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Good Enough Spirits for an Average Day


TAPrice
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Ezra Brooks is slightly more expensive in Texas than Evan Williams (around 13 vs 9ish -- sad because it used to be 7). I've seen the White Horse recommended before but around here it only seems to be available in a 1.75 liter bottle. Try as I might I can't find it in anything smaller, and I'm hesitant to buy such a large bottle to try.

I tried the regular Paul Masson brandy back when I was first getting in to mixing and was as yet unwilling to spend money on real cognac. I recall it being better than the E&J I had been buying (which is pretty bad) but nothing to jump up and down about. Presumably this 'Grande Amber' is better, I'm definitely going to try and dig some up.

Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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Ezra Brooks is slightly more expensive in Texas than Evan Williams (around 13 vs 9ish -- sad because it used to be 7). I've seen the White Horse recommended before but around here it only seems to be available in a 1.75 liter bottle. Try as I might I can't find it in anything smaller, and I'm hesitant to buy such a large bottle to try.

That's wild. Here (in PA) Ezra Brooks is $11.49 while Evan Williams is $11.99. And it wasn't all that long ago that they were both $10.99.

I don't blame you for being reluctant to take a chance on a 1.75L. I would be too.

Mike

"The mixing of whiskey, bitters, and sugar represents a turning point, as decisive for American drinking habits as the discovery of three-point perspective was for Renaissance painting." -- William Grimes

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I recall looking at a bottle of Powers at a friends recently, and I recall the word "blended" or something similiar on it. This doesn't mean diluted with grain neutral spirits and distilled water, does it?

Carpe Carp: Seize that fish!

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I recall looking at a bottle of Powers at a friends recently, and I recall the word "blended" or something similiar on it. This doesn't mean diluted with grain neutral spirits and distilled water, does it?

More or less, yes, but in the case of Irish Whiskey, it's not necessarily a bad thing; in fact, it's the norm. Irish Whiskey that isn't blended is relatively rare, my understanding is that the prevalence of blends in Ireland vs. malts in Scotland represents two historically different approaches to dealing with English liquor taxation.

Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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Ezra Brooks is slightly more expensive in Texas than Evan Williams (around 13 vs 9ish -- sad because it used to be 7). I've seen the White Horse recommended before but around here it only seems to be available in a 1.75 liter bottle. Try as I might I can't find it in anything smaller, and I'm hesitant to buy such a large bottle to try.

I've gone to Jim Beam for my standard bourbon at home. It's perfectly fine for a simple Old Fashioned or Manhattan, and my local liquor store always seems to have a $20 special on the 1.75 L bottles.

Todd A. Price aka "TAPrice"

Homepage and writings; A Frolic of My Own (personal blog)

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I have been getting Landy and Baron D'Yllac VS for a while. Thanks to this topic I spotted the Chalfonte VSOP today for a mere $21. I really like the sidecar I'm drinking right now...

ETA: the Brugal is a peculiar rum that grows on you. It ain't tame, I'll give it that.

Edited by chrisamirault (log)

Chris Amirault

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Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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I tried another cheap gin -- Amsterdam's -- and I can't recommend it.  Too harsh.

Absolutely agreed. Although it wasn't too bad in drinks that had another strong component (like lime juice, or maraschino......) it TOTALLY sucked in a martini. Really bad.

--Roberta--

"Let's slip out of these wet clothes, and into a dry Martini" - Robert Benchley

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Brugal Blanco is an excellent white rum and under $10. You can't really sip it straight like you can with Flor de Caña, but it's never let me down in a cocktail.

Old Forester Signature is damn good, 100 proof bourbon for $20 or so. Like the Brugal, it's good, not "good enough". Yeah, you can go cheaper, but why bother? I like it for sipping too.

Tequila is expensive across the board, but Pueblo Viejo has a whole line of good-mixing, (relatively) reasonably-priced Tequilas. They are not necessarily the best for sipping, but for whatever reason they seem to blend with other flavors nicely.

I have tried, and tried, and tried... to find a reasonably-priced Cognac/brandy that I like for mixing, and failed. But what I really do like is the Louis Royer Force 53, which runs $40 or so. But it's 106 proof, so it's a 32.5% better deal than something else at the same price. I need to try some Armagnac... (suggestions anyone?)

I second the Rittenhouse, Laird's, and that trying to save money on orange liqueur isn't really worth it. And as for Gordon's: sure, it's great for G&Ts, but for cocktails, 80 proof just doesn't cut it. I say pony up for the Tanqueray.

Edit: I also want to second Cruzan Black Strap. I like much better than Gosling's or Myers, and its cheap. I'm quite curious about Coruba though...

Edited by David Santucci (log)
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I have tried, and tried, and tried... to find a reasonably-priced Cognac/brandy that I like for mixing, and failed. But what I really do like is the Louis Royer Force 53, which runs $40 or so. But it's 106 proof, so it's a 32.5% better deal than something else at the same price. I need to try some Armagnac... (suggestions anyone?)

Anybody have a mail-order source for this handy?

Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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I have tried, and tried, and tried... to find a reasonably-priced Cognac/brandy that I like for mixing, and failed. But what I really do like is the Louis Royer Force 53, which runs $40 or so. But it's 106 proof, so it's a 32.5% better deal than something else at the same price. I need to try some Armagnac... (suggestions anyone?)

where in boston are you finding the force 53?

abstract expressionist beverage compounder

creator of acquired tastes

bostonapothecary.com

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where in boston are you finding the force 53?

Nowhere. Just one of the MANY things I am not able to get here, including Old Forester Signature, Laird's Bonded, Pueblo Viejo, Carpano Antica, Amaro Ciociaro. Overall, quite disappointing.

To answer Andy: you could try Witty's or Shopper's Vineyard, or just see what you find with Google Product Search.

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where in boston are you finding the force 53?

Nowhere. Just one of the MANY things I am not able to get here, including Old Forester Signature, Laird's Bonded, Pueblo Viejo, Carpano Antica, Amaro Ciociaro. Overall, quite disappointing.

To answer Andy: you could try Witty's or Shopper's Vineyard, or just see what you find with Google Product Search.

i know a liquor store that has a large amount of old forester. i think the bonded laird might be finally available because i've seen it in a few bars but most liquor stores won't pick it up. is there a clear reason why antica wouldn't be available in more markets? there is a demand. not even cirace in the northend has the ciociaro.

but i will say that boston has lots of cool products that other markets don't. cape verdean rum is one of my staples... the distributor and importer grape moments carries lots of cool stuff that i've never seen in a bar. there are tons of places bringing in spanish and portugeuse products too. some are horrible and some are awesome.

lots of raisin brandy.

abstract expressionist beverage compounder

creator of acquired tastes

bostonapothecary.com

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where in boston are you finding the force 53?

Nowhere. Just one of the MANY things I am not able to get here, including Old Forester Signature, Laird's Bonded, Pueblo Viejo, Carpano Antica, Amaro Ciociaro. Overall, quite disappointing.

To answer Andy: you could try Witty's or Shopper's Vineyard, or just see what you find with Google Product Search.

Many thanks. Now at the top of my 'to-order' list.

Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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Edit: I also want to second Cruzan Black Strap. I like much better than Gosling's or Myers, and its cheap. I'm quite curious about Coruba though...

To each his own, I guess, but I find Cruzan Blackstrap to be, well, vile. I like Goslings, Myers and the plain Captain Morgan's Dark you get in Canada (or at least I liked it decades ago). Lamb's Navy is fine in a pinch.

Come on by and I'd be happy to serve you the rest of my bottle.

It's almost never bad to feed someone.

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Vile? What does that mean? I think you may have grabbed a bad bottle, sir.

Well I guess, to me it tastes too much like molasses and too little like fermented molasses. And it runs roughshod over anything else I've put it in.

It's almost never bad to feed someone.

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Vile? What does that mean? I think you may have grabbed a bad bottle, sir.

Well I guess, to me it tastes too much like molasses and too little like fermented molasses. And it runs roughshod over anything else I've put it in.

I've had this problem too. I bought it because it was cheap and came recommended, but when I've used it the results were not so good. How do people use it?

nunc est bibendum...

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Vile? What does that mean? I think you may have grabbed a bad bottle, sir.

Well I guess, to me it tastes too much like molasses and too little like fermented molasses. And it runs roughshod over anything else I've put it in.

I've had this problem too. I bought it because it was cheap and came recommended, but when I've used it the results were not so good. How do people use it?

It's a little rough around the edges and somewhat tricky to use where you might put a Jamaican, for example, but I can't imagine it not being awesome in a bowl of punch. Anybody able to vouch for this? Am I going to have to make a bowl of punch just to find out? :huh:

Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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Vile? What does that mean? I think you may have grabbed a bad bottle, sir.

Well I guess, to me it tastes too much like molasses and too little like fermented molasses. And it runs roughshod over anything else I've put it in.

I've had this problem too. I bought it because it was cheap and came recommended, but when I've used it the results were not so good. How do people use it?

It's a little rough around the edges and somewhat tricky to use where you might put a Jamaican, for example, but I can't imagine it not being awesome in a bowl of punch. Anybody able to vouch for this? Am I going to have to make a bowl of punch just to find out? :huh:

/Slaps head/ Haven't thought of that. I'll have to try that, maybe tonight even.

nunc est bibendum...

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"Am I going to have to make a bowl of punch just to find out? "

The bowl stands by you, sir.

As I'm off to St. Croix in two weeks, I have a particular interest in your answer!

W/regard to the overall post, I can only second (or third) on Rittenhouse, Cruzan Estate, Beefeater, and Daron Calvados, but with scotch, I'm not sure I'd bother to go below Johnny Walker Red with the Rittenhouse around as backup.

Per DW's recommendation I'll have to snag a bottle of the Paul Mason, but if we're talking brandy I'm surprised no one's mentioned Metaxa or a decent brandy de Jerez?

"The thirst for water is a primitive one. Thirst for wine means culture, and thirst for a cocktail is its highest expression."

Pepe Carvalho, The Buenos Aires Quintet by Manuel Vazquez Montalban

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Regarding the brandies, in my experience the majority of cocktails calling for brandy need the mellow and suave character of the French products to really shine. There are exceptions, and others may disagree, but once I went French for cocktail brandy it was hard to go back. Presumably the Masson has this character.

Regarding the punch, I do have a snazzy new (used) pewter punchbowl I got for a song (and if you've heard my singing you know what a deal that is) but I'm afraid my associates may be a little wary after the quantities of punch consumed here of late. Or they may be rarin' to go...only one way to find out, and it involves the peach brandy :biggrin:

Edited by thirtyoneknots (log)

Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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Vile? What does that mean? I think you may have grabbed a bad bottle, sir.

Well I guess, to me it tastes too much like molasses and too little like fermented molasses. And it runs roughshod over anything else I've put it in.

I've had this problem too. I bought it because it was cheap and came recommended, but when I've used it the results were not so good. How do people use it?

It's a little rough around the edges and somewhat tricky to use where you might put a Jamaican, for example, but I can't imagine it not being awesome in a bowl of punch. Anybody able to vouch for this? Am I going to have to make a bowl of punch just to find out? :huh:

/Slaps head/ Haven't thought of that. I'll have to try that, maybe tonight even.

So, in the interest of science (and putting off work I have to do), I made the Mississippi Punch from Imbibe!

2 oz cognac (Courvoisier VS)

1 oz bourbon (Bulleit)

1 oz Jamaican (or not--Cruzan Blackstrap)

half a lemon

1 1/2 T superfine sugar

The Cruzan Blackstrap does work here, but only after being wrestled down by 3 oz of other spirits. And it's still kicking. The molasses is not overpowering as it normally is and gives the drink a nice rich backbone. It's definitely dominant for the most part, but in a good way--even though it's only 1/4 of the base spirit here, this tastes like a rum drink, not a cognac-bourbon-whiskey drink, because of the strength of the Blackstrap. I like it, but it makes for a very straightforward, richly rummy drink. Using another rum, needless to say, makes for a very very different Mississippi Punch.

Thanks for the tip thirtyoneknots, I kind of can't believe I haven't tried this before. I'll have to look for other drinks that will tame this rum, or just drink more Mississippi Punch's with it when I'm in the mood for a belt.

nunc est bibendum...

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