake vigorously. Strain into a collins glass filled with or without ice. Garnish with a lemon wedge.

*To make honey syrup: Combine equal portions of honey and water in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil until all the sugar has dissolved. Let cool.

Read More in: Cocktail Recipes

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