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.