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.