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Reviews


Boozy reads: Edible Cocktails

Posted on 12th April, by DrinkGal in Reviews. No Comments

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Natalie Bovis (aka The Liquid Muse) has it right, “The trend toward marrying the kitchen and the bar has already been underway for over a decade…” In her new book, Edible Cocktails, From Garden To Glass – Seasonal Cocktails with a Fresh Twist, she explores ways in which the home bartender can take this tasty trend from their favorite cocktail bar to their home, and create fresh, seasonal cocktails with ingredients they can grow in their backyard.

Instead of just listing recipes or providing general information about ingredients, the book gives detailed descriptions of things like building and maintaining a compost pile for your garden, making pectin from scratch, and applications of homemade syrups and preserves beyond just cocktails. It’s a comprehensive how-to guide to creating your own “cocktail garden” and kitchen, and encourages creativity in using your homemade ingredients and …


Vida Tequila

Posted on 27th February, by DrinkGal in Reviews. No Comments

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There is no mistaking it, the parade of premium tequilas just keeps on rolling and is showing no sign of stopping. The new appreciation of agave spirits is turning out better tequilas, refined mezcals, and a cult like following that is very reminiscent of Scotch. No complaints here to be sure, but as the parade continues, it’s sometimes difficult to wade through the sea of slick visuals and creative storytelling to find tequilas that live up to their premium price tag.

The clean yet classic packaging of Vida Tequila arouses suspicion. Clearly, this was going to be another ultra-premium tequila that fell short on the palate, right? Not so. Relatively new to the scene, the company was founded just 5 years ago by Utah natives Lisa and John Barlow, and has already garnered lots of attention and awards. Tequila.net gave the …


Clément Créole Shrubb

Posted on 5th January, by DrinkGal in Reviews. 1 Comment

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If someone says “shrub” to us, the obvious visual is something leafy and green. Even after sampling Clément Créole Shrubb for the first time, we were still confused at the use of the word to describe it. Shrubb? A degree in English was failing us. And yet, when faithful friend Google was consulted we discovered, “shrub” can also be  “a beverage made from fruit juice, sugar, and a liquor such as rum or brandy”, derived from  the Arabic urb, meaning a drink.

Things were starting to make sense. From the island of Martinique, Clément Créole Shrubb is a delicious liqueur d’orange made with Rhum Agricole, from the distinguished line of Clément. The recipe is said to be a Créole one (hence the name), a few hundred years old. A blend of white and aged rum is infused with macerated orange peel …


Wódka Vodka: “Escort Quality, Hooker Pricing.”

Posted on 14th November, by DrinkGal in Reviews. No Comments

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With a cheeky marketing campaign that features everything from sheep in a sombrero to a sumo wrestler, Wódka Vodka  is a far cry from, let’s say, the sleek, chivalry-inspiring ads from Ketel One. With taglines like “Movie Star Quality, Reality Star Pricing”, ”Escort Quality, Hooker Pricing.” and a chihuahua astride a bottle suggestively, labeled “Greyhound”, Wódka is clearly not trying to entice label snobs, nor are they interested in playing the established premium vodka game.

Wódka (literally, Polish for vodka) has a brilliantly self effacing tactic, poking fun at the industry and themselves for being a part of it. It IS just booze, after all. The drinks don’t have recipes with measurements. We all know the vodka stand-bys, right? Instead, each has picture and a description of why you may or may not drink it. For instance, one sports the name “Wódka …


Don Julio 70 Añejo Claro

Posted on 3rd October, by DrinkGal in Reviews. No Comments

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Ten years ago if someone would have asked for a “nicer” tequila, most bars would only have a bottle or two, if anything, to offer. Most of us can claim a bad date with Jose Cuervo at least once in our youth, and many still have written off the spirit all together without trying the top shelf stuff they couldn’t previously afford. And a tequila cocktail? You mean there is something beside a margarita?

Tequila has come a long way, baby. Tequila bars are the new frontier, with more distillers, techniques and brands popping up every year, with nary a drowned worm to be found. The demand, especially in the United States, is growing exponentially and the good folks down south couldn’t be happier.

We have a special place in our heart for the agave distillate, and have always enjoyed the Don …


Bluecoat American Gin

Posted on 15th September, by DrinkGal in Reviews. No Comments

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The fellas behind Bluecoat Gin started out with one thought: that Pennsylvania needed a distillery. Before Prohibition, the state had a plethora of spirits pouring out of it, but from the time of the Noble Experiment until Philadelphia Distilling set up shop in 2005, the craft distilling market was dry as a bone. Rob Cassell, one of the founders of the distillery, had previous experience in brewing (Wayne’s Valley Forge Brewing & Downingtown’s Victory Brewing) and was confused as to why there were so many breweries and so few spirits being produced. After a quick study of distilling at Heriot-Watt University in Scotland, finding partners Andrew Auwerda & Tim Yarnall, and acquiring a distilling license, a plan was hatched.

Bluecoat gin was flowing freely out of the distillery by 2006, and was enjoying the trappings of success, winning accolades at home …


Pisco Portón

Posted on 19th August, by DrinkGal in Reviews. 1 Comment

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Where there is wine, there is grape distillate. In Italy, it is grappa. In France, it is cognac and brandy. And in South America, it is pisco. It isn’t surprising then that the new premium Pisco Portón is distilled in the oldest distillery in South America, Hacienda La Caravedo (founded 1684), in Ica, Peru. While pisco is still considered a smaller market for distillers, for cocktail enthusiasts, pisco is yet another base spirit to create new cocktails with the ooh and ahh factor, adding a new dimension of flavor and complexity.

All pisco is not created equal, and master distiller of Pisco Portón Johnny Schuler was not always a fan. A wine aficionado and restauranteur in Lima, he was called upon to be a pisco judge in 1977 when at the last minute a few of the judges got too sauced …


Mandarine Napoléon Liqueur

Posted on 9th August, by DrinkGal in Reviews. No Comments

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Napoléon Bonaparte was not known for his humility. Nor was he known for his taste in alcohol, but that is beside the point. We imagine he would be very pleased with the idea that a liqueur that he himself used to drink exclusively is drunk around the world, 100 years after his death. And not only did he drink it, he was the person who hand-picked the Belgian chemist Antoine de François de Fourcroy, who was known in his time as a great distiller, to make said liqueur. Might not overshadow the to-do in Waterloo, but a victory nonetheless?

Covetuous of his creation, Mandarine Napoléon was not released to the public until after both of their deaths in 1892. The liqueur is distilled in the same location it always has been, Distillerie de Biercée (just a few miles from Waterloo in …


Becherovka Liqueur

Posted on 27th July, by DrinkGal in Reviews. No Comments

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While bitter apertifs are making a strong comeback, they weren’t always all the rage. In the last ten years or so, we have slowly emerged from a dark age of imbibing: bigger was better, menus were slathered in flavored vodkas, and who can forget Zima? Any bitter liqueurs that grace the shelves today have stood the test of time (most were first made in the 1800′s or earlier) and are a useful component to your collection, or they have an amazing marketing budget and are boozy juggernauts (think Jaegermeister) that can’t be stopped.

Concocted in 1807 by Josef Becher, a Czech apothecary, and Christian Frobrig, an English physician, Becherovka (beck-ur-OHV-kuh) was intended to be what the pair called “the elixir of life”, whatever that means. What they ended up with was a tasty apertif that has enjoyed an underground following of …


Mañana Tequila

Posted on 6th July, by DrinkGal in Reviews. No Comments

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With a guy in a hammock as a mascot and a name like Mañana, there has to be a story here. As it turns out, Mañana Tequila was passed down from a tequila maker named Feliciano Vidal to Pancho Vidal, via the death of Feliciano and the motivation of Pancho, who spent (apparently) most of his time in a hammock near the sea, doing a lot of nothing.

Pancho, upon inheriting a distillery from his uncle Feliciano, went to Arandas, Jalisco and started making tequila. Because Pancho was into lounging by the sea, he took his sweet time in distilling, letting the tequila rest until it smelled just right. He kept saying,”tomorrow, tomorrow, it will be ready”. One fine day, it was ready. But the name “tomorrow” (Mañana) stuck.

Sure, it’s probably just a story. But we kinda liked it. It’s good …