Unusual Drinks (Part 3)

Some of the many, many bottles. Source: AlcoholReviews.com.

Some weeks back I made a decision: I would buy no new bottles of liquor for as long as possible. My reason was not anxiety about my weight or a sudden conversion to teetotalism. No, I had simply grown tired of looking at the dozens upon dozens of bottles lining the counter and cupboards of my man cave. Nearly all of which had arrived as samples sent by drinks companies and their public relations firms.

I had intended to clear them out by throwing a free booze party for friends: show up with a bag backpack, taste anything you want, and walk out. I did this once about 15 years ago in Brooklyn, and I’ll never forget hearing the clanking of bottles departing my railroad apartment and into the Brooklyn night. And what fun we had.

That  was in my younger freer days, and now busy-ness kept me from arranging a sequel saturnalia. Might I pour them down the drain? That would be the most efficient solution. Dumping the product of nature and man, however, felt like vandalism—a sin of sorts.

What to do? A passage from Fyodor Dostoevski’s The Insulted and Injured (1861) recurred to me. “We shall have to work out our future happiness somehow by suffering; pay for it somehow by fresh miseries. Everything is purified by suffering.” Continue reading “Unusual Drinks (Part 3)”


Full Sail Wassail Ale , Half Pipe Porter, and Rogue Amber American Ale

Editor’s note: We’re republishing this article from February 2003 because the old copy still gets so much reader traffic.

God love the folks at Full Sail. Everything they do tastes great. This Wassail winter brew is a real biggin: it’s 6.5% ABV, robust flavored, offering a little mocha, cinnamon, coriander…Goodness. This is one big brown beer that grows tastier and tastier as it warms. Eat up! (Rating: Very Good)

The Half Pipe Porter is also grand. It’s a nearly black, fat headed brew. As with the Wassail, let it warm and breath a bit and you will be rewarded: soft smoke, chocolate…Yet it is not a huge, mouth blowing ale. Dare we say that it is delicate and restrained? Regardless- do try this one. (Rating: Very Good) For more information about Full Sail beers, surf to http://www.FullSail.com.

As for this Rogue brew, well….

This brew is a beauty. Looks like a nutbrown when poured into a glass. It is malty, sweet, full-flavored, and full bodied. It’s an under 75 degrees Farenheit weather sort of brew that closes softly with delicious Cascade and Kent Golding hops. Yum. (Rating: Very Good) For more information on Rogue ales, surf to http://www.Rogue.com.





McCarthy’s Oregon Single Malt Whiskey

The American micro-distilling movement rolls on!

McCarthy’s is produced by Clear Creek Distillery of Portland, Oregon. This bottle (Batch W09-01, bottled August 3, 2009) was barrel-aged three years and weighs in at 93 proof. We were delighted to read the label’s declaration, “This whiskey was not cold stabilized and filtered prior to bottling.” The Scottish barley used to make this whiskey was fermented by Widmer Bros. Brewing Company.

This is a pretty robust Scotch-like whiskey. Its primary flavors are iodine and smoke, so lovers of Islay malts (like Ardbeg and Laphroaig) and perhaps Talisker might find this malt appealing.  We enjoyed it both neat and with an ice cube.  Bravo!  (Rating ****1/4)

For further information, surf to http://clearcreekdistillery.com/whiskey.html

Bottles can be found for sale at $40 to $50 a pop: http://bit.ly/riEk8k


Vision Vodka

This wheat vodka is distilled in Cottage Grove, Oregon—by whom is not advertised on the bottle.  Could it be Side Pocket Corp?  Yep, we are told—although Side Pocket now is called Meyers Distilling & Beverage Company.  Ambition Beverages, meanwhile, owns the Vision brand.

Anyhoo, this is one of those vodas that we urge folks to try and to try it chilled and neat.  No mixers, no ice, just the vodka and your palate.

Take a small sip, let it roll about the inside of your mouth, and then swallow.  Guess what—no burn.  It closes slightly dry and gently.

Repeat this little exercise and you will detect this vodka’s slightly sweet flavor profile; you also will taste a bit of grain (perhaps the wheat used in it), a citrus note, and a mild mocha-like flavor.

And you thought vodka was flavorless!  (Rating ****1/4)

A liter of Vision Vodka (80 proof) retails for $30 to $35. You can read more about Vision Vodka at http://www.VisionVodka.com/.


Age Your Own Whiskey

Age Your Own Whiskey

Some time back I reported on Wasmund’s offering an age-it-yourself whiskey kit.

Recently, UrbanDaddy.com published an interesting story on an outfit that allow you to age your own whiskey—House Spirits Distillery in Portland, Oregon. It is not a cheap—the cost to producing whiskey your way is about $50 per bottle.

This, for sure, is one more sign of the growing personalization of whiskey, a trend I describe in Whiskey: A Global History.