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Jim Beam Honey

by Jason Lightner February 11th, 2014| Liquor
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASince we're on a wintery whiskey kick, let's take a look at another one from Jim Beam. This whiskey's a bit different, mind you, so those without a sweet tooth might want to sit this one out. We're talking, of course, about Jim Beam Honey, an infusion of real honey and liqueur with the standard Jim Beam Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey.

Jim Beam Honey comes in the typical Jim Beam bottle, with the unique label artwork of a honeycomb pattern. It's a tasteful and artistic label which celebrates the main addition and brings focus to the important part
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Early Times Blind Archer

by Jason Lightner February 4th, 2014| Liquor
glass of applesAnd on the tail of one flavored whiskey comes yet another. Well, at least it's flavored, and it has whiskey in it; I'd honestly call what we're about to dive into more of a liqueur than a spirit. But what's in a name, really? It was two degrees below zero this week and that calls for something boozy!

There's always been something about the Early Times brand of whiskies that I've been averse to. Perhaps it's the fact that the only product by this distiller I can get my hands on in this great state of Pennsylvania is a 1.75 mL
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Jim Beam Red Stag Black Cherry

by Jason Lightner January 21st, 2014| Liquor
black cherries chidseycOn the news that Japanese company Suntory Holdings has put in a bid for a $16 billion takeover of American spirits company Beam Inc., I thought I'd take this opportunity to sample another Jim Beam variety — Jim Beam Red Stag Black Cherry.

The black cherry variety of Jim Beam's Red Stag product is an infused bourbon whiskey, imparted with the natural taste of black cherries which aim to compliment the traditional oaky sweetness of Jim Beam's standard bourbon. The artwork on the label features a pair of red antlers, taking me back to winter hunting trips with
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CîROC Amaretto Vodka

by Jason Lightner January 14th, 2014| Liquor
CirocAfter a blisteringly unsavory week in the City of Brotherly Love, wherein wintery temperatures dipped down to below 0 degrees fahrenheit, and we watched the Schuylkill River freeze over alongside the iconic boathouses of John B. Kelly Drive, we're ready to put some warmth back into our bodies. Let us proceed in a manner fit for the dead of winter — with the pleasant burn of a premium vodka.

I approached CÎROC Amaretto Vodka with skepticism. Call it a habit, but that's just the way it goes with me and flavored vodka. Burnett's, Smirnoff, Absolut, Three Olives, Stolichnaya
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Familia Camarena Tequila Reposado

by Jason Lightner January 7th, 2014| Liquor
agave n hillsIt's a new year, and that means new experiences, new flavors, and new endeavors. I hope our readers' holiday celebrations were both fun and rewarding, and that your new year was festive and safe.

We're going to begin 2014 right, with a flavorful tequila six generations strong, with a history dating back 250 years: Familia Camarena Tequila Reposado.

From the Camarena legacy page:

"For six generations, we have taken great care in preserving the invaluable resources of this important region, practicing sustainable farming and taking a long-range approach to growing quality agave. As part of our family's commitment to

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Jim Beam Black

by Jason Lightner December 31st, 2013| Liquor
jim beam pdHaving a storied history with Jim Beam already, I'll admit I was a bit reluctant to even venture near another bottle of Beam's finest. The Clermont, Kentucky-produced spirit hasn't left me with the best of impressions, mind you, and I've never gathered what I'd consider to be a good reason to give it a second chance.

And yet here I was, yet again, peering at a bottle of bourbon — not because I wanted to, but because I had to. Because it was required. The sort of company that I keep encompasses a wide variety of tastes and particular preferences. On
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Penn 1681 Rye Vodka

by Jason Lightner December 24th, 2013| Liquor
ryeAs a fan of traditional craftsmanship and a fan of locally-made products, it's sometimes a challenge for me to accept that the two are not always mutually exclusive.

When it comes to vodka, I like it Polish if possible. It's not that there's anything inherently wrong with vodka produced anywhere else, it's just that vodka was born in Poland and these guys know enough about producing vodka to not screw it up.

Try as I might, I can't think of a single thing that comes from Pennsylvania that I prefer. I was going to say cheesesteaks, but that's more centralized in
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Bombay Sapphire East

by Jason Lightner December 17th, 2013| Liquor
gin n tonic It's been quite some time since we last talked about gin. I recall a time when I was hopelessly devoted to the striking botanical infusions of a wide variety of fine gin spirits, sampling nearly each one I happened upon. My favorite, still to this day, remains Hendricks Gin, which I wrote about over two years ago. The incredible aroma and flavor of fresh cucumber, married with the tantalizing bite of juniper, is unlike anything else I've sampled.

Today, my dear friends, we're getting back into gin. Feast your eyes, if you will, on the bright glow of
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Del Maguey Vida

by Jason Lightner December 10th, 2013| Liquor
agave fieldSo a new Mexican place opened up shop in my area about a month ago. I'd wrongly assumed that this was going to be the week I got away from sampling new agave-based spirits and, instead, moved on to something a bit more wintery. Maybe next week.

This week brings us yet more mezcal to sample, as we look to the appropriately named Del Maguey Vida to lift our spirits and gives us something to tap into as we scarf down these rather excellent nachos. Del Maguey Vida is an artisanal mezcal, organically produced as what they call "single
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El Jimador Reposado

by Jason Lightner December 3rd, 2013| Liquor
margarita flyoverA little over a year ago we took a peek at the youngest of the El Jimador group of mid-grade tequilas. During the previous year, this was done in an attempt to stave off the impending doom of frost, biting cold, and all things peppermint which were sure to come. This year, however, we're simply resigned to the fact that we'll be under a constant assault from peppermint-flavored everything, horribly cold temperatures made worse by an unforgiving wind-chill, and crumbling city infrastructure. It's time to drink, and drink hard.

I managed to pick up this bottle of El
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Casa Noble Crystal Tequila

by Jason Lightner November 26th, 2013| Liquor
shotsWinter is closing in quickly, and as quickly as you can say "jawn," this town will probably be under a good bit of snow. While we've still got dry ground, I figure it would be best to keep the tequila flowing while we figure out our holiday indulgences. After all, the holiday season is for rum-laced eggnog and Hot Toddies made with the finest of whiskies. It's also about family and good will and all that, but let's save the sappy reminiscing for another time, shall we?

"You can't make an omelette without breaking some eggs."

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Ilegal Mezcal Reposado

by Jason Lightner November 19th, 2013| Liquor
oaxacaWhile imbibing and engaging in witty banter at a new local favorite of mine, an opportunity arose which I couldn't possibly afford to pass up. We've taken a look at both Ilegal Mezcal Joven and Ilegal Mezcal Añejo, but we hadn't yet had the chance to try out the middle child of the Ilegal family, Ilegal Mezcal Reposado.

For the uninitiated, Mezcal as a spirit is a close relative of tequila. Like tequila, it’s distilled from the roasted husks of a native plant; in Mezcal’s case it’s the maguey plant (a form of agave in itself). Mezcal is
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