Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Tuesday Tasting: Six Odds and Ends from the Fridge & Liquor Cabinet
Tuesday Tasting is a regular feature of Lyke2Drink that explores some of the best beers, wines and spirits on the market. This week we try really hard to clean out the refrigerator and liquor cabinet.
I've mentioned before that one of the occupational hazards of writing a beverage blog is that people send you samples. I know what you're thinking: Sign me up. I have to agree with you most of the time. It does create issues at times. Believe it or not, every beer is not great. Some whiskey misses the mark. And what can you say when that chardonnay resembles vinegar?
Then there are the times when holidays, travel, work, family, events, writing assignments and life in general can make it difficult to keep on top of the arriving samples in a timely manner. The backlog can be frustrating. My general attitude is that if they are nice enough to send it to me, I ought to have the common decency to taste the samples and blog about them. Keep in mind, with regular magazine writing assignments, I also usually have 8-12 samples on a monthly basis to evaluate for an upcoming story. Deadlines, there are always deadlines.
So that's why this edition of Tuesday Tasting is a bit of a grab bag. Hang on to your hat. We're about to cover a bunch of ground.
sake2me: What happens when you mix junmai sake, fruit flavors and cane sugar in a slightly sparkling mixture. Well, you get sake2me, which comes in four flavors: Yuzu (citrus), Asian Pear, Ginger Mango and Green Tea. The 6.3 ounce bottles are 7 percent alcohol by volume, so you get about as much alcohol as a 12 ounce light beer. I have to admit this is not something I'd go out and buy by the case, but I understand why someone would. The Asian Pear and Ginger Mango flavors would be perfect for a hot day poolside.
Navan Natural Vanilla Liqueur: This 80 proof liqueur from the makers of Grand Marnier combines Cognac and Madagascar vanilla. The nose on this one is strong vanilla and sweet. The drink offers a coating mouth feel and plenty of vanilla, oak and toffee flavors. This one will make a great cocktail or is nice over the rocks.
Combier Liqueur d'Orange: This clear 80 proof triple sec from France has been around 175 years, but just came into the U.S. It gives off an immediate Fanta aroma, but the flavor is more complex than I had expected. A slightly bitter orange flavor has bits of spice and an overall tart finish.
Cruzan Coconut Rum: The coconut aroma on this one takes over the bar area when you open the bottle. The rum is clear, but packs an intense coconut flavor. Perfect for making tropical cocktails.
Gritty McDuff 21 IPA: You want hops? Get to Maine and find a four pack of this ale that celebrates the 21st anniversary of Gritty McDuff's in Portland. Brewed with 56 pounds of Cascade hops per each 50-barrel batch and finished with Willamette and Warrior hops. Plenty of floral notes in the nose and great herbal notes throughout. One of my favorite beers so far in 2009.
Fetzer 2007 Gewurztraminer: This wine is an attractive golden color and has a slightly syrupy mouth feel. I found it to be a bit sweeter than German Gewurztraminers, but it did have nice balancing spice notes. This wine is affordable and a great casual dinner pour.