Again on the quest for something new, I decided I needed to try something which I didn’t even know what it was. Looking at the liqueur shelf, I saw a bottle that said rootbeer on it. Honestly, it looked a little dubious, and when I looked down I saw a dubious price as well. At around $10, with cheap looking labels in a cheap looking bottle, it looked like a perfect candidate for something that would taste bad and give me an awful hangover. But I didn’t just want to walk away from it, because rootbeer is my favorite beverage. I lingered a moment, deciding whether to gamble with my ability to function the next day or not, pining for something delicious and familiar that was also new and exciting. Bofore I walked away, I took a look to the right, and there was a different bottle of rootbeer liqueur in a nicer bottle with nicer labels with a nicer [read: higher] price. It seemed I’d have my cake and eat it too, this day.
That second bottle was a nice simple looking one full of deeply dark liquid. It had cream colored matte labels with black ink on them, resembling a relative of The Kraken Rum. In big bold letters it said “Blackmaker,” and had an image of a tree on the label. Around the neck was a piece of rough twine with a tag made of the same cream colored paper with three recipes, a list of ingredients, and the expected advertisement story about the supposed originator of this spirit. Those recipes all made use of Pinnacle Vodka (in various flavors,) so I’ll go out on a limb and say that I think that this is made by the same people. Since Pinnacle makes a wide variety of flavored vodkas that taste good and have never left me with a hangover afterward, that association makes me confident about this liqueur.
Opening the bottle and taking a whiff, I’m met with the scent of really really good rootbeer. It’s complex and spicy, with a rich, almost creamy quality. I handed the bottle to a relative, a hardcore teetotaler who just about hates anything alcoholic, and even he seemed ready to take a taste after smelling it. It smells absolutely delicious, and to use a word I never thought I’d use to describe any kind of liquor, appetizing. Come back later this week to find out how it tasted…
This next subject might seem a bit out of place on this blog since it is about spirits, or it might not, since this is only the third subject relevant post in its history. But since I’ll be mixing my next spirit with beer, and beer contains ethanol, I thought to my self “why not review the beer I’m mixing it with?” So here are my thoughts on Red Stripe Jamaican Style Lager.
For a long time, I didn’t know what to make of Red Stripe. I’d never heard of it or seen it in stores, but suddenly I started seeing their ads on TV. Since so often products seem better in ads than they really are in person, I’m always a little wary of a product that has a nice ad. As often as not, when you pay more for something that’s got good ads, you’re paying for the ad, not any extra quality in the product. Red Stripe had fun commercials with happy little jingles and interesting situations, and I thought it was some new corporate beer coming out of nowhere. But then I heard someone say “oh, I remember Red Stripe, it’s pretty good,” and that made me think that maybe it wasn’t just another label on some giant corporation’s same old stuff.
Still, I’m not much of a beer drinker. If I’m on my own I’m much more likely to drink liquor than anything else, so I never sought out Red Stripe. It was only recently when I was at a bar that I sometimes go to that I saw that they’d added Red Stripe to their beer lineup that I gave it a try.
Red Stripe is a pretty run of the mill beer. It’s a medium yellow color, it tastes a little bitter, it tastes a little like grain, it’s a little bit sweet. It’s got more flavor than a lot of “premium” beers, particularly some imports that I don’t think are actually premium in their native lands. Since it costs less than those, I’d say it beats those low end “premium” beers as a good choice to drink. It doesn’t stand out from the pack in any major way, but at less than a dollar a bottle for beer that doesn’t taste like piss water, it makes a pretty good every day beer. Do you really need more than that?
It has begun for Ethanol. The first step is a simple Twitter account, which you can find @ethanolspirit.
After you check out the Twitter page, don’t forget to read Ethanol’s first article about Appleton Estate Signature Blend.
It would seem prudent that I should explain what we’re all doing here, so I’ll just get to it.
Since before I was of legal drinking age, I loved spirits. From a sip of wine during a holiday dinner, a quick taste while making the batter for beer battered chicken, or the floral scent of good scotch, there has always been something that appealed to me, something alluring, about the adult beverage.
I discovered at a young age that I prefer the harder stuff, liquor, like whiskey or rum, to beer or wine, and now find my self drawn to discover which ones I like most. To find the answer to that question, I have to start trying them, and it’s my goal to taste them all. I’m here to invite anyone that might want to read along to follow me and see what experiences I have: Good, bad, and unexpected.
I sit here on a cold night with a bottle of Appleton Estate Signature Blend rum, which I will soon try for the first time. In my next post, I’ll be telling you what I felt about it. Not to sound trite, but until then I’ll raise my glass to everyone out there. Cheers, and see you next time.