That's right folks. We're going into the booze-making business and NOBODY CAN STOP US, SEE? Look out Maker's Mark! Watch your back Buffalo Trace! The Boozebloggers are coming for you...very, very slowly. WITH THESE!
Yep, we're making our own Bourbon! ....1 liter at a time.... (At this rate you should see Boozeblogger Bourbon on the shelves sometime before the economy improves...haha...get it?)
We found these little beauties online at Oak Barrels Ltd which is run by a nice lady from Texas named Cinda who sells barrels like these to people who want to conduct mad-scientist-like "boozeperiments." Oak Barrels Ltd sells new, charred oak barrels at a VERY reasonable price which you can use to age your own spirits and to make other cool things like homemade wine, vinegars, and cider. WE immediately saw their potential for both personal Bourbon creation and future world domination...it's just the kind of guys we are.
We're not going to give away our super secret bourbon recipe just yet. But suffice it to say that it will include LARGE amounts of vodka...and that's just for the planning phases. Before we get to all that though we want to walk you through the first steps toward creating your own personalized booze with these barrels.
Step 1. Curing the barrels
Just like a full-size whiskey barrel these little guys are made up of a series of "staves" which are really just planks made from Oak. The staves are laid into a pattern and then forced together by pure pressure. Only then are the six galvanized hoops you see around the outside applied. There is NO glue involved in the making of these barrels at all, their ability to hold spirits without leaking comes ONLY from pressure. This is why you have to "cure" the barrels with hot water before using them. The hot water causes the staves to expand just enough to close off any gaps that might have existed. Oak Barrels Ltd orders their barrels on a weekly basis from a third generation cooper which means your barrels have usually been made within the same month you ordered them and they rarely have ANY problems with leakage. Which means you can keep those greedy, drunken angels from getting a drop!
What you'll need.
OF COURSE I didn't do this in my bathroom...That would just be weird...Pay no attention to that toilet-paper roll...
Another handy feature you get from Oak Barrels Ltd is the miniature wooden stand. Without it filling these little things would be damn near impossible. The next part is the hardest: like the grape-eating wino said to Mitch Hedberg - "you have to wait." But not for very long. We just filled our barrels and we're pretty sure there is no leakage happening at all. (That or we're just so excited to be making our own hooch that we're hallucinating.) Oak Barrels LTD actually has a replacement policy for any barrels that leak for more than a 7 days but, like I said, it probably won't take anywhere NEAR that long before you can get down to business. After you're SURE the barrels aren't leaking anymore you can drain the water and fill them with your favorite spirit. (One of the best things we've heard of is buying a cheaper Blanco Tequila and aging that. Since these barrels are so very small it won't take any time at all. One person we know of said it only took about a WEEK to go from Blanco to a Reposado-like aging...see here)
NOW WE WANT YOUR HELP! Do you know about bourbon making or any other kind of home brewing? Leave us a comment and some bright ideas about what we could do with these barrels. We've got some idea about how we're going to (hopefully) create a nice bourbon but we're really just making this up as we go along. So pass this link around to your friends on the interwebs and let us know if you come up with any good ideas. We'd really love to have some input from you guys (and girls) about what goes into these things.
IF YOU HAVEN'T YET...go check out Oak Barrels Ltd. We are just a small website and the owner, Cinda, has been really nice to provide us with these barrels and the chance to create something unique to share with all of you. We wouldn't push these things if we didn't believe in the product. Just so you know, nobody has ever paid us a dime to say nice things about them on this site. We just love supporting small businesses and the people behind them and we really love the idea of making our own spirits.
STAY TUNED FOR PART 2!
OH! And check out this awesome video about how bourbon barrels like these are made!
My kind of Myspace photo....yes, I'm in my bathroom again.
THANK YOU! To everyone who tuned-in last week to see what we were up to and commented on our first post I just wanted to say: thanks a lot. It makes blogging worthwhile to be able to connect with so many people who are just as interested as you are in the world of spirits.
BECAUSE we got so many great responses I think we came up with something close to an authentic whiskey mash distillate...it may never TRULY live up to that magical elixir our favorite distillers lay down into new oak barrels every year but I'm HOPING that it's at least similar. Here's what we're working with:
Primordial Whiskey-stuff...ready for EVOLUTION!
Here's what I was thinking with the "mash." Since distillers of Bourbon are, by law, required to use at least 51% corn in their mash I went with a mostly corn base (750ml to be exact) of Georgia Moon Corn Whiskey. As near as I've been able to figure out this a a lower-proof version of what people call "moonshine" which has been diluted to 40% abv. I gave it a taste and it's slightly sweet and actually somewhat reminiscent of Bourbon already; so I think that's a good sign. To that I added 200ml of Everclear...
A word about Everclear:
If there IS a booze that can make you go blind/kill you, its Everclear. The full strength version (95% abv.) is banned in 15 States. Do not drink this stuff straight...or at least, if you're dumb enough to try, make a video-recording so the rest of us can laugh at you when you burn your esophagus to hell. Seriously....DON'T DO IT!
My reasoning behind adding such a potent ingredient was two-fold. First due to a comment from our friend Scott over at In With Bacchus who brought up that a higher alcohol content would draw-out flavor faster from the oak barrel and also because of comments from some of the guys from homedistiller.org who mentioned repeatedly that evaporation can be a major issue with these little barrels. What I'm thinking is that I want this stuff to age as quickly as possible so I'll lose as little as possible. The last little tip we got came from commenter LWTCS who confirmed that higher-proof aging was better and mentioned that he adds just a tablespoon of real maple syrup to his stuff to bring out the sweetness and the nose of the final product.
1 tablespoon REAL Maple Syrup
It's imperative that you lick the spoon when you're done...just trust me.
750 ml Georgia Moon Corn Whiskey
200 ml Everclear
Just watch your eyes...
Fill to the brim with Shakers (Wheat) Vodka (About 4 0z for me)
Here's the full recipe and before you get all up-in-arms about it, I KNOW this shouldn't fit in a 1 liter barrel...
Boozeblogger's Bourbon Whiskey Recipe:
750 ml (40% abv.) Georgia Moon Corn Whiskey
200 ml (95 % abv.) Everclear
1 tbsp (15 ml) Maple Syrup
118 ml (40% abv.) [about 4 oz.] Shakers Vodka (American Wheat variety)
(1.083 liters total)
If ANYONE OUT THERE has the brain to figure out what the resulting ABV of this mixture is I would be eternally grateful! When I try I just end up sounding like this guy:
Shakers vodka was not an afterthought for this recipe. Before we got all those great comments I was planning on using a 3-vodka mixture including Tito's and Shakers' Wheat and Rye varieties. Putting in the maple syrup before anything else was also purposeful because I wanted to make sure it didn't just sit at the top or float to the bottom.
I'm really hoping this lives up to the dreams I have of home-aged Bourbon, but what I'm trying to keep in mind is that this is really just a first test. I've got a lot to learn about this stuff and I'm really just excited to get a shot at making my very own bourbon. If you haven't checked it out yet head on over to Oak Barrels LTD and consider picking up one of these little starter barrels for yourself. The owner, Cinda, is obsessed with great customer service and I know you won't be disappointed with her products. If you'd REALLY like to get in depth with making your own bourbon check out homedistiller.org's forums where there are active discussions going on about all of this stuff.
A few final questions for the comments section:
How long should I wait before trying this stuff? (how long could YOU wait?)
What do you think of this recipe/how would you make it better?
What are you wearing?
And now the HORRIBLE WAITING begins...
Ladies and Gentlemen, I proudly present to you...Midnight Hobo. It's been a long and lonesome road, but my bourbon journey is finally complete. Actually it was complete awhile ago, but I've only recently been able to sit down with some good fellows (friends, not mobsters) and get an unbiased impression of my booze creation. The name is inspired by my favorite webcomic of all time: Questionable Content (which does not need a link because it gets 1 billion hits a day but YOU should go there anyway because it's brilliant.) In said comic the voluptuous and sometimes-secretly-southern Faye requests a cheap, manly bourbon, a harsh bourbon, the kind of bourbon that knocks your socks off and then puts them back on for you again - Midnight Hobo. I first read this comic back in 2004 and we are just now getting a peek at the bottle - not quite the way I pictured it but I'm ok with that.
I know it doesn't look it, but this was VERY exciting for me.
The bottling took place about 7 weeks after our second post. Now, that isn't an exact time for aging your bourbon in a 1 litre casks - it's just when I felt mine was done. If you want to try this I suggest tasting your bourbon at least once every few days because with such a small cask it can get past it's prime very quickly. At first I thought I might have let it age a little bit too long because right out of the cask it tasted incredibly harsh, but after repeated tastings I think 7 weeks was just about right for me. The "angels share" (alcohol evaporation) wasn't too bad either. I started out with 1 litre of liquid and ended up with just enough to fill a 750ml bottle. I'm pretty happy with that.
Both distinctive AND classy.
So what does it taste like? Since I can't actually give you a taste I have to compare it to the other whiskeys I have on hand. I tried to pattern my recipe at least somewhat after Maker's Mark because it's one of my favorite brands. The level of flavor is actually quite similar to Maker's 46 (which is aged longer than the original with charred oak staves) but what it really reminds me of is a stronger and more flavorful Evan Williams. I'm actually quite happy with that. Evan Williams, in my opinion, betters a lot of more expensive brands and I think Midnight Hobo is actually a step above E.W. Yes, I completely and totally biased in this assessment, but some impartial parties who tried it agreed with my conclusions...to a point. The consensus from our little tasting was that Midnight Hobo is a bit harsh (something you'd want to drink with a bit of water), but that it was packed with flavor. It doesn't work nearly as well as Evan Williams as a mixing whiskey but was the clear choice for something you'd sit down, enjoy and contemplate. Since it's something like 100 proof, I'm willing to take the harsh statement, but I still think it works great in a Manhattan.
This was an awesome experience and something I'll definitely try again. I think the total cost for this project was somewhere in the neighborhood of $60. But who can put a price on having a whiskey you designed and aged yourself sitting on your bar? I highly recommend designing your label and giving it a name like I did - it really completes the experience. A special thanks goes out to the guys over at the homedistiller.org forums who helped with the recipe and gave us so many great comments on all our posts. If you're looking for a gift for the Whiskey lover in your life a barrel like the one we used from Oak Barrels LTD. is a great idea. Next time: Tequila!
Ten points to the first man who can name that Hobo.
The Koloa Rum Company on the island of Kaua`i is the first company to legally produce rum in the islands history. Koloa got down to the business of making rum in 2009. Rather than molasses the company is using crystalized sugar with a high level of molasses in it. They now produce a full line white, gold, dark and spiced rums for your enjoyment.
What's amazing about Koloa is that they've only been producing rum for about 2 years now and are already making waves in the world of spirits. They won a gold medal at the largest rum even in the western hemisphere (the Rum Renaissance Festival) for their dark rum in 2010. They also took a bronze and silver for their white and gold rums at The Polished Palate International Rum Competition.
The white rum is one of the cleanest rums I've ever tasted. It's primary use is going to be as a base spirit in cocktails so this is a very good thing. This is one of the few white rums I've tasted that I could possibly drink neat. In a daiquiri (the benchmark for a white rum I think) it was fantastic.
Our Rating: 4/5 (Highly Recommended)
The flavor is mild and I would like to have seen a bit more depth to it. It's good but (knowing what comes next) I'd like to see a little bit more of an intermediate stage between their white rum and their dark. It's still good, because it started with something good, but doesn't stand out as much as the white rum. In a cocktail you are barely able to taste the flavors the gold imparts and if that's the case why not just use the White?
Our Rating: 3/5 (Recommended)
Wow, when they say dark they mean it. Vanilla explodes from this one. I was hoping for a bit more of this from the gold. I'm amazed (and a bit suspicious) that they were able to produce this in just two years of being open. Its that dark and that good. I love this in a cocktail because the depth of flavor can really transform your drink into something entirely different but still really good. Great as a sipper as well.
Our Rating: 5/5 (If you see it, buy it.)
This is the one that can either make you or break you as a rum company. Us booze nerds will seek out your other varieties but if you can make an amazing spiced rum you really don't have to make anything else because frat boys will buy it by the truckload. I can Koloa isn't trying to go for The Captain's crown here. They aren't making cheap spiced booze but shooting for an audience that enjoys artisan spirits. Their spiced rum is seriously spicy which is just the way I like it. It might scare away people who are hooked on the sugared up posers but I think it shines because it's doing its own thing.
Our Rating: 3.5/5 (Recommended)
Check Koloa Out Online At: www.koloarum.com
As I'm sure you know, Absinthe is back and while health regulations are in place to prevent fun little things like blindness, there are a whole lot of shitty absinthes on the market and relatively few worth the ridiculous prices people are charging. We've found two shining examples (made in America) and another which is a prime example of what you should avoid at all costs.
I hate to break it to you, but just about every bit of marketing you've seen on Absinthe is complete and utter bullshit. Absinthe will not get you high, it is not any more deadly than other spirits and it does not call forth green fairies (I suppose that depends on when and where you drink it actually).
Although these dudes were probably having a few when they thought of this (via ohrheally)
Here's a quick and probably inaccurate summary of the real story behind absinthe. Absinthe started out as an herbal elixer but first rose to prominence in the mid-1900's after French troops were given the spirit as a treatment for milaria. When the troops came home they had developed a taste for the spirit and from there its popularity spread rapidly. After that a series of unfortunate events befell absinthe. First it was extremely popular and so everyone and their mother was producing it and many times under poor and entirely unregulated conditions (think bathtub gin) which lead to some people getting ill. Second Absinthe had seriously pissed off the wine industry. Third the temperance movement was ramping up and chose absinthe as their poster-child for what's wrong with drinking. One Teetotaling Asshole was quoted as saying:
Absinthe makes you crazy and criminal, provokes epilepsy and tuberculosis, and has killed thousands of French people. It makes a ferocious beast of man, a martyr of woman, and a degenerate of the infant, it disorganizes and ruins the family and menaces the future of the country. (Luckily they banned Absinthe and transformed France into the wonderland of wussy men, hairy women, and hard-working infants that we know and love today.)
Absinthe is a high proof liquor, generally in the 60% ABV range, which is one of the reasons its so damned expensive. But, considering that most spirits are watered down significantly more, I would say that $50-60 is a fair price for a bottle of good absinthe. We tried three last weekend. Here's the breakdown.
If you're thinking of picking up a bottle of absinthe don't go in without some information. Read some reviews and know what you're getting into. One bottle you don't have to worry about is Vieux Carre. Even the bottle itself, a rectangular decanter, is beautiful and has a sexy little stopper (sorry, I have a bottle fetish). What's inside is a great example of what absinthe should be. It has easily distinguishable flavors of anise, fennel, wormwood and a bit of mint as well. It's well balanced and a great intro to absinthe. It costs about the same as any other full bottle you'll see out there and you don't have to worry that you'll end up tossing most of it out.
Our Rating: 4/5 Price: $50-60 www.vieuxcarreabsinthe.com/
Germain-Robin Absinthe Superieure
Germain-Robin's Absinthe Superieure starts with a superior spirit: wine made from honey and apples and distilled on a cognac still. This is what's known as a Blanche Absinthe so instead of green it's clear. After loucheing the overall product is like a watered down milk (mmm tasty, right?). The flavor is light and complex. Sweet but not cloying. At 45% ABV its an absinthe you could drink straight if you wanted to. F. Paul Pacult, who is to spirit reviewing as the Pope is to Popery, said it was "understated and delicious" and called it one of the top 15 liqueurs in the world. It's significantly more pricey than most absinthes. You'll pay around the same price for half a bottle of this that you'd pay for any other bottle. But if you want the best, it's worth it.
Our Rating: 5/5 Price: $50 for 375ml www.greenwaydistillers.com
Mata Hari Absinthe
And in the avoid it category we have Absinthe Mata Hari. My first impression of this one was that it must be some kind of distillation of Listerine. Not the really bad Listerine, the minty one, but still the overall impression is toothpaste and bitterness. Mati Hari is a Bohemian Absinthe which means it does not tase much of anise (think black licorice) if that's what's always kept you away from absinthe then by all means give Mara Hari a try. It is billed as a mixing Absinthe. In that case it might be useful as a way to add herbal taste and higher proof to your drink, but beyond that I can't really recommend this one.
Our Rating: 2/5 Price: $50 www.absinthematahari.com
If you're going to try absinthe then do just that: go out to a bar and get them to make you the drink properly with high end spirit. If you're a fan of black licorice or herbal liqueurs in general you'll probably really enjoy it. But if you're thinking of taking a bottle home, beware. The ratio of crappy absinthe to quality absinthe in most liquor stores is about 4:1.
Most people associate Vodka with Russia and to a lesser extend Poland. But in recent years vodka production has spread all over the world. Now we have vodka coming out of just about every country and even a number of these here United States. Vodka 14 is a "USDA Certified Organic" potato and rye grain vodka made in the mountains of Colorado with a strong bent toward what they call "drinking responsibly". By responsible drinking they don't mean handing your keys to the ugliest girl in the bar so you can make damn sure you'll call a cab. They mean that eco-friendly-hippy-tree-hugging kind of responsibility.
Vodka 14 is recyclable. Yeah, "so are most glass bottles", right? Wrong, punk. Vodka 14 is ENTIRELY recyclable. It has no stickers on the bottle displaying it's label. Instead the logo is actually made from a glaze which is baked on in a ceramic oven. The cork is recyclable. The freaking seal on the bottle is even made of a special kind of plastic just so you can be sure every damn piece of the package you throw out is bio-degradable.
None of that matters. Why? Because that's not why I like Vodka 14 and my entirely subjective opinion is all that matters. I am not Vodka 14's target market. I really don't care about whether a company is eco-friendly or profiting off the clubbing of baby seals. I buy my vodka based on two factors: price and taste. While Vodka 14 is more expensive than some big corporate brands like Smirnoff (who is practically giving their booze away at this point), at $30 it's pretty close in price to other large brands like Absolute and Grey Goose and in my opinion, it also tastes better.
On the initial sip, Vodka 14 has a silky and smooth texture that makes it incredibly easy to drink. After the first few drinks, a delightfully subtle sweetness began to unravel upon my palate. Even neat, this vodka has an outstanding flavor that easily surpasses many of it's competitors. It works great as a mixer as well. The Vodka Martini I mixed up showed Vodka 14 was not only a great stand-alone spirit, but that it mixed very well in cocktails.
As an eco-friendly spirit Vodka 14 has some very specific selling points for a very specific customer base. In a truly over-saturated vodka market Vodka 14 is trying to distinguish itself not only by whats in the bottle but with what goes into the bottle and also what happens to the bottle when you're done. But even if you're not part of that target market you'll still like Vodka 14 because it's just a solid vodka with it's own unique character. So, if you're tired of your go-to vodka, give Vodka 14 a shot. It's a high quality spirit for a relatively-reasonable price, and if it's not available at your local liquor store, order some online at vodka14.com
Grade: 4/5 Price: $30
"No sir, I don't like your sweet beers, I prefer to gargle a tincture of bitter herbs spiked with some club soda and a bit of high proof whiskey." Well then, Wells Banana Bread Beer is not for you. If there is such a thing as a dessert beer, this is it. Simply put, its a nutty brown ale brewed with bananas and spices and it tastes almost exactly like banana bread. Which is fine by me, because I could happily survive on banana bread alone for weeks at a time if it weren't for the massive intestinal discomfort and almost certain death such a diet would produce.
The Charles Wells Pub Company is better known for its less desert-like brews such as Red Stripe, Kirin Ichiban, and Young's Bitter, although Banana Bread Beer isn't entirely a departure for them as they are also the maker's of Young's Double Chocolate Stout.
Let's be honest, a lot of "fruit beers" taste like total crap. Its as if the brewers were trying to create something other than beer. Instead of improving on a great beer they make a Frankenstein-ish brew that doesn't really belong anywhere. Not so with Wells Banana Bread Beer. They've taken the original Charles Wells beer and made a unique expression that still tastes like beer. On the whole, its well balanced and finishes dry to avoid any sickly sweetness you might expect. My only real complaint is that its a bit pricey. (Most likely due the the English still being a bit sore over the thumping we gave them.)
Our Rating: 4/5 (Highly Recommended) Price: $10 for a four pack
It might have been their fighting style...
After I got married I fulfilled one of my oldest fantasies. No, not whatever sick little thing that sentence brought to mind; I started a home bar! But I didn't just start a home bar. In one night I purchased 20 bottles of liquor that I had either seen/tried/heard of, all which I assumed would make for good cocktails. No such luck. Not only was I completely out of my element, but some of those bottles were so bad that they are still in my possession TO THIS DAY (Alcohol never goes bad, right?). But if you don't know what you're doing then where do you begin?
What do you really need?
Good fucking question. One that I honestly can't answer for you because it's different for everybody. Do you pretend to like Martinis? Awesome. Invest in a nice bottle of gin, some dry vermouth, a martini glass, and even a shaker if you so desire. BAM! You've taken the first step toward building your home bar. Assuming you're not a complete lush, that one bottle of gin and vermouth should last you at least a few weeks. Now go ahead and play around with the ratios and try a twist of lemon or a bit of olive juice for a dirty martini. Do whatever you like, make the drink yours, or come out of the closet and admit that what you really wanted all along was an Appletini. Most importantly, drink what you dig. (Personally, I can't drink Appletinis anymore because my penis threatened to leave me.)
One Drink at a Time
Once you no longer have to look up the recipe for the first cocktail you're ready to move onto the second and from there the sky is the limit. The big thing to remember is to just slow the fuck down. Building a home bar that you are actually able to tend is a MARATHON, not a race. Take my advice as someone who did it the ass-backwards way. It's much more fun and much less painful to go slowly. While it's fun to have 15 different bottles on hand, if you don't know how to use them then you're just a tool with too much booze. Instead, use the multiplication method of booze buying: For your second cocktail, choose something that can be mixed with the ingredients from the first. Now you're developing a taste for several cocktails at once, expanding your recipe repertoire, and when folks drop buy you can confidently offer them a well made drink from a place of experience instead of having them blankly stare at your wall o' booze.
BE THE BARTENDER
The whole point of this home bar thing is to share it. To do that you need to not only make cocktails well, but you need to learn enough about them that you can pair your friends with drinks they will actually like. If you know your friends, this isn't as hard as it seems. I find the hardest part is that many people's drinking experience is limited to shots and beer. Getting people to understand there is more to a drink than getting drunk; that you can actually enjoy one or two really well made drinks on their own merit, is the real challenge. You rise to that challenge by knowing them enough to give them something they will appreciate and then making it really well and presenting it in such a way that it elevates the experience. I'm not saying you need to carve floating lotus flowers, but you can manage a fucking lemon twist and an appropriate glass.
Get Some Glass
If you want to really enjoy your home bar you need to get the right glassware. An Old Fashioned goes in a Rocks Glass, a Martini goes in a martini glass, ect. The best way to collect glasses is the same way you built your cocktail repertoire: one at a time. "Where the hell do you get single cocktail glasses!" Two Words: Thrift Stores. These are by far the best places I've found for glasses and their so cheap you really won't care if you break a few. Thrift and Antique Stores are also some of the only places you can find vintage cocktail glasses. The downside is that you are less likely to find a full set. The upside is Frank Sinatra was a serious alcoholic who got around which means a few of those rocks glasses will undoubtedly carry some of his DNA. And who doesn't want their own personal Sinatra clone?
Okay, so the cloning process isn't PERFECT...yet. via gutxihaitz
How did you go about stocking your home bar? Any advice for those just starting out? Why not leave us a comment, smart guy?
I know what you're thinking. "Berry-beer? Just how 'berry' are we talking here?" Very berry, my friend. Very berry indeed. Don't be scared...it'll be ok.
Leinenkugel's makes one of my favorite wheat beers (Sunset Wheat) which we reviewed here not to long ago on the site. I've seen a lot of mixed reviews about Leinenkugel's Sunset Wheat because, when you get right down to it, it tastes an awful lot like Fruit Loops. I'll be honest with you: I'm not really in to dark beers (I know...I need to broaden my beer-horizons) so the fruit loopy thing is right up my alley. Well, if you didn't like that one you won't like this because it takes the fruitiness up another notch.
Ok, maybe it doesn't literally go to 11. But if you don't like sweeter, lighter, wheat beers then you're going to hate this stuff with a passion. Your beer belly might even reject you entirely and waddle its fat self out the door in disgust. But if you're open minded...and maybe a little fruity yourself, this is actually a decent, albeit very sweet, expression of wheat beer.
When I said 'lighter' before I meant color because this is certainly not a sugar-free beer nor is it easy on the calories at 207 per serving. I suppose you could classify this as "dessert beer" if you really wanted to because its really more of a treat than it is something you might sit down with at a meal. The blurb on Leinenkugel's website says that it's brewed with Logan, Elder and Blackberry flavors but the label says it's made with real blackberry juice. The truth is you're going to taste that blackberry more than anything.
It's not quite soda-pop but if you're used to drinking Guinness you just might mistake it for one. On the other hand if you're new to the beer-game or trying to introduce someone there are worse places to start.
Rating: *** (Recommended) Price: $7.50
If you absolutely hate light/fruity beer with a passion then leave us a comment about what beers you'd like us to review next.
Domaine De Canton is a high class booze made with VSOP Cognac (that's like Level 2 cognac) and baby ginger. What is baby ginger? I asked that same questiona and turned to my trusty friend Google for the answer.
That joke was funny to the 15% of our readers who enjoy extra-bad classic cinema. (Context will be provided at the end of this post - promise.)
Now that the bad comedy portion of the review is out of the way...
Domaine de Canton is a pioneer in the Liqueur world who, in my opinion, took a big gamble using ginger as it's base flavor. Then again, with everything from dragon fruit to artichoke hearts (seriously - there's an artichoke flavored booze) already being made into booze, ginger may be all they had left to work with. Why was it a gamble? Well I conducted a survey, which consisted entirely of my drinking buddies, and when asked their opinions of ginger the responses were 98.3% negative. Why do people hate ginger? I'm not sure really, but a lot of people seem to have decidedly unfriendly feeling towards this little root. Before I tasted Domaine de Canton I would have been counted among the scoffers. But tasting is believing, and I'm a believer.
First of all, I have to admit that I am a little bit softened up by the bottle. I've got to put Domaine de Canton up there with the top 5 or so cool bottles I've seen. And you know what, I'm just going to say it: the bottle matters to me. I know this blog is not about the pretentious "my booze is cooler than your booze" argument but I have to say that what a bottle looks like on my bar does cross my mind when I'm making a purchase. (Booze snobs feel free to flame away at my lack of integrity)
But just like any other booze, Domaine de Canton, cannot fly on good looks alone. Luckily Domaine de Canton has the taste to back up that pretty face....bottle....bottle face. The taste is Ginger, yes, but its a sweet ginger that doesn't overpower you. That nice Cognac they threw in there holds its own as well which, I think, qualifies this as something a little closer to a stand alone spirit. Not something I'd drink "neat" all the time; but it doesn't have to be relegated to the category of "just a mixer" either. I think the real strength of Domaine de Canton is all the new drinks you can make and the old ones you can spice up (literally) with it. It's a flavor bartenders and home-tenders haven't been able to incorporate very easily before now.
All things considered, this is a really solid liqueur folks, if you're looking for something new and aren't ginger-prejudiced then you'll definitely have some fun with this.
Our Grade: A / $30 / http://www.domainedecanton.com/