Monday, April 27, 2009
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
After looking back on our last few months of posts, we've been on a little bit of a run with posts preaching responsibility with alcohol. We happen to be professional alcoholic, and the things we do should not be tried by...well, anyone. "Do as we say, not as we do." In these economic times, we find ourselves stretching our booze budgets. But at what point do you draw the line? At what point do you replace thrifty with just plain f*ck'n stupid? Well thanks to our friends over at cracked.com we have an answer. Once again Cracked has come to our aid, and has generated a list of the world's 5 worst ways to get drunk.
The next time your thinking about grabbing that bottle of Thunderbird, why not instead take a ride on the Night Train Express.
Monday, April 20, 2009
Saturday, April 18, 2009
As mentioned previously, I'm studying for the BJCP and I have a lot of trouble with the German beers and the statistics. I've not been a huge lager fan (until this course that is) and I can't keep them straight. So graph number 1 today is the IBU over ABV for the styles. The guidelines give a range and I've taken the mid-point, though it is often pointed out that the winning beers are likely to be at the top end of the styles (or beyond). Still, here is graph 1, which includes styles 1d - 4c.
So here we see that in general the high end of the light lager (1d,e), the Pilsner (2), European Amber Lager (3) and Dark Lager (4) varietals all go down in bitterness as the ABV increases, The exception is the American Pilsner, but we over-hop everything compared to Europe. The other is the Dortmunder, which I inlcude here as it is German (ditto the Munich Helles). Still, a tidy way to sort the beers. I also graphed the OG:BU that Ray Daniels talks about in his excellend Designing Great Beers. I've never found that to be too intuitive, but its just a factor change from what I'm doing (as the BJCP almost always figures the FG to be 75% lower than the OG, and ABV is calculated out from that). Still, here it is, again using the OG:BU of the mid-point values.
Friday, April 17, 2009
150 liquors in two days
Wow, posting with that much vigor took a lot out of me. I'm worn out now.
You want a drink? I'd love a drink!
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet. But Shakespeare neglected to have Juliet explain that the contrapositive is not necessarily true. Just because you call something a rose, doesn’t mean it smells sweet. Try it the next time your dog takes a crap or you drive past some ripened roadkill. Ahh… the smell of roses. Doesn’t work does it?
But that doesn’t stop people from trying. I just came back from a new deli in town (no names, they were nice people). It was a very classy looking joint. Fancy sponge-painting effects on the walls, expensive ingredients proudly on display, clean, tidy, friendly, treats for your dog if you brought him, even a scented candle flickering on a wooden display unit. I purchased a "Five-cheese Panini With Bacon". The place was expensive and we had come on many recommendations. What culinary masterpiece did my immediate future hold for me? I brought it back to the office, and proceeded to chow down on what I’d have to call a kind-of shitty grilled cheese sandwich with some crumbled bacon in it. So if it wasn't really that good, why had people told us this place was amazing? Fancy sponge-painting effects on the walls, expensive ingredients proudly on display, clean, tidy, friendly, treats for your dog if you brought him, even a scented candle flickering on a wooden display unit.
What does this all have to do with booze? Patience, grasshopper.
Mr. Dicks just posted a preemptive rant about (rī)1, the whiskey so cool it can’t even spell its own name. He hasn’t tasted it yet, but he suspects shenanigans are afoot. And as much as I love Jim Beam, I have to concur. The outlook isn’t rosy. So often in the liquor business, they try to wow you with their image and not their product. Two huge examples of this are Grey Goose and Michael Collins. They are the brain-child of marketing wizard Sidney Frank. He imported the finest French blah blah and distilled it in a yawn, who gives a shit. The end result, as I’ve ranted about before, is flavorless Everclear cut with mineral water, forever reducing the public image of vodka from an exotic alcoholic beverage to a more efficient way of delivering drugs to the bloodstream. Kind of like crack. Where was the real innovation? The price. He set the price well above the existing top-shelf vodkas like Stolichnaya and Absolut. It was so expensive, it had to be good, right? Throw a few ads in some magazines, bribe some rappers to include it in their lyrics, and then you sell the whole puppy farm to Bacardi for $2.2 billion. And as I said before, Grey Goose isn’t shit and even has a place in my home bar, but is it really worth what you pay for it? Before his death, Sidney followed up this (and many other) success(es) with Michael Collins Irish Whiskey. This time, he was less successful because the existing niche market valued flavor. And not just flavor, but a very specific flavor. Sure, it was dressed up fancy and put on the top shelf just like Goose, but once the Irish Whiskey lovers of the world sipped it, the cat was out of the bag and the brand failed to perform as anticipated.
There are, as I stated in my comment on Richard’s post, top-shelf brands that don’t follow that plan at all. Jim Beam itself has Booker’s, Baker’s, Basil Hayden, Maker’s Mark, and Knob Creek; all bourbons, all value the flavor of the product over the image, and none of which shun their bourbon heritage one bit. One look at the bottles, and you know what’s inside. Hell, the company's motto is “The stuff inside matters most” and I’ll drink to that with any of their bourbons. But something about the sleek, minimalistic, hip packaging of (rī)1 gives me doubt. And just to make sure I’ve made my point, let’s have a little visual demonstration of what I’m talking about:
You pickin' up what I'm puttin' down? It's a slippery slope, people. When you concern yourself with appearance, it's easy forget that what's inside is what really counts. It's easy to be lulled into the false belief that you can just slap a label on a dog turd that says "Rose" and everyone will say it smells terriffic. Sure, some people wearing fuzzy orange visors might, but not everyone will. And if you've completely missed the mark - if your product has no merit other than its packaging, you might just go down in flames. Not having tasted (rī)1, I can't say for sure if this is the road they've chosen to go down, but I sure hope it isn't. I hope when I take my first sip of it, I sputter and cough a little bit, Richard and Paddy laughing at me before taking sips and doing the same. I hope it's strong. I hope its bold. I hope spicy and kicks you in the teeth just like spirits distilled from fermented rye should. I hope Jim Beam Brands Co. hasn't forgotten their own motto: The stuff inside matters most.
I Guess seeing this new whiskey on the shelf bothered me for two reasons. One, I don't care for the phrase "ultra-premium" attached to anything I drink. I usually find the product to be of slightly above average quality, and highly above average in price. It's a buzz word that has no meaning, unless you've got the balls to back it up. I've seen many ultra-premium liquors fall short of their namesake. Second, I just don't see the words "ultra-premium" and "rye" going together. They just don't fit with my image of what rye is supposed to be.
Let's first skip past Canadian whiskey, which is often called rye whiskey for some reason, but usually has no rye in it at all. When it does, it usually accounts for a small amount of the blend. Rye whiskey came out of the foothills of the Appalachians in rural Western Pennsylvania. It was the drink of the common man when rum fell from grace after the American Revolution. Rye was the only distilled spirit that was born 100% from American sweat and labor. Rum relied heavily on molasses imports from the West Indies, and gin usually was made with spices from around the globe. Both were also distilled primarily in the urban coastal cities. Rye on the other had was a hard drink, made by hard men, who just wanted to supplement their income with their excess grain. It was harsh and peppery. A bold drink. America's fire water.
Rye was the only real whiskey anybody drank prior to prohibition. Bourbon? Barely anybody touched the stuff. It existed, but wasn't really popular until after prohibition. When you watch an old western on TV and somebody orders whiskey, they were ordering rye. Rye has this grittiness to it, this classic mystique of the old days, the harder days. Rye is dirty. Rye burns the throat, and hard men drink it. There is nothing ultra-premium about rye.
I looked at the elegantly tapered bottle on the shelf before me. I take note of its clean simple label. This wasn't rye that I was looking it. In my eyes, it was a gimmick. What right did it have to come out of nowhere, and just declare itself champion over all other ryes, without being tested in the fires.
It wasn't until just recently that I discovered that (ri)1 is actually made by Jim Beam. I suppose that offers some merit to it. I definitely will have to try it. But is it really worth $50 a bottle. This shit is expensive. Being a lover of rye whiskey, I am definitely taking a biased stance on this one. I love Jim Beam, and I hope that this whiskey is spectacular, but their marketing campaign and image for this one just doesn't sit right with me. I don't think it ever will. Rye doesn't belong in a fancy bottle with all the top shelf booze. It belongs buried in the back, and when the bartender takes it out to serve a lone, grizzled, old man, sitting in a dark corner of the bar, fingerprints can be seen in the dust that has collected on the bottle.
Monday, April 13, 2009
Sunday, April 12, 2009
I mean it isn't easy when you've been drinking and all the text across the top of the screen is backwards and in Arabic. How was I supposed to know which button was which.
But I guess if they're scanning our site for objectionable content now, I might as well give them some.
I find this image highly objectionable, for many reasons that don't need explaining.
Friday, April 10, 2009
Thursday, April 9, 2009
As you all know (all 3 of you who actually read this blog), I like to bring back with me unique and exotic alcoholic beverages from my many journeys. I'm not expecting much, since I'm pretty much limited to the duty free in these Islamic countries. But, I will try my best. If nothing else, I can always pick up another bottle of Havana Club.
8:10PM - I've arrived at JFK in New York. I slept during the last 20 minutes of the flight. Combine that with the 5-6 drinks I had in Pgh, and I arrived in a that grogy and slightly drunk state. I'm not used to a international flight via Delta, and I'm a little worried. It's a 12 hr flight and from what I'm told, I only get one complimentary drink during the meal. Everything else costs money. And that is "drink" drink. Not just alcohol. Cheap Ass Bastards.
9:13:PM - Oh God! The Stench!
F*ck you, Delta Airlines.