Friday, December 9, 2011

Sugar Pie Red Wine '10

Sugar Pie Red Wine. The first thing I thought of when I saw this label at Trader Joe's was sangria. Wine, sugar and fruit juice (fruit being the main ingredient of many pies.) Now I'm not usually a fan of sweet drinks, but whoever is responsible of the marketing of this wine did a fine job. A pretty pattern on the lable, and the sign advertising that it was only $5.99 sold it to me.

After a few sips I found it doesn't taste like a pre-made sangria, as the name suggested me. It is on the sweeter side of the wine taste spectrum though. This is because of a focus on blackberry jam, but in a rich way. There were things I found that made me think of pie more though. Nutmeg and cinnamon could be tasted with the blackberrys easily. The nutmeg was almost like a cabernet's tannin but a bit more sweet and spiced of course.

It was a good deal at $5.99, but I won't be keeping this in stock on my wine rack at home. It's just not one my taste buds would want that frequently. That's just my preferences though. I'm giving it a C (decent), and will end my analysis with this: It is a great deal and I'm sure many will love the spiced notes.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Sebago Frye's Leap IPA

It's been a little while since my last review, but I think this is partially due to my focus being just on the drinks. The taste is still my prime focus, not the effects. (This applies to positive and possibly negative ones). Like today's beer that'll do the trick quicker, with a ABV of 6.2%. Sebago Brewing's Frye's Leap IPA.

Frye's Leap IPA is a bit of a leap from other IPAs, being more than just intense with regular hops. It pours with a large and foamy head like most micro-brewery IPAs. But once you put your nose to the glass the hops is strong like others, but it's of a very different character. The floral aspect is as strong as the citrusly crisp! The  malt note is a bit more diligent than other micro-brew IPAs as well. The commonly rich body is similar to typical IPA though. (Wouldn't be as good if that wasn't the case).

This is a common choice for me at Sebago's new location or the grocery store. So it didn't take me long to contemplate the score. I'm giving it an A (excellent).

P.S. Even once I'm well past my last sip I enjoy this beer. The hops is still there at the back of my tongue. Mmmmmm...

Friday, November 11, 2011

Arizona Blueberry White Tea

An Arizona canned or bottled tea seems like an odd choice for this blog, doesn't it? Well this episode is Arizona's blueberry white tea, and I chose it because it's a common choice of me when I'm at a gas station looking for a quick drink. It's my choice not because of all the health propaganda but because it's better than most of the other soda and super-sugared drinks in the drink cooler. Here's why:

The hue of this tea under the label is translucent and pink and I think that proves that it's a white tea. But putting it in your mouth will prove this too because the actual taste of the leaf is light and almost over-powered by the fruit happening here. Obviously blueberry is a big part of the tea but I believe peach exists almost as much! It helps to tie the sugar to the palate so it can fit in with the other sweet drinks it's next to.

I'm not a fan of sweet unless applied in moderate proportions and this tea has a bit too much. It's just far better than the other options because it's acceptable in it's use of the sugar. So I'm leaving it with just a C (decent), but I'd also like to note that any plastic bottle cola would be an F (avoid).

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Shipyard Smashed Blueberry

Shipyard's best selling beer is their seasonal Pumpkinhead, and they made a Smashed Pumkinhead as a spin off of it in 2009 (still around). Today I have a spin on their Smashed Pumpkinhead, the Smashed Blueberry. It's only sold in single bottles, but that might be all you need because this brew is 9% alcohol! If that's what you want though, I'd recommend a plastic bottle of liquor. If you want a tasty beer in your glass, read on!

The back of the label reads that this is a "hybrid between a porter and a Scotch ale." I can see why because of the body and what's happening on the palate. Smashed Blueberry starts with the blueberry part paralleled by the sweet malty chocolate in the nose though. Once in the mouth things get pleasantly complicated. The body is more along the lines of a Scottish ale due to the 'round' body. I don't think heavy is a way to put it though. I wouldn't be surprised if your tongue gets confused by this one, but I've sorted out the sweet maltyness, a touch of coffee-like barley which works perfectly with the malt, a blueberry extract on the back of the tongue. The fruit note isn't very sweet, just true to blueberries. It ends dry with all the tastes lingering.

Turns out this has been a big hit for Shipyard and now I can see why. I've noticed this bottle on the shelves for awhile now, but I didn't pick one up because I'm not a fan of fruity beers. I'll be buying this one again though because it's a fine dark beer with strong tastes that work togeather. And it's the best use of non-citrus fruit in beer I've ever tasted. A (excellent)

Friday, June 24, 2011

Polar Banana Seltzer

When I saw this at the grocery store, I had to try it. It's obviously a new release from Polar Beverages because it's not even apparent on their website except for mentioning a simple "Monkey Rum" cocktail. They did choose a good time to bring out a new banana product with summer just started a few day ago. Let me find out if banana seltzer can compliment a hot day.

Sure enough; it smells of bananas, tingles on the tongue, and leaves an aftertaste. It's not foolishly sweet as I had feared, but also not as strong as I'd prefer. It's a seltzer and not a flavored soda so I understand why it's not tasting of banana extract. I'd like it stronger because their mention of a cocktail with this ingredient is inspiring.

When I want seltzer I'll be getting  Polar's lemon or lime unless I want some variety. Those flavors have been the standard with seltzer for awhile for a reason. As for cocktails, I think I'll be trying to make a classic pina-colada cocktail (shaken, not blended) and diluting it with this product like a club soda. It's a C (decent) in my book.

Very creative Polar...

Monday, June 13, 2011

Katahdin Specialty Coffee Baxter Blend (Old)

Edit: Katahdin has since changed their flagship roast, and you can read about it here.

Maine has established a reputation for fine beer form microbreweries, but I think it's time for more recognition for the micro-roasters. I'm ashamed to say the only other Maine roaster I've hit so far is Bard's special Honduras bean, but today is about Katahdin Specialty Coffee's flagship bean.

Baxter State Park is a beautiful place that everyone can enjoy, and I think the Baxter Blend can be enjoyed by everyone as well because it's well rounded and easy to drink. It's easy to drink because there's little acidity to it but it has some of the enjoyable notes of highly acidic and lighter coffee's. "Nutty" in a way. I say it's rounded due to the body and hints of being roasted. Don't take these last notes as it being dark like French or Italian roasts.

If you enjoy the taste of coffee but frequently get heartburn or overwhelmed by robust tastes, give this a try. It's not too crisp or dark and isn't cutting corners on taste like big-box supermarket brands. It's a B (good) in my book.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Gazela Vinho Verde '09

Summer is finally here, because it's hot and humid. The wine I always keep on hand for this season is Casal Garcia because it's a fine value for sparkly, crisp and fruity. Gazela has always been next to it in the wine aisle because it's Portuguese and the same grape, vinho verde. They're also only 50 different in price, so I'll be determining which one to stock as well as translating it's taste to English.

Just like Casal Garcia it pours with a slight fizz so bubbles attach to the inside of the glass while condensation occurs on the outside. More similarities can be noticed in the smell but the first difference appears here too.
Gazela is dryer than Casal Garcia. The palate is citrusy but has many other fruits happening as well, tropical melons. As you work your way down the glass you'll notice slight floral notes as well. "Green" is a good adjective to describe Gazela.

I'm giving Gazela a B (good) due to being a touch more juicy and I prefer the dryness. Casal Garcia was given a B. I think I'll be keeping both on hand though, because they're both a great value with slightly different approaches to Vinho Verde. Pick both up, you won't regret either.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Mr. Brown Iced Coffee

I found this can in amongst canned coconut milk at an Asian grocery store with ramen noodles that would only let me know what flavor they were from the picture on the front. There isn't any oriental letters or symbols on a Mr. Brown can but it's made by King Car Group, an Asian company. Let's see what they think iced coffee should taste like.

Following the instructions on the back i had it in the fridge and shook it well before opening. Even before the brown liquid touched my lips I could tell this wouldn't be finished by me. I smelled chemicals. The ingredients are listed as; water, coffee extract, sugar, and milk powder. There's no real coffee in this. I took the sip despite my research's findings and the best way to describe this is sugar-milk with chemical coffee taste.

The supermarket didn't loose my business because they have roasted coconut milk that makes a phenomenal daiquiri cocktail, but I will never even bother buying a King Car product again because Mr. Brown is an F (avoid). If you need caffeine it's worth it to hold out for a different product.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Rising Tide Ursa Minor

It's a pleasant surprise to notice a new bottle when shopping for a social lubricant. Today's trip to the luxurious single bottle beer aisle didn't just show a new brew, but a new brewer! Rising Tide Brewing started just last year in Portland, ME. There's plenty of brewers in this city already, but if they can meet it's high standards in a pint-glass there's definitely room for them. My first Rising Tide:

Although labeled a stout, I think it's closer to a porter because barley exists but roasted malts are in front of it. The body isn't what most would think of a stout either with a brisk feel and head that doesn't stay as long. I think this is because it's a weizen too (wheat beer). The roasted malts and touch of barley participate well together with the yeast. These are not the only flavors because after your first few sips an aftertaste starts to accumulate in strength. Dark cherries.

For those that're wondering what Ursa Minor is, it's the Little Dipper constellation. For those wondering what Ursa Minor beer is, it doesn't fit in a category like ale, stout, lager, and such. It's a drink you have to explore because much is going on, and I'll be enjoying again because I'm leaving it with an A (excellent). Rising Tide may be a small brewer but they leave a big impression, and a good one.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Steaz Iced Teaz Mint

Seaz Iced Teaz seems to be a fairly new label to me. With a little research on their parent website I found they've only been in the bottled iced tea business for six years. I have to say this is an accomplishment because of all the competition around like; Tazo, Arizona, Sweet Leaf, Lipton, Honest Tea, Sobe, and the many more. In the next paragraph I'll be exploring why Steaz has been able to wiggle its way into the bottled tea beverage industry with the contents within the can.

It opens with a "Sssss!" but quickly fades and you can tell it's not carbonated once in your mouth. You can certainly tell it's made with ceylon tea and not a generic green leaf because it's not just super 'grassy' but has a floral basis. It's fairly sweet with cane sugar and lemon happens alongside this. The third thing my taste buds come to is the mint finally. This is no Moroccan mint tea, it's just a green tea with a hint of spearmint. Regardless of the cane sugar this leaves the taste of green tea on the back of your tongue once swallowed.

I see why this isn't in every gas station cooler. The stereotypical American who loves the taste of carbonated sugar-water (most sodas) won't enjoy this. It's not sweet enough in the sugar they're use to. But for those who actually brew their own hot green tea but need a readily cold one, will like this. I leave it with a strong B (good) and won't hesitate to grab one when dehydrated on a hot summer day.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Caribou Coffee Sumatra

Sumatra is one of my favorite beans (Ethiopian is my top choice), but it's far easier to find and more common. So today's choice is Caribou Coffee's Sumatra. The Sumatra bean is known for being hearty is a not-so-dark way, and 'earthy'. This is not what people would think of a coffee cup who aren't so familiar with Sumatra. Let's see if Caribou lives up to these standards.

As soon as I put my nose up to my mug, I could tell earthy would be a fine adjective for this. To refine this aspect I think it has a hint of raw tobacco (nothing like a cigaret of course). The body and overall taste is round and dark in this way, but there's a surprising note that's greater in the aroma. A fruit. It's very hard to pinpoint because it only exists behind these more robust flavors, and I honestly can't tell what fruit it would be.

I will certainly enjoy the rest of this cup once I'm done with this episode of Luxurious Liquids, but I believe it deserves a C (good). There are other Sumatran beans I prefer over this one. I'd like you to know that Caribou Coffee isn't as expensive as local roasters or big name brands though.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Peak Organic Pomegranate Wheat Ale with Acai

You'd think pomegranate and acai berry would be put in a healthier product like tea!

*I pause for a moment to get your reaction*

If you agreed with that statement, then you need to be informed of the invisible health triangle that takes priority over the nutritional one. This one has to do with your mental health. Products like Peak Organic's Pomegranate Wheat Ale might not compliment your physical health even with acai berries and being organic, but what good is it to be physically healthy if mentally unhappy? Lets find out if such a brew would be a supplement for your triangle.

As the label would suggest, this is not your typical beer. It's not opaque like most other wheat ales, but you can make out a haze. The aroma given off could make some think it's a malt drink due to the sweetness, but it doesn't overpower the actual malt note. Once on your tongue more beer elements kick in. It has the crisp carbonation of a hefeweizen and a well rounded body for such a beer. Wheat was most noticeable on the back of the tongue and a little in your nose once swallowed. Of course pomegranate and acai was tasted as well, right on the center of the palate, but I was quite pleased to not be overwhelmed by it like many fruit beers and it worked with the wheat malts.

This beer is well off of the beaten path for my usual choices, but I'm not regretting a single drop to be put between my lips. Peak Organic's Pomegranate Wheat Ale with Acai is a B (good) to me and I'll be choosing it on warm nights with a salad for dinner. It supplements my conscious nutrition but perhaps a pomegranate tea would be better for me? Wait!... "Enjoy the drink, not the effect", even if it's a nutritional one.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Gaetano D'Aquino Pinot Grigio Delle Venezie '10

Did you ever notice that Easter is the spring version of Thanksgiving? Instead of turkey it's either ham or a rotisserie chicken with my family, and this year Gaetano D'Aquino was a good choice for a house wine with our chicken banquet. I think it would do even better with seafood though. Here's why:

Gaetano D'Aquino holds true to the Italian standards of pinot grigio, being crisp and brisk. The nose is fresh in a way that's less fruity and more 'herbal' than many other whites, but minty isn't the right verb. It has a moderate body and a taste that doesn't tang until you swallow it. Just like the smell the palate is light and acidic in a not so citrus way. This makes it well balanced with a meal and easy to drink while still being sharp and fresh.

I'll be keeping this one in stock due to the price at Trader Joe's (it's imported by D'Aquino Italian Importing Co.) but I won't choose this one when I want to just have a glass of wine without a dinner. I'm leaving it with a C (decent) when on its own, but please consider it when you have a nice dinner planned.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Tree Spirits Maple Demi-Sec

Real maple syrup is a luxurious liquid, but I wouldn't review raw maple syrup (or drink it). It only ever goes in my mouth with pancakes as a vehicle. Tree Spirits has created fine maple products for drinking though! Tonight I have a glass of their Maple Demi-Sec sparkling wine in front of me. I would think making a "semi-sweet" product of this type would be very hard, so let's see where it falls on the sweet-to-dry scale.

It pours like almost any champagne but you'll notice the difference between a grape wine and this one before it even touches your lips. You can smell the maple tree ingredient that isn't sweet like syrup, but it becomes more luscious on the tongue. The carbonation makes the body crisp, but it's actually well rounded in texture. The palate pounces on your tongue after swallowing with the maple accompanied by the semi-sweet. Clover honey is how I'd describe the level of sugar here; sweet but in a natural and compliant way. At the back of the throat you'll get an aftertaste of distinct maple, and it'll be on your tongue with a tingling.

I'm usually not a fan of sweet but, Tree Spirit's Maple Demi-Sec was not too sweet at all. It's a very different product and and I'm giving it an A (excellent) because you can taste maple, not just maple syrup in this drink. Tree Spirits makes a maple liquor as well as apple wines and spirits that're certainly worth trying as well.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Reed's Extra Ginger Brew

Tonight's drink may be brewed, but it's not alcoholic as many of you probably know. Beer that's ginger won't  give you a 'tingle' in the same way as others, but later I'll inform you of a fine way to make it. Let's find out if Reed's EXTRA ginger concoction is intense like maine root or just strong like Capitan Eli's first.

Reed's doesn't inform you of being extra ginger until it tingles your nose right before you sip. Once in your mouth things go up just a few notches. There's the standard fizz with all sodas but a different one from the ginger is there as well. It feels something like spicy but not in a hot way. This zest stays on your tongue for a long aftertaste as well. It's still easy to drink though.

If I don't alter Reed's Extra Ginger Brew it's a B (good) in my book. When I want just a ginger beer I usually go with maine root's opaque ginger brew instead because it's stronger and I like that. Reed's Extra Ginger Brew is what I choose when I want to make a dark 'n' stormy though. This is because it works with Gosling's Black Seal better by not trampling over the rum's added notes. To make a dark 'n' stormy just pour Reed's in a highball glass with ice, add a few shots of rum, and enjoy the added zest.

I am referring to the actual taste when I say zest by the way. "Enjoy the drink, not the effect."

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Stockyard Oatmeal Stout

Those that know me know that I have an obsession with drinks. I keep a range of drinks of every type and variety on hand. Beer has been the hardest to keep a wide selection of though! Usually the same beer is chosen for awhile due to weather and other conditions. With the current weather stouts and ports have been frequent. Tonight's Stockyard Oatmeal Stout can only be bought at Trader Joe's and it's been a common stout in my fridge due to it's value.

This is a strong barley stout, but not in the same way as Guinness Extra Stout. The barley used parallels semi-sweet baking chocolate fantastically. It has a creamy tan head with plenty of lacing that sticks to your upper lip like all good stouts. The barley tastes like coffee as well as chocolate, and they match in a way that I'd call this a mocha stout. Oats are hinted at through the aftertaste as well. The body of this beer is far from a traditional Irish stout though. It's not as heavy in a creamy way and there's a good amount of carbonation in the ale way.

If I were craving a stout fresh from the tap, this wouldn't do. I'd have to make a run to the store to buy an Irish stout with the widgets or even just go to the bar. It does deliver a strong barley palate though and because of this it's a common in my fridge and I've given it a score of B (good).

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Casillero del Diablo Cabernet '09

Casillero del Diablo has a fine marketing scheme with this bottle. A little devil's head on the bottle catches my eye and I'm sure many of others. I'm here to let you know if you should buy the bottle for reasons beyond the diabolic appearance though. First impressions are important, lets see if Casillero del Diablo's 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon can live up to it.

Deep dark red fruit like plums is what came to my nose first, and juicy is a fine adjective for that sense. A smoky-dry exists in the aura as well. On the palate the fruit is the core taste again with plums and fresh un-pitted dark cherries. Earthy coffee is the better way to describe how the smoky-dry came back. The tannins are strong but doesn't get in the way of the flavors.

It falls in line with other Chilean cabernets by being juicy and having a unique robust note, but I've had better. I'm giving it a B (good) and think it would be great with a hearty chili soup. If you're making a selection based around the wine itself though, I'd check out my last Chilean cabernet.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Teavana Earl Grey Creme

Earl grey is familiar with almost anyone who drinks tea. It's a British classic black tea with bergamot oil (a lemon-orange looking fruit), but I always think of the lavender first. Teavana has three earl grey teas, a white one, a regular black one, and tonight's one: Earl Grey Creme (French for cream). Now how could there be cream in amongst the leaves? Let's find out.

Putting my nose over the cup I can easily smell the bergamot. Once sipped in my mouth bergamot happens again but I'm a little surprised. Teavana calls this a creme earl grey because the body of this seems a little heavier somehow! Vanilla is a part of this creme element in a taste but it's not as noticeable as the bergamot. The black tea leaves exist in taste as well, but they're not as strong as breakfast teas.

Teavana has a very different earl grey here, but not just because they added creme. This earl grey is missing lavender! Vanilla is nice here but can't make up for the lack of a floral note in my opinion. I'm giving Teavana's Earl Grey Creme a C (decent) because of these things. If you were never a huge fan of lavender and want something a little more crisp but smooth, give this one a try.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Jim Beam White

Jim Beam is one of the first names that comes to many minds when the word bourbon is stated. Almost every bar has it on hand, even my own personal one due to its price compared to others. I haven't had it straight in a long time though, because it's alway in a cocktail (like the Perfect Manhattan I listed in my Unappreciated Cocktails post). Let's see how it compares on its own.

The first thing I'd like to say is that there is a burn, but it's nothing compared to other liquors of this price. The nose is simple and the roughest part but lets you know that it's aged in oak. On the tongue oak happens again with a vanilla parallel and caramel in a way that isn't very sweet. Even before you swallow your sip the alcohol is apparent, but in an almost citrus crisp sort of way. At the back of your throat Jim Beam's White burns again of course.

The burn may be better in comparison to other liquors below $20, but you get what you pay for. I'm leaving the White label with a C (decent) mostly because of this but also because it's very simple and doesn't have different levels of taste. It will still be a staple of my bar for mixing cocktails though.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Jim's Organic Coffee Blend X aka Witches Brew

X is usually the end. Sometimes it's the destination on a pirate's treasure map, it tells you where to sign at the end of a confusing document, and it's what animators put on the eyes of dead characters. People usually think of coffee as a beginning to the day though. Jim's Organic Coffee calls today's roast the "X" blend and gives it a short definition of the witches brew. Sounds good to me actually! But let's see if it's how you'd like to START your day.

There's a bit going on here. It is dark of course, but nothing like Darth Vader because I've had other coffees that are closer to the dark side. Ethiopian beans must be here because it has their signature acidity. It's not heartburn inducing though, so please read on. The roundly robust body to my mug along with 'earthy' notes tells me Sumatra exists as well. Those two are quite the yin-yang in my opinion. Something else exists here giving Blend X some spirited gusto too. (Another way to describe that is spicy in a complicated coffee sort of way).

Jim has a very different product happening here. It's not as dark as the packaging tries to sell it as, so if you're a slith lord satisfied with french and italian roasts, look else ware. I have a theory that some of the notes work against it tasting as dark as it really is. I'm leaving it with a B (good).

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Young's Double Chocolate Stout

Stout beers and chocolates have a major thing in common, they're both luxurious. Not physically necessary though. *The other part of my mind coughs it's throat* (On some days needed for your mental health though).  I must agree with this. Today had a huge snowstorm in my area and after a long day of cleaning inside and out I'm not going to regret the pint in front of me one bit. But I'm here tonight to let you know if you'd regret making such a purchase.

Young's Double Chocolate Stout follows the standard appearance of stouts; black opaque body with a heavy creamy head that retains. This stout doesn't just follow the lines with your other senses though. It doesn't smell of barley much but it shows much chocolate. This exists on the tongue as well of course in a smooth velvety way that's quite velvety. This isn't too bitter as well with the barley that isn't heavily roasted like many other stouts and the chocolate is created with malts. I think semi-sweet baking chocolate is the type of chocolate used here. The body isn't as creamy as the traditional Guinness Extra Stout or Murphy's I've had before either and there's a little bit of carbonation here too. You're left with a smooth and not-to-dry finish when swallowed.

Young's Double Chocolate Stout isn't your traditional stout, but this isn't a bad thing. It's rather unique even when you compare it to other chocolate stouts with this untypical approach and it leads me to rate it with a B (good). If the title of this beer attracts you at all with the tastes listed, you will not regret it. Now I'm going to enjoy the rest of my pint with a fine book, feel free to pick one up a join me.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Lambrusco Dell'Emilia Bianco Le Grotte

Most instantly think of champagne when european sparkling wine comes up. Tonight I have an Italian one, Lambrusco Dell'Emilia's Bianco. This one caught my eye because it has such a pretty label. I'm sure some will look down on me for such, being something of a drink connoisseur. Lets see if you should get this bottle for reasons beside the pretty label.

This isn't as fizzy as most champagnes, it's just sparkling. There's not much of a nose to it but if it wasn't in a flute with a few bubbles around the glass, I could've mistaken this for white grape juice. Once in my mouth it kept this theme because juicy and fruity are certainly good adjectives for this. It wasn't cranberry but strawberry, kiwi, apricot and, a crisp like green apple. A bit to sweet for me but it's not an el cheapo bottle of something that claims to be a wine but is just spiked juice.

I feel it's important to mention again that this is sweet, and due to my personal preferences Lambrusco Dell'Emilia Bianco Le Grotte is a C (decent) in my book. If you know you like the sweeter spectrum of wines don't be afraid to choose this though. It has enough going on for someone to enjoy the drink instead of the effect.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Unappreciated Cocktails

With all the reviews I do it's impossible to drink it all, so my closet has become a cafe, teahouse, wine cellar and a bar! With all the resources to make cocktails here it's rather fun to make a drink of my own and with these experiences and explorations I'd like to share with you what I've found with the bar in my closet. So tonight's about the cocktails you probably haven't and probably should try!

The Princeton - Just put all ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice and strain into a martini glass. Surprisingly easy to drink so be careful.
-1½ oz gin
-½ oz dry vermouth
-½ oz lime juice
-½ oz simple syrup (sugar water)

Perfect Manhattan - Normally when you order this at a bar they only use sweet vermouth but this version makes a huge difference. Serve just like the princeton, shake and strain.
-2½ oz
-½ oz dry vermouth
-½ oz sweet vermouth
-2 dashes angostura bitters

Paddy Wagon - Just shake a strain in a martini glass again. Irish whiskey is rarely thought of as a cocktail ingredient, but it's a good one.
-2½ oz Irish whiskey
-¾ oz sweet vermouth
-2 dashes angostura bitters

Madras - Here's the first you don't use a shaker or stemware. Put the grenadine, cranberry juice and vodka into the bottom of a highball glass, then try to layer with the orange juice on top. It'll look like a sunset.
-2 oz vodka
-3 oz orange juice
-2 oz cranberry juice
-¾ oz grenadine

Godchild - This one isn't a favorite of mine but I've yet to make this for a girl who doesn't like it. Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a champagne flute.
-1 oz vodka
-1 oz amaretto
-1 oz cream (not any sort of milk)
-a touch of grenadine to make it pink and compliment the sweetness of amaretto.

Please remember, "enjoy the drink, not the effect."

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Golden Star Tea White Jasmine

Perhaps it's a little late to review an alternative to champagne after new year's eve, but tonight I'm enjoying a sparking white tea in a champagne flute. I must say if I didn't read the label or have a sip, I would've assumed this was a champagne though. This makes it a fine choice for prom night, the drink for underage people at weddings, or next new years for those who want to remember the night. What ever the event, here's how Golden Star Tea Co.'s sparkling white jasmine tea compliments it.

The sparkling tea actually has elements of some sweeter champagnes in addition to looking like one. The fizz isn't as much as the wine but more of a crisp. There's sweet happening here as well but does nothing to overpower floral notes that are strongest when smelt. The rounded body of white tea exists here as well and I found it interesting with the carbonation. The actual taste of tea leaf is happening as well underneath the jasmine and cane sugar.

If I had to use one adjective to describe Golden Star's White Jasmine, it would be pleasant. I do find the sugar a touch too much for me but it will make others enjoy it more. A solid B (good) defines this drink on my scale. It's a good one to keep on hand for a pleasant situation.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Trader Joe's Bay Blend

Unlike their beers or wine, Trader Joe's puts their label on the front of their coffee products. It all comes in whole beans but if you'd like to take it home ground, you can use the grinder in the aisle to change that. The lower part of the tin says this is an "ultra dark roast" that is "rich & full flavor". Lets see if they're right.

This is dark, but no robust. It has a heavier body as well like many dark roasts. The adjectives I'd use here are plain and simple though. It has a slightly smoky taste due to the ultra dark roasting but it lacks any acidity. This could be a good thing for some but you may find that you miss it like me. It leaves you with little aftertaste in comparison to other coffees as well.

If you're drinking coffee for the caffeine this could be a good choice due to the lack of acidity because that aspect may be easier on your stomach. I feel for those who drink the drink to enjoy the drink it will be a C (decent). No levels of flavor, just the dark.