Monthly Archives: August 2010

Cocktail of the Week: Tokyo Tea

Welcome to the newest feature of Intoxicology 101, Cocktail of the week. Every week Monday we will feature a new cocktail that is a must try. Whether you want to make it yourself or order it at the bar, here you can find excellent choices to get the night started right. Our first cocktail is in honor of a good friend of mind who throws these delicious cocktails down like water so I thought it only right to feature one of his and my favorites.

Tokyo Tea Cocktail:

1/2 oz Absolut Vodka
1/2 oz Milagro Tequila
1/2 oz Bacardi Rum
1/2 oz New Amsterdam Gin
1/2 oz Cointreu Triple Sec
1 oz Midori Melon Liqueur
1 oz Sweet n Sour (Optional)

Add all ingredients one by one into a cocktail shaker. Shake and strain into a highball glass filled with ice. Garnish with a lemon and cherry.

……..I’m not really sure where the name Tokyo Tea came from considering there being no Japanese influences in the recipe however I can imagine its similarity to a Long Island Iced tea combined with its green color made its creator think of green tea, and thus Tokyo. You can choose any brands you see fit for the necessary ingredients, however each of these brands I chose were both of quality and in my bar so feel free to play around with the recipe to make it your own. The sweet and sour is optional as mentioned and will take a bit more of the bite out for those that find this a bit overwhelming. I’m warning you now, the taste of this cocktail combined with its potency makes it annoyingly addicting. Enjoy and as always, remember to drink responsibly.


Posted by on August 30, 2010 in Cocktail Of The Week


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Moonshine Anyone?: Cat Daddy Moonshine Review

I recently received a sample of a product called Cat Daddy Moonshine. This actually sat on my shelf for about a week before I decided to give it a whirl and to be honest after finally tasting it, it took another week for me to describe exactly what it was I was tasting. Having very little knowledge about moonshine other than what I’ve seen on television or read about in books, I decided this would be a perfect time for a history refresher. By definition, moonshine is “any distilled spirit made in an unlicensed pot”. That right there raises a few eyebrows. Considering this product is sold over the counter, I would highly doubt that Peidmont Distillers in North Carolina or any of the other moon shine selling liquor companies like them are working without a license. In fact, Cat Daddy is manufactured at the first LEGAL distillery in the Carolinas since prohibition. After reading the bottle I noticed this spirit clocks in at 40% alcohol (80 proof), which also is substantially lower than what most moonshine fans are use to. One thing true to the nature of moonshine is that this product is flavored. Many moonshiners would often infuse their favorite fruit into the recipe to create some family favorites. I’m not sure what all flavors are in this but they come together to form an amazing aroma similar to a bouquet of flowers. But it’s smell is only half the battle. How does it taste?

Tasting Notes: This product has one of the most interesting flavor profiles I’ve encountered. Sweet, spicy, aromatic, vanilla, toffee. There is something very familiar about it’s taste but I can’t quite put my finger on it. Moon shine it is not. It actually tastes like a sweet form of sambuca. This one definitely offers more complexities than your average moonshine grandpa whips up every so often.

So what do I conclude? While there is nothing actually wrong with this product, I think I speak for many when I say I’m a bit disappointed that it’s being marketing as moonshine. Being able to purchase it in a large beverage store should have been the first clue. Noticing it was only 80 proof should have been the second. That being said I guess the perfect description for this would be a “universal” liquor. It’s very smooth, easy to sip, and very much mixable in just about any mixer that tickles your fancy. It’s unique flavor profile makes it perfect for mixing in cocktails. In fact, many of the recipe suggestions on the Cat Daddy website take classics or favorites and replace vodka with their own product. I can’t say I’ll be rushing to the store to purchase this product but I can definitely appreciate what it brings to the table.

Cat Daddy Moonshine is an interesting spirit to say the least.

Piedmont Distillers


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Music in a bottle: Wines That Rock Review

Rolling Stones’ 40 Licks, Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, & Wood Stock. What are you thinking about right now? If you’re like me, each one of these albums or events puts amazing thoughts, ideas, and maybe even memories (if you’re old enough) into your head. Now, imagine for a moment taking all you’re memories and thoughts and bottling it up for consumption.  Seem ridiculous? Don’t tell that to wine maker Mark Beaman.

Inspired by these very events, wine maker and die hard music fan Mark Beaman has done just that. He along with Mendocino Wine Company have collaborated to bring you “Wines That Rock” – “Great tasting wines inspire by music”.

“We wanted to challenge our winery to produce varietals that were a great tasting, quality product that we could all be proud of…and you would thoroughly enjoy.Years in the making, Wines That Rock knew it wanted to create a unique experience in the wine world. We didn’t want to just “slap” cool labels on a bottle and call it a day.”

Forty Licks Merlot, Dark Side of The Moon Cabernet, and Woodstock Chardonnay are Beamans first attempts at capturing the essence of an album. Though they mentioned that they didn’t want to just “slap some cool labels on a bottle”, their marketing department most certainly did their part. I would be lying if I didn’t say that when these bottles caught my eye, I didn’t immediately start hearing music in my head. But lets face it, when it comes down to wine making, a great name and a fancy label can only get you so far. How exactly do they taste? Having had the pleasure of tasting these let me say that they are not merely novelty acts but actually hold their own against similarly priced wines in their categories.

Wood Stock Tasting Notes: The 2008 Woodstock Chardonnay opens with an enjoyably eclectic mixture of rich pear, mineral and papaya aromas followed by fresh flavors of Asian pear apple, citrus, and tropical fruit with great acid on the finish—or, as Mark likes to say, “sunshine in a bottle.” Enjoy this rich dry white wine with salmon, chicken, creamy soups, and white-sauced pasta.

40 Licks Tasting Notes: The 2007 Merlot captures the attitude of Mendocino County’s style. Aromas of black cherry, with hints of mint are followed by rich flavors of plum, black cherry, brown sugar, cinnamon, and cedar. This dry red wine is a fine match for herb-roasted chicken, grilled beef or smoky chili.

Dark Side of The Moon Tasting Notes: The 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon captures the attitude of Mendocino County’s style. Aromas of black currant and cherry are followed by rich flavors of cassis, toasted vanilla bean, and hints of chocolate. Enjoy this rich dry red wine with hearty chicken dishes, beef and lamb, and red sauced pasta.

You can find these wines all reasonably priced ( at around $15) at your local wine and spirits retailer. If there isn’t distribution in your area, feel free to visit their website.

“I can’t believe that this is my job. I get to taste wine, listen to music, and think about how to put it all together in a bottle of wine that truly captures the essence of an album.”
—- Winemaker Mark Beaman.

Here are 10 Reasons You Will Love Their Wine

Mark Beamans Hand Written Tasting Notes


Posted by on August 18, 2010 in Reviews, Wine, Wine


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What’s Your O Face?: Lil’ Kim and Three Olives join forces.

There are very few things these days that many of us would call recession proof, but if I had to name one industry as being the closest it would be the alcohol industry. Good or bad economy, our first instinct is to have a drink. Having a great day? Time to celebrate, have a drink. Having a lousy day? Sit down, take a load off and have yourself a drink. It makes you wonder why you didn’t invest in the alcohol industry sooner. Well you’re not the only one. Turn on your television set and you’ll notice many of the celebrities you follow week after week are attaching their names to an alcoholic beverage in hopes that their name can bring sales to a product and in return, money in their pockets. Think Sean “P. Diddy” Combs and Ciroc vodka, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges and Conjure cognac, Michael Imperioli and 1800 Tequila, Sammy Hagar and Cabo Wabo tequila, and even as far back as 1974 with Billy Dee Williams and Colt 45. Celebrities and alcohol go together like athletes and steroids.

Rapper, songwriter, and actress Kimberly Jones, better known by her stage name Lil’ Kim is the latest celebrity to join the alcohol endorsement game. Lil’ Kim and Three Olives vodka have teamed up to launch a new grape flavored liquor simply titled Three-O Purple.  She has been chosen as the spokesperson and face of the new ad campaign titled “What’s Your O Face?”. For those familiar with the brand, they are known for their innovative collection of flavored vodkas which currently already includes grape. So what’s the difference between the “Grape” line and the new “Purple” line you ask? Here is what Three Olives had to say:

“Three-O Purple is a dynamic blend of imported English Vodka and the wildly juicy taste of frozen crushed grapes. The launch of Purple will also mark a change in appearance for the brand, with a 360° packaging design, displaying lively purple stripes in a variety of shades around the frosted bottle. The vodka itself will also take on a purple hue, reflecting the vibrant essence of the new flavor.”

Recently, Lil’ Kim was interviewed on how the deal between her and Three olives was struck and had this to say:

“Fortunately enough this opportunity came to me,” she said. “[Three Olives] built the campaign around me, which I thought was really great. That was really awesome. I was amazed they even thought of me. That was [number] one. A lot of times my management finds things, but I would say 90% out of 100%, these things come to me. I’m blessed.” She also added, “Since I’m Queen Bee and purple is the color of royalty, I’m thrilled Three Olives has asked me to bring my flavor to the sexy ‘O-Face’ campaign for their new Purple vodka.”

The campaign is currently being rolled out nationally. Below are a few cocktail recipes courtesy of for you to try once you get your hands on a bottle.

Three O Purple Rain

2 parts Three O Purple
1 part cranberry juice
1/2 part sour mix
1/2 part club soda

Shake first three ingredients with ice. Strain into a chilled martini glass. Add club soda and garnish with a lime wedge

Three O Grape Tart

1 part Thee O Purple
splash of sour mix

Shake with ice, strain into a chilled shot glass.

Three O Purple Chew
1/2 part Three O Purple
1/2 part Three O Bubble
Splash of sour mix

Shake with ice, strain into a chilled shot glass.

Hopefully these will aid to a very fun and entertaining night. As always, remember to drink responsibly.


Posted by on August 12, 2010 in Press Releases, Vodka


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Skinny Girl Margarita: The Margarita You Can Trust

For the record, I am not skinny, nor am I a girl, but I do know quite a few. More importantly I know of many women that struggle every day to maintain a self-esteem-pleasing body weight while being able to enjoy many of lifes little pleasures. Case in point: Margaritas. Over the course of my professional drinking career I could probably count the number of patrons that don’t like margaritas on my hands. Even those that aren’t fans of tequila will manage to throw back a few margaritas from time to time because it’s ingredients mix well deliciously. But with the margarita becoming a casual cocktail served in just about any restaurant you can find, companies and bars are moving away from the quality margarita we once had that included natural ingredients and instead have replaced them with excess sugar, sweeteners, and more importantly calories. Insert Skinny Girl Margarita, “the margarita you can trust”. Skinny girl is the brainchild of natural ingredient chef, author, and TV personality of “Housewives” fame, Bethenny Frankel. After being repetitively asked about my opinion on this cocktail, it’s pre-made version, and about the ingredients it includes I decided it was time to give it a try. For review purposes I’ll cover both the “ready to drink” version you can find in several package stores around the country, and it’s predecessor “from-scratch” version created by Bethenny. For the record I am not a fan of “ready to drink” products due to there tendency to be inconsistent in taste with that of the real drink. But pre mixes aren’t all bad when done correctly, and hopefully “done right” will be the case with Skinny girl today.


Skinny Girl (From Scratch) – The recipe is simple, 2 oz of premium tequila, the juice of about four lime wedges, and a splash ( only a splash !) of your favorite triple sec. In all actuality the “Skinny” recipe is more like the “original” recipe. The margarita is a fairly simple recipe to begin with. Despite its simplicity, bartenders and corporations continue to ruin it with their sugary filled remixes to the age old classic. That being said for my margarita I chose Milagro Silver tequila, and Grand Marnier. Those combined with the lime juice, about 1 tablespoon, gave me a delicious “skinny girl” margarita. This is both refreshing and authentic in taste to the original margarita. Optionally, Bethenny mentions that as a cheat method she adds in a splash of sugar free lemonade as well. With or without it, this is an exceptional guilt free margarita reminding me of margaritas of yesteryear.

Skinny Girl Margarita:
2 oz Premium Tequila (white)
4 Lime wedges squeezed
Splash of Triple Sec
Splash of Sugar Free Lemonade (Optional)

Skinny Girl (RTD) – Let me first say that right off the bat this product is a triple threat in my opinion. This product keeps in mind the consumer on a diet (natural agave sweetener), the consumer on a budget (retails at about 12.99), and the consumer on a time constraint (it is after all ready to drink). That alone makes this very tempting to many “housewives” across America. But how does it stack up against other ready to drink cocktails and those that are made from scratch? When cracking this one open, the first thing you get is a strong sense of the tequila smell. The interesting thing though is the drink doesn’t have much of a tequila taste, both good and bad depending on who is drinking it I guess. When comparing it to the original it is definitely sweeter, something you should expect from any pre made cocktail, but in comparison to the usual Jose Cuervo, 1800, or other similar RTD margaritas it is definitely lighter in comparison in sweetness. The sugar doesn’t overwhelm you like we have seen in so many other similar products. Oh and did I neglect to mention that this cocktail is only 100 calories? Consider that the average margarita you order in a restaurant these days can have anywhere from 300 to 1000 calories, and then realize this is a miracle in a bottle. All in all this is a better-than-most pre made margarita that is both light and tasty.

I don’t expect to see many men ordering these up at the bar, or walking out of the package store with a bottle of this anytime soon. But for the ladies, this is perfect for your next “girls night out”… or in. Drink responsibly.

Skinny Girl Margarita

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Posted by on August 10, 2010 in Spirits, Tequila


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Ready To Drink? : The Pre Made Cocktail Explosion

Mixing cocktails is a passion of mine. It’s a passion that requires both time and attention to detail. It’s these very reasons that it isn’t for everyone. Not everyone wants to go out and spend “x” amount of dollars on 5-10 ingredients to make one 6-8 oz cocktail. Then, besides the ingredients, you need the right tools and measuring devices. Take the often ordered “mojito” cocktail. Do you casually keep sprigs of mint in your cabinet? How about a muddler in your kitchen? For these very simple reasons liquor companies are investing a lot into “Ready-to-Drink” cocktails, or RTD for short. And for your convenience they come in all shapes and sizes. Traditionally prepared in a bottle, you can now go to your local grocer and find them in bottles, cans, boxes, and even little pouches that look more like something you would pack away in your childs lunchbox.   Margaritas have long been known as the most popular pre made cocktail sold on the market but over the last few years you can find just about anything you would commonly order at your local bar and tavern in a ready to drink bottle on the shelf. Mojitos, Long Island Ice Tea, Bellinis, Cosmopolitans, Mudslides, Hurricanes just to name a few are popping up everywhere and not with just one or two brands to choose from. Captain Morgan, Southern Comfort, Malibu, Seagram’s have all recently hit the market with new and interesting takes on some of your favorites. Bacardi, a company that has long had a large market share on the RTD industry with its many tropical pre-mades have just introduced two new products as well, the Strawberry Daiquiri and the Pina Colada. Dailys brand, most known for their non alcoholic mixers also has a plethora of products to choose from including pre-made margaritas, mojitos, and daiquiri’s in boxes or bottles for your convenience.

Personally, I usually prefer to avoid the ready to drink route. Besides losing the creativity aspect of drinking, most ready to drink cocktails lack authenticity. They often come off sweeter in flavor, and weaker in alcohol content. Perfect for the lightweight drinker that just wants to taste something exotic, or socializer that would like to spend more time mingling and networking than mixing drinks behind the counter. Below I’ve listed a few new or interesting products on the market that you might want to give a try.

Bacardi Pina Colada    /     Bacardi Strawberry Daiquiri






Captain Morgan Long Island Ice Tea





El Jimador Margarita in a can

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Posted by on August 7, 2010 in Uncategorized


Press Release: Evan Williams Cherry Reserve


New Cherry flavor closely follows the runaway success of Evan Williams Honey Reserve

BARDSTOWN, KY–Heaven Hill Distilleries, Inc., the country’s largest independent family-owned and operated spirits producer and marketer, announces the release of Evan Williams Cherry Reserve Kentucky Liqueur, a new product that marries extra-aged Evan Williams Bourbon with natural cherry flavor.  Bottled at 70 proof and available in both a 750ml and 50ml size, Evan Williams Cherry Reserve will be shipping to select markets across the country in September at an average retail price of $14.99 for the 750ml bottle.

The launch of Evan Williams Cherry Reserve follows closely on the heels of the hugely successful introduction of Evan Williams Honey Reserve, which began in test markets in September 2009 and completed its national rollout in February of 2010.  Since that time, it has had both great sales success and critical acclaim, including winning a Silver Medal at the most recent San Francisco World Spirits Competition. Both the Evan Williams Cherry and Honey Reserves take advantage of established trends in the distilled spirits industry in general and the American straight whiskey category in particular.  Among these is the ongoing success of flavored spirits, whose growth is more than double that of unflavored spirits; as well as the continued popularity of Bourbon, especially Evan Williams, which showed double digit sales percentage increases in both 2008 and 2009. Heaven Hill fully anticipates that infusing Evan Williams extra-aged Bourbon, the second largest selling Bourbon brand in the United States and the world and a “Best Buy Whiskey of the Year” winner, with natural cherry will yield similar success as that achieved with Evan Williams Honey Reserve.

Like the Honey Reserve, Evan Williams Cherry Reserve is packaged in the highly-recognizable square Evan Williams bottle, with a clear label carrying the Evan Williams logo and a stylized rendition of cherries. With a black and red capsule closure, the trade dress draws on the equity of the Evan Williams brand franchise, but with a contemporary flair.  Bottled at an approachable 70 proof, and infused with natural cherry taste that complements its sweet, easy-to-drink Bourbon flavor, Evan Williams Cherry Reserve lives up to its tagline of “Smooth Bourbon. Cherry Zing.”

“We have seen remarkable success with Evan Williams Black Label and now Evan Williams Honey Reserve,” stated Heaven Hill brand manager Susan Wahl.  “Given the strength of the Evan Williams brand franchise and the proven success of the flavored Bourbon sub-category, we believe it is the perfect time in which to launch Evan Williams Cherry Reserve.  And with a very approachable price point and a full range of retail and on-premise marketing materials available, we are expecting our customers to do some real ‘cherry picking’!”

To help merchandise the brand, Evan Williams Cherry Reserve is supported by an array of retail promotional materials–including a permanent wire rack and header card, shelf talkers, case cards, cold box clings and a 50ml counter unit–allowing off-premise operators to create impactful displays that will capture consumer attention.  In order to generate sampling in bars and restaurants, on-premise POS including T-shirts and shot glasses will also be made available.  A targeted trade advertising schedule will also help create awareness among the key retail and on-premise audiences.  All materials utilize striking visuals and the “Smooth Bourbon. Cherry Zing.” positioning, rendered in red and black graphics.  Support materials also emphasize that Evan Williams Cherry Reserve can be consumed as a shot or in a variety of delicious simple cocktails such as the Cherry Breeze, Cherry Twist Margarita and Cherry Cola.

Founded in 1934, Bardstown, KY-based Heaven Hill Distilleries, Inc. ( is the nation’s largest independent, family-owned and operated spirits producer and marketer and the world’s second-largest holder of Kentucky Bourbon. Heaven Hill’s diversified portfolio of brands includes The Christian Brothers Brandies; Evan Williams and Elijah Craig Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskeys; Burnett’s Vodkas and Gin; Hpnotiq Liqueur; PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur; Lunazul and Two Fingers Tequilas, and Dubonnet Aperitif.


Larry Kass
Director of Corporate Communications
Heaven Hill Distilleries, Inc.
(502) 413-0220


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