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1800 Tequila, Silver and Reposado

by Jason Lightner March 4th, 2014| Liquor
to mexicoTequila has become somewhat of a favorite of mine this winter. Its crisp, refreshing texture, and the incredible versatility of this spirit have made it an absolute joy in which to partake and, while I've certainly sampled my fair share of the agave wonder, I can't believe I'd never written about two of my favorite tequilas — 1800 Silver and 1800 Reposado. Owned by the same company as the Jose Cuervo brand (I know, I know), 1800 is an affordable take on the purist spirit of 100% blue agave distilled tequila, and is named after the year
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Rubinoff Vodka

by Jason Lightner February 25th, 2014| Liquor
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd so it goes. There's the good company you drink the good stuff with, and there's the bad company you drink the bad stuff with. Oftentimes the only consequence of either is a headache and a slight aversion to light, especially during one's first few waking hours. Hopefully, my fair reader, you're imbibing the good stuff more often than not, but lest you run astray, I am here to keep you on the straight and narrow.

As a simple, neutral grain spirit, vodka has the distinct honor of being the one spirit that every two-bit distiller in the world
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Jameson Irish Whiskey and the Pickleback

by Jason Lightner February 18th, 2014| Liquor
jameson_hdIt took me a while to get on the same level as Jameson Irish Whiskey. The popular spirit has gained incredible notoriety over the years as an incredible sipping beverage, as well as a versatile mixer and go-to for party-time shots. Over three years ago, I recounted my first experience with Jameson, and also my first experience with whiskey in general. Today, I'd like to invite you to experience the maturation of my relationship with Irish whiskey. It's a bit different, but I think you'll enjoy it.

Jameson is famous for its bold flavor and incredible punch. When
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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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