Cupcake Malbec

Cupcake Vineyards Malbec
Mendoza, Argentina

So, here's another Cupcake wine.  I've already reviewed their Red Velvet and Cabernet Sauvignon wines.  I actually found their Red Velvet to be better than their Cab, which surprised me. It was only a matter of time before I reviewed their Malbec...


Septima Malbec

Septima Malbec
Mendoza, Argentina

I know, I know, here's another Malbec.  I've been reviewing quite a few Malbecs.  And I'm good with that.

This is the 2009 Bodega Septima Malbec.  Like most Malbecs, it's also out of the Mendoza Region of Argentina.  


Flip Flop Merlot

Flip Flop Merlot

You never hear people raving about Merlot.  Perhaps that movie, you know the one I'm talking about, ruined it forever.  I'm not saying Merlot is my favorite wine variety either, although I have had a couple really good Merlots this year.


Durigutti Malbec

Durigutti Malbec
Mendoza, Argentina

Well, here's another Malbec.

This is the 2009 Durigutti Malbec from the Mendoza Region of Argentina, like so many other Malbecs.  


Zantho Zweigelt Wine

Zantho Zweigelt
2010 Vintage
Burgenland, Austria


That's right Zweigelt.

For many occasional wine drinkers Zweigelt is probably a word they've never heard before (although it is also referred to as Rotburger).  It's not a big name varietal like Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot.  Nope, this is Zweigelt straight out of the Burgenland Region of Austria.  


Milwaukee's Best Ice Beer

Milwaukee's Best Ice
Miller Brewing Co.
IBU's: ?
Alcohol Content: 5.9%

I'm always amazed to find something I haven't tried before at the grocery store, especially cheap beer.   It seems like I've tried it all!  I don't know what that says about me, but...

Well, here's the review of Milwaukee's Best Ice!  I don't know why this is hard to find here, but it is. 


Smirnoff Ice Cherry Lime

Smirnoff Ice Cherry Lime
Flavored Malt Beverage
Alcohol Content: 4.5%

The other day my wife picked up some drinks for her sister's birthday party.  Now normally, I'm the one trying to find drinks my wife will enjoy, rarely does she pick them out.  
But this time, she did.

I'm actually surprised she chose the Cherry Lime Smirnoff Ice.  I don't know why, I guess I just didn't think it was a flavor she would really enjoy.  

Shows what I know!  


Tinto Negro Malbec

Tinto Negro Malbec
Valle de Uco, Mendoza, Argentina

Ohhhhhhh yes, another Malbec from Argentina.  

This bottle is the 2011 Tinto Negro Malbec produced by Bodega Cruz de Piedra out of Mendoza, Argentina (like a TON of other Malbecs).  


Beringer California Collection Chardonnay

California Collection Chardonnay

About a month ago I reviewed Beringer's California Collection Cabernet Sauvignon (see the review here), which was slightly better than your average sub-$10 bottle of Cab.

Beringer's California Collection is essentially one step up from their entry level wines and as such, costs a couple bucks more a bottle.  They're still cheap wines (being under $10), but a little bit better than the regular versions.  


Stone Cali-Belgie IPA

Stone Cali-Belgie IPA
California/Belgian India Pale Ale
Stone Brewing Co.
Alcohol Content: 6.9%
IBUs': 77

Usually Stone Brewing Company never lets me down.  But maybe I'm getting bitter and old or maybe I'm becoming a beer snob because this time they have.  Sorry, Stone Brewing.  

Let's cut to the chase.


Mike's Hard Fruit Punch

Mike's Hard Fruit Punch
Mike's Hard Lemonade Co.
Seattle, Washington
Alcohol Content: 5.5%
Calories: 230

Well, for the first time in the history of this blog I actually put how many calories were in something.

Not that I care.  Honestly, I don't.


Bogle Merlot

Bogle Merlot
Vintage: 2010

Bogle Vineyards is one of those wineries whose bottles you can find just about everywhere.  
Grocery stores, restaurants, wine cellars.  
They're everywhere.  

I'm not saying that's a bad thing, it's just the way it is.  

It's a winery that sells, well, a lot of wine.  Fair enough.

So this one is the 2010 Bogle Merlot.  


Casillero del Diablo Carmenere Reserve

Casillero del Diablo
Carménère Reserve
Concha y Toro
Vintage: 2010
Origin: Rapel Valley, Chile

If you've read through a good handful of my wine reviews, you'll no doubt see that I'm a big fan of wines from Argentina.  So, it's not surprising that I would also like wines from Argentina's next door neighbor, Chile.


Site Update!

Yes, yes, you read correctly...


Bob's Brew and Liquor Reviews is no longer at http://bobsbrewandliquorreviews.blogspot.com/ BUT is now officially its own top-level domain at www.bobsbrewandliquorreviews.com!

While that may not be super exciting to most of you (or any of you), I'm excited.  I'm moving on up like the Jeffersons (*old reference, I know).

In addition, the blog has undergone a mini-makeover and now doesn't look quite so dark and drab.  It's kind of like that moody chick in school who only wears black, but miraculously one day she comes to school wearing a blue dress.  Shocking.  Except that I'm a man and this isn't a blue dress, it's a blog.  Okay, my analogy made no sense whatsoever.  But, you get my point.

New address.
New look.
New beverage reviews.

Update your bookmarks and check back often.


Cheers, my friends!



Mansinthe Absinthe

Marilyn Manson
Absinthvertrieb Lion/Matter-Luginbuhl
Alcohol Content: 66.6% (133.2 Proof)

By now, you've probably all heard of the Marilyn Manson's absinthe unfortunately named Mansinthe.  Yes, it's a gimmicky name.  And a gimmicky alcohol content (66.6%? Really?).  Which is all obviously a ploy to sell more bottles and increase attention, especially to people who don't drink a lot of absinthe.

But look past all the gimmicky stuff, I'm telling you.  This is a true Swiss-style Absinthe made as a collaborative effort between a German producer and a Swiss distiller, using Marilyn Manson's input, artwork, and name.  

Bottom line, it's good.  

Damn good.

I'm actually kind of sad I haven't taken a picture of the color of this absinthe both pre- and post- louche as it really is quite beautiful, which is weird since I've gone through about half a dozen bottles since its release.  Regardless, Mansinthe initially pours a crystal clear bright lemon-lime green color.  It really is quite striking and brightly colored.  It louches remarkably well, with an impressive bit of swirling as the color shifts to an opaque gray-sea green color.  I've tasted a couple dozen absinthes, and Mansinthe still has my favorite louche.  After the louche, Mansinthe explodes with deep, earthy aromas of anise, fennel, wormwood, and hints of white tea and perfume.  The aroma is quite strong (which is a good thing for absinthe) and you can easily smell it across the room.  Tasting brings an upfront bit of mouth-numbing absinthe goodness, with earthy wormwood, tons of anise and fennel, sweet tea, and mint.  The finish is long and lingering, with the numbing effect staying in your mouth for a good minute.

This is a drink to be sipped and savored, mixed 2:1 or so with water, and served out of a proper absinthe glass.  It's sweet enough that I actually prefer it without sugar, although I don't have much of a sweet tooth.

Easily one of my favorite absinthes and one of the few which I've purchased repeatedly.

Drink This: if you want a tasty, true Swiss Absinthe and can look past all the gimmicks.  I actually enjoy the label artwork.
Don't Drink This: if you're going to take it as shots or light it on fire.  That's just a waste of a great beverage (and at around $60-70 a bottle, that makes you an idiot, seriously).



Maison Nicolas Merlot Reserve

Maison Nicolas Merlot Reserve
Vintage: 2010
Bordeaux, France

When shopping for wine I tend to just buy whatever random bottles I see that I haven't tried yet.  No real rhyme or reason.
Does it look interesting?  Great, I buy it.
Does it look weird?  I buy it. 

Do I have difficulty pronouncing the name? Buy it.

Is there liquid inside? Buy it. 

But sometimes, I do actually go with others' recommendations.  Such is the case here.  This is the 2010 Maison Nicolas Merlot Reserve from the Bordeaux Region of France.  It was recommended to me by the same people at my local wine/beer cellar who talked me into buying a bottle of Tanilla Porter, granted this purchase was considerably more favorable.  
Thank goodness!

Anyway, this is a relatively cheap French wine.  But price can be deceiving.  So let's cut to the chase.

The 2010 Maison Nicolas Merlot Reserve pours a dark, semi-hazy garnet and shares aromas of plums, prunes, cherries, and strawberries.  Tasting brings dried strawberries, cherries, and cranberries blending into notes of stone, a fair bit of pepper, damp earth, and bitter oak in the finish with a good, chewy mouthfeel from the moderately strong tannins.  

In some ways, this almost tastes like a Merlot mixed with a California Zinfandel.  It's an interesting and intriguing wine, and quite honestly the best Merlot I've had this entire year.  And that's saying something, especially since it only costs around $8-12 depending on where you find it.  The price is deceptively cheap for how tasty this wine is.  

I could pair this with game meat several times a week and be a happy, happy guy.

Drink This: if you want a great bang-for-your-buck French Merlot.
Don't Drink This: if you don't like tasty, tasty French red wines...



Gabbiano Chianti

Gabbiano Chianti
Sangiovese Blend
Vintage: 2009
Origin: Tuscany, Italy

Every time I drink Chianti I kind of feel like Hannibal Lecter.  Especially since I'm usually eating it with a nice side of fava beans.  
But hey, that's just me.

This is Castello di Gabbiano's entry-level Chianti at only around $6-7 a bottle.  They make a few others, with the price going up several dollars each step, which actually is pretty reasonable all things considered.  The Gabbiano Chianti is 90% Sangiovese and 10% other red grapes.  I won't go into the rules behind what can be considered Chianti, but I already wrote about it last year sometime if you want to search for it.  It's nothing overly exciting yet I feel more knowledge is always a good thing.

So, let's get to it.  The 2009 Gabbiano Chianti pours a medium-dark ruby red.  I get quite a bit of cherry aromas with some damp earthiness hiding in there.  Tasting brings a light-bodied, thin bit of smooth red cherries, a bit of nondescript spice, followed by more of that damp musty earthiness and a smooth, short finish.

This is pretty straightforward as far as Chiantis go.  It's cherry-centric and light.  The slight earthiness does add a bit of depth but that's about the extent of flavors here.  All in all, drinkable and decent for the price, and it can certainly be a good weeknight pairing for pizza or something similar.

Drink This: if you want a cheap way to feel like Hannibal Lecter.  But seriously, this wine isn't bad for the price, although it is a bit too simple and straightforward compared to a few similarly priced Chiantis.
Don't Drink This: if you can spare a few more bucks and buy their Gabbiano Chianti Classico Riserva which I find quite a bit better.




Colores Del Sol Malbec

Colores Del Sol
Vintage: 2010
Origin: Mendoza, Argentina

I drink a lot of Malbec.  No question there. 

And well, here's another one.  

This is the 2010 Colores Del Sol Malbec from the Mendoza Region of Argentina, just like many Malbecs.  I'm starting to wonder how big the Mendoza Region of Argentina really is, because there are a TON of wines all produced in that same region.  Perhaps it's like California where many vineyards are packed into the same area.  I'm not sure.  Maybe I'll look it up sometime, but today I'm too lazy.  

It happens.

Let's get to the wine.

The 2010 Colores Del Sol Malbec pours an inky deep purple and has aromas of dark blackberries and black cherries.  Tasting brings a good bit of raspberry, dried cherries, a hint of something floral and a touch of leather and oak.  Tannins are mild, but the mouthfeel here is quite velvety, which I love.  

This is an interesting Malbec.  It retains the characteristic rustic nature of Malbec while at the same time being a bit more elegant and refined.  It's almost a hybrid between the Argentinian and French wine styles.  And at around $12, it's a good verging on great deal.

Drink This: if you want an affordable Malbec that is more refined than the usual at this price range.
Don't Drink This: if you are looking for a burly, rugged Malbec.



Tanilla Porter

Tanilla Porter
Knee Deep Brewing Company
IBU's: 30
Alcohol Content: 6.3%
Every time I go to my favorite wine/beer cellar they're always trying to get me to buy one beer...


And I've had Tanilla a few times at a restaurant, so I know what it's like.  But every time I go in to this store, without fail, they try to get me to buy some.  I even give in a little and will take a small free couple ounce sample every now and then.  Okay, I will always take a free sample.

Well, I finally gave in and bought a bottle from them.  They wore me down and it worked. 

So now, we dance!  

I mean... review.  Well, you can dance if you want to, but I'm going to write this review.

Tanilla is a porter from Knee Deep Brewing Company out of Lincoln, California.  When you pour it, it looks remarkably like cola, from the color to the carbonation that only forms a meager, short-lasting head.  It smells of medium-roasted malts, coffee, and vanilla.  Tasting brings about a good bit of vanilla bean, roasty malts, and a bittersweet finish.  

Now, this isn't a terrible beer, but with all the hype the guys at the wine cellar give it, I would expect more.  Afterall, that's where I typically buy The Abyss.  Bottom line, this is a thin, simple vanilla-flavored porter.  I've heard they make an Imperial Tanilla which I bet is a helluva lot more badass. 

Personally, I prefer my porters with a little more girth.  

Drink This: if you want a basic vanilla-flavored porter.
Don't Drink This: if you want a big, burly porter. 



Purple Cowboy Tenacious Red

Purple Cowboy
Tenacious Red
Cabernet Sauvignon-Syrah Blend 
 Vintage: 2010
Origin: California
Paso Robles Appellation

Purple Cowboy.

That's right, Purple Cowboy.

In an extremely juvenile way, I find that name kind of funny.  I almost want to make a Brokeback Mountain reference or tell a dirty joke.  The name just sounds like some sort of innuendo.  Purple Cowboy.  My wife actually didn't believe me at first that this was the wine's real name.  True story.

But, we're here for the drinks.  So, let's get to it.

Purple Cowboy is supposedly named after a group of early California cowboys/winemakers who made dark wine which stained their teeth purple.  I don't know if that's true, but the name certainly gets your attention.  And again, I kind of want to tell a dirty joke.

Anyway, this is the 2010 Purple Cowboy Tenacious Red, a Californian Cabernet-Syrah blend.  It pours a dark purple (imagine that!) and has strong aromas of blackberries, black cherries, and a touch of spice and leather.  Tastings brings sweet cherries, dark fruit, and chocolate followed by an unusually short finish.

This is a confusing wine for me.  It smells dark, luscious, and sinful but tastes very sweet and cherry-forward with a short finish.  Meaning it smells much better than it tastes.  Now there's nothing awful about it and it's certainly quite drinkable, but it tastes kind of ordinary, especially following the delicious aromas.  

So, there you go.  Not bad, not great.  

But perhaps at least, it'll stain your teeth purple so you can throw on your sexy chaps and dance around like a Purple Cowboy.  Or something.

Drink This: if you want a reasonably cheap Cabernet-Syrah blend that tastes of sweet cherries, but smells luscious and dark.
Don't Drink This: if you're not down with the Purple Cowboy.  And I don't really know what I mean by that...



Alamos Cabernet Sauvignon 2008, 2009, and 2010

Alamos Cabernet Sauvignon
Vintage: 2008, 2009, and 2010
Bodega Catena Zapata
Origin: Mendoza, Argentina

I've been reviewing a  fair bit of wines lately, but who's complaining?!  Not this guy.

It's not too often that I get to taste more than one vintage of the same wine side-by-side.  Apart sure.  But side-by-side? 

Well, today's my lucky day!
Here are three vintages of the Alamos Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2008, 2009, and 2010.  Not too long ago I reviewed the Alamos Torrontes, which I enjoyed quite a bit so I was hoping their Cabernet would fair as well.  Especially since these are easy wines to find just about everywhere.  

Enough talk.  Let's taste these bad boys.

All three pour approximately the same dark magenta color.  The 2008 smells of cherries, currants, and vanilla, with this carrying forward into a palate of sweet, soft cherries, hints of herbs and oak.

The 2009 smells and tastes a bit more vibrant with aromas of black cherry and leather followed by tastes of zesty sour cherries, raspberries, plums, a touch of tobacco and other herbs.

The 2010 has aromas of black cherries and vanilla followed by tastes of raspberries, blackberries, and a bit of nondescript herbs. 

So to sum it all up the 2008 is far and above the sweetest and has a soft, velvety mouthfeel.  The 2009 is tart, zesty, and the liveliest of the bunch.  The 2010, however, is a bit too juicy and flabby ending up kind of boring.  I really enjoyed the 2009, with the 2008 being a decent pour.

Well, there you have it.  And no, there's not a "Drink this/Don't Drink this" report for the review this time since I just don't feel like it... and it's my blog, so there!  

Now I just need to find a bottle of the 2011 Alamos Cabernet Sauvignon...





Pinnacle Cotton Candy Vodka

Pinnacle Cotton Candy
Flavored Vodka
35% Alcohol (70 Proof)

My wife doesn't like the taste of alcohol.  

She doesn't like the burn, doesn't like taking shots, doesn't like most wines, and most definitely does not like booze on the rocks.


...she does like a sweet drink and getting a chance to relax.

This has always made it tricky for me.  I like dark red wine, in-your-face beers, Islay Scotch, high-proof bourbon, and booze that smacks you in the face and calls you names.  Not exactly my wife's favorites.  

I've been on this unending quest to find something my wife will drink.  There have been a few decent options she will drink from time to time, but for the most part, she will try something I buy her a time or two then never drink it again.  Leaving me with a mostly full bottle of overly sweet, overly girly booze hogging up room in my liquor cabinet.  Not cool.

So, here's another recent purchase, the new Pinnacle Cotton Candy Vodka.  

Pinnacle's Whipped Vodka has been getting a ton of press lately and I always hear people talking about it.  Why?  Who the hell knows. It's certainly not nearly as good as Smirnoff's Whipped Cream Vodka or Hiram Walker's Whipped Cream Liqueur, both of which are comparable in price.  Could be marketing.  Could be it's just gone viral like a bad STD all the skanky hot girls are spreading.

Regardless, Pinnacle makes a copious amount of flavored vodkas and this is another harlot in their bordello.

The Pinnacle Cotton Candy vodka pours crystal clear as any vodka should.  It smells like sugar mixed with disinfectant.  I guess that only makes sense considering alcohol is a prime ingredient in a lot of antibacterial cleaners.  But it's a disconcertingly odd combination.  Tasting brings a considerably amount of bitterness, much more than regular Pinnacle Vodka, along with artificial sweetener notes, and more of that overbearing bitterness lingering throughout the finish.  

I'm honestly surprised with how tame the sweetness is here, but unfortunately it's been replaced with quite a bit of artificial sweetener bitterness like someone poured a bunch of Sweet 'N Low, Splenda, and Stevia packets into a perfectly good bottle of Pinnacle vodka.  Icing down the bottle (in the freezer or ice) certainly seems to tone down the flavors and make it still a ridiculously girly shot of booze.  It certainly smells much more like cotton candy than it tastes.

What about cocktails you say?  Well, my wife and her mother tried mixing Pinnacle Cotton Candy vodka with several different kinds of sodas and multiple types of juice every night over a three-day weekend to no avail.  For them (and they like girly ass cocktails) it was still too bitter tasting even in small amounts.  

So where does that leave me?  With another mostly full bottle of sissy booze sitting around with no one drinking it.  Fantastic.

Drink This: if you ice it down in the freezer and take it as a big, girly shot of booze.
Don't Drink This: if you are looking for a mixer.  I'm sure it may mix well with something (pineapple juice, perhaps?), but the artificial bitterness was a bit too much in cocktails for my wife and her mother.  I would stick with some of Pinnacle's other flavored vodkas over this one.



Buck Range Light Beer

Buck Range Light
American Light Lager Beer
Genesee Brewing/Dundee Brewing
IBU's: Pretty Much None
Alcohol Content: 3.6%

Not too long ago I was getting a couple groceries and decided I would swing by the beer aisle to see if there was anything new or seasonal.  And what did I find?

Buck Range Light.

I looked at the 12 pack and thought, "Hey another cheap ass beer and it's only $6 a 12 pack!"  It seemed worth a try at that price, afterall I have paid more than twice that for an awesome single craft beer many a time.  At only $6 I was kind of thinking it might be malt liquor, actually.  And being geared toward hunters and outdoorsmen, that was totally possible.

I got home and opened one up.  Tasted it and thought, "Wow, this tastes like water.  Seriously, like... water."  I looked it up trying to figure out who made it and anything about it.  Turns out, this is a beer that is sold exclusively by a few grocery store chains owned by SUPERVALU including Alberstons, Jewel-Osco, Cub Foods, and Farm Fresh.  The breweries that make it, Genesee and Dundee Brewing companies, both don't list it on their websites.  
Can anyone say... embarrassed?  

Adding fuel to the fire is the fact that this beer is only 3.6% alcohol.  So not only is it watery, it has pretty much no alcohol.
But hey, at least the can is blue.

Buck Range Light pours an extremely light urine-colored yellow with a super thin fading head and smells of only hints of light malts and a vague skunkiness.  It tastes, as I said before, incredibly watery with hints of typical American light lager flavors, vague light malts, and tap water (think 50% water, 50% Bud Light).  It has pretty much no aftertaste and is so over-carbonated you'll be burping and feeling full of air for quite some time.

I know a guy who supposedly drank 18 of these in one night and didn't get a buzz.  
And I believe it.

Drink This: if you can find it on sale for $2 a 12 pack and don't mind watery, weak ass beer.
Don't Drink This: if you can find any other beer. 



Stone Vertical Epic Ale 11.11.11

Stone Vertical Epic 11.11.11
Belgian-Style Strong Pale Ale
IBU's: 65
Alcohol Content: 9.4%

I've already professed my love for Stone Brewing Company too many times.  They make so many damn good beers that it blows my mind.  

And they don't pay me to say that.  I wish they did... 
but they don't.  

So, let's make this short and sweet.  Here's another annually released beer from Stone Brewing, their Vertical Epic 11.11.11 which is a bottle-conditioned Belgian-style Strong Pale Ale brewed with cinnamon and green Annaheim chillis, with a respectable 9.4% alcohol and a moderate 65 IBU's. 

Yes, cinnamon and green chillis.  In this beer and in your belly.

The Stone Vertical Epic '11 pours a dark reddish mahogany color with a big, creamy off-white head.  It smells of cinnamon, caramel, and hints of spices and bananas, which reminds me of a Bananas Foster.  Tasting brings more of those Belgian banana notes, a gentle warming heat, Christmas pie spices, sweet caramel malts, hints of butterscotch, and mild hops in the finish, with a touch of the chili heat mixing with the 9.4% alcohol in the aftertaste.

To say there's a lot going on here would be an understatement.  No joke.  

But is it epic?  
I'm on the fence with that.  In complexity, yes.  In smack-your-tongue-hardcore-beerness, no. 

It's kind of like a Belgian beer, a Winter Warmer, and a Chili Beer had a wild threesome and this is what popped out 9 months later.  I know that's not how getting pregnant really works, but it's just a metaphor, alright?  Anyway, it's still a great beer and drinkable, just not epic nor my favorite from Stone Brewing.

Drink This: if you'd like to try a complex Belgian Beer that has characteristics of a Winter Warmer and a Chili Beer.
Don't Drink This: if your favorite beer is Bud Light.  Sorry, this isn't for you.



Steel Reserve High Gravity Lager

Steel Reserve
Steel Brewing Company
High Gravity Lager Beer (Malt Liquor?)
Alcohol Content: 8.1%

Who drinks Steel Reserve out of a fancy glass?

This guy.

Okay, so more than anything I thought it was funny pouring a cheap beer into a fancy glass, kind of like when I tasted Tilt Blue Raspberry out of a stemless wine glass.  But with its boozy 8.1% alcohol, it is kind of fitting in a weird, sinful way.

Steel Reserve is one of those bottom shelf beers you always see in gas stations and supermarkets.  

It's cheap.
Like ridiculously cheap.
Like as cheap as Olympia and Natural Light, and cheaper than Keystone.  

But the one thing Steel Reserve has going for it is alcohol content.  It's a respectable 8.1%.  And while, yes, that's not necessarily a ton compared to a lot of craft beers, this stuff is a fraction of the cost.  Literally.  Like 50-60 cents a can here.  That's cheaper than soda and a lot more fun.

Steel Reserve calls their beer a "High Gravity Lager," although it could technically be called a malt liquor since it's obviously made with adjunct ingredients (e.g. corn, rice, etc.) instead of just barley.  They report that it is slow brewed for 28 days and with extra barley.  I don't know if that really makes it any better, but whatever.  Let's taste this brew...

Steel Reserve pours a light golden amber with a thin, bubbly and quickly disappearing head.  It smells of sweet malts, corn, hints of wheat bread, and harsh alcohol.  Tasting brings flavors of sweet fermented corn, lightly toasted malts, sourdough bread, memories of high school drunkenness, and a big hit of harsh booziness.  

While this is one of the more drinkable malt liquor-type beers (considerably better than Olde English), it still isn't great in the grand scheme of things.  It's a bit too sweet and harsh, but hey it's cheap and it succeeds in what it's meant for: getting you a cheap buzz.  
And for that, Steel Reserve, I commend you.

Drink This: if you want a a strong, above-average, cheap ass beer.
Don't Drink This: if you don't like a sweet, funky, trashy malt liquor.




Hiram Walker Whipped Cream and Recipes

Hiram Walker Whipped Cream
Imitation Liqueur
35% Alcohol (70 Proof)

I'm still trying to find something my wife will drink, which believe me, has been no easy task.

She is just soooooooo picky.  

But, I still love her. 

There have been a couple good contenders that she will actually drink from time to time (see the reviews of Smirnoff Whipped Cream Vodka and Disaronno), but conversely there have also been a ridiculous amount of failed attempts (see Smirnoff Melon), most of which I have never formally reviewed.

Fortunately since my wife enjoyed Smirnoff Whipped Cream Vodka, and to a lesser degree their Marshmallow Vodka, both mixed with root beer, orange juice, or cola, I was excited to have a bottle of Hiram Walker's new Whipped Cream Liqueur show up at my door.  

Hiram Walker always seems to be coming out with new flavors a couple times a year.  The ones which I have previously reviewed have been surprisingly good for only costing around $10 a bottle (Check out all my Hiram Walker reviews here).  Apparently Whipped Cream flavored booze is becoming all the rage.  So if Hiram Walker wants to enter the ring and face off Chuck Norris-style with Smirnoff's Whipped Cream Vodka and Pinnacle's Whipped Vodka, fine by me!

Hiram Walker's new Whipped Cream comes in a spiffy pretty blue bottle, despite the booze being crystal clear.  It's technically an "imitation liqueur," which is a bit confusing and honestly I didn't know what that meant exactly... 

So, being the booze nerd that I am, I looked it up.  

Apparently there is a limit on how much vanillin plus ethyl vanillin (<40 parts per million) and maltol plus ethyl maltol (<250 parts per million) can be used in an alcoholic product designated as a "liqueur."  If the combined levels reach past either of these limits it has to be labeled "imitation liqueur."  This is because by definition liqueur is a distilled alcohol flavored with natural ingredients and bottled with additional sugar (although the US does allow small additions of artificial ingredients and colorings). Maltol has aromas of cotton candy and caramel, and vanillin, obviously, is a synthetic vanilla flavoring.  My guess would be that this Hiram Walker Whipped Cream contains over these limits of both maltol and vanillin, hence its designation as "imitation liqueur." 

Okay, enough nerding out. 
Back to the drinking...

This is Hiram Walker's new baby and I'm excited that unlike some of their other liqueurs and schnapps, it's a respectable 70 Proof.  It smells of straight up buttercream frosting, loads of vanilla, sugar, and cream.  Tasting brings forth a smooth mouthful of sugary vanilla, with a nice creamy finish. 

This is considerably smoother and sweeter than Pinnacle Whipped and less artificial tasting than Smirnoff Whipped Cream Vodka.  These are the only three whipped cream flavored drinks that I've tried thus far, but honestly, Hiram Walker's is easily the best of the bunch.  It's sweet, creamy, smooth, and the cheapest (Retails for only $9.99).  Granted this isn't my usual type of drink, but for my wife and her girly friends, it's a great option.

So, there you go.  Now some RECIPES courtesy of Hiram Walker:

“Whipped Russian”
1 part Hiram Walker Whipped Liqueur
1 part Kahlua
½ part half & half
Shake well with ice.  Strain over crushed ice and serve

“Whipped Cream-Sicle”
1 part Hiram Walker Whipped Liqueur
1 ½ parts Absolut Mandrin
Club Soda
Shake with ice Hiram Walker Whipped Liqueur and Absolut Mandrin.  Strain into tall glass with ice.  Top with club soda, garnish with an orange wheel

“Hot Chocolate Whipped”
1 part Hiram Walker Whipped Liqueur
4 parts Hot Chocolate
Pour hot chocolate into mug, add Hiram Walker Whipped Liqueur and serve

1 part Hiram Walker Whipped Liqueur
1.5 parts Hiram Walker Triple Sec
1.5 parts Cranberry Juice
.5 part fresh lime juice
Shake all ingredients in shaker and strain into chilled cocktail glass.  Garnish with an orange twist

Or you can always mix Hiram Walker Whipped Cream with orange juice (Creamsicle) or root beer (Root Beer Float) or cola (I don't know what that would be called, Whipped Coke?) or with your morning coffee if you want to get the day started with a bang!  Now I just need to see if my wife will adopt another favorite for her mixed drinks!

Drink This: if you want a sweet, smooth whipped cream flavored booze. 
Don't Drink This: if you don't like sweet things.



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