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.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Bud Lite & Clamato Chelada

Now, you may have noticed a new subtitle for this blog: "These bars are filled with things that kill, by now you probably should have learned." It's from a Bright Eyes song, and I chose it because  a) there are a lot of things I am not, and faggy is not one of those things, and b) I do stubbornly refuse to learn.
He's like a scared little kitten. I'd totally drink some Riva with that guy.
Even then, though, some of you might thought a pre-canned blend of clam juice, tomato, bud lite, lime, and salt (it's supposed to be served in a salt-rimmed glass but they just said fuck it and put salt in the goddamn can like goddamn assholes) might daunt me. Those of you who did either seriously underestimate my courage or overestimate my will to live.
"So I give myself three months to feel better/ or I swear to god I'll drive right off a fucking cliff." Oh, this is pretty much what highschool with me was like, by the way.
Well, almost. You need more Smiths references but, as both Morrissey and beer-clamato are for inexplicable reasons enjoyed by swarthy Latinos, I guess this'll make an adequate substitute.

Reddish-pink, with matching foam. It's a little faintly orange and more translucent than I like my beer, let alone how I like my beer mixed with what-should-be-opaque tomato juice. Which, in all fairness, I proabably wouldn't mind if it was absolutely translucent, by which I mean didn't exist. I mean, Jesus christ, I know Bud Lite is for drippy vaginas but does that mean this has to look like period blood.?
What are you, on y-- shit, already made that joke in the Cossack review. Welp, hopefully some Winstone will class this place up a little regardless.

It's in the nose where the rich bouquet of clams comes  through. It still smells faintly like tomatoes and faintly like beer, but mostly it just smells fishy.

I want you to try and wrack your brain for anything that can be described as "smelling fishy" that is good. Nothing is supposed to smell like fish. Even fish. When fish get aromatic you throw 'em the fuck out, but NOPE, Amheuser just thinks yeah, yeah, this beer smells like low tide. And I'm okay with that.

I want you to keep in mind, given the metaphor I used in the section above, that I didn't make a single vagina joke. I stayed the hell away from vaginas in the fish-smell metaphor, and that makes me classy.
Pictured: Class, a Turkey.
They put salt in this. Do you think they understood what a bad idea that was? When you salt the rim of the glass, it gives a nice sharpness to what you're drinking and, by making you thirstier, makes the drink more quenching. I've only started appreciating tequila in the past month since I bought a little bottle of 1800, and I understand that. The people who came up with this deal in booze for a living and they couldn't figure out that if you put salt in the beer it just makes it painful to drink. The lip of the can tastes like seawater and it burns my throat in the worst way possible.

(For the record, whenever I think of budweiser I just flash to the scene in Blue Velvet where Laura Dern says it's all she's had, and Kyle MacLachlan just sighs and disappointedly replies "yup.  King of beers.")
"Diane, I'm drinking Clamato, salt, and Budweiser. I've made a huge mistake."
Honestly, the only flavor advertised on the bi-lingual label that I would want in my cheap watery lite American beer is the lime, and I can't taste that. It mostly tastes like tomato juice. Bad tomato juice. At least when you drink it, the clam-- the "unique flavor of Clamato" they advertise on the back of the can-- doesn't really come through. It just tastes like beer and tomato juice and it makes you thirsty when you drink it, making it a failure at the one reason I ever have cheap watery beer. And I drink a lot of Rolling Rock, so it's not like I'm coming at this with unreasonably high standards.

Can I just say that my spellchecker doesn't recognize Clamato as a word? That's because it shouldn't be.
"Clamato, per se?"
I will say this though-- it makes a nice counterpoint to the Four Loko from earlier in the week. On a surface level, that's because it's horrible flavors and colors are at least natural; I know what makes this bad, unlike the awful undertow of Loko, which I can only guess at being the rough flavor of Nyarlothotep's dust-covered taint (not taint in the Lovecraftian sense, I mean the space between Nyarlothotep's testes and Nyarlothotep's anus). On a less awful level, though, it's because chugging this actually makes it better. Your mouth gets acclimated to the store-brand V8 taste and it just tastes like watery, vegetable-y beer after a few swigs.

Also, I think the salt did help clear up these congested sinuses I've had, so that's good. I'm not even joking, that happened.

On the other hand, I think my throat might be bleeding. It's really hot and sore I don't know if my spit's red because of the tomato or if the saltwater kinda fucked me up because, you know, you shouldn't drink saltwater.
It's like nobody even watched Waterworld.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Four Loko (standard flavor)

Did you watch that video? (I didn't-- I cut out at the point when he was sharing his pride in spending three dollars on his chosen poison at the corner store). But yes-- that's why I'm going for some Four Loko tonight. Well, that and the fact that, according to Wikipedia, it's currently under investigation by the FDA. And when you Youtube search for it, one of the first results is about teens being hospitalized by it. Also, there's wormwood in it, which strikes me as a terrible idea.

Essentially, Four Loko is malt liquor full of fruit flavor and energy drink and, I can't stress the cosmic foolishness of this idea, wormwood. Also, its company is based out of Latrobe PA, which makes me sad because I started drinking beer with Rolling Rock. So I got just the standard purple-colored can and thought I'd see if this is normal malt-liquor bad or a special thing unto itself.

Oh my god this looks more like grape soda than grape soda does. It's a really really dark purple, like, darker than Fanta. (They made Fanta originally because Nazi Germany couldn't import Coca-Cola syrup.  I'm not making any claims here about quality or trying to say that Four Loko is a war crime. I'm just telling the exciting story that is 20th-century history)
Apparently exciting enough that someone made a Martin Bormann action figure.
But anyway, it's malt liquor and it's dark purple. It wouldn't matter if that purple was like made out of ground-up amethyst and unicorn jism, it would still be wrong.

It also smells like grape soda. It's really reminiscent of Purple Passion, (man, those were halcyon days. Back when I had  a liver larger than a golfball and more solid than a whiffleball)-- it smells purple and fruity, but neither like actual grapes or totally healthy. There's a weird, old, dusty foot smell at the bottom of this, like I'll drain the can and just wind up choking on someone's knucklebone.
"Looks like a ... pinky."
There is a cheap beer aroma mixed in, though, and that's just terrible. It can smell like soda, it can smell like cheap beer, but smelling like both just feels like something-- either a rat or an oompa-loompa, respectively--fell into the mix and drowned.

 Well when you sip it, it just tastes like soda. But it's malt liquor, so you should chug it, and when you chug it thenitdsjcdlsjl;ZALGO.

Whoo. Sorry there. I drank like a fifth of a can and for a second everything was black and yet somehow fire at the same time. I was somehow absolutely nothing and yet aware of nothing but my own flesh. It was a little weird.
It starts off with this faint, bitter wormwood flavor down at the very base of the first sip. It tastes like dust and hangover-mouth, with sort of a lemon-rind sourness. But with every  gulp I take over the course of a chug, the grape soda flavor diminishes and that grows, until after about four gulps and it tastes like wood pulp and mushrooms. It tastes like something that is legitimately poisonous and then you salivate like crazy as your mouth tries to flush it out. And it's not just in the course of one chug-- the deeper I get into this increasingly too-large can, the worse every consecutive sip tastes. It's the opposite of the Mad Dog effect (fun fact: my first exposure to Mad Dog was on My Name is Earl, where it was the preferred drink of Patty the Daytime Hooker).

Seriously, a sip of this is passable. That last gulp is some of the worst stuff I've tasted for this blog.

(I gotta take a break while I process the buzz. Here's something special to keep you company).
zALgO RiseS
I'm just adding this section because this is an energy drink as well as a beer as well as, in Europe, absinthe-pop (which all combine into a Japan-level bad idea). I figure that, since the reason to drink Four Loko over anything else is the buzz, I better talk about it.

It's not really an energy drink buzz, though, as the alcohol mostly negates that. I am typing better than I usually do in the reviews, so I guess it makes that a little easier, but I'm not jittery or tweaking. It actually reminds me of an absinthe buzz (only with Taurine and Shoggoth-bile instead of fennel and anise) in that I'm clearly kinda drunk but not tired or lethargic.  But whereas an absinthe buzz is fun and an excellent conduit to bad ideas and weird fuckin' dreams (seriously-- can't go into details but they were strange as shit and we all dreamed about different variations on the same idea) I imagine that this is just a conduit to sitting on the hood of a moving car.
"Someone slammed their butt on your car! It looks like a butt!"
(Wonder Boys is hella late-90s-early-2000s but it's still a damn fine movie). Essentially this buzz is just gonna make you a chattery asshole but not actually inspire you to any bad decisions.

More like you'd have to be loco to driiiiiiiiiiiiii

Monday, September 6, 2010

Newgate Corrections Citrus Blend

(Before any of you start worrying for my health, I want you to know I ran my process and the finished product by two different people I know who do a lot of homebrewing. They were disappointed, dismayed, and horrified, but they assured me that this should be safe. Fairly safe).

So, we all knew this was coming. I think we were all wondering, "how long is it going to take before Jasper decides that no ordinary awful stuff is enough to keep him running and instead decides to engineer something truly awful and gloriously perverse?" So I found a shittily-made website from the year 2000 that told you how to make prison wine out of Welch's and baker's yeast and decided "fuckit, why not?"
A paragon of  good decisions.
The roommate and I made it out of Grapefruit, Pink Lemonade, and Apple from Wal-Mart brand concentrates and fermented it in a plastic water jug. It's been sitting for about four days and last night the bubbles finally stopped going, meaning that all the yeast poisoned itself. And so, named after one of the most infamous prisons in history, I present to you: Newgate Corrections Citrus Blend.
Pictured: pride!
This is it: the moment when i get to call myself Gonzo. When I create the worst story possible and then report on how awful it is. Or I could call myself a Republican Congressman.

Whooooo boy. There was a lot of pink juice that went into the blend of this and I don't know where it went, because it's pretty much beige now. It's about the color of slightly lighter apple juice, but totally opaque. Also, as you can kind of see in the image up there, there's a surprisingly thick layer of sediment at the bottom of the jug. This is the dead yeast and the processed pulp from the juice. The fact that there's so much of it means some pretty serious fermentation went down. Kind of like when, in a horror video game, you walk into an empty room that's strewn with chunks of something and you know a brutal boss fight's coming up.
This is Regeneratin' Robby. He's our mascot.

Okay I think I might have fucked up the airlock seal that is supposed to let some of the waste product out (I was making it out of a balloon and a rubber band), because this smells straight up rancid. (Again, I want to stress I had people who know their shit make sure this wasn't poison-- I'll be fine in the morning, people. Although, fun fact, in the slim chance I did seriously fuck shit up my body would actually turn this into formaldehyde. Having friends who know chemistry makes you kind of scared of life).

There's a serious sulfur whiff here because I used bread yeast and that shit does not make anything good ever,  and there's a vague sharp, sweet citrus smell under it (and I mean under, as in lurking.) It's a little bit like the aroma that bread dough makes when it's rising, only a lot stronger, more bitter, and in a place it really shouldn't be.

I've been listening to a lot of Sparklehorse lately, and the thought of even having to do this section made me cue up "Here Come the Painbirds." And that song's about the time Mark Linkous did so much heroin he filled his heart with potassium, briefly died, and couldn't walk for six months. SO YEAH.
"The only things I really need / is water, a gun, and rabbits / [also not prison wine]"
(He uh, he shot himself in the heart about four months back. So I feel bad for that. But not as bad as I'm going to. Look, I made prison wine here-- I WOULD RATHER BE DRINKING THUNDERBIRD.)

Ohgodohgod here we go. Okay, for starters, it doesn't actually taste as rancid as it smells. The grapefruit flavor really tears to the forefront, which makes me glad we only used one third grapefruit. It also makes me really glad that we couldn't find beet juice from concentrate, which was our first idea. Still though, it's amazing that, starting with simple fruit juice and the addition of two ingredients, we got this awful.
"I can ferment, mother. You fermented juice."
"Good for you Buster, now let's see you drink it."

It actually tastes like the time we mixed Thunderbird and grapefruit juice, but if you drank that through rising bread dough. Or like, if it was given to you by the world's absolute worse pastry chef. I don't mean worst as in "the worst at being a chef," I mean "out of all the chefs in the world, he is the one who is the most objectively bad as a human being." I don't know what the fuck that website was smoking, baker's yeast was a terrible idea. As was making it as concentrated as they suggested-- this should probably have like twenty percent more water. Although using grapefruit juice was also a terrible idea.

This tastes like bile and sulfur. It may well be the straight-up worst I've reviewed, and definitely the hardest to choke down, although I can't really count it in the running because it was engineered to be the worst. I mean, it's not like anyone actually makes grapefruit wine.
Blow me, world.

On the downside of the downside, it's hard enough to get down-- and I'm still vaguely afraid I might have made poison--that you pretty much can't get drunk off of this concoction. So yeah, it is an abject failure.

Now, I don't wanna condemn the proud tradition of hombrewing-- there's some people out there (I know a couple) who make delicious things. But if you're gonna do it, don't go by a website from ten years ago that still uses frames and encourages you to use a rinsed-out milk jug (because it's free!).

And that's why I can't go to prison. I just have certain standards about my wine.