Rockin' good bourbon

Tasting Notes: Rock Hill Farms Bourbon

In the single barrel bourbon space, the Buffalo Trace Distillery is at the top of our list for their variety of well-made, accessible and just generally great bourbons. Their Blanton’s Bourbon gets most of the shelf space — and for good reason, it’s delicious — but our current single barrel favorites in the Buffalo Trace...

Style Pick: Nike Rosche Run

Whether you’re a seasoned runner or just looking for some new casual kicks for the summer, the Nike Rosche Run has you covered. They’re lightweight and breathable for logging those warm weather miles, but cushioned and protective to keep you straight and sturdy — equally important for pounding the pavement or kicking back a few...

Brooklyn Born

Tasting Notes: Greenhook Ginsmiths American Dry Gin

We’re suckers for good gin, so when one pops up in our backyard, we uncap some vermouth and chill our martini glasses. Greenhook Ginsmiths American Dry Gin ($30) is a new product from the Greenhook Ginsmiths Distillery in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Led by ginsmith Steven DeAngelo, the distillery utilizes a vacuum method that lowers the atmospheric...

Whiskey for the common connoisseur

Tasting Notes: Elmer T. Lee Bourbon

In addition to its flagship offering, the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, KY produces some of our favorite bourbons, including Eagle Rare, Rock Hill Farms and Elmer T. Lee ($28). The latter is a small batch, single barrel bourbon that’s named for the former Master Distiller at Buffalo Trace. Mr. Lee created this bourbon with...

Because 12 ounces isn’t enough

Tasting Notes: Samuel Adams Single Batch Series

Samuel Adams is best known for its Boston Lager, but with a slew of other great beers – the Boston Ale and Black Lager come to mind – the brand has transitioned from craft brew darling to international powerhouse. That said, they keep the craft and innovation alive with releases like the Single Batch Series....

Measure twice, write once

Cleo Skribent Messograf Caliper Pen

Although we’re Web guys at heart, there’s something to be said for a quality pen. And when that pen is crafted from chromium plated brass and includes a caliper ruler, standard ruler, thread scale and tire tread gauge, all the better. The German-made Cleo Skribent Messograf Caliper Pen ($28) combines form and function for a...

Drink American

Tasting Notes: North Shore Distiller’s Gin No. 6

Europe makes some seriously good gin, but with so many great gins produced stateside these days, why venture outside the cozy confines of America? Hailing from Lake Bluff, Illinois, North Shore Distillery makes a range of products, including a vodka and absinthe. But it’s the Distiller’s Gin No. 6 ($32) that’s really gotten our attention....

Style Pick: Acne Everest Shoulder Bag

There are times when your casual gym duffel bag just won’t do. Weekend getaways and overnight soirees come to mind. Enter the Acne Everest, a stylish and functional shoulder bag that’s part of Acne’s Spring/Summer 2012 collection. The canvas bag is fitted with sturdy leather straps to ensure a solid handle on your belongings, and...

The Inverted Bike Shop

Brooklyn’s 718 Cyclery traces its roots to a backyard shed. Several years ago, founder Joe Nocella, a reformed bicycle messenger and current architect, combated the indignity of a stolen bike by building a new one himself. He liked the hands-on approach so much that he built more, eventually building bikes for friends and neighbors and,...

Your Homebrewing Handbook

The Illustrated Guide to Brewing Beer

While we appreciate the growing craft beer movement and the art of a perfectly poured pint, we can’t ignore our do-it-yourself instincts. But before we turn the guest room into a rogue brewery, we’ll take some advice from avid home brewer, Matthew Schaefer. His new book, The Illustrated Guide to Brewing Beer ($15), is the...

Happy anniversary to the original small batch bourbon

Tasting Notes: Knob Creek Rye Whiskey

It’s been 20 years since Knob Creek shipped its first batch of bourbon. Back in 1992, terms like “small batch bourbon” and “super-premium” didn’t exist. Knob Creek was instrumental in creating this category, which has since been embraced by numerous brands and millions of whiskey drinkers. And now, after 20 years of success and last...

Your favorite Irish whiskey, now stronger

Tasting Notes: Redbreast 12 Cask Strength Irish Whiskey

Redbreast, makers of our favorite pure pot still Irish whiskey, recently launched Redbreast 12 Cask Strength ($65). The new whiskey begins its life as regular Redbreast 12-Year, but instead of being filtered and diluted with water to bring down the proof, the Cask Strength version goes straight into the bottle at a potent 57.7% alcohol...

Hardside Strong Side

K2 Hardside Skis

If you’re ready to move beyond the rental and want a pair of skis to call your own, the new K2 Hardside Skis ($700) should do the trick — they certainly have for us this (short) season. Their versatility will keep you carving through ice on the crusty days and shredding powder on snowy days,...

Guatemala’s finest export

Tasting Notes: Zacapa XO Rum

While most drinkers look to the islands for their rum fix, good things are coming out of Guatemala, like Ron Zacapa XO ($50), a delicious blend of rums aged six to 25 years old. Most rums are distilled from molasses, but Zacapa is produced from first pressed sugar cane juice at its Guatemalan distillery. Once...

Lighter than feathers

Design Spotlight: Nike Flyknit Technology

In big news for minimalist footwear fans, Nike unveiled its new Flyknit technology at yesterday’s Nike Innovation Summit. Nike’s Flyknit shoes are precisely engineered to be formfitting, featherweight and void of any excess material. The single-layer upper support and tongue weigh an absurdly light 1.2 ounces, and the whole shoe clocks in at a mere...

Two barrels drink better than one

Tasting Notes: Woodford Reserve Double Oaked

Woodford Reserve has put out a handful of interesting whiskeys of late, including the New and Aged Cask Ryes and, coming this March, its Double Oaked Bourbon ($50). While the former spirits are part of Woodford’s Master’s Collection and therefore available for a limited time, Double Oaked is an extension of the brand’s permanent lineup....

Tasting Notes: How to Cocktail by Simon Ford

Reading cocktail books and bartender manuals usually does the trick when mixing drinks at home. But nothing beats a step-by-step video from cocktail expert Simon Ford. Simon recently partnered with Liquor.com to create a series of how-to cocktail videos. Click below for a walk-through guide to crafting three time-honored drinks — the classic Martini, James...

An accessory for your accessories

JanSport Pleasanton Pack

One of the drawbacks to being a modern, on-the-go guy is carrying around all that gear and gadgets. Streamlining your accessories into one portable pack is the JanSport Pleasanton ($250), a waxed cotton twill and leather bag with dedicated compartments for all your stuff. Stow your laptop in the 15-inch quick-access sleeve and your iPad...

Get it before it’s gone

Tasting Notes: Newcastle Founders’ Ale

Always advocates for more beer, we’re happy to welcome Newcastle Founders’ Ale to the U.S. market. The new brew – which pays homage to Newcastle’s five founding breweries – is part of Newcastle’s Limited Edition series, which also includes Summer Ale, Werewolf and Winter IPA. Newcastle Founders’ Ale ($9) is a full-bodied, easy-drinking beer with...

Craft Cocktails in Detroit

The craft cocktail movement has infiltrated America, with quality bars entrenched on both coasts and studding everywhere between. One of the latest to pop up is Detroit’s Sugar House, which opened in October and slings drinks comprised of artisanal spirits, fresh juices, fruits and herbs and house-made syrups. Ice wise, Sugar House bartenders hand-chip 300...

Receptacles for do-it-yourself aging

Templeton Rye Whiskey Barrels

Used whiskey barrels are a hot commodity in the spirits market. Reposado and Anejo tequilas and many Scotches age their products in used whiskey barrels, which impart softer flavors and aromas than new casks. But even if you’re not buying barrels for a full-scale spirits operation, don’t let that stop you from procuring one for...

Whiskey fit for a president

Tasting Notes: Jefferson’s Bourbon

Maybe it’s just our nature to root for the little guy, but man, we sure love small batch bourbons. The industry giants put out some fine products, but it’s the smaller players that take up most of the space on our home bars. Like Jefferson’s ($30), a very small batch, hand-crafted and Kentucky-bred bourbon. Jefferson’s...

The second coming

Tasting Notes: The Glenrothes 1985 Vintage Scotch Whisky

The Glenrothes Whisky’s vintage release program brings some very interesting drams to market, including the 1985 Vintage ($110). This whisky was laid down in barrels in 1985 and first bottled in 1997 as a 12-year old expression. It was a hit, so the company decided to age those original whisky stocks even longer and bottle...

A silver tequila worth sipping

Tasting Notes: El Tesoro Platinum Tequila

El Tesoro Tequila has been produced for more than 70 years, and the family behind the label has been making our favorite Mexican import for more than 200 years. So it’s safe to assume they know a thing or two about tequila. As the third generation master distiller of El Tesoro, Carlos Camarena is charged...

Our new favorite Russian export

Tasting Notes: Russian Standard Gold Vodka

The latest vodka to enter the US, Russian Standard Gold Vodka ($45) is made from 100 percent Russian ingredients, including winter wheat from the Russian Black Steppes, soft glacial water from Lake Ladoga in Northern Russia and Siberian Ginseng extracts. The spirit has a luxuriously rich mouthfeel and smooth taste. Hinting at herbs, caramel and...

Give the gift of drink

Gift Guide 2011 | Tasting Notes: 10 Picks for the Drinker

The holidays are quickly approaching, which means you probably haven’t started shopping yet. No worries. At least one of your friends is likely a heavy drinker libations connoisseur, so we rounded up some of our favorite products sure to satisfy even the most discerning drinker. Check below for gift ideas, and remember –- it’s best...

Getting in the holiday spirits

Tasting Notes | ‘Tis the Season: Three Holiday Cocktail Recipes

The holidays, scenario one: a time for feasting, enjoying the company of family and friends and exchanging gifts. That’s reason enough to clink glasses. The holidays, scenario two: a time for stress, empty wallets and judgmental in-laws. That’s even more reason to knock back a few drinks. Whichever circumstances best describe your impending holidays, we’ve...

Canned craftsmanship

Tasting Notes: Sixpoint Bengali Tiger IPA

These days, craft beer is all the rage. And gaining more momentum seemingly every day is the canned beer revolution, in which many craft beers are eschewing bottles for cans. One of our favorite in-can libations is Bengali Tiger IPA from Brooklyn-based Sixpoint Craft Ales. Unlike some overly-hopped, bitingly bitter India Pale Ales, Sixpoint’s Bengali...

It's not your grandfather's gin

Tasting Notes: No. 209 Gin

One of the most exciting product categories of recent years is New American gin. Eschewing the juniper-driven backbones of London Dry style gins like Seagrams and Beefeater, New American gins encompass a broader range of botanicals, which leads to unique combinations of flavors and aromas. One such gin is No. 209 ($35), distilled at San...

A whisky-soaked punch in the mouth

Tasting Notes: Compass Box Peat Monster

Compass Box Whisky Company is a specialty Scotch whisky maker that, since forming in 2000, has made a big splash in the boutique whisky market. American John Glaser is the man behind the label, and his experimentation with unconventional malt combinations and oak maturation have resulted in some very interesting drams. From its core range,...

Jamaica, by way of food, culture and of course, rum

GP Excursion | Out of the Blue: 5 Days in Jamaica

When the Jamaica Tourist Board invites you to Jamaica for five days of culinary and cultural adventures, you don’t say no. You pack some sandals and swim gear, and you leave some extra space in your bag for local rum. Turns out there was very little beach time on the trip, but as this writer...

Double aged for twice the taste

Tasting Notes: Brugal 1888 Rum

Brugal 1888 ($45-50) is what happens when five generations of Maestros Roneros, or Rum Masters, have been hand-crafting Brugal rums since the company was founded in 1888. This latest product blends that experience with a double distillation and double aging process for a unique, flavorful rum that’s perfect for sipping on a cool fall day....

New whiskey from an industry veteran

Tasting Notes: Angel’s Envy Bourbon

Angel’s Envy Bourbon ($43) comes courtesy of Lincoln Henderson, a former 40-year veteran of Brown-Forman who was tasked with crafting some of the world’s most popular and widely-consumed whiskeys. Henderson’s latest venture defies rules and corporate expectations as he makes the bourbon he always wanted to make. Angel’s Envy starts with Kentucky-grown corn and rye...

Good tequila, great value

Tasting Notes: Espolon Reposado Tequila

Crafted from 100% blue agave in the highlands region of Jalisco, Mexico and aged for six months in American oak barrels, Espolon Reposado Tequila ($20) has a rich, golden hue. The nose gives off pleasant aromas of spicy agave, pepper and hints of sweet caramel, and the bold flavors range from roasted agave and sweet...

A history of the new world in 10 cocktails

Tasting Notes: And a Bottle of Rum by Wayne Curtis

William Faulkner once said, “Civilization begins with distillation.” Sounds about right. The more history you read, the more entwined it becomes with booze, and not just because you’re often drinking while reading. In his book And a Bottle of Rum ($11), travel writer Wayne Curtis tells the tale of rum-soaked America, from its innocent beginnings...

Bottled History

Tasting Notes: Pierre Ferrand 1840 Original Formula Cognac

Don’t be confused by the name. This Cognac isn’t 171 years old; rather, it’s fashioned in the style of “three-star” Cognacs that were consumed around 1840. Those Cognacs were very mixable and often bottled at a higher proof (Pierre Ferrand 1840 rings in at 90 proof) than today’s Cognacs, which are primarily meant for sipping....

Sip, savor, repeat

Tasting Notes: Ron Abuelo 7 Anos Rum

Ron Abuelo 7 Anos Rum ($23) hails from Panama where it’s produced entirely from estate-grown sugar cane. It’s a rich blend of rums hand-selected by the Master Blender and aged for seven years in small oak barrels, which gives the rum a rich, mellow and refined flavor. In the glass, the rum is a lovely...

Vodka, With Flavor. Not Flavored Vodka.

Tasting Notes: Reyka Vodka

In the world of vodka, there’s more parity than any other spirit category, and there’s seemingly a new vodka on the market each week. Given the competition, most resort to lifestyle claims for differentiation tactics – and to justify steep prices – rather than focusing on what’s in the bottle. Bucking that trend is Reyka...

Liquor from a beer state

Tasting Notes: Death’s Door White Whisky

The unaged whiskey category is alive and well, with product offerings available from heavy hitters like Buffalo Trace and artisan producers like Death’s Door. Death’s Door White Whisky ($30) is distilled in Wisconsin and made from a blend of local wheat and malted barley. As the name implies, the spirit lacks the gold, amber or...

Small Batches and Pretty Bottles

Tasting Notes: Milagro Select Barrel Reserve Reposado Tequila

Milagro makes a full range of quality tequilas – silver, reposado and anejo – each distilled in small batches from 100% blue agave grown in the Jalisco highlands. In addition to the base lineup, Milagro offers its line of Select Barrel Reserve tequilas, which are produced from hand-selected agave meeting specific quality requirements. Milagro Select...

Czech It Out

Tasting Notes: Becherovka Liqueur

More than two centuries old, Becherovka ($26) is a bitter herbal liqueur hailing from the Czech town of Karlovy Vary. The top-secret recipe includes a mix of more than 20 herbs and spices blended with aromatic oils and mineral-rich water. It’s the number one imported spirit from the Czech Republic, but until its recent distribution...

Hand-crafted in Austin, TX

Tasting Notes: Treaty Oak Platinum Rum

Rum: the storied beverage that fueled the slave trade and pirates, and still fuels tropical vacations. Texas: the larger-than-life state of red meat and cold beer. Merging the two dissociated subjects is Austin-based Treaty Oak Platinum Rum ($25), a spirit containing only Texas ingredients, including molasses from the last operating sugar mill in the state....

That’s right, Tasmania

Tasting Notes: Lark Tasmanian Whisky

Though most malt whiskeys emanate from Scotland, other countries including the U.S.A., Japan and even India produce some terrific drams. Established in 1992, Tasmania’s Lark Distillery makes one of those worldly whiskeys that’s impressed us with both its heritage and its single cask offerings. Lark Tasmanian Whisky ($100-$150) is available in three expressions: 86 proof...

On July 27th, Celebrate Accordingly

Tasting Notes: National Scotch Day and The Dalmore Cigar Malt Reserve

It’s not that we ever need a reason to drink, but when one presents itself – especially one of such distinction as National Scotch Day – we’re obliged to raise our glass. The origin of this boozy holiday, like most, is shrouded in mystery and probably found life on the cocktail napkin of some marketing...