Friday, November 12, 2010

Old Mill Stream Whiskey

"Where ya been, Jasper?" is what you're thinking. You've missed me. I understand how it goes. I've been really busy with exams and papers lately is what's up with that. Also, it's been a solid month and a half since I reviewed any hard liquor, which is also a bit of a problem-- I founded this proud/awful blog to wreck my body and find the worst sources of drunkenness, not to tackle malt liquor and vermouth.

But here I am. I have emerged, like a monster from the wilderness, and I have brought Hell with me.
So I'm walking through my friendly local liquor store, trying to figure out what can wreck me tonight that's not some dirt-cheap flavored liqueur, because those aren't nearly as fun. And then I see this, and, under it, the label reading  $3.70. Whiskey is NEVER that cheap. Never. Kentucky Gentleman  was  only half whiskey, and it was five and a half bucks for a bottle the same size. And I find myself wondering, "what the fucking cock is so bad about this that they have to sell it for 2/3 the price of the Gentleman.?"

20 percent Kentucky whiskey. 80 percent neutral spirits. This is less than half what Kentucky Gentleman was. And it's made in Bardstown, KY-- the home of Gentleman and my old nemesis, Riva-- so there's a good chance this bottle is just half gentleman, half everclear.

This is less percent whiskey than a Manhattan. Than a whiskey sour. Than a Jack and Coke. This isn't whiskey, this is a goddamn hillbilly cocktail . This is what a prospector would break out for fancy occasions.
Not even a classy prospector, too.
The color's kinda weird. It's not too light-- whiskey can get to be pretty light in color without being bad (Glenlivet looks like honey), but there is something off with this. It's not as red as bourbon or as light as speyside, but somewhere uncomfortably in the middle. Sort of an orange-y color. It looks like butterscotch more than anything else.

This smells almost exactly like the faux-moonshine I reviewed back in September. Same shivery strength, same really pungent burn. Only it's sweeter, but not that gentle corn sweetness of good bourbon. Nonono, this is a more clearly artificial, fruity sweetness. It smells like moonshine and ketchup.
Which means it's healthy!
Okay, so the roommate and I are supplementing this with another review. We're watching Sonic Underground, which is to my childhood what Mill Stream is to booze. Which is to say, sodomy. By which I mean we're getting swervy and watching terrible television that makes us angry. It's sort of how we spend our Fridays.

For starters, this whisky has kind of a syrupy warmth to it, which makes the sweet part of the flavor seem really artificial-- like it's just moonshine with butterscotch dribbled into it. Also, Maurice Lamarche is all over this show-- it was in the lull between Pinky and the Brain and Futurama, so one of the greatest voice actors in animation is reduced to playing every third character on the worst crime out of many that the Sonic franchise ever committed.
A show in which this character wasn't just smashed to the ground at birth.
The three main characters (including a woman) are all voiced by Urkel and they fight with the power of rock (like, keytar-that-shoots-lasers style), which means that we have a tri-urkel musical number once an episode. An imitation of late-90s pop rock by corporate hacks. Also, this whiskey is seriously terrible. I wish I'd mustered up the extra two bucks for KY Gentleman, that's how bad it is. It's really sour, like the unaged corn whiskey was, but it's worse-- both because it's clearly starting with inferior pure neutral spirits and because they try and cover that up with really sweet, syrupy awful-whiskey.

One of the nicest things about whiskey--especially Kentucky whiskey--is the smokiness you get from wood aging and, in some cases, smoking or charcoal filtration. It's why Maker's 46 can charge ten bucks more a bottle and Laphroaig tastes like angel paste.There's none of that here. Mill Stream just tastes like grain alcohol mixed with corn syrup. It's missing the point as completely as if you made a Sonic the Hedgehog show that tried to be more cool and edgy and have more ATTITUDE than the original Sonic HEY THEY DID THAT. Man, between this and the Neverending Story sequels there really is nothing left of my childhood.
I had socks with this on them when I was seven, no lie. God, I was uncool. Not like now, where I'm spending my friday night with my roommate drinking and watching cartoons.
When I was a kid and I first had a chili dog, I was disappointed. That's the same feeling this brings up in me. I trusted Sonic then, and I trust whiskey now. And where did they lead me? To Mill Stream and to a Werehog.

Mixed it with some Dr. Lynn-- the western-NC knockoff of Dr. Pepper that is okay-- and, well, not really very good. Since there's not much flavor to Mill Stream but corn-syrup sweetness and the alcohol burn is fairly strong, it doens't really taste that different. The bad bad bad sweetness of the whiskey merges with the sugar in the soda and the alcohol overpowers the rest of the flavor, and the end result just tastes like you watered down the whiskey. This stuff is so bad that you can't even mix it. It's like how Sonic 2006 had Havok physics but was so fundamentally broken you couldn't even tell. Jesus christ it's amazing I didn't grow up to be sadder.
Just picture them holding a copy of Absalom, Absalom!, a glass of brandy, and that been-up-reading tousled Professor hair and you'll have a notion of what I narrowly skirted.
Don't let my ranting about what a SHITASSCLUSTERFUCK Sonic has become distract you-- this is terrible whiskey. If you want cheap whiskey, get the Gentleman-- or shit, get Canadian Club, it's actually about as expensive as the gentleman but is legitimately good whiskey that I would voluntarily drink. If you only have four dollars in your pocket and you wanna get smashed, get Night Train. If you wanna get smashed on hard liquor-- and I say this with a great deal of sorrow--get yourself some Five O' Clock. You have so many better choices than this. It's like if you owned Sonic Adventure and wanted to play Sonic Unleashed.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm gonna go drink some good whisky. And play Sonic 2.

Holy fuck I lead a sad life.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Schlitz High Gravity V.S.L.

Baby's begged me not to go
So many times before
She said love and happiness
Can't live behind those swinging doors
Now she's gone and I'm to blame
Too late, I finally see
What's Made Milwaukee Famous
Has made a fool out of me.
-Jerry Lee Lewis
See, not even sad-sack country musicians like Schlitz. And those are the kinds of people that do songs about PBR. Well, them and the worst people on earth.
I hope you both catch the fucking T-Virus.
I had to deliberate a little while over which brand of big can of terrible Schlitz to review for you people. By which I mean that I had to look until i saw this one was 8.5% alcohol. Then it's not really a contest.

Has anyone ever seen Schlitz? Has there ever been one person who's had it not out of an aluminum can? If I went to some bar in Wisconsin where they were dueling by riding cows across the field and swinging lawnmower blades and said "hey barkeep, can I have a nice frosty mug of Schlitz?" do you think I'd actually get one? No. Because I would probably be latched to the back of one of the cows when I walked into the bar. So I'm not going to find out. They don't take kindly to my kind there.

I don't mean gays. I mean the fact that I literally live in an ivory tower and I read for fun.
Pictured: your author. With Harry Potter. That was a fun time.
So I'm going to assume it doesn't look like black jelly or a can of slug paste or cabbage blood or unicorn jism or anything like that. Let's just assume it looks yellow and watery.

NOSE smells like unicorn jism. If that unicorn was made out of watery beer. Like, some sort of aquatic unicorn that lived in beer. Bad beer. Also, that would be a hippocamp. A Milwaukee hippocamp.
Yeah, yeah, like that, but with a cheesehead hat.
 Actually, I gotta hand it to Schlitz. Out of all the insanely cheap beers that are terrible, it has the most actually beery smell. It's not great, but at least it didn't smell like potato water like Olde English did. There is a bit of a celery tinge to it though. Ohh, that's not gonna be good.
Okay, confession time. Friday night me and some of the Gutrottin' club wanted to get drunk and watch Army of Darkness, so I drank an entire bottle of Cobra. Then we wanted to get drunker and watch Slither, so I drank about a third of a bottle of Thunderbird. Then we wanted to get drunkest and get pamcakes, so I moved on to the Gallo vermouth from last time.
Mmmm...pamcakes. And cheap booze.
I think at some point over the pancake dinner I recited Yeats. But anyway, the confession boils down to-- none of that was for journalism. That was for fun. I think I'm actually starting to acclimate to cheeeeeeap beer and bumwine.

Because this is actually kind of almost tolerable and not poison-tasting. It still is though. It's really bitter and not in a "pint of bitters luv" way or a guiness-y way. And the aftertaste really is something fairly not-good. There's a really vegetative flavor to it and a sort of wormwood bitterness, plus it just makes your mouth feel gross. Like your tongue needs a bath or something.
Problem(s) solved!
Plus, after a while, the aftertaste becomes strong and pervasive enough that you don't taste the beer anymore when you drink it. It's like a less pure-horror version of the Four Loko taste. In the end, though, it's tolerable, int he same way Cobra was. I guess if you wanna get your swerve on and spend a buck fifty doing do you could do worse. As long as you don't mind feeling sad and drunk and midwestern.
Man, even I as a 17-year-old could rock the Neil Young haircut better than Conor Oberst. Dude looks like a West Virginia van killer.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Gallo Dry Vermouth

You don't know how special this is to me. You see, I had Gallo Dry Vermouth long before I even considered starting this blog-- almost exactly a year ago, my roommate and girlfriend and I decided we need to try some martinis for the first time (despite drinking them out of rocks glasses) but also didn't want to spend much money on a bottle of vermouth we figured we'd only be using for accent.

So we got Gallo. This was before I knew about the horrors that they made (Thunderbird, Night Train), and before I had any idea what vermouth was actually supposed to taste like.

We had made a huge mistake.
Even bigger than accidentally meeting your son.
Suffice it to say, our cocktails for that night were just us drink martini out of highball glasses and watching six hours of Dexter. And that a while later, when my roommate was so smashed that we had to hide the Wild Turkey (he actually thought drinking more Turkey was a good idea) he still took one gulp of the leftover vermouth and put it right the fuck back in the fridge. The only good thing that ever came of that bottle was that it was okay for cooking sweet onions.

So, let's see if my first encounter (aside from the obligatory college student meeting with Aristocrat) with low-grade gutrot still holds up.

John Hodgman says that you can remember which vermouth is which by the fact that Italians have red blood and the French bleed a sort of clear-green lymph color. In which case I guess Californians that I hate must be very French-like with a hormonal imbalance, because this is actually a very faint yellow.
Ernest Gallo.
It's incredibly light in color, though, and the glass is actually tinted very faintly to make it look green. It's more the color of old plaster or faintly faded paper than an actual wine flavor.

The aroma here is incredibly faint. Now, I drink a lot more sweet vermouth (I'm a sucker for Manhattans, the girl even more so), but what dry I've had is supposed to have a much stronger aroma than this. Unless you're some French bastard who orders a little glass after dinner, vermouth is supposed to be used as a (small) supplement to a couple hard dollops of booze. The aroma of this one is as fey and inoffensive as--shit, I don't know. I don't notice things that are fey and inoffensive. I really just set myself up for failure with that metaphor.
"Okay Haley, we're to the part where we just piss all over Kubrick's headstone. You ready?"
Welp, since I did just insult them let's see if the French know what the hell they're talking about (spoiler alert: the French never know what they're talking about).
"Iiiiii'm Charles Baudelaire, Iiiii hate lesbians for not sleeping with me, wah wah waaaaaah."
Joe (the roommate) fairly accurately summed up the flavor as "everything I hate about white wine." And let me tell you, the dude hates a lot about white wine. He bleeds Chianti and I'm pretty sure his bones are made of pasta. He only likes white wine when you're cooking clams in it. When he walks into a room, Dean Martin starts playing. He once stomped a guy to death to a Donovan song.
Pictured: my roommate.
And while I honestly prefer white (as if the hate speech didn't tip you off) the guy is right. This doesn't even taste like vermouth, it tastes like spoiled white wine with herbs soaked in it. It's really sweet (sweeter than the actual sweet vermouth I have), and actually has kind of that good old Thunderbird flavor to its pungency and fruitiness. The herbs only exist in the aftertaste, and even then it tastes more like you just mixed in a ramen flavoring packet with your hobo wine.

I recently made some herb-infused vodka (take about eight basil leaves, some mixed peppercorns and a sprig of rosemary and soak 'em in a bottle's worth of Smirnoff for a couple days). It tastes pretty good, I think-- kind of has the botanical flavors of gin but is smoother and has a really mellow burn. Since that should pack the herbal dryness that this vermouth so badly lacks, I've decided to make a cocktail out of them. Since it's very similar to gin in some of the flavors, it should make a good modified martini. Since it's made of plants, I call it...THE SWAMP THING.
Alan Moore's Swamp Thing only thought that it was human. This only thinks that it's a real cocktail. Also, it's gross.
So how does the Swamp Thing fare? Does it kick as much ass as it did in the 80's? Does it invent John Constantine? Does it lead to a giant bearded warlock on acid somehow becoming the most respected artist in his field?

Of course not. How could you think that? Jesus christ, you people are fucking idiots. No, it pretty much tastes like that yummy herb vodka I made but with an added sweetness that completely goes against everything a martini should be. It actually starts pretty strong--the actual herbal component of the vermouth brings out the pepper in the vodka--but the wine flavor, that goddamn too-sweet wine flavor that clings to Gallo like they were goddamn asymptomatic carriers for the fucking superflu, it just lurches in pissing and squealing into an otherwise nice drink.

Gallo dry does to cocktails what Karen O does to motel rooms.
Don't ever buy this. This falls into the very rare category (alongside Banana Nirvana) of not even for the alcohol. There's very little reason to own dry vermouth apart from making distinguished cocktails, and if you're in the "let's spend five bucks on this instead of 6.50 on something better" mindset you're as stupid as I was last year. Just no. No. No. No.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Richard's Wild Irish Rose (White)

Hey guys! Guys! You know what's great? Sonic the fuckin' Hedgehog 4, that's what.  I grew up with that lovable blue fuckup, and it's so nice to see him again after 16 years. Because they haven't made a Sonic game since Sonic and Knuckles. They haven't. Not that I can remember.

Or at least, not that I will remember after trying out the white and worse version of Wild Irish Rose.

I was going to find a picture of Sonic drunk and sad here. But there is only porn. So much porn. AND THAT'S NOOOOO GOOOOOOD.

So, that seems as good a reason as any to start drinking.
Well. Not any.
Well, it looks more like white wine than most of the bumwines I've looked at. If you put it in a glass, you might fool someone into thinking it's civilized (like putting an Irishman in a suit). It's a little more of a deep-yellow color, though, and a little more artificial looking. So I guess that, like an Irishman in a suit, it only looks dignified until close examination or until you start interacting with it.
I'm sorry sir please don't hurt me.
Heeeeey whaddaya know it smells bad,  WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT (as a side note, after finishing this bottle I will have had literally every type of bum wine the Sav Mor and Ingles carry. Look at my life, look at my choices.) Unlike the vinegar-and-sugar aroma of a lot of other bumwines, though, there's here. On taking a really deep whiff of it, there's something that can only be described as rotten.
Allegedly even people who seek out normal Rose don't drink the white variety. I can see why-- there really does smell like something just went off in the making, or like it somehow spoiled. But no, that's just the natural aroma. I mean, I guess a corpse stinks naturally too. Better just fucking CHOW DOWN on the next one you see.
"That corpse you planted into your wine / has it begun to sprout? / Oh keep far the Jasper, that's enemy to man / or with his gut he'll chug it down again."
(Jesus I'm sorry, I'm working on my Lit Thesis right now and I am awash in pretention).

A strong beginning of poverty and pigeonshit, followed by an aftertaste of regurgitated stomach. It starts boorishly and finishes moreso, as though the wine itself is getting drunk, as though it starts the night pissing into your umbrella stand and ends it by punching your wife in the clitoris. Like, directly in it, like that one scene in Robocop where he cyber-targets a dude's nuts.
That was my attempt at fancy-pants wine journalism. I'm...not sure it quite went where I thought it was going.
"Not even in the babyhole, just POW. Clitoris."
Yeah, I'm not doing that again. Anyway this is a lot worse than the red. And that honestly says something-- I don't really like red wines all that much. If you'll forgive the unbearableness of how white this is going to sound, I can really enjoy a Beaujolais and sometimes when I'm painting I'll drink a lot of Merlot really fast but a lot of the time I actually prefer white, and this is a massive fuckup on Irish Rose's part. It just tastes like their red without the stuff that covers up the awful. It's just as sweet, just as fruity, but there's that...deadness. That evil at its core.
Don't just dump it down the sink. It's your lucky wine.
(Just took like a half-hour break to talk about Catholicism and the way it works its way into your skin. I gotta say, like W.I.R. Red, this is a pretty fun drunk).

The White goes down easy (that's what Spike Lee told me!), but it hurts afterward. It definitely tastes spoiled and turned, like its well on its way to being vinegar, and if you take big gulps it does its job-- unlike bad vodka it doesn't hurt while you drink it, but immediately afterwards it feels like your tongue was transplanted from a three-day old body. Not like three-days-old period, like a baby's tongue. I mean it's been a "body" as in "after the stuff it's been through we don't want to admit it used to be a person."

Really you can insert a lot of my description of the red and take out anything complimentary. All I can say for this is what Brendan "the Irish caricature" Behan said of Guiness: It gets ya drunk.
Fuck you and your independent republic.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Mamba Joose

"Joose is a ghetto alcoholic energy drink." That's how the Wikipedia article on Joose begins. Now, I have to ask-- was that article vandalized and no one caught it? Or is Joose just so recognizably, objectively ghetto that even Wikipedia has to admit that drinking this is probably gonna lead to starting fistfights with people's cars?

Also, this flavor is "Mamba Juice." The Mamba is the most poisonous snake in the world. It's so poisonous that Roald Dahl, the freakishly tall, freakishly hateful bastard that thought "there are witches everywhere who want to eat you" was a pretty perfectly charming premise for a children's book, pretty much shit himself when he saw one in India. I don't know if this flavors supposed to be Black Mamba or Green or what, but I really doubt ANY kind of Mamba is particularly delicious.

Well, Black Mamba's pretty yummy.
So anyway, none of this bodes especially well for this review. Also, "Joose?" Really? If you spell it that way you just sound like Willie Nelson from Aqua Teen.
For reference. Also, no kidding, this is the second time I've reference that character on this blog.
It's red. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A RED MAMBA, why would you call the red flavor Mamba? Why. Why. Why.  It pretty much looks like cherry soda, only more pinkish. Like watermelon soda I guess? Only they also make juice in watermelon flavor, so if this is watermelon what is that? This is one of the first times I've been honestly confused by the way something looks. To be honest, I don't know what to expect from the look.

That's not true. I know it's going to be terrible, I just don't know how. It's like invading Russia-- are you going to starve, freeze, or get shot?
Also, Tolstoy is disappointed in your actions.
The taurine (that stuff in Red Bull) gives this a really sweet, chemical smell. Like Red Bull, I guess. The fruit flavor that is there was really hard to pin down, and took a lot of deep breathing (fuckyoufuckyouFUCKYOU) but I think it's grapefruit. Yeah. Because there's a big overlap between the "half a grapefruit for breakfast crowd" and the "alcoholic caffeine-soda" crowd. You know who invented Red Bull? Tokyo cab drivers. I'm sure they're just all over some nice fresh citrus.
It wouldn't be the first time I was surprised by Japanese attitudes towards fruit.
First, let me say that I'm only a little way in here and I'm reading trivia about serial killers (they beat Gacy to death in prison! I'm okay with that!). It's that kinda drunk.

It's actually really specifically a Four Loko-style flavor, but spread out. The terrible doesn't build like Loko did, but it's present from the very first sip. There's a sort of unusual, formaldehyde-y flavor here-- it tastes like grapefruit, sure (WHY?), but it also has a kind of unique chemical tang. Joe says that it's a terrible you want to keep experiencing-- there's different layers and nuances of awful, so you can't appreciate everything that makes it terrible one just one gulp.
In Heeeeeaven...everything is fiiiiiine.
It tastes like a dried-out grapefruit you thought was fresh but had been in the back of the fridge for a while. It tastes like a Dead grapefruit-- not just dead, because that's really as soon as you pluck them, but something devoid of vitality, of freshness or crispness. It's like, this is what happens to a grapefruit who give up on its dreams and just sells used cars and feels guilty about it. This is a grapefruit so desperate for something resembling a real life that it constructs a fantasy around itself.
Oh man, this seriously the most pretentious joke I've ever made here. I am so, so sorry.
But yeah, this is The Crying of Grapefruit 49, only tastewise it has more in common with Gravity's Rainbow. The coprophagous scene, specifically. (Blogger has "coprophagous" in its spellcheck. Thanks, Google, for anticipating my needs.) It tastes like that awful time we had with Thunderbird only with Red Bull thrown into the mix. And, to quote Leonard Cohen (jesus I have been listening to a ton of Cohen lately, this might explain some of the melancholia), there's nothing left but sorrow and a taste of overtime.
I put, like, a ton of work into this. I don't even know why. Only that listening to "Leaving Greensleeves" for half an hour should put you into the mindset I'm in for a good %30 of the day.
Long story short, it doesn't seem as promising as Four Loko does at the initial taste but also doesn't get as awful. It's like marrying someone obese so they won't leave you instead of someone simultaneously sexy and psychopathic. So, like, more like a Dwight Yoakam song than an Alpha Couple Mountain Goats song.
I'm not picturing him NOT banging a fat chick.
More of a teaser for the next entry, but we're home-infusing some awful vodka. Got some Nikolai, gonna try and make it taste like apple pie. I call it the Gorbachev, because it reconciles American and Russian ideals of perfection.

Unless it's a miserable failure. Then I call it the Yeltsin.

I can't stay mad at you, Boris.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Georgia Moon Corn Whiskey

Well, this is it. If I didn't know what words meant, I'd say "the penultimate entry," but penultimate actually means second-to-last.  But anyway, this is pretty much moonshine. I'm serious, pretty much the only thing that separates Georgia Moon from white lightning is the fact that there's taxes on it.

"Ezra woke and gagged on White Jesus.
He convulsed and retched, lurching his upper body over the side of the bed, and disgorged a ribbon of mustard bile on to the foot-worn sod. He hung there, half on, half off the bed, letting the prickling blood rush to his head...The hobos call White Jesus-- which she made from potato peels --White Lightning, but the cane-men call it Ecker's tears."
-Nick Cave, And The Ass Saw The Angel. There's a scene in that book where the main character finds his baby brother's bones in a shoebox!
A regular gigglefest.
It comes in a little mock mason jar. I don't really care about anything else, I just fucking love that fact. Yeah, it's not a real airlock-seal and I don't like the kinda jokey fake-cardboard label, but I love that they're gonna just roll with that (there was also another fake-moonshine bottle at the store that was a fake ceramic bottle and cost twice as much, which is against the point of moonshine). I just really like that they're going to embrace the moonshine thing full-on. And so we're also drinking it out of little real Ball jars.
It's adorable.
The whiskey's also clear, despite being, you know, whiskey. This is because it's fresh, tasty, unaged hooch.

It may just be the fact that it's a big ol' Mason jar of 50% pure alcohol rather than a bottle but it smells really, really strong. It's mostly just a smell of pure ethanol but there's a corny sweetness to the odor too. It mostly just smells like sugar and alcohol. Again, there's a beauty to the simplicity of it.
Yes. Kathe Kollwitz is a perfectly apt comparison.
Remember what I said about alcohol and sugar? That pretty much holds true. On the first taste it pretty much tastes like vodka (because that's almost what it is-- vodka can only be technically made from wheat, potatoes, or, if you are the saddest person to ever live [by which I mean you live in the vodka belt and are not either a corrupt government official or a vor] beets). But anyway, this essentially neutral spirits and corn juice. This is what they drink out there on the edge of society. This is the flavor of the world melting away. will change your life.

The aftertaste is pretty nice, actually. It's pretty sweet, with a kind of tartness to it. It's interesting to see how raw whiskey starts, before all the aging and the wood flavor soaks into it. If nothing else, it'll make you appreciate bourbon more. And it's probably the best Kentuckian thing I've reviewed for this blog. Better than Kentucky Gentleman. Better than fucking Riva.
Never forget. Never forgive.
Yeah, I made a White Jesus cocktail. Since it's essentially raw bourbon, this is kinda like just doing fish and chips with sushi. Only, you know, an infinitely worse idea. So I threw in some Angostura Bitters and called it an Old Fashioned. Let's see how this goes.

Mmm. Yummy. The bitters just kinda makes it taste like straight bourbon. It lessens the burn a lot (and make no mistake, despite the surprisingly palatability of Georgia Moon it does burn like it was 50% more proof than it is). (Hey, Karim's coughing and screaming now. I think he took too big of a gulp. WHITE JESUS, PEOPLE!). Making it an Old Fashioned does kinda diminish the unique tastiness of the moonshine though, so if I were you I'd just drink it out of the mason jar on your front porch, listen to some Gram Parsons, and maybe accidentally shoot your neighbor's dog.
Killing someone is a special thing. It's a thing you do when you want someone to die.
Yeah, I'm gonna recommend this one. Like Pelinkovac it's weird and has a pretty unique flavor, and I don't know if it's a flavor you're gonna like or not but you owe it to yourself to check it out if you get the chance. I kinda like it. But yeah, it's fairly cheap and hey, it's not technically illegal.

(If anyone knows anyone who can hook me up with some real illegal moonshine, drop me a line).

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Gutrotter Tools #1: Bitters

So I've started reading the 12 Bottle Bar lately. They're a really great site, with the aim of helping you make classy, old-school drinks with the least amount of weird supplies and esoteric ingredients possible. So I thought I might try my hand at something. Only, instead of "weird supplies" and "esoteric ingredients," substitute "money" and "judgment."

In my time writing this blog, essentially, I've drunk a lot of terrible things. And I rarely finish whatever bottle of terrible I review on the night I review it. Which leaves me with the question: what do I do with it afterward? I usually get a couple friends to choke down some out of curiosity and sympathy, and sometimes I get angry at something online and hatedrink a little, but there are a lot of times where I have to figure out different cocktails, ingredients, and methods of actually using this terrible stuff. And that's why I'm starting the Gutrotter Tools series-- both so I can talk about actual good mixology, and so that I can help you save money by making that five-o-clock vodka drinkable.

Bitters are something you should own. They're not something you need to own, but a small bottle will last you for about a year if you're sparing. They have their roots in the medicine-show snake-oil days, when they were essentially just grain alcohol that had soaked up some flavor from weird botanicals and herbs. But they really shine in a lot of the more spirit-heavy cocktails, like the Old Fashioned, where their strong flavors (in very small amounts) can help to balance and compliment the flavor of liquor.

There are really only two major kinds, and you should own both. Peychaud's is originally from New Orleans. It's got a sweet flavor and a lot of floral notes, a little like rosewater. There's also a pretty strong element of cinnamon there, but it's not overpowering, which is really hard to do (see: Pelinkovac). There's a little bit of fennel and anise to its flavor, too-- since it was formulated in the absinthe heart of America, this isn't surprising. This spice and sweetness makes a really great compliment t the botanical flavor of gin, and goes great with lighter, crisper whisky (think Canadian Club), or rye-based whisky in general, by helping to even out the flavor and smooth it some.

Angostura is originally from Barbados and pretty radically different from Peychaud's. It's got a very strong citrus flavor--mostly oranges--and the spice flavors are much more like cloves, allspice, and nutmeg. It's a little more rounded in flavor, without the sharp cinnamon and anise and with a slightly more fruity tinge to it.

How to use them? These can go in pretty much anything you decide to gutrot, as long as it's got a flavor of its own (I wouldn't try vodka). Essentially, use Peychaud's for gin, crisper whiskies, and tequila. Use Angostura for rum, bourbon, and most liqueurs. They're both really strong in flavor, so only a few drops. Remember, though-- what you're drinking isn't good, so feel free to go a little overboard and use these to mask the flavor. Try putting a couple shots of cheap-ass whisky (like Kentucky Gentleman) in Coke or soda water and splashing a fair bit of bitters in there.

In this case, essentially, you're using them like a veil for an ugly bride: it's a pretty small thing in its own right, but it can make a world of difference.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Olde English "800"

Well, for starters, I wanted to let you guys know a cocktail I made was featured on The Drunken Moogle. They're a pretty damn fun site and I wanted to welcome any readers that might have come here from there-- I don't know if anyone reading this did, but I hope you might stick around.

Secondly, I wanted to make an aside regarding music-- it came out like months ago, and I missed it, but Spencer Krug has yet another band called Moonface that sounds like a cross between minimalist reggae music and the Akira soundtrack, and it's definitely worth doing one of those pay-what-you-want download things to get it from Jagjaguwar. Krug has never ever ever made anything I didn't like and while this might be his weirdest work yet it's still pretty good.

These are both procrastinations, though, to keep me from having to get around to Olde English "800." (The quotes are on the bottle, I'm not going to leave them out because all of you need to be as angry as I am at them). I found a site that rated it the worst beer in the world and, quite frankly, I'm not going to pass that opportunity up.
Spencer Krug is just all quietly hissing, "Dammit Jasper."
What's more offensive than the beer's appearance (which basically looks like Miller, since that's what it is) is the design of the bottle. There's nothing resembling a neck here (think like, latter Brando), it just tapers smoothly from the thick body of the bottle up to the mouth. This makes it really hard to grip by the neck, and the thickness of the bottle combined with the sweat on it means that it's hard to wrap your hands around the center. This'd be fine to just gingerly sip it, but I paid 2 bucks for 40 oz. I am going to chug this. And when I try to, it feels like it's going to spill. Every. Time. It just feels fated for disaster.
I'll just uh, leave this here.
Skunk beer, pure and simple. Reeeeeally skunk beer-- it's fresh out of the fridge and it already smells like cheap beers do when they get warm. It's actually pretty damn gross. It smells kind of like cheese. Kind of like rye bread. Kind of bitter. Basically it smells like a vegetarian reuben that you wrested out of the claws of a pigeon.
Why do we let babies like this grow up. Fucking. Awful.
Welp, let's see if I can get this unsteady, wavering bottle to my lips safely without it dribbling on my shirt (this is why hookers charge geriatrics more).

Oh, fucking gross. Look, I do not like Miller. I have had one can of Miller in the back of my fridge since I moved into this apartment, over a year ago. But I think this is a step down from Miller, kinda like  how Mary Kelly's murder was especially bad even for Jack The Ripper.
You know how, when you have really cheap beer like Heineken or PBR there's this kinda pungent flavor behind it, especially if you let it get warm? We in the tasting-awful-things field refer to that as "skunkiness, or if you're into other kinds of intoxicants, "dank."
Doctor Prince Far I has like, twelve degrees in that branch of the field. I'm pretty sure he's just smoking one of them in this photo.
Anyway, that's literally the only flavor there is to Olde English "800." Seriously, no real beer flavor, just the bad parts of bad beer flavor. Drinking this is like watching The Matrix and just fast-forwarding to Keanu Reeves's dialogue. No, wait. It's like watching Matrix Revolutions and doing that. No, wait, it's like taking that out of the DVD player, and just watching first takes of his dialogue scenes in Constantine.
They made a Hellblazer adaptation starring Peter Fucking Stormare as The Devil and it was still somehow boring.
I wish I was drinking King Cobra. I honestly mean that. This literally tastes like someone's armpit. Someone really sweaty. And then the flavor comes and goes in waves for about a minute. And then sometimes it just lurches back out even after then. It's like herpes, it just never goes away. Only at least herpes is contracted by doing something fun.

There is literally no reason to drink this, is what I'm saying. It's weaker than Cobra, it tastes worse than PBR, it's literally the worst-tasting beer I've ever had, and the only thing that is good about it is that it's so watery and lacking in any strong flavors that at least you can drink it fast. And that's only good because this is so damn bad-- it's only saving grace would be a failure of others. That's like saying, well, Hitler was awful, but at least he was also psychopathic enough to shoot himself.