Spirits

Worth another look

Tasting Notes: Wiser’s 18 Year Old

Wiser's is one of the oldest brands in the Great White North, having started life in 1857. While its ownership has changed hands several times, its reputation for quality among the locals has typically remained strong. Wiser’s 18, also sold as Wiser’s Very Old, is a premium offering worth a try for any drinker interested in tasting some of the best Canada has to offer at a reasonable price.

Tasty, tasty patriotism

5 Great American-Made London Dry Gins

In recent years, London Dry gin hasn’t done so hot. Looming in the shadows of vodka and whiskey, the juniper-tinged spirit has been cast aside as a singular-tasting alcohol of choice for a generation past its prime -- dry gin is your father’s and grandfather’s drink, not yours. But with a new class of excellent brands in an "American" dry style -- boasting a more balanced and widely ranging flavor profile -- blossoming as we speak, you'd be wise to reconsider. We found 5 of the best on the market.

12 gifts for the booze lover

12 Guys of Christmas: The Mixologist

The Mixologist’s gotten you into plenty of blissful adventures, most of which ended without real long term damage to your record or your marriage. He’s a passionate guy, and he knows his craft: beer, that is. Malts, mash, wheat, barley, rye, and oh yes, sweet sweet delicious hops — he sucks them all down, grinning...

Product of Canada, eh?

Tasting Notes: Tap 357 Maple Rye Whiskey

Mixing two famous Canadian products such as rye whiskey and maple syrup may seem crazy at first, but the result is far from it. Tap 357 Maple Rye Whiskey is the culmination of a match made in heaven, a perfect blend of various aged rye whiskeys ranging from 3 to 7 years and fresh, “Grade...

Juniper, unmolested

Masters of Malt Origin Single Estate Gins

Masters of Malt was tired of juniper (the main ingredient by law in all gins) playing second fiddle to botanicals like geranium and cucumber. While the source of grapes has always been a key point of distinction in wines, with variables like climate, rainfall, and soil playing a direct role in a wine’s eventual profile,...

Three Deep

Tasting Notes: High West Campfire Whiskey

Throughout the ages, explorers have embraced a shared passion besides venturing into the unknown. Whiskey. Now the story behind this Park City based whiskey may not involve stories of crusading into the unknown, but it does involve a fortuitous encounter with a dessert of ripe honeydew drizzled with simmering peated whiskey and sugar. Lightbulb. Why...

Lighten up

Wild Turkey Rye 81 Proof

For many of us, 101 proof alcohols conjure up fuzzy memories of enflamed shot glasses and, well, not much else. For the now more responsible — and presumably with better taste — the Lawrenceburg, Kentucky distillery famed for its high-proof whiskeys, has released Wild Turkey Rye 81 Proof. Aged for 4–5 years in “alligator” char...

Layering down the party

LayerNation El Tirador Shot Dispenser

Having a product made by Dutch entrepreneurs that’s seemingly named by Spaniards makes almost no sense, but then again, what do you expect when dealing with a machine made explicitly to shock and amaze booze drinkers? The LayerNation El Tirador (Spanish for “the shooter”) is a drink dispenser whose power lies in its ability to...

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...

The Secret Garden... of delights

Wentworth Pewter Flask

A gentleman will go portable with his drink via flask, not beer hat. And his drink of choice will probably fall into the category of whiskey or whisky. Cheap, logo’d flasks are a dime a dozen and will class you up about as much as eating your porterhouse with a spork. Turn to the Wentworth...

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...

West Meets East

Tasting Notes: Bombay Sapphire East

After 25 years as one of the world’s leading gin brands, Bombay Sapphire has finally introduced a new extension to the line, dubbed Bombay Sapphire East ($32) (42% ABV). Adding “East” to the name may seem a bit redundant given the Bombay branding, but the spirit has always been officially classified as a London Dry...

Help bring this Irish spirit upstart, stateside

Kickstarter: 1661 Poitín Small Batch Traditional Irish Spirit

Poitín is essentially the traditional Irish equivalent to moonshine and holds a reputation for being one of the strongest spirits in the world, thanks to its 60%-95% ABV. Its Gaelic name references the small copper pots used in its distillation and the booze is commonly found throughout homes on the Emerald Isle. Poitín is in...

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,...

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....

A Study on Suds

The Oxford Companion to Beer

Clearly, we’re fond of books that teach us more about the things we love. The subject matter alone of The Oxford Companion to Beer ($38) is enough to tempt most men to flip through its pages, but when you factor in that it’s been edited by Brooklyn Brewery brewmaster Garrett Oliver, it becomes a must...

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....

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...

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...

It's Five O'Clock Somewhere

Urbancase Emergency Cocktail Station

Given the latest headlines about the economy, a stiff cocktail is quickly becoming one of the only remaining bastions of calm we men can cling to. The Emergency Cocktail Station ($850) from Urbancase is a tongue and cheek interpretation on the role booze plays during these hard times that isn’t exactly priced for a recession....

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...

Like Father, Like Son

Wild Turkey 81

Wild Turkey’s powerful, flagship 101 proof blend has attracted both bourbon fans and “dirty bird” escapists thanks to its bold, peppery flavoring and leg-rubberizing alcohol content. For years, the company has also offered an 80 proof blend for those looking to enjoy bourbon and still stay conscious after a few rounds. While master distiller Jimmy...

Before Gin, there was Genever

Tasting Notes: Bols Genever

Originally produced as medicine in the late 1500s by a Dutch chemist, genever was a spirit distilled from malt wine. It was strong and not particularly tasty, but juniper berries and herbs were added to improve the flavor. Soon genever was a favorite drink among the people of Holland. It eventually made its way to...

A Throwback to the Rums of Old

Tasting Notes: Smith & Cross Traditional Jamaican Rum

Smith and Cross Traditional Jamaican Rum ($29) is what happened when importer Haus Alpenz teamed up with some industry luminaries to create a new rum – one that pays homage to the rums of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. While many of today’s rums feature light and sweet flavor profiles, earlier era Jamaican...

Brew A-Ha

Beer Craft: A Simple Guide to Making Great Beer

The cigarette companies were slapped year’s ago for using illustrations in their ads on the grounds that it created young smokers in training. Still, those dirty peddlers were on to something. Beer Craft: A Simple Guide to Making Great Beer ($12) takes full advantage of the beauty and appeal of illustration to walk would-be brewers...

Too smooth to shoot

Tasting Notes: Partida Añejo Tequila

The days of shooting bad tequila with salt and a lime are nearing an end. The tequila category has shaken off its sordid past and reemerged better than ever, with renewed interest in the spirit and a spate of new labels on store shelves. This is good news for discerning drinkers, who are rediscovering classics...

Drink like a navy man

Tasting Notes: Black Tot Last Consignment Rum

July 31, 1970 was a tough day for British sailors as the 300 year tradition of daily rum rations ended. With the market for British Royal Naval Rum drying up, remaining stocks were stored away in warehouses laying mostly undisturbed, only brought out for state functions and royal weddings. Luckily for us, in the true...

Double or Nothing

The Highland & Island Malt Whisky Stack

We love our single malt whisky. So when we came across the Highland & Island Malt Stack ($115) from the Scottish “liquid deli” Demijohn, pinching — nay punching — was required to ensure we were still among the living. The top bottle contains a relatively unknown 12 year old Linkwood Single Malt from Elgin, that’s...

Shaking Up the Vodka Pack

Eristoff Premium Vodka

Eristoff’s roots are in Georgia; that’s the former Soviet Union satellite, not the birthplace of MLK Jr. and Cee Lo Green. It was created by Georgian royalty back in 1806 when times were tough, and since the country is known for its wolf population, the spirit inherited the mascot. We bring up this little Discovery...

Sweet Restitution

Junior’s Midnight Moon Aged Fruit Moonshine

Vodka brands have been adding fruit flavoring to their spirits for years in hopes of coaxing mixologists to shell out for another fifth, or at least get the squeamish drinking something. So it makes perfect sense the same trend would trickle down to white lightening. The sweetness from Junior Johnson’s Midnight Moon Aged Fruit Moonshine($30)...

Caribbean in a Bottle

Tasting Notes: Appleton Estate Reserve Rum

It’s a commonly known fact that the months between New Years and Spring are dreary and depressing, especially for those of us on the East Coast. Being strong believers in self medication taking action, Gear Patrol set out to find a stiff drink to bust our winter blues, and came back with the Appleton Estate...

A Comeback 300 Years in the Making

Nolet Silver Gin

Nolet Silver Gin ($50) is a new brand of gin from a family that’s been making the spirit since 1691. Ironically, the Nolet distillery is more widely known today for its contribution to the world of vodka. That’s because 10th generation Carolus J.J. Nolet got the idea to break with tradition and make the Russian...

Making the Best From a Bad Situation

Glennfiddich Snow Phoenix Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Attaching something like “Snow Phoenix” to the name of an otherwise perfectly good bottle of single malt might lead many to think the master distillers have been reading a bit too much Harry Potter after work. The truth is, this special run is actually the result of disaster caused by record snowfall back in January...

Time flies when you’re having Rum

The Kraken Rum

“A rum to put a beast in your belly”, The Kraken has washed onto the market and is bringing out the inner pirate in us all. An alternative from name brand rums, the Kraken ($20) provides a flavor that’s richer and stronger than the captain, and weighs in at a hefty 94 proof. Caramel sugars...

The Wormwood Tradition

Leopold Brothers Absinthe Verte

The Leopold Brothers believe in a strong sense of tradition and it is understood that tradition is what makes their spirits so good. The Leopold Brothers Absinthe Verte ($67) is crafted from a 100-year-old recipe of anise, grande wormwood, and sweet fennel along with a number of “proprietary botanicals.” The spirit is distilled in a...

What's the Shiny Exterior Hiding?

Fenom Modern Absinthe

Absinthe has a reputation for many things. Some of them are accurate and justified, others are bogus. Fenom certainly hopes to capitalize one way or the other on the allure of this infamous mind altering substance with their so-called “Modern Absinthe”. Brought to our attention by Liqurious, it’s described by the company as the first...

An Iconic Bottle Meets an Iconic Director

Absolut Brooklyn Limited Edition Vodka

As a tribute to one of the city’s most renowned boroughs and film makers, ABSOLUT has put out a limited edition flavor known as ABSOLUT Brooklyn. Developed in conjunction with Spike Lee, the bottle’s unique cover pays homage to the stoop where the director grew up, as well as the borough’s pace of life where...

Appealing to Geek Drinkers Everywhere

Medea Vodka

Companies like Procter & Gamble have known for years that distinct packaging can make or break a product’s success on the shelf. Alcohol makers certainly aren’t newbies in this game either, but the creators of Medea Vodka appear to be hell bent on upping the industry’s game. That’s because each bottle includes an integrated LED...

And You Thought Wisconsin Only Made Cheese

Death’s Door Gin

Typically when the word island comes up in the same sentence as Gin, most people immediately prepare for some stogy tale of a famous English Dry Gin house, and its long standing cultural significance to our juniper guzzling, eating-baked-beans-with-their-eggs cohorts from across the pond. The story of Death’s Door Gin however is actually nothing of...

Don't Get Your Hopes Up, It's Not Infused

Yeyo Tequila

Tequila fans take note. Yeyo is a new straight up silver brand made of 100% blue agave grown in Jalisco, Mexico. These plants are cooked in a brick Agave cooker as opposed to aluminum to extract a more natural flavor from the 24 hour process. The firm’s press materials even highlight that classical music is...

For the Frugal Trailer Park Dweller in All of Us

The Beer Belly

We wouldn’t be going too far out on a limb if we proposed that beer improves just about any situation, even running a marathon. Much to our chagrin though, beer isn’t always allowed in every setting, at least if you’re the rule-following type and don’t live in Montana. But as the saying goes, where there’s...

Tequila 5150

Tequila 5150 is the first domestic tequila to legally import blue agave into the U.S., but it’s uniqueness lies in the fact that it’s made using wine making techniques. In typical American fashion, a friend of the bottler was told by his sheriff compadre that trying to produce tequila using wine barrels was “5150”, California’s...