Friday, February 27, 2009
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
We put them in our cocktails, but how well do we know them?
Here's some biographical detail on the men behind your favorite tipples:
1. Captain Morgan
The Captain wasn't always just the choice of sorority girls looking to blend spiced rum with Diet Coke; in the 17th century he was a feared privateer.
Not only did the Welsh pirate marry his own cousin, he ran risky missions for the governor of Jamaica, including capturing some Spanish prisoners in Cuba and sacking Port-au-Prince in Haiti.
He then plundered the Cuban coast before holding for ransom the entire city of Portobelo, Panama.
He later looted and burned Panama City, but his pillaging career came to an end when Spain and England signed a peace treaty in 1671.
Instead of getting in trouble for his high-seas antics, Morgan received knighthood and became the lieutenant governor of Jamaica.
2. Johnnie Walker
Walker, the name behind the world's most popular brand of Scotch whisky, was born in 1805 in Ayrshire, Scotland.
When his father died in 1819, Johnnie inherited a trust of a little over 400 pounds, which the trustees invested in a grocery store.
Walker became a very successful grocer in the town of Kilmarnock and even sold a whisky, Walker's Kilmarnock Whisky.
Johnnie's son Alexander was the one who actually turned the family into famous whisky men, though.
Alexander had spent time in Glasgow learning how to blend teas, but he eventually returned to Kilmarnock to take over the grocery from his father.
Alexander turned his blending expertise to whisky, and came up with "Old Highland Whisky," which later became Johnnie Walker Black Label.
3. Jack Daniel
Jasper Newton "Jack" Daniel of Tennessee whiskey fame was the descendant of Welsh settlers who came to the United States in the early 19th century.
He was born in 1846 or 1850 and was one of 13 children.
By 1866 he was distilling whiskey in Lynchburg, Tennessee.
Unfortunately for the distiller, he had a bit of a temper. One morning in 1911 Daniel showed up for work early and couldn't get his safe open.
He flew off the handle and kicked the offending strongbox. The kick was so ferocious that Daniel injured his toe, which then became infected.
The infection soon became the blood poisoning that killed the whiskey mogul.
Curious about why your bottle of J.D. also has Lem Motlow listed as the distillery's proprietor? Daniel's own busy life of distilling and safe-kicking kept him from ever finding a wife and siring an heir, so in 1907 he gave the distillery to his beloved nephew Lem Motlow, who had come to work for him as a bookkeeper.
4. Jose Cuervo
In 1758, Jose Antonio de Cuervo received a land grant from the King of Spain to start an agave farm in the Jalisco region of Mexico.
Jose used his agave plants to make mescal, a popular Mexican liquor. In 1795, King Carlos IV gave the land grant to Cuervo's descendant Jose Maria Guadalupe de Cuervo.
Carlos IV also granted the Cuervo family the first license to commercially make tequila, so they built a larger factory on the existing land.
The family started packaging their wares in individual bottles in 1880, and in 1900 the booze started going by the brand name Jose Cuervo.
The brand is still under the leadership of the original Jose Cuervo's family; current boss Juan-Domingo Beckmann is the sixth generation of Cuervo ancestors to run the company.
5. Jim Beam
Jim Beam, the namesake of the world's best-selling bourbon whiskey, didn't actually start the distillery that now bears his name.
His great-grandfather Jacob Beam opened the distillery in 1788 and started selling his first barrels of whiskey in 1795.
In those days, the whiskey went by the less-catchy moniker of "Old Tub."
Jacob Beam handed down the distillery to his son David Beam, who in turn passed it along to his son David M. Beam, who eventually handed the operation off to his son, Colonel James Beauregard Beam, in 1894.
Although he was only 30 years old when he took over the family business, Jim Beam ran the distillery until Prohibition shut him down.
Following repeal in 1933, Jim quickly built a distillery and began resurrecting the Old Tub brand, but he also added something new to the company's portfolio: a bourbon simply called Jim Beam.
When he was a young boy, Charles Tanqueray's path through life seemed pretty clear. He was the product of three straight generations of Bedfordshire clergymen, so it must have seemed natural to assume that he would take up the cloth himself.
Instead, he started distilling gin in 1830 in a little plant in London's Bloomsbury district.
By 1847, he was shipping his gin to colonies around the British Empire, where many plantation owners and troops had developed a taste for Tanqueray and tonic.
Friday, December 12, 2008
In recent years, Soft Red has become one of our most popular wines. Lusciously fruity, it is balanced with crisp acidity to please both novice and seasoned wine drinkers. 2006 was an outstanding vintage in which all our fruit ripened before winter weather arrived. The premium red grapes we use for Soft Red were fermented on their skins to extract color and flavor before the fermentation was arrested to achieve a lower alcohol level with balanced residual sweetness.
Delicate strawberry and cherry aromas with a hint of chocolate introduce a richly textured wine with abundant fruit flavors balanced by a clean, crisp finish. A perfect red for white and red wine lovers alike. Delightful served well-chilled on its own or with fruit, cheese and light desserts. It’s also an outstanding barbecue and picnic wine.
Over ice, Cîroc vodka is truly a delight. The five distillations allow for the vodka to go down extremely smooth, and the taste is a light and fresh one. The finish is a sweet one with a very noticeable grape taste. It’s not like drinking wine or anything, but this unique grape finish does an exceptional job covering the traditional vodka burn or rubbing alcohol-like aftertaste most of us expect when drinking vodka on the rocks. This vodka stands as one of a mere handful I prefer to drink without even a splash of tonic water.
As delicious as Cîroc is to sip on the rocks, it is even more wonderful with a little Sprite©. It was really hard for me to muster the courage to actually mix this delicious vodka; I was terrified that it would water it down too much. I have no problem admitting I was wrong. I would recommend using a little more vodka than Sprite© in the mixture because the two compliment each other incredibly well. The mixed drink tastes like a slightly sweeter variation of the soda with an extremely pleasant and light grape aftertaste. The Coca-Cola Company should partner with the people at Cîroc to produce pre-mixed versions of this concoction. It is truly that good. Just try to remember that there is vodka in the drink because you will think you are sipping on a light and icy dessert. I don’t want to be responsible for you doing something stupid like spilling your liquor.
80-proof Cîroc gave me a nice buzz rather quickly, and after four drinks, I was floating in drunken bliss. I was definitely intoxicated, but the alcohol sat lightly on my stomach, and I still felt as though I was in control of myself. I was just very calm and felt warm and fuzzy inside. Naturally, I couldn’t stop this delight at merely four drinks. I ended up consuming about seven or eight of these delicious beverages over the course of the next couple hours. Surprisingly, I awoke the next morning with absolutely no trace of a hangover! My eyes were a little dry, but that is normal for me on any given morning. There was no headache, and I didn’t even have the slightest bit of dry mouth. I found myself completely naked and on top of my sheets with my clothes randomly strewn about the room. I found that a little odd, but the complete lack of a hangover totally put my mind at ease about the whole situation. I’m glad I got that off my chest. Doesn’t that sound sexy, ladies?
I read that Cîroc inked P-Diddy or the artist fromerly known as Puff Daddy, or whatever the hell he wants to be called, to do advertisments in 2008. I cringe at the thought of him talking about this stuff, but I guess they want to try to reach a younger audience or something. I personally don’t know anyone who would listen to what he has to say about anything, but they are paying him millions. Perhaps that’s why this vodka is steep in price. Plunking out 30-something dollars for a bottle may seem a little ridiculous for a fifth of vodka, but if you are looking for a new vodka experience, it’s a small price to pay for Cîroc. I’ve tasted a handful of “ultra-premium” vodkas that cost more than twice that of Cîroc that really don’t hold a candle to it. If you’ve ever even remotely enjoyed vodka, borrow, steal, or finagle some cash for Cîroc. You will be impressed.
Published on December 31st, 2007 in Liquors of the Month, Vodka by Hunter
Monday, November 24, 2008
2005 Chateau Olce Bordeaux -Certainly a wine for Bordeaux drinkers rather than Cali wine regulars, this medium bodied effort is understated and elegant. Nice Merlot-oriented notes of plum throughout, with hints of iron and graphite on the nose. You can probably drink this one over the next 5 years.
2007 Tait Barossa Valley - (Shiraz 71%, Cabernet Sauvignon 19%,Merlot 10%). "I don't know what aromas and flavors you'll find when you try this wine - wine appreciation is so subjective and often too pretentious for my liking. I make my wines the way I like them - big, thick, juicy and deep in color. I wanted to name this wine "Michelle's Block" - after my wife. But that conjures up visions of a soft and elegant sort of wine - and trust me, this little beauty is nothing like that. She's broad shouldered, built like a stallion and packs an intensity of flavor - like only the Barossa can deliver. She's what I call "The Ball Buster"....and so is this wine! Enjoy it - Cheers! signed Bruno Tait - winemaker
2007 Bitch South Australia Grenache - Bitch, a provocatively named 100% Grenache from R Wines, achieves the potential of this difficult-to-grow grape. Winemakers Chris Ringland and Lisa Wetherell use fruit from the Barossa Valley in South Australia. Yields from the 25-year-old vines grown in sand over clay are modest, 3 to 5 tons an acre. Ripe quince and lifted spice with a rich juicy concentration, along with intensely perfumed characters come from the sandy loam soil, and dark berry characters from the heavier red-brown soils. Life may be a bitch, but this wine will keep the complaints away, at least while you're drinking it!
Kahlua French Vanilla - Enjoy the unique taste of Kahlua enhanced with the distinctive character of French Vanilla. Try a Kahlua French Vanilla White Russian or for an exotic twist try: 3 parts Kahlua French Vanilla, 1 part Vodka, 1 part milk or cream, 2 parts chilled coffee. Pour over ice, garnish with a mint leaf.
Kahlua Hazelnut - Enjoy the unique experience of Kahlua enhanced with the bold and smooth taste of roasted hazelnut. Try a Kahlua Hazelnut White Russian or for a twist try: 1 part Kahlua hazelnut, 2 parts coffee, garnish with a cinnamon stick.
Lunazul Reposado Tequila - 100% Agave. At only $23.99 for a 750ml size bottle this is an exceptional buy for a 100% agave tequila! Plus right now through January 6,2009, there is also a $10 mail in rebate! A great tequila at an even greater price!
Dekuyper Kamikaze Burst and Washington Apple Burst- Delivers that flavorful taste explosion you crave. Experience the DeKuyper Burst line of products, enjoyed staight-up or in an exciting new mixed shot.