Monthly Archives: July 2010

Yoo-Hoo for Adults: Chocovine Review

Remember how deliciously refreshing it was to enjoy a cold bottle of Yoohoo as a child? Remember when you got to that age where drinking it was considering a no no? Ever wonder what it would be like if they made a yoo-hoo for adults?  Holland and Clever Imports may have finally answered that question for us. I had heard rumblings of a wine that was making it into specialty shops around the country. Once it reached my market I had no choice but to give it a try.

ChocoVine is a French Cabernet subtly combined with rich dark chocolate. According to their website, it’s the “perfect union between wine and chocolate”. Mixing wine and chocolate is nothing new, especially for those of us use to American holidays. It’s the decision to blend the two together in a liquid form that is making waves around the world.  Upon tasting it I first had the opportunity to survey a few of those that had tried it before. All of them agreed it was a delicious alternative to several of their favorite dairy based favorites such as Baileys, and Cask & Cream. And at a price of around $10 for 750 ML it was also a satisfactory alternative financially.

Tasting Notes: The bottle is a screw cap, so for those of you that see it in the wine section but are afraid of having to uncork, don’t worry, Chocovine has you covered. Traditionally screw tops have been seen as cheap and tacky but it’s a trend that is becoming more and more popular in the industry. Upon pouring, the color is a muggy brown, similar to the chocolate river in the  “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” movie. It’s color and dairy base are where it stops in comparison to Baileys fans. It is not as thick, and the red wine gives it a different taste than that of the Irish whiskey used for baileys. The aroma is definitely strong both in chocolate and in alcohol. Don’t be confused by its appearance and description, for a wine this one packs a punch at 14% alcohol. While that may not be much for those use to cordials, that is above average for those use to wines. Much like you would expect, this one is very much on the sweet side.  First comes a mild sense of the alcoholic strength followed by the intense flavor of chocolate. It does a good job of disguising the strong alcohol content that you are ingesting.  Overall I feel this is a great buy for those looking for something sweet, strong, and on a budget. Unlike most red wines, this one is recommended to be served cold which adds to its drink-ability.  Because of it’s unique combination of flavors, this can be drunk alone or used in a mixture of recipes which I have provided below courtesy of Chocovine.

Ladys Night
2 oz Chocovine
1 oz Raspberry Liqueur

Mon Cheri
2 oz Chocovine
1 oz Vanilla Vodka
1/4 oz Cherry Liqueur

Serve in a Martini Glass

Treasure Island
1 1/2 oz Chocovine
1/2 oz Banana liqueur
1 1/4 Coconut rum

Serve in a Martini Glass

Find more recipes at Chocovine


Posted by on July 29, 2010 in Reviews, Wine, Wine


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Captain Morgan Lime Bite Review

I’ve had a lot of people lately ask me how I feel about Captain Morgans latest product on the market, “Lime Bite”. Not being much of a fan of spiced rum I never bothered to give this one a try. That all changed one boring Tuesday night. For those unfamiliar with the product, it’s called Captain Morgan Lime Bite which offers the same base vanilla rum flavor that the original product offers, minus the caramel color and including a new artificial lime flavor. The company decided to cut out the middle man, in this case, the lime wedge/lime juice garnish that usually accompanies a rum and coke cocktail. Much like its predecessor is has great mix ability whether it be cola, lemon lime soda, ginger ale, or juice.

Tasting Notes: Upon opening the bottle, the artificial lime flavor immediately hits you. Initially the aroma reminds me more of that of curacao or triple sec. The lime flavor is very apparent but not overwhelming giving you a nice balance of flavor and alcohol. I sampled the product in several ways: first warmly sipped, secondly cold in a shot form, and 3rd in group of mixed drink recipes provided by  When sampled warm and cold there is a taste of lime followed by very little bite from the alcohol. As a cold shot the lime flavor is featured more and the alcohol is almost non existent making this treat and alternative to those that like shooting blanco tequila but hate the after taste. I tried mixing it both with cola and ginger ale, classic mixers for the original and felt that the new lime addition only made the marriage a bigger success. Overall I would highly recommend this to fans of the Captain and those that usually shy away from spiced rum. Below are a couple of cocktails worth trying to get you started.

Beer & Bite:
3/4 oz Lime Bite
6 oz of Beer

The bite is meant to be used as a floater.


.Lime Bite Squeeze:
1 oz Lime Bite
1/2 oz triple sec
splash of orange juice

The Classic:
1 1/2 oz Lime Bite
6 oz Lemon Lime Soda

Garnish with a lime

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Posted by on July 28, 2010 in Reviews, Rum, Spirits


Pinnacle Vodka: “Whipped” and “Cotton Candy”

Move over Grey Goose. Pardon me Ciroc. But the french vodka competition just got a bit stiffer. Fans of the brands previously mentioned may not realize that their is a cheaper and still satisfying alternative coming out of France, but such is the case with a hot new brand that surfaced in 2009 by a company that has been very successful in the vodka market. I’m talking about White Rock Distillers fast rising product, Pinnacle Vodka. If the name draws a blank, just think of Three Olives Vodka. White Rock Distillers were the “mad scientists” behind Three Olives, and more importantly their innovative collection of flavors starting with Cherry and Grape that put the brand on the map. After selling Three Olives to Proximo Inc in 2007, they launched the hot new french vodka, Pinnacle, and with it an ever growing innovative list of flavors. Their current portfolio includes wild flavors such as: Root Beer, Butterscotch, Fruit Punch and Cherry Lemonade. Their latest in release are “Cotton Candy” and “Whipped”, both of which I had the opportunity to sample this past weekend at a local tasting. The distillers in this case obviously realized that in today’s drinking society, the ability create new and exciting cocktails that “wow” your mouth is what drives the business. With a line of flavors like no other, they have insured that they will be in heavy consideration by bartenders around the world. Below are my reviews of each of their latest additions as well as a few cocktail ideas for you to try.

Pinnacle Cotton Candy: First thing you notice is the distillers ability to recreate the exact aroma of cotton candy. The base vodka has a very smooth finish with a clean smell probably aiding to the ability to capture the cotton candy aroma so easily. Those with a distaste for sweet in their beverages need not continue, but if you’ve got a sweet tooth like myself, this ones for you.  The initial taste is very smooth and very sweet, leaving very little after taste and absolutely no burn. After initial sampling, I tried mixing with with a few different products but noticed it’s best mix for the moment is the basics, club soda, or a lemon lime based beverage.

Pinnacle Whipped Cream: All I can say is wow. I immediately thought I was about to bite into a piece of whipped cream topped pie. It’s taste offers so many opportunities for desert based cocktails that my mind is already spinning. Much like the previously mentioned, it too is very much on the sweet side. However, because of the uniqueness of the flavor, it leaves an interesting after taste much like you would expect for a dairy based product that the vodka is trying to recreate.

The Best thing about Pinnacle, in its base vodka, is that it has the ultimate drink-ability characteristics. Smooth taste, clean finish, little to no smell. It virtually disappears in a mixed drink and those are the driving forces behind the companies ability to create flavors that make you forget it’s “just” vodka. At a price of around 12.99/750 and 18.99/1.75 liter, this one is definitely worth your time. Below are a few fun and easy recipes for you to try at home.

Cotton Candy Carousel:
2 oz Pinnacle Cotton Candy
1 Oz Coconut Rum
3 oz Club Soda
Splash of Grenadine

Mix in a glass filled with ice, add a cherry/lime garnish.

Cherry Cream Pie:
1 oz Pinnacle Whipped
1 oz Cherry Schnapps
4 oz. Energy Drink

2 oz Pinnacle Whipped
4 oz Lemon Lime Soda

Tilt-A-Whirl (Shooter)

1 1/2 oz Pinnacle Cotton Candy
Splash of Grenadine
Splash of Blue Curacao

Pinnacle Vodka
White Rock Distillers


Posted by on July 27, 2010 in Reviews, Spirits, Vodka


Say Hello To Berry Acai: Absolut Berry Acai Review

…..The years 2007 – 2009 saw an incredible expansion of flavored vodkas on the market, with blueberry being one of the biggest hits. Several brands including Smirnoff, Van Gogh, and Stolichnaya launched successful blueberry flavored vodkas much to the delight of many bartenders and mixologists around the world. Fast forward to February 2010 and Absolut Vodka enters the competiton deciding to unveil their  “better late than never” Blueberry Acai (Pronounced “AH-SAI-E”) vodka.  The latest addition to the Absolut portfolio is actually a blend of three different berrys giving it a unique and flavorful combination sure to mix well with a wide range of fruit juices and sodas. Acai, blueberry, and pomegranate are blended together creating a taste that will inspire creativity and imagination when considering cocktail recipes at bars around the world.  Their latest offering is actually an extension to the Absolut “Los Angeles” limited edition release from 2008 that was so popular, it found itself repackaged and added to Absolut’s permanent lineup.

…..Tasting Notes: It’s flavor profile is predominantly the Acai berry. To the sensitive, it’s flavor can come off borderline medicinal if drunken straight, but this particular infused vodka truly shines when used for creating fruity cocktails. It’s flavors are enhanced by it’s combining with the dryness of cranberry, or the sour of a sweet and sour mixture. It’s aroma is very pleasing with strong hints of berry hitting the nose upon opening. If you like blueberry than this one is a no-brainer, but even if you don’t, this one in replacement of plain vodka in one of your native cocktails will pleasantly surprise.  Here are a few suggestions sure to quench your thirst.




Absolut Berri Blast

2 parts cranberry juice.
1 part apple juice.
Build into a highball glass. Garnish with a lime wedge.

Absolut Blues

1 parts simple syrup.
1 part lemon juice.
Shake and serve straight up. Garnish with lemon and blueberries.

Absolut Berri Cosmo

1 part Cranberry Juice
1 part Triple Sec
1part Lime Juice
1 peel Orange


Cruzan Rum 9 Press Release

Cruzan 9’s Blend of Aged Rum Infused with Nine Spices Offers Consumers a Premium Option

Deerfield, Ill.– July 12, 2010 – Beam Global Spirits & Wine, Inc. [Fortune Brands, Inc. (NYSE:FO)], the leading American spirits company, and Cruzan® Rum, the legendary rum of St. Croix, today announced the newest addition to the Cruzan portfolio, a new spiced rum called Cruzan 9. With its unique blend of nine all natural spices, Cruzan 9 remains true to its heritage of premium craftsmanship, while confronting rum fans with a bolder, more dramatic spirit. The recipe is handcrafted by the Nelthropp family, who has been making rum on the island of St. Croix for generations. Made with Cruzan’s award-winning aged rum, the result is a higher quality – and more authentic – spiced rum. Cruzan 9 will begin shipping to distributors in July and available to consumers at retail in August.
“Beam Global Spirits & Wine has a reputation for developing higher quality brands that shake up a category,” said Amy Weisenbach, brand director, Cruzan Rum. “Spiced rum is one of the fastest growing distilled spirits, yet consumers didn’t really have an option if they were looking for higher quality. The industry is full of gimmicks and pirates when it comes to spiced rum, but Cruzan 9 offers a ‘real’ rum experience.”
Tasting Notes, Aroma and How to Enjoy Cruzan 9
  • 80-proof Cruzan 9 has a bold and smooth taste and a rich amber color.
  • Nine spice blend includes vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, mace, allspice, pepper and juniper berry.
  • Taste – involves complex layers of vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, warm spice and toasted woodnotes with an intense finish that is slightly dry.
  • Aroma – a robust blend of vanilla, sweet caramel and dried spices.
  • Cruzan 9 is best enjoyed with cola or by itself over ice.
In addition to representing the blend of nine spices, the name Cruzan 9 is a nod to the island, referencing its nine districts. Named for the people of St. Croix (Crucians), Cruzan Rum is synonymous with the spirit of St. Croix and the unpretentious and authentic rum life. The Nelthropp family, who has called St. Croix home for eight generations and runs the distillery to this day, handcrafts each of its rums with all natural ingredients and a five-column distillation process. Cruzan touts one of the cleanest rums in the industry with its low levels of fusel oils, a by-product of the distillation process which, if not removed, can taint the smell and taste of the spirit. Its quality is also linked to the aging process, with most Cruzan rum varieties being aged a minimum of 14 months and up to 12 years.
“Cruzan 9 embodies the spirit of St. Croix,” said Gary Nelthropp, Cruzan master distiller. “We’ve balanced the blend of spices to create something that will be new to many spiced rum drinkers, but will feel very familiar to the people of St. Croix, who enjoy the bold flavor and kick of classic spiced rums.”
Cruzan 9 Recipes
1.5 parts Cruzan 9
6 parts cola
1 lime wedge
Add Cruzan 9 and cola in an ice-filled pint glass. Garnish with lime wedge.
(based on the classic Bossa Nova cocktail)
1 part Cruzan Light
1 part Cruzan 9
.5 part DeKuyper Apricot Brandy
1 part fresh lemon sour
3 parts pineapple juice
Shake all ingredients with ice and pour into a hurricane glass. Garnish with a pineapple wedge and a dusting of fresh ground nutmeg.
Pricing and Availability
Cruzan 9 is available at the SRP of $15.99 for a 750 ml bottle.
In addition to Cruzan 9, the Cruzan portfolio also consists of Cruzan® Aged Light Rum, Cruzan® Aged Dark Rum, Cruzan® Single Barrel Estate Rum, Cruzan® Black Strap Rum, Cruzan® 151 Proof Rum and 10 flavored rums infused with extracts, such as vanilla, coconut, guava and black cherry. For more information about Cruzan Rum, and for additional cocktail recipes created with the full line of rums, visit
About Beam Global Spirits & Wine:
Inspiring conversations around the world, Beam Global Spirits & Wine, Inc. is building brands people want to talk about. Consumers from all corners of the globe call for our brands, including Jim Beam® Bourbon, Sauza® Tequila, Canadian Club® Whisky, Courvoisier® Cognac, Maker’s Mark® Bourbon, Laphroaig® Scotch Whisky, Cruzan® Rum, EFFEN® Vodka, Larios® Gin, Whisky DYC®, Teacher’s® Scotch Whisky, DeKuyper® Cordials and Liqueurs and Knob Creek® Bourbon. Beam Global Spirits & Wine is part of Fortune Brands, Inc. (NYSE:FO), a leading consumer brands company. For more information on Beam Global Spirits & Wine, its brands, and its commitment to social responsibility, visit and
Katie Kirby
Beam Global Spirits & Wine, Inc.
Danielle Mancano
SHIFT Communications
1 Comment

Posted by on July 21, 2010 in Press Releases, Rum


“Buy a bottle, give a meal”

If there were ever a good reason to donate to charity, besides the obvious, giving to the less fortunate, Absolut vodka may have just given you one. The popular vodka brand recently launched an excellent program to help fight hunger in many local communities across the nation.

The anti-hunger campaign—entitled “In An ‘Absolut’ World, No One Goes Hungry”—is a collaboration between parent company Pernod Ricard, Southern Wine & Spirits of America (currently the largest distributor of wine and spirits in the U.S. with a presence in 29 states), and U.S.A. Harvest, a large volunteer organization with a simple goal: “Feed the nation”. For every bottle of Absolut sold, one meal will be donated to your cities local U.S.A. Harvest chapter. If that doesn’t sound like a win/win situation I don’t know what is. Individual launches have already take place in Kentucky and New York and are currently on going in Florida, Illinois, and California. Absolut’s overwhelming popularity along with their innovative new line of “City Series” vodkas should be able to put a significant amount of food in the mouths of those in need. So the next time someone questions how much or how often you drink, you let them know you drink to feed those who can not feed themselves !

A Great Recipe:

1 part Absolut
1 Part Giving


“They Called Her Blackheart”: Blackheart Spiced Rum Review

Once dominated by Captain Morgan, the spiced rum category has seen a dramatic increase in national brands offered over the past 2 years. Coincidentally in that same time there has been a large spike in the number of national television and radio advertisements for Captain Morgan Spiced rum. It’s as if national brands realized that “The Captain” had a gold mine all to itself and decided they want in. The latest brand, Blackheart Rum, comes from Heaven Hill Distilleries and tells the story of “Blackheart”, the sultry seductress of the high seas.

“They called her Blackheart. She was bold and bawdy. Cunning and cutthroat. Sexy and seductive. She fought like a man. She drank like a man, but she was every inch a woman. She had a body that entranced and a lusty look that turned boys into men and men into blubbering fools. Every man wanted her. Every woman wanted to be her. No man could resist her. But few could have her.

No one knows where she came from. Some say she was a mermaid who lived as a human for a few rowdy and rambunctious years. Some say she was a princess who ran off to sea to live wild and carefree before she returned to her castle. Some say she was the daughter of Aphrodite herself.

What is known is that she left a trail of broken hearts wherever she traveled. That’s how she came to be known as Blackheart.

Here’s the rum she drank to celebrate her conquest”

It’s an interesting story along with a “seductive”  label depicting the infamous Blackheart character with a pin up style of artwork putting a new spin on the  “pirate” theme that has been continuously overdone with spiced rum.

Initially upon opening the bottle, strong aromas of caramel and vanilla hit the nose. After tasting it the vanilla comes through more than anything.  It’s a very sweet rum sure to please those that like sugary concoctions but at 93 proof, this definitely isn’t a rum to be taken lightly. Overall taste and smoothness would make this comparable more to a mid-grade rum  with a vanilla kick decent by itself, but perfect for mixing. Add some coke or sprite and it’ll go down easy. Below are a few recipes courtesy of Blackheart Rum.

Daggers Delight

2 oz. Blackheart Spiced Rum
7 oz. Mountain Dew
7 oz. Root Beer
Add Blackheart Premium Spiced Rum to glass half filled with ice. Fill glass with Mountain Dew® and Root Beer.

Buttered Pancakes

1 oz. Blackheart Spiced Rum
1 oz. peach schnapps
6 oz. Coke

Pour Blackheart Premium Spiced Rum, Peach Schnapps, and Cola into a highball glass half filled with ice. Stir well and serve.

Ginger Grog

2 oz. Blackheart Spiced Rum
4 oz. Ginger Ale


Posted by on July 13, 2010 in Reviews, Rum, Spirits