Proof66 Liquor Review Articles

  • How Do You Know if a Liquor is Any Good?
    The world of liquor is one of intimidation, pretension, and complexity. That’s scary for a lot of people.
  • Born and Bred Vodka Review
    Bottom Line: Should You Buy Born and Bred Vodka How We Tasted It Ratings Reviews/Notes Neat “Oh I got it now it smells like big, black permanent marker.” Martini “This Idaho shit really opened up with Martini things in it.
  • Marz White Cranberry Vodka Review
    Bottom Line: Should You Buy Mars White Cranberry Vodka? How We Tasted It Ratings Reviews/Notes Neat “I would not mix it with anything… I’d drink it on rocks and be okay all the long day.” Marz’s Sister “I’m with my woman.
  • Crown Royal Vanilla Whisky Review
    Bottom Line: Should You Buy Crown Royal Vanilla Whisky? How We Tasted It Ratings Reviews/Notes As A sipper “It’s for the ladies… a guy would be embarrassed to have this unless he splashed it in secret on the side.” Vanilla Old-Fashioned “This is a great gateway to a real drink.
  • Jack-O Blast Review
    Bottom Line: Should You Buy Captain Morgan Jack-O Blast Pumpkin Spice Rum? As a shooter NNNKCC “It tastes like your late night poor choice (of paramours) closing time at the bar.” Plundering Pumpkin KKKKCC “Okay! The flavor is a million times better here.
  • Gorgeous Vodkas: Believe the Bottle!
    Bottom Line at the Top: is it hard to convince yourself to go out of your way for vodka? Well, Gorgeous Vodka and Gorgeous Pepper Vodka are convincing. They’re worth a detour from the usual.
  • Bourbon, the Time and Core Values
    First, we like the bad stuff. From wristwatches to booze, we always start at the bottom; but, with a little help from our friends, we find the offerings of simplistic, genuine producers from which we can start to learn to love.
  • Distill America 2016: 14 Spirits to put on yo...
    Welcome to Distill America, that luminous event in an otherwise arctic February in Madison, Wisconsin. It is, quite simply, the candy shop for every adult kid.
  • Manhattan Moonshine: A Structural Whiskey
    Bottom Line at the Top: a structural whiskey? What does that even mean? To us, it reminds of Minecraft. A game of blocks; a game of low fidelity graphics; a means of making very cool things if put together the right way and using a little imagination.
  • Marlee's Green Tea Whiskey: Beachside Crowd P...
    Bottom Line at the Top: there are a lot of revolting ready-to-drink bottles of "stuff" out there. On examination, they're usually full of corn syrup, artificial colors, and artificial sweeteners all in the name of pretending to impart a colorful but low-calorie effect on the guileless purchaser.
  • Lovell Bros Georgia Whiskey: for Craft Beer Drinkers
    Bottom line at the top: Lovell Bros represents the paradox a great deal of the new craft whiskeys represent. It's technically excellent.
  • Aging Staves—Will Aging Your Own Whiskey Actually Work?
    Bottom Line at the Top: we see two people who would find aging staves appealing. The first is committed whiskey drinkers and "mixologists" who love to mess around with different flavors.
  • 7 Spirits for Your Must Buy List; Highlights of the 2015 Tasting Panel Tour
    Every fall as the football season begins and the baseball season ends, the tour of winning spirits from that year’s San Francisco World Spirits Competition (sponsored by Tasting Panel Magazine) makes its way to Chicago. This year, we were once again fortunate enough to get invited.
  • Vicomte French Whisky: if Translucence Had a Taste...
    Bottom Line at the Top: we found Vicomte to be one of the lightest-bodied, easiest-drinking whiskies on the market. We found strong notes of apple (some thought cotton candy), along with other fruit, to go with that airy lightness.
  • Monkey Spiced Rum: Edifying Pedestrian Cocktails
    Bottom Line Right at the Top: Oh no… not a sipping rum, this! Monkey is a spiced rum that by itself comes off a little syrupy; a little sweet; a little—it must be said—puzzling. Yet ask yourself: who buys spiced rum to drink straight? No one we know.
  • Xellent Swiss Vodka: Bidding Adieu to Swiss Neutrality
    Bottom Line Right at the Top: Xellent Swiss Vodka is an excellent spirits choice if, in the words of a friend and fellow taste tester, “You have an open wound or a snake bite.” Perhaps that should say former friend.
  • Can You Age Your Own Whiskey into Awesomeness?
    You’ve seen them! The do-it-yourself gallon-sized whiskey barrel where you can age your own whiskey at home. It’s an intriguing idea that seems to sell very well during the holiday season… sadly, like love, vacations, and nude beaches, the fanciful notion in your imagination ends up being far better than the reality.
  • 5 Easy and Awesome Alcohol Tricks for the 4th of July
    Most members of the liquorati sip spirits neat or, if absolutely necessary, with a dash of water and a barely perceptible sniff of mostly-hidden derision. One ice cube if a mere acolyte.
  • Parrot Bay Ultimate Margarita Showdown
    Bottom Line Right at the Top: here at Proof66, we make our Margaritas out of honest tequila, real lime juice, and orange liqueur. But we're committed liquor geeks.
  • Crown Royal Northern Rye: a Crown for the Middle Class
    Bottom Line at the Top: the press release would have us believe this is a rye designed to compete in the top shelf with other powerful ryes in classic cocktails. After trying, we disagree entirely.
  • Advertising for Ourselves: Tasting Web Guides
    Do you plan and/or sponsor a spirits tasting event? Then you definitely want to hear this. We do a lot of things at Proof66 to try and help people explore spirits but we tend to cater to the enthusiast who's committed to some level of research.
  • Distill America 2015: Our Favorite Spirits
    The spring tasting season is almost over and summer gleams ahead like a long-held promise finally coming true. In that light, we want to acknowledge some of the most exciting spirits we tried at the always fabulous (and famously growing) Distill America in Madison, WI.
  • 2015 and Incoming Scores
    The spring is always a volatile time for the Proof66 scoring algorithm. We think spirits should have to prove themselves with consistent results over time.
  • Halcyon Gin: the Velvet Covered Hammer from Washington State
    Bottom Line at the Top: Halcyon Gin ends up being a perfectly named gin. It is a soft, peaceful, and quiet gin filled with romantic citrus it begs for contemplation in interludes.
  • Bluewater Organic Vodka: Washington State vs Old World Elites
    Bottom Line at the Top: Bluewater Vodka bills itself as a sipping vodka and that's exactly how we see it. We found it best in its purest setting: sipped neat and chilled if you like.
  • AnestasiA Vodka: Not Just a Pretty Bottle
    Bottom Line at the Top: AnestasiA Vodka is more than just a pretty bottle! While the bottle is gorgeous, the vodka inside is highly competent. In all of our settings, it competed easily with higher-profile, European vodkas and defeats them in fruit settings but—more importantly for the party crowd—performs better as a shooter.
  • Darjeeling Gin: Hear the Gnashing of Teeth from Traditionalists
    Bottom Line at the Top: Darjeeling is a modern gin that succeeds exactly in the way that the old-guard traditionalists defending the sanctity of London Dry gin hate. Not only are the flavors modern, floral, and different (and oh how traditionalists loathe different) but the spirit itself is excellently crafted.
  • Crown Royal Apple Whisky: Finally a Flavored Whisky We'd Buy!
    Bottom Line at the Top: in this increasingly insane world of sugar and flavors infecting all manner of otherwise credible spirits (along with a large dose of decidedly in-credible spirits), Crown Royal Regal successfully walks the line of powerful flavors without being overly sweet (it is sweet). In certain uses—and most especially in large-group party settings—this is the kind of bottle that brings life to the party.
  • Our Take on the Bourbon Shortage
    The on-again / off-again bourbon shortage precipitated by some comments from the Buffalo Trace distillery has caused quite the commotion. Most recently, the Business Insider (Shane Ferro) quoted Buffalo Trace saying "I can assure you the bourbon shortage is VERY real, not a ploy at all.
  • Smirnoff Sours: Colorful New Entries in the Shock Vodka Category
    Bottom Line at the Top: we can be a bit pretentious around flavored spirits. We like drinking aged spirits and we often drink them with just a little ice or sometimes neat.
  • Rabble Roundup November, 2014
    Jack Daniels Single Barrel nickrobbins93: 4.0.
  • Borducan Orange Liqueur: Italy and France Square Off
    Bottom Line at the Top: we love spirits who are distinctive and declare themselves and we love spirits that stand apart from the norm. In this, Borducan is a blinding success.
  • Get Your Own Special Bottle of Glenfiddich Scotch
    Glenfiddich Distillery has leftover scotch. This shouldn't surprise people.
  • Top Spirits of 2014... We Close the Books on this Year
    So this is the end of 2014! We saw a rise in competitive competitions and critical reviews across the board, for which we're quite happy. For all the flaws of so-called "expert opinion" and numerical rating assigned to something so subjective as taste, we stand by the following facts: There's no way you can taste everything it's both cost-prohibitive and self-destructive (even though we'd really like to try) so you can Either believe the commercials and marketing or Use "expert" and/or inexpert (amateur AKA, your friends and the internet) opinion as a general guide.
  • AsomBroso Tequila: Evaluating the Whole Range
    AsomBroso tequila is most widely recognized for its highly distinctive, peculiar, and—dare we say—erotically evocative bottle design. We've seen people behold the bottle for the first time and the eyes widen in arrays of astonishment, intrigue, horror, excitement, or glee but the eyes always widen.
  • Vegas: I Love You But Stop Fiscally Sodomizing Me!
    I love Las Vegas. I love the people, the atmosphere, the gambling, the lifestyle, the lights, and the glamour.
  • YOLO Rum: With Age, Miracles
    Bottom Line at the Top: YOLO Silver rum is decent but the influence of oak makes the gold rum fabulous. In a world where rum currently represents some of the best value on the market, Yolo Gold represents that kind of "quest bottle" that causes us to specifically seek it out and purchase.
  • Americanaki Ouzo: the Mediterranean Visits America
    Bottom Line Right at the Top: anise—or what most US citizens would immediately identify as "black licorice"—is polarizing. This Wisconsin effort at the Greek tradition will be welcome by anyone visiting from the Mediterranean, within one or two generations of Mediterranean ancestry, or anyone else who has acquired the taste for anise in the past.
  • Double Gold Medal 2014 Winners Tour Chicago (and We Tried Them All!)
    Every year, Tasting Panel Magazine organizes a tour of a selection of double-gold medal winners from San Francisco World Spirits Competition (an event we closely follow, naturally). We love seeing the critical results but we love tasting for ourselves even more.
  • 5 Easy Coffee Drinks for Winter You Can Order Anywhere
    Winter has arrived and, let's be honest, this is a holiday season increasingly for adults and less and less about the kids. We believe adult parties are always just a little bit better enhanced with spirits.
  • Industry News: September, 2014
    William Grant & Sons announced the opening and operation of their new Tullamore Distillery, which is making its own whiskey now for the first time since 1959. It's a big distillery and a signal of the surge in Irish whiskey sales.
  • Rabble Review, 2014 September
    WHISKEY Willett Single Barrel Rye Whiskey GatoMaxx, Rating: 5.0 Peppery rye spice dominates, but with light citrus notes coming through and a light vanilla overlay, which tames the alcohol bite to a fair degree.
  • Navigating the Cocktail Menu at Outback
    How does one manage the modern-day cocktail menu? We ventured into a popular chain restaurant to check things out. This is how the "pros" look at - and taste! - a cocktail menu… this time at Outback Steakhouse.
  • 5 Easy and Shockingly Low Calorie Drinks You Can Do At Home
    You may have a cocktail book or two (swap in a website or app if you want). It's probably hundreds of pages long with interesting names and fascinating ingredients.
  • Dehner Havana Judge Cinnamon Rum: Taking the Fireball Head On
    Bottom Line Right at the Top We find that Dehner Cinnamon rum is an exceptionally pure form of sweetened rum… a "baker’s shot" is the best description we had. It’s highest and best use was mixed about 3 parts to 1 in RumChata or other cream liqueurs… a delicious adornment to sweet cream.
  • River Pilot Vodka and River Baron Spirit: Adventures from Iowa
    Bottom Line Right at the Top We find the River Pilot vodka a very nice vodka, particularly in certain settings. One isn’t overly enthusiastic about the vodka but it carries its head high in a number of different settings.
  • Notable New and Updated Bottles: 7/2014
    Some very interesting labels cropped up in the late summer here are some of the ones that caught our attention. Pusser's Nelson's Blood 15yr Rum nailed a great score from BTI this month with a 95pt rating.
  • BS Gorelli No. 1 Brandy: It's Own Intense Class
    The Republic of Georgia is located in Eurasia east of the Black Sea and just south of Russia. More importantly, it has millennia of wine production behind it.
  • Industry news: August, 2014
    And some headlines that caught our fancy It's that time of year!!!! Bourbon nerds can rev up their engines because Buffalo Trace has released this year's Antique Collection of bourbon, which includes George T Stagg, William Larue Weller, Thomas Handy, Eagle 17yr, and Sazerac 18yr. These are some of the most decorated and definitely the most sought-after whiskeys in the American whiskey market.
  • User Reviews-The Rabble Roundup (July 2014)
    WHISKEY Kilbeggan Irish Whiskey PiggDogg, Rating: 1.0 I really am sorry to have to pan this whiskey, but the bottle of this whiskey that I had smelled like M16 gun cleaning oil and tasted bad.
  • Navigating the Cocktail Menu at TGIF's
    Chain restaurants and the bar = Glossy menus and confusion. Gazing over the glitz and the poetry and prices and the consequences to your reputation what do you choose? This is the first in a series of articles where we go try everything that looks interesting on a chain cocktail to help you Navigate the Cocktail Menu.
  • Lightning Round! 50ml Assessments of Inox, Big Gin, and Crown Royal 75th
    When we get a bottle of something to review, we beat the crap out of it. We taste it usually a dozen different ways and write long, involved articles about it.
  • Selvarey Rum: Glorious Mixers for Cuban Drinks
    Selvarey Rums-pronounced "SEL-vuh-RAY" and translated as Jungle King or King of the Jungle-is produced out of Panama in the Spanish style. (If you thought the lion was king of the jungle, Selvarey disagrees with you showing what appears to us to be a silverback gorilla.
  • Notable Results from the 2014 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, Part 2
    Over 1,400 entries at the 2014 San Francisco World Spirits Competition that's a stunning result! We've been following the competition closely for over 5 years now and every year it's exciting to see how traditional labels fared and what upstarts are making waves. More importantly, we spend hours digesting those results so that you don't have to.
  • Captain Morgan 1671 Commemorative Rum: a Touch of Class as a Mixer
    It's not often that a spirit renowned for college parties tries to issue a limited edition anything! But that's exactly what Diageo's Captain Morgan brand did: the 1671 Commemorative Spiced Rum is a very striking-looking bottle dedicated to a naval battle in1671 where the pirate Henry Morgan fought and was ultimately victorious after losing 5 ships. Despite being a limited edition, the rum itself is very reasonably priced at $20 well within striking distance of most students and young-adults.
  • User Reviews-The Rabble Roundup (June 2014)
    The rabble have put in another strong set of user reviews to help the community and ground the critical pros with a definite leaning towards all kinds of whiskey. Review some of the more notable reviews below WHISKEY WL Weller 12yr Bourbon kakapookakiki, Rating: 5.
  • Industry News: July Newsletter
    The wait is over! We can safely travel space and still have a nice martini in zero g. DVice (Colin Druce-McFadden) reports that the Cosmic Lifestyle Corporate has created a specialized martini glass that allows the spacefarer to sip from the edge without the benefit of gravity.
  • User Reviews - The Rabble Roundup (April/May 2014)
    We had hundreds of reviews come in over the last several weeks far too many to mention all of them. Here are a selection of our favorites that mention high profile brands or have on-point comments that might be especially useful for the adventuresome.
  • Newbies Guide to the Mojito Cocktail
    Summer is here! It means many things… sea, surfers, sundresses, the display of sun-kissed skin, and parties by the light of the shining moon and glistening stars. And all of it fueled by high-spirited cocktails! One of the most famous of beach cocktails is the Cuban-born Mojito.
  • River Rose Gin: Awesome but Sort of Not Gin
    The Mississippi River Distilling Company-casually known as MRDC among those in the know-produces a gin that they call River Rose. Their story should please anyone who’s invested into the craft distilling movement.
  • A Midwinter Night's Dram: Making the Special, Special
    High West Distillery loves to create special editions. Their most recent adventure takes their very well-regarded Rendezvous Rye (a blend of 6yr 95% rye whiskey with a 16yr 80% rye whiskey) that is given an extra finish in French Oak port wine barrels.
  • Notable Results from the 2014 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, Part 1
    Over 1,400 entries at the 2014 San Francisco World Spirits Competition that's a stunning result! We've been following the competition closely for over 5 years now and every year it's exciting to see how traditional labels fared and what upstarts are making waves. More importantly, we spend hours digesting those results so that you don't have to.
  • Assessing the Critics: 2013 Report on Wine Enthusiast
    Part 3 of our 3 part assessment of the three critical institutions we follow brings us to Wine Enthusiast. (See Part 1 for our analysis of the San Francisco World Spirits Competition and Part 2 for the Beverage Testing Institute.
  • Smirnoff Pineapple-Coconut Sorbet-Another Selection for the Tropical Diet
    Bottom Line: The fourth entry in the Smirnoff sorbet line is not as exciting as its predecessors. In the world of pineapple and coconut, Smirnoff sorbet is not a new player but rather a latecomer… so, while competent and worth purchasing on sale, it’s not something we say one should go out of one’s way to buy.
  • Flipping the Switch on 2014
    On April 1st, Proof66 officially “flips the switch” on the new year of 2014. This matters because our scoring algorithm gives preferential treatment to more recent scores from the judges.
  • Someone Asks: Why Does Proof66 Even Exist?
    From a fan: “Just stumbled on your site and I'm super confused by your rating system. It seems that this system is extremely disconnected from reality.
  • Bourbon: Best Bang for your Buck
    [reprinted with permission from Let's Talk Data] A friend and I went to a local whiskey bar recently, and were a bit overwhelmed at the options. However, we’re both bourbon fans and managed to pick a few at random to try.
  • Industry News: Tasmanian Whisky Hits the Scene and More...
    Is Tasmania the place for whisky? In a CNN Travel article (Geoff Hisock), they say yes. The article outlines of a number of distilleries that are scoring well and our own database supports the critical acclaim for Sullivan's Cove.
  • Notable New and Updated Bottles: 4/2014
    A few notable new releases this month as we prepare to surge into 2014 with the new results from the 2014 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. Hillrock Estate Single Malt Whiskey received a superb 95pt score from the Beverage Testing Institute and a match for many of the scotch and Irish whiskey malts.
  • User Reviews-the Rabble Roundup (March, 2014)
    WHISKEY Bernheim Wheat Whiskey Allan, Rating: 4.0 Sweet with some burn at first.
  • Notable New and Updated Bottles: 3/2014
    A lot of new releases came out as the industry prepares for the award season kicking off this month with the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. A lot of new releases from the big companies plus a few noteworthy items for the little guys: Absolut Miami Passion Fruit and Orange Blossom vodka has been re-released as Absolut Karnival… get ready to celebrate Rio.
  • Industry News: Home Bar Booze Goes Digitial and More...
    Project Gutenberg by Pernod-Ricard was profiled in Gizmodo (Brent Rose) where a little video describes how the bottles are reinvented as slender aluminum books that are easily re-ordered and all connected with an app. Interesting but dubious.
  • Brugal Rum/Captain Morgan White: Newcomers Take on Bacardi
      Bottom Line: very easy to tell the difference between the two. Brugal is a dryer, lightly oak-driven rum.
  • Assessing the Critics: 2013 Report on the Beverage Testing Institute
    Part 2 of our 3 part assessment of the three critical institutions we follow brings us to the Beverage Testing Institute. We ask again, how stable and accurate are the scores from critics over time? The scores and what we do with them is a collision of the subjective with the scientific.
  • Grenadine: Is it Worth Making Yourself?
    Genadine is one of those mysterious ingredients in the cocktail world. We first learn about it as an additive in lemon-lime soda and cola for kid cocktails.
  • Tatratea Liqueur: Shift Your Paradigms and Buy It!
    Bottom Line: after trying the full lineup of 5 high proof tea liqueurs from Slovakia, we were completely converted. It was one of the most enjoyable tastings on record for us.
  • Distill America 2014: America's Spirits Sing!
    We've said it each year before and we'll emphasize it once again: critical scores and user recommendations are fine but what really matters is   your  own   tongue   !   Read on for what we found were the best on offer.  No question about it, you yourself are your own best judge on what you like and the Distill America event in Madison is one of the best around in being able to sample a wide variety of the best liquor America has to offer.
  • User Reviews-the Rabble Roundup (Feb, 2014)
    WHISKEY Aberlour 12yr Double Cask Scotch Muncher, Rating: 4.0 This malt rates about 100 points higher, give or take, than the equivalent 12 years from Balvenie and Dalmore and about 175 points higher than Macallan's equivalent.
  • Assessing the Critics: 2013 Report on the San Francisco World Spirits Competition
    How stable and accurate are the scores from critics over time? The scores and what we do with them is a collision of the subjective with the scientific. We put our faith in the hands of these critical “experts,” watch them somehow come up with points and medals to rank spirits of all prices and types, and then hope to some kind of Bacchus-God that they’ll be good guides for our personal palates.
  • 7 Must Try Spirits of February, 2014
    Here we are in the depths of one of the cruelest winters we've experienced in some time (and we thought April was the cruelest month). In these frigid depths we have nothing but or imaginations, our blankets, and our paramours to keep us warm.
  • Distill America in Madison, WI February 22nd!
    Distill America is coming to Madison, Wisconsin this February 22nd. This is the 6th annual event and-yes! It is open to the public!! This is, hands down, one of the best festivals you can attend.
  • Industry News: Liquor Predicts Your Politics and More
    It turns out, unsurprisingly to us, that alcohol selection can predict your political leanings, as reported by the Washington Post and compiled by GFK MRI. Overall, the study claims that Democrats like clear spirits and Republicans brown.
  • Notable New and Updated Bottles on Proof66 (2/2014)
    A quiet time of the year for our database but there were a couple of noteworthy entries into the market as we prepare of the looming season that is the 2014 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.  Smirnoff Sorbet Pineapple Coconut vodka was released as an addition to the popular Smirnoff sorbet line.
  • Newbies Guide to Bitters: Are They Worth It?
    Bottom Line: they matter quite a lot; they magnify the aromatic depth of any cocktail by about 10x. It’s worth the investment so buy them! Cocktail recipes are constantly asking for some specific kind of bitters… what the hell good are they? Is it just extra “stuff” like a garnish of a flower or sugared rim on a martini glass? Seriously: three drops of something is supposed to turn the barely drinkable into the sublime? It’s hard enough buying all the ingredients for a decently stocked home bar capable of supporting a number of different drinks without sporting a collection of bitters vials underneath the shelf.
  • Shaking vs Stirring: Can You Bruise a Gin?
    Bottom Line: Nope, it’s complete bullshit. The only difference is a little in the presentation and the potential dilution of ice.
  • What Good is Moonshine? Examining Different Styles of White Whiskey
    Bottom Line: sipping moonshine versus an aged bourbon of any quality, there’s absolutely no comparison. When a decent bourbon can be had for $20-$30 there’s simply no reason to buy from a sipping perspective.
  • User Reviews-the Rabble Roundup (Jan, 2014)
    Here's a digest of some of the most interesting user reviews to come up over the last month with a few editorial asides along the way! WHISKY Ancient Age Bourbon monkeyxx, Rating: 4.0 Comments: I agree with the previous poster, smooth enough, quite nice on the rocks.
  • Industry News: Bulleit Arrives in UK and More...
    UK now gets Bulleit Rye which is great news for the UK. Sure, they have access to a lot of great whiskey sitting there with Ireland and Scotland.
  • Notable New and Updated Bottles (1/2014)
    Here are some of the newer and more notable additions to our database over the last month Avion Reserva 44 Extra Anejo tequila was launched in very limited editions for the holiday season of 2013. It is a robust, oak-driven spirit spending 43 months in oak with an additional polish in month 44 in petit barrels.
  • User Reviews - The Rabble Roundup (Dec, 2013)
    Here is a summary of the more interesting user reviews that came up over the last month… always great to see the public commentary on the spirits! WHISKEY Balvenie 12yr Signature Batch Scotch NeatPour, Rating: 4.0 Comments: 3.
  • Smirnoff Wild Honey and Cinn Twist: Get the Party Started!
    Smirnoff Wild Honey and Cinna Twist Review Bottom Line: it’s easy to get snobby about flavored vodkas from Smirnoff. And we have to say, they’re more liqueur than flavored vodka.
  • Donkey Piss Tequila: What's In a Name?
    Bottom Line: the name is the name - one will follow one’s own counsel on the name on the bottle without help from us. But with respect to the tequila, we call it competent and even appealing to those who like a little wood char on the finish.
  • Baron Tequila: Toe to Toe With Patron
    Bottom Line: Baron’s best showing is sipped neat with perhaps the barest whisper of water. Many people don’t like the touch of oak in reposado or anejo spirits (or are somehow fascinated by sipping vodka)… for these, Baron is a great buy.
  • Cuervo Cinge: Should Dethrone Energy Drinks
    Bottom Line: this is more properly styled a liqueur… it’s very sweet and difficult to shoot. We’re not convinced that cinnamon and agave are working well together.
  • Must Carry Spirits, 2013 Report
    Inspired by Wall Street stock predictions, our year-end retrospective list is aimed squarely at the industry: the importers, the distributors, and the retailers. These are the spirits we think can make money and deserve to make money.
  • Repeal Day Cocktails!
    We had the opportunity to interview Dale DeGroff, the proclaimed King Cocktail. He has a long background in mixology and is today president of the Museum of American Cocktail in New Orleans.
  • CORRECTION: We Get Corrected on the Pappy's Theft
    UPDATE: as one of our readers (Bearmark) helpfully pointed out, we were incorrect in suggesting that a case of liquor was always 12 bottles. As we’ve confirmed with Buffalo Trace, a “case” of Pappy’s is 3 bottles.
  • Did We Get Sailor Jerry Wrong?
    We got a comment from a user review on Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum that’s echoed a number of different sentiments over the summer. Sailor Jerry is currently in our top-20 rums in the world based upon strong results from the 2014 2013 San Francisco World Spirits Competition (double gold medal) and the 2011 Wine Enthusiast review (93pts).
  • Industry news: MIT Helps Out and More...
    This is Beyond Cool. Dvice reports that MIT made two inventions for cocktails: one is a little candy boat that is self-propelled based upon the alcohol strength of your drink and the second is a little flower with LED lights that opens in the drink and then closes, which “creates a zone of hydrostatic low pressure within the closed flower, meaning that once you put the flower in your mouth, you're greeted by a small sip of booze, delivered right onto your tongue.
  • Notable New and Updated Bottles on Proof66 (12/2013)
    Some of the new and exciting additions to our database. Gera Vodka was awarded its 3rd 96pt rating in a row by the Beverage Testing Institute in October (with supporting—albeit, more modest scores—from the other judging institutions we follow).
  • 7 Gift Spirits for December, 2013
    December tends to be about gift-giving. And one of the greatest pleasures of all is giving (and certainly receiving) very nice bottles of liquor.
  • Raspicello: Adventures in Making Liqueurs
    by Neal MacDonald It seemed harmless enough: some neighbors who have a raspberry orchard, after trying one of our efforts at homemade limoncello, pressed us to take a pint or two of their own raspberries and make a liqueur out of it. So, we took a two pints of fresh-grown raspberries (for all we know the berries were left at the end of the day after a farmer’s market) and set to work.
  • broVo Amaros: Fulfilling Mixologist's Fantasies
    by Neal MacDonald, editor Bottom Line: after an exhaustive tasting, we can definitely declare: if you want to elevate a citrus cocktail, use broVo No. 1.
  • You Should NOT Only Buy Cheap Liquor
    by Neal MacDonald, Editor Business Insider published an article called Why You Should Only Buy Cheap Liquor written by Ben Taylor of FindtheBest. They came to the following conclusion in their article (our emphasis): We compiled ratings and awards from the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, Wine Enthusiast Magazine, and the Beverage Testing Institute.
  • Can You Carelessly Kill Your Scotch?
    by Neal MacDonald, Editor We wanted to explore two myths pervasive in the spirits world: 1) Once a bottle is opened, long periods of time—even if stored properly—will affect the taste. 2) Exposing the bottle to sunlight will affect the taste… that’s why all the green and darkened glass.
  • Do You Sell Spirits Online?
    Do you sell spirits online? Most especially, do you have a large inventory or tend to stock local or out-of-the-ordinary spirits?  If the answer to these is yes, then we'd really like to talk to you. We have over 6,700 spirits listed on our site.
  • Real McCoy 5yr Rum: Young With Pretensions of Greatness
    By Neal MacDonald, Editor Bottom line: the Real McCoy is a fine example of aged rum in general. It is well-crafted and aged to a fine point.
  • Industry News: Buffalo Trace Theft and More...
      One of the funniest stories is that Pappy Van Winkle—a wildly popular whiskey that we constantly get asked about regarding availability—actually experienced a theft and it was apparently an inside job. The report claims that 65 cases of the 20yr old were stolen for a cost of $26,000.
  • Notable New and Updated Bottles on Proof66 (11/2013)
    Here are some of the exciting updates and new entries in our database  Jagermeister Spice: For those of you ignoring the quiet explosion of quality bitters liqueurs on the market and sticking to your college guns with shots of Jagermeister, they have unleashed a new “spiced” version of their product on the holiday market. It promises cinnamon and vanilla while bottled at a lighter proof.
  • Koenig Huckleberry Vodka: For the Sweet and for the Vanilla
    By Neal MacDonald, Editor Bottom line: of all the flavored vodkas to buy, why buy a huckleberry vodka?! The answer is not to remind a lost child of the highlands of home: the taste is candy-like and very nice but not immediately redolent of mountain-fresh huckleberries.  It’s a sweeter vodka that we feel is designed for sweeter settings.
  • 7 Must Try Spirits of November
    We can't believe we're doing this but we're going to profile some "shock vodkas" and similar spirits. One can't look at a liquor store shelf without seeing crazy flavors, mostly of the dessert and candy variety.
  • Dulce Vida Anejo Tequila: the Whiskey Drinker's Tequila
    By Neal MacDonald, Editor Bottom line: this is a sipping tequila. We tried it in many different settings in a pretty rigorous test and find that it’s very best showing is all by its lonesome in the glass with a dash of ice.
  • 2013 Tasting Panel Tour - 6 of the Best Spirits of the Year
    Tasting Panel Magazine once again graciously invited us to the Chicago stop on their invitational tour of Double Gold Medal winners featuring some of the best of the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. That particular competition is now well over 1,000 entrants in the spirits category… in other words, it dominates.
  • Are You a Retailer? We Can Help You Sell!
    Today’s market provides more daring liquor of higher quality than at any point in history. Yet that also means there's more liquor available than at any other point in history.
  • Welcome to our New Newsletter Format
    Welcome to our first newsletter! Beginning in October of 2013, Proof66 is moving towards a newsletter style of publication. Our intention is to publish new content each month spanning reviews of existing spirits, explorations into cocktails, notable additions to our database, and other information we think people will find interesting or useful (sometimes even both).
  • Notable New and Updated Bottles on Proof66
    Here are some of the exciting updates and new entries in our database California Blood Oranges! Charbay Blood Orange vodka enters our database using a 6-month process of 100% organic, tree-ripened California blood oranges. Try in a Cosmopolitan cocktail.
  • Industry News: Bourbon Comes Big in October
    Buffalo Trace Antique is Released! One of the great times of the year is when Buffalo Trace releases their Antique Collection of whiskey. These are highly recognized and highly decorated labels that are notoriously hard to find.
  • 7 Must Try Spirits of October
    Halloween is a fabulous time for cocktails. Where Christmas and Thanksgiving offer booze as a defense against relatives; where Independence Day is about beer; where birthdays and anniversaries are about champagne or coping mechanisms Halloween usually brings out the strong stuff with the colors and the theater and the good times.
  • Alita Brandy: Lithuania Takes on France
    By Neal MacDonald, Editor Bottom line: why go out of one’s way to buy Alita brandy—from Lithuania—when there’s so much other brandy available? The answer: it’s the very distinctive, very exotic flavor of the grape. To us, it was redolent of plum and brought a very exciting characteristic to any cocktail we put it into.
  • Koenig Winery and Distillery: Euro Sophistication from Idaho
    So ask the Los Angeles or New York sophisticate, with Vodka Martini in hand, what she thinks of Idaho. What did she say? Did she wrinkle her nose? Mutter something about rednecks? Gaze at you in bemused bewilderment quietly demanding some explanation as to why you’d sully her urban mind with such quaint notions? The Pacific Northwest carries some cache and our young elite might mention craft businesses of various kinds.
  • Guide to Mob Opinion on Alcohol
    by Neal MacDonald CNBC ran a very brief article on premium liquor on August 24, 2013 (Kelli B. Grant).
  • Vinn Baijiu: The Spirit that Makes You Cheat on Your Vodka
    By Neal MacDonald, Editor First off, the bottom line right at the top: if you like to make Vodka martinis or other citrus-forward cocktails, you can throw away your vodka and replace it with Vinn Baijiu right now. You’ll never look back.
  • Distiller's Log 2: Learning the Ropes
    Last year I scheduled two vacations for the Summer.  One was for my fraternity’s biennial convention, which for 2012, was in San Antonio during mid-July.
  • Montejima Tequila: Aging Makes it a Solid Mixer
    By Neal MacDonald, Editor First off, the bottom line right at the top: Montejima is, without question, a mixing tequila. It works less well as a shot or a sipper.
  • Geijer Glogg: Blow Your Hair Back Flavors
    By Neal MacDonald, Editor The bottom line right at the top: Geijer Glogg is a remarkable and intense mélange of flavors. There is a tamarind sweetness mixed with a Yuletide explosion of spices.
  • Newbies Guide to Approaching Absinthe
    By Neal MacDonald You’ve probably heard a lot about absinthe. You’ve heard that it’s illegal; that it’s only available in certain sketchy areas of Europe; that it gives you hallucinations; and that it might kill you.
  • Homestead Bourbon: For the Mad Men in All Of Us
    By Neal MacDonald, Editor THE BOTTOM LINE RIGHT AT THE TOP Homestead Bourbon is designed for the bourbon crowd—the kind that loiters on message boards and argues about mash bills in their basements with their (few) friends. Homestead describes itself as barrel proof and uncut and it tastes every inch of that promise.
  • Grand Teton Vodka: The Perfect Dirty Martini
    By Neal MacDonald, Editor THE BOTTOM LINE RIGHT AT THE TOP We compared Grand Teton Vodka directly to Chopin Potato Vodka (direct competitor), Grey Goose (common premium competitor), and Smirnoff (value brand). We find that potato vodkas in general are much more complex and add much more character to any drink.
  • IO9 Says that “Wine Tasting is Bullshit.” Really?
    by Neal Duncan MacDonald, Editor Robert Gonzalez of IO9 is (primarily) a technology and science-fiction blog that entered the beverage world with an article proclaiming: “Wine tasting is bullshit. Here’s why.
  • Smirnoff Sorbet Light Vodkas are the Labor Saving Device of the Future
    We have pastry flavored vodkas… we have meat flavored vodkas… we have candy flavored vodkas… and now we have sorbet flavored vodkas. Fortunately, the sorbet vodkas from Smirnoff are something we actually want to drink! Smirnoff—the number one vodka measured by sales on the planet—is very aggressive in the flavored market.
  • 7 Must Try Spirits: April 2013, High Proof Spirits for Tax Day
    Tax day! That can mean only one thing: high proof liquor. From black bottles to fit your mood, green spirits to honor your money, and rebelliousness from tequila, rum and scotch, here are 7 spirits to speed your recovery from Uncle Sam’s fiscal demands.
  • Newbies Guide to Approaching Scotch
    by Neal MacDonald Actually going out and buying scotch is a confusing mess to the uninitiated. Just looking at the shelf you see distilleries with long names, wide swaths of years, different maltings, limited editions, a variety of foreign regions… and every last drop is relatively expensive.
  • Cody Road Rye: Getting Your Rye Freak On
    by Neal MacDonald Like the Cody Road Bourbon (see our prior review), its sibling Cody Road Rye is a true craft-whiskey coming out of the Mississippi River Distilling Company. Rather than purchasing stock whiskey or other bulk product, they instead personally sort, clean, and mill their own grain (purchased locally in Iowa), ferment the mash, distill it through their own small still, and then age it in smaller barrels, made from oak trees grown on the Mississippi river.
  • Cody Road Bourbon: Feisty Youth Meets Venerable
    by Neal MacDonald Cody Road Bourbon is a true craft-bourbon coming out of the Mississippi River Distilling Company. Unlike the giant warehouses of Jim Beam or Heaven Hills, the small distillery produces from a single still.
  • Distill America 2013: Madison's Pleasuredome of Spirits
    by Neal MacDonald It really is just about the taste! At Proof66, we spend a lot of time with numbers. We worry about ratings, weighted averages, prices, proofs, rankings… and we think that’s worth something.
  • Maker's Mark and Kentucky-Gate: Original Proof vs Aborted Proof
    by Neal MacDonald The interesting saga of Maker’s Mark has run its course. They announced that they were going to lower the proof on their bourbon from 90 to 84 and suffered a storm of social media abuse as their reward.
  • Bulleit 10 Bourbon: Designed for the Elitist Bourbon Cocktail
    by Neal MacDonald Bulleit Bourbon is a success story. It launched in 1987 by four-generation removed Thomas Bulleit (descended from Agustus Bulleit), met acclaim and good sales, and was then acquired by liquor giant Diageo.
  • 2 Gingers Whiskey: Stands up to Giant Jameson
    by Neal MacDonald The story behind 2 Gingers is quite interesting: a bar owner who sold so much Jameson Irish whiskey that he thought he could do better on his own.  And he did.
  • 7 Must Try Spirits, January 2013: Coffee
    Each month, we publish a list of 7 spirits that may not have the notoriety from advertising or judging. But these are all liquors that we have personally tried and like very much for one reason or another.
  • Joia All Natural Soda: Performance Enhancing Cocktail Mixer
    by Neal MacDonald Out at the bars, we’re spending something like $7 to $10 for an elegant drink. That’s real cash… even if you’re going to stick to 2-3 drinks.
  • Nine Must Have Spirits For Your Business (2012 Report)
    by Neal MacDonald It’s a time for retrospectives on 2012 and everyone seems to be publishing their Top Whatevers of the year. Here at Proof66, we get a chance to try many different spirits—some major labels on every person’s radar and some spirits quite off the beaten path.
  • 7 Must Try Spirits, December 2012: Holiday Parties
    Each month, we publish a list of 7 spirits that may not have the notoriety from advertising or judging. But these are all liquors that we have personally tried and like very much for one reason or another.
  • Distiller's Log 1: The Birth of a Craft Distillery
    by Russell Warshay, Contributor, Proof66 [As fans of the craft distilling movement and to salve the curiosity of fans, this is the first article in a series about the opening of a craft distillery.] So I'm going to open a distillery in Brooklyn.
  • Gera Vodka: Charismatic all on its Own
    by Neal MacDonald, Proof66 Editor We’ll be honest: it’s sometimes hard to get excited about vodka. It’s a pure, crystalline spirit that requires exacting skill to do well but it’s often far better served as a companion in cocktails than drunk on its own.
  • Colinas do Sul: A Daring Upstart
    by Neal MacDonald, Editor, Proof66 Colinas do Sul - or “Hills of the South” - is a cachaca that has a lot of modern marketplace sensibilities in its favor. For example, it’s made from sugar cane grown by a cooperative of small farms in Minas Gerais, Brazil.
  • Hiram Walker Watermelon Sour Schnapps: Probably Best to Avoid
    by Neal MacDonald, Proof66 Editor Hiram Walker provided us with a bottle of their new Watermelon Sour schnapps to review. It was first launched in 2012 as a “permanent addition” to their lineup of flavors featuring an “easy-to-drink” spirit that is “bursting with watermelon flavor” (this according to the press release).
  • Wheeler's Gin: Mixes with Anything Grown in the Sun
    By Neal MacDonald, Proof66 Editor We love reviewing gin. We like it because gin is a highly individualized spirit with any number of botanical nuances offered by the distiller.
  • Pass the Crown: You Can Win!
    Proof66 is once again participating in Crown Royal’s Pass the Crown (#PassTheCrown) holiday event and that could mean a prize for you!  As some of our more avid users may remember from last year, the Pass the Crown program is similar to the office gift-swapping parties that are commonplace around this time of year.  The only difference is that Crown Royal provides the gifts! So why should you care about the program?  It turns out that Crown Royal is actually giving each participating website a pair of gifts—one item for the web operators AND ONE TO GIVE TO ITS AWESOME USERS!  THAT MEANS YOU!  These are great prizes, so that means that you can win something awesome! Last year Proof66 was able to give away a Kindle Fire thanks to the program.
  • Homemade Green Walnut Aquavit Recipe... Straight from the Old Country
    In correspondence with Dennis Stensgaard of Spiced Spirits, we struck up a conversation about aquavit. This is a traditional Scandinavian spirit that in modern times is heavily flavored with carraway but over the centuries has had many different variations.
  • 7 Must Try Spirits, November, 2012: Apples
    Each month, we publish a list of 7 spirits that may not have the notoriety from advertising or judging. But these are all liquors that we have personally tried and like very much for one reason or another.
  • Expedition Vodka: Learning to Love Craft Vodka
    by April Anderson, Guest ColumnistProof66 has always been committed to balancing critical acclaim with "regular people" reviews. This review is the first of a series of reviews where we give a bottle of craft spirits to regular folk to test however they like.
  • 2012 Tasting Panel Tour-The 9 Spirits You Have to Taste
    The Tasting Panel Magazine holds an annual tour of selected double-gold medal award winners from that year’s San Francisco World Spirits Competition, which is a select group when you realize that over 1,000 spirits were entered in the competition. Think of it like a yearly all-star tour of liquor and what’s not exciting about that? On October 4th, Cyrano’s Bistrot and Wine Bar hosted the tour stop in Chicago, Illinois and we were lucky enough to be invited.
  • Catoctin Creek Watershed Gin: a Whiskey Lover's Gin
    Catoctin Creek Distillery is Virginia-based all-organic distillery… absolutely everything is organic. And we’ve visited the distillery ourselves and can vouch for founders Scott and Becky Harris’s dedication to this principle to organic ingredients and processes.
  • Got Peaches? How to Make Peach Liqueur
    by Neal MacDonald Let’s say you have this tree. Let’s say you have this this peach tree and this year—why this year and not the other years, you don’t know but this particular year—it actually made/grew/spawned peaches.
  • The Best Beer to Take Hiking is Whiskey
    by Neal MacDonald Despite being liquor snobs, we here at Proof66 recognize that beer has its place. You mow the lawn in the hot sun… you finish off an outdoor game of softball or… you're at a wild concert and there's a high probability you're going to get jostled or require its use as a missile.
  • broVo: A Tour Through a Lady's Garden Part V, Douglas Fir
    This is the fifth (and final) part of our tour through the liqueurs currently available from broVo Spirits: the business of two young women (Erin Brophy and Mhari Voelsgen whose names combine in a kenning to make the name of the company) who cashed out their 401(k) accounts and burst on the scene with “single note botanical” spirits. Recall these are spirits that target the sophisticated cocktail crowd and tend to find their audience with women rather than men.
  • broVo: A Tour Through a Lady's Garden Part IV, Lavender
    This is the fourth part of our tour through the liqueurs currently available from broVo Spirits: the business of two young women (Erin Brophy and Mhari Voelsgen whose names combine in a kenning to make the name of the company) who cashed out their 401(k) accounts and burst on the scene with “single note botanical” spirits. For our prior thoughts, see our reviews of the Lemon Balm, the Rose Geranium, and the Ginger.
  • broVo: A Tour Through a Lady's Garden Part III, Ginger
    This is the third part of our tour through the liqueurs currently available from broVo Spirits: the business of two young women (Erin Brophy and Mhari Voelsgen whose names combine in a kenning to make the name of the company) who cashed out their 401(k) accounts and burst on the scene with “single note botanical” spirits.  We’re told their spirits target the sophisticated cocktail crowd and tend to find their audience with women rather than men.
  • broVo: a Tour Through a Lady's Garden Part II, Rose Geranium
    This is the second part of our tour through the liqueurs currently available from broVo Spirits: the business of two young women (Erin Brophy and Mhari Voelsgen whose names combine in a kenning to make the name of the company) who cashed out their 401(k) accounts and bust on the scene with “single note botanical” spirits.  We’re told their spirits target the sophisticated cocktail crowd and tend to find their audience with women rather than men.
  • broVo: a Tour Through a Lady’s Garden Part I, Lemon Balm
    There’s a lot to love about the Big Liquor industry. After all, how can one not get a little excited about massive campaigns that revolve around celebrity, party, and some balance of snobbery and mob appeal? Or the resources that allow them to issue collectible, limited-edition spirits from some odd moment of history.
  • Father's Day! The Mother's Guide to Buying Whisky
    Wondering what gift to give the man of the house on Father’s Day? Newsflash: Dad doesn’t want another tie. Or some kind of paperweight for his cubicle.
  • Captain Morgan Black: The Captain is Growing Up
    Captain Morgan Black Spiced Rum—a relatively new offering from Diageo—had us a tiny bit worried.  After all, doesn't the Captain already virtually own the spiced rum market? Is trying to offer other styles of spiced rum the equivalent of offering a premium or flavored version of Coca-Cola? God forbid, was this going to be the "New Coke" of spiced rum? Further, was it really wise to be mixing Captain Morgan rum with double-charred oak barrels?   After all, the youthful, shot-shooting target market really give a crap about the char level of the oak or that the stuff is aged at all? Did the brand, known for its ”one million poses” advertising campaign and its ubiquitous presence in rum-and-cokes on America’s golf courses (and other less reputable institutions), really have any business spicing it up in this way?  Would the space-time continuum be warped further by the introduction of cloves, cassia-bark, and other stuff into the Morgan world? We’re happy to report that we “Stepped into the Black” and were pleasantly surprised.
  • Casa de Reynoso: Woman Scorned Yields Tequila for Us
    The folks at Ocotillo Importation kindly sent us a bottle of their Casa De Reynoso Reposado tequila to review.  The back story is quite interesting.
  • Pecan Street Rum: The Menage-a-Trois of a Cow, Rum, and Molasses
    Uttering the word “rum” and inviting a person to freely associate from there is a fun game. Polynesian girls, cabana boys, pineapples, ocean, sun, beach, sand, coconuts, pirates, British soldiers and so on… these are the words that most often come to mind.
  • Breckenridge Bourbon: Off the Chain Good
    Breckenridge bourbon is a youngish thing, made by the folks at Breckenridge Distillery in Colorado, aged for a scant 2 years but done at 9,600 feet at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. A far cry from the humid lowlands of Kentucky who’s Appalachians are a poor, sagging, aged spinster to the young spires of the Rockies.
  • Koloa Rums: Aloha Spirit in a Bottle
    Imagine a place where there’s a great party on a sun-kissed beach. Do that and you’re probably thinking about Hawaii.
  • Xante Liqueur: A Liquor in Heat
    Xante is a liqueur made from 4yr aged cognac infused with sweet pear essence. The marketing is nothing short of romantic awesomeness.
  • Kansas Spirit Whiskey: Liquor Seeking Like-Minded Consumer
    Imagine, for a moment, something utterly unthinkable… imagine, if you can, something as impossible as an honest campaigning politician. A politician who got in front of the camera and said something like, “I’m going to vote my conscience.
  • Distill America, 2012 in Madison, Wisconsin
    We had the pleasure of attending our third straight Distill America event in Madison, Wisconsin. After 3 years, it just keeps getting better.
  • High West Distillery: Newborn and Mature Rye Whiskey
    High West’s OMG Pure Silver rye is, without question, a connoisseur’s whiskey. That’s perfectly appropriate because why else does one purchase an un-aged rye whiskey in the first place unless it’s to do a little experimentation with something new? OMG Rye comes from the high mountain distillery in Utah named for the Old MononGahela river (anglicized native word mechmenawungihilla translated as “falling banks”) in Pennsylvania, the source of inspiration for the rye whiskey.
  • Distill America in Madison on 2/18.. GO!
    We attended the Distill America event in 2010 and enjoyed every second of it. We liked it so much we attended againin 2011.
  • Brandy and Android Are Here!
    2012 is going to be a big year for and that means even better and smarter liquor for you.
  • Son of Bourye Whiskey: What Is It (and is it good)?
    We received several samples from the High West Distillery in Utah and our most recent foray into Beehive State spirits was the Son of Bourye whiskey. What is bourye? May as well ask what is a jackalope, which is an appropriate question because jackalopes are on the label of the bottle.
  • 36th Vote Whiskey: Manhattans from the High West
    We’ve had the opportunity to try High West whiskey once before in the spring of 2011 where we marveled that this Utah-based distillery—famous for beehives and teetotalers—could produce any whiskey and then marveled anew that they could make spirits of such quality. Since then, the folks in Utah were kind enough to provide us with samples of several more of their products.
  • Vegefeuer Liqueur: Making Fire Cool
    Vegefeuer. It’s hard not to know what to do with this.
  • Ventura Blood Orange Liqueur: Rating a Champion
    Ventura Blood Orange Orangecello comes to us from a distinguished pedigree. We had the opportunity to sample the Ventura Limoncello and Crema Limoncello the prior year and found them both to be very good.
  • Crown Royal and Pass the Crown - A Game You Can Win!
    Congratulations to Kristy from Ashville, Ohio who was drawn as our lucky winner and will receive a Kindle Fire from Proof66 (courtesy of Crown Royal). Thanks to everyone who participated and we hope to be able to have another contest sometime soon.
  • Smugglers' Notch: Top Shelf Vodka from the Top Right of the Map
    Sometimes buying vodka is about looking cool; say, in a bar with lots of people in “hoochie gear” on the prowl and you really need them to know that you bought something pricy, prestigious, and popular. Then, there are other times when buying vodka is about being cool; say, in your home when you’re mixing a drink for someone you met at the club last week and you want them to be surprised at your good taste and sophistication.
  • Places to Visit: Chicago's 'The Taco Joint'
    There are bars in this world that are special. They make their name in carrying selected spirits that cater to certain sensibilities.
  • Tasting Panel 2011 Tour - Chicago
    For the second year in a row, we had the opportunity to attend the Tasting Panel Magazine’s tour stop in Chicago where twenty-four double-gold medal winning spirits from the 2011 San Francisco World Spirits Competition were on display for examination. Or to put this in more plainspoken terms: one afternoon’s chance to try some of the most expensive and exclusive spirits in the world.
  • Ron de Jeremy: When the Marketing is as Good as the Rum
    There are people in this world who know who Ron Jeremy is and people who do not. First—and especially if you're at work—do not do a Google search on that name! Instead, simply go to the IMBD link if you need to catch up with the pop culture.
  • Proof66 Tasting - Versailles Kings Vodka & Crav Vodka
    Emperor's Brand and Crāv Spirits recently sent us some of their newest vodka offerings, namely the Versailles Vodka and Crāv Vodka (pronounced "crave"). The vodkas certainly differed in significant ways, with the Versailles being bolder on the palate, but both were very pleasing.
  • Rediscovering the Aviation Cocktail
    By Sweet JaneI was a little kid in the late 60s and early 70s. In my suburban home, just on the edge of Chicago's southwest side, our world at that time was more Mad Men than hippies and flower power.
  • The Mighty Muscle of Deco Distilling Flavored Rums
    Let's get one thing out of the way: Deco Distilling flavored rums are about as gentle as the Northeast Atlantic coastline in storm and about as subtle as the political message behind the movie Avatar. Is that necessarily a bad thing? No, not at all.
  • What's in a brand name? Stirrings Liqueurs hit the market!
    If you're old school and you've opened a cocktail book lately then you'll notice that any given modern drink calls for a wide conquering horde of ingredients and only a few of these actually contain alcohol-many ingredients will defy pronunciation and availability. If you're part of the digerati and you Google "cocktail recipes" you'll run into websites like Drinks Mixer that promises 12,234 drink recipes (as of June, 2011) and the very first drink recipe-a drink called '61 Imperial Recipe-demands white rum, vodka, overproof rum, creme de bananes, blue curacao, and pineapple juice.
  • Utah Whiskey? Yeah... Seriously!
    Quick, think of things that go well together: girl scouts and cookies; tailgating and football; Sonny and Cher; Justin Bieber and shears; Utah and whiskey. Utah and Whiskey? Go ahead: laugh it up.
  • See Jane Drink
    by Sweet Jane I live in Chicago where spring is more an existential argument than a season. The average temperature since April Fool's Day (a day no one in Chicago over the age of 10 finds amusing) has been 45 degrees.
  • Speed Dating: The 2011 Celebration of American Distilling
    Imagine speed dating. Not the creepy kind of speed dating in a worn-out bar and participant list suspect in both hygiene and gainful employment.
  • Outback Steakhouse and the Black Cherry Mojito
    There you are: you're at the Outback Steakhouse glancing through the Drink Menu. The teens are mooning the kids are shrieking and the parents are alternatively arguing with each other and yelling at the shrieking kids.
  • How Can We Let El Tesoro Fail?
    From our standpoint, El Tesoro did everything right. It's a fine tequila offered at a very reasonable price.
  • Midwest Custom Bottling: Wisconsin's Hidden Gem
    Just outside of Milwaukee, in an out-of-the-way warehouse in Pewaukee, Wisconsin, resides the home of the Midwest Custom Bottling Company. From this unassuming building comes such diverse offerings as RumChata, a long line of various flavored vodkas, Agave Loco Pepper Tequila, and James River Plantation Sweet Tea Vodka among others.
  • Cane & Abe Freshwater Rum: From Garage to Greatness
    Last February in the winter of 2010, we attended the Celebration of American Distilling in Madison, Wisconsin. It was a wonderful event with a number of very cool distillers discussing (and offering tastes of) their best stuff.
  • Who Judges the Judgers?
    Judging and scoring liquor is an act of subjectivity. It is like giving a score to a work of literature by a serious author; an acting performance in a movie; a meal at a fine restaurant; or a strutting starlet in a beauty pageant.
  • Ventura Brings Italian Limoncello to California
    It's all well and good for nations to have healthy rivalries. How about Italy and the USA? America took Italy's recipe for pizza and made it better.
  • Marveling at the Cool of Stunna Liqueur
    Which liqueur is flirting with a big "too cool for school" tag? Well when you're kryptonite green, announce yourself as "ultra premium," are featured at nightclubs across America, and sport some military dog tags on the bottle, then that tag might just belong to you! Allow us to introduce to you Stunna Ultra Premium Liqueur, which came swaggering down the hallway leaving nerdy scotches quivering and girly vodkas week-kneed. It is a glowing, superman-killing green.
  • Tasting Panel Chicago Tour II: The Harlem Kruiden Shooter Competition!
    The second half of the Tasting Panel Magazine event held at Epic Restaurant in Chicago was featured a particular, upstart liqueur. The liqueur in question was an herbal one from Holland, namely: Harlem Kruiden liqueur.
  • Tasting Panel 2010 Tour - Chicago Edition
    Mr. Anthony Dias Blue is both the editor in chief of the Tasting Panel Magazine and the executive director and founder of the San Francisco World Spirits Competition.
  • Twenty 2 Vodka: Pure Ethanol from Maine
    The folks from Northern Main Distillery Company gave us a bottle of their Twenty 2 Vodka to try. Given what we read on the Twenty 2 website (under construction as of August, 2010) we had very high hopes.
  • Trying Everything from North Shore Distillery
    Proof66 had the great privilege to welcome Sonja Kassebaum from Chicago's own North Shore Distillery at one of our tastings. It's always a pleasure to watch a professional at work and Sonja was in rare form for us that night.
  • Wildcatting at Catoctin Creek Distillery
    "Wildcatters" were individuals who ventured into wild unknown and/or unproductive areas and sank wells drilling for oil. No geological surveys; no safety net.
  • Pioneering Whisky at Copper Fox Distillery
    Try it some Saturday. Take a 90 minute drive out into the wooded fields of Virginia and see it for yourself.
  • Cinco de Mayo Tequila Tasting
    Cinco de Mayo is coming and what better way to celebrate it than a massive tasting of Mexico's proudest spirit: tequila! We had a very successful tasting of 3 different labels of tequila-plus an additional label of mezcal!-and 13 different expressions running just about the full gamut of possibilities. One way you know you had an enormously successful tasting? Well, one way is when the participants perform a wave right there in the bar-that's a sign of some seriously great tequila.
  • St Patrick's Day Irish Cream Tasting
    In honor of St Patrick's Day, we hosted an exploratory tasting of three Irish Cream liqueurs: Baileys, Carolans, and the craft-distilled, award-winning upstart, Coole Swan. But before tasting, there were some very basic questions: What is Irish cream? Where did it come from? Why is it here? The answer is basic as well: it seems one simply cannot get away from mother's milk.
  • 2010 Celebration of American Distilling in Madison, Wisconsin
    The Edgewater Hotel of Madison, Wisconsin hosted the stars of the spirits world at the Madison Malt Society's second annual Celebration of American Distilling. For any cocktail or spirit enthusiast out there, it was remarkable.
  • 2010 Celebration of American Distilling Part II
    Visit Twelve: Black Star Farms Black Star Farms is a winery that also produces a full line of brandies, grappas, eau-de-vie, and similar spirits. We had the chance to sample two styles of grappa-first from a red and then a white grape-well as a pear brandy and peach eau-de-vie.
  • 2010 Celebration of American Distilling, Part I
    In as readable and lucid format as possible, here are some tasting notes from the February 18th event. Visit One: Buffalo Trace Buffalo Trace is one of the oldest active distilleries in the United States and has been producing a wide range of whiskey for some time.
  • 2009 All-Stars of Liquor; The Year in Review
    With the year coming to a close and everyone begins offering lists of various kinds for the year, we ask ourselves: what were the best spirits in 2009? Ultimately the consumer and the marketplace will decide. But if you want to elect an all-star group of classic spirits from the scores and ratings of 2009, then that elite group of "professionals" elected the following group of spirits Vodka Vodka ratings are notoriously volatile.
  • Thunderdome: Scorpion Mezcal v 1800 Tequila
    We like the vision of Thunderdome in homage to the third installment of the Mad Max movies starring Mel Gibson. There's really no better scenario for assessing a new spirit than comparing it to a known standard over the course of several different styles of cocktails.
  • Absolut Cities: Limited Edition Vodka Series by Absolut
    Absolut has, hands down, some of the best vodka marketing in any industry anywhere on the planet. No matter what you think of their vodka, their ability to seize a concept and execute it is without peer.
  • What has TGI Friday's Done to the Cocktail?
    It's no secret that bars in every chain restaurant across the country are experimenting in all manner of cocktail theater. Part of that exploration involves the dark sorceries of syrupy sweetness.
  • Halloween 2009!!
    There are peculiar times in one's life where excess and hyperbole are expected and necessary. Examples include bachelor/bachelorette parties; Thanksgiving dinners and tailgate grills; sushi buffets; karaoke competitions; and swimwear selections for college spring-breakers.
  • Thunderdome: Argentina's Isla N Rum versus Cruzan
    Wake up, America! Craft-distilling isn't only the provenance of boutique distilleries in the United States the love of the various waters of life unite people the world over and these handmade spirits flow in all countries. Lantrix Brands imports a global example of craft-distilling in the shape of a rum for Argentina.
  • Thunderdome: Texas's Treaty Oak Rum v Bacardi
    The folks at Graham Barnes Distillery were both generous and brave enough to send us a bottle of their Treaty Oak Platinum rum. And whenever we receive spirits to try out it can only mean one thing: Thunderdome! (with all apologies to Mel Gibson and Warner Brothers).
  • Microdistillery Profile: Bardenay Restaurant and Distillery of Boise, Idaho
    Hey Generation-Y: think the temperance movement of the late 18th and early 19th century don't affect you today? Think again! Oftentimes, the degree of prohibition-era regulation of liquor production in a given state will dictate the style of its microdistilleries. Stated more plainly: those laws decide what you can find to drink right now.
  • Absolut's Drinkspiration: Centuries of Tradition Meet the 21st Century
    Absolut (that is, V&S Group) released a sexy little application for the iPhone. Credit to Liquor Snob for picking it up (at least we saw it there first) and see the You Tube demonstration here.
  • Getting Started: The Simplicity and Elegance of Vodka
    Photo from suprabo2 at photobucket Vodka. You've seen the rappers getting jiggy with it or the super models posing with it or the smug French guys sneering over it or recall Sarah Jessica Parker sipping it and you think, Yeah, I need to become a part of that culture.
  • Microdistillery Profile: Yahara Bay Distillers at Madison, WI
    Distill your liquor See it distributed before you And hear the lamentation of their women Thus read the immortal words of Conan the Barbarian - altered here for the distiller - when the great warrior is asked, What is best in life? It's not often that one gets to compare a local distiller to Conan the Barbarian but in speaking with Nick Quint of Yahara Bay Distillers it's hard not to draw some comparisons. Here's Nick a few years ago at age 61.
  • Microdistillery Profile: The Chemical Artists of North Shore Distillery
    You are Sonja and Derek Kassebaum. You're married.
  • Adan y Eva Reposado: A Great Sipping Tequila
    It was Christmas in May when the kind folks at BH USA Enterprises sent us a bottle of their silver medal winning Adan y Eva Reposado Tequila to sample. Gracias, Santa Baby! Let's say first that the bottle is absolutely gorgeous.
  • The Bourbon Ambassador Cometh!
    A diamond ring. Picking out a good bottle of bourbon is kind of like pressing suit for a marriage.
  • True North Vodka Blew Us Away
    Grand Traverse Distillery was kind enough to provide us with a bottle of their True North Vodka to sample. Vodka being what vodka is - renowned for being tasteless, odorless, etc.
  • The Date Depth Gauge
    Elitism rules. But elitism is never announced.
  • 2009 San Francisco World Spirits Competition Results Announced
    This competition is one of the backbones of the Proof66 website and concept. We love the fact that it enjoys so many entries and is so big - this year 876 spirits were submitted from 63 different countries (in a financial meltdown, no less!).
  • Microdistillery Profile: Great Lakes Distillery Milwaukee, WI
    Photo courtesy of Great Lakes DistillerySo, you want to be a distiller, do you? The late-night parties the rap stars stopping by with their posses after the clubs have closed; glamorous models in slinky, black cocktail dresses hanging around the mahogany bar spanning the front of the room (tended by smirking, half-shaven euro-bartenders); the wealth and the privilege and the prestige adorn you like your James Bond smile and martini with olive. Glasses raise when you enter the room and women swoon when you leave it!Well, let us introduce you to Guy Rehorst, owner and founder of Great Lakes Distillery.
  • The Vodka Tonic: Your Port in the Storm
    Photo from the awful din at Flickr.It's happened to everyone at one time or another.
  • 2009 Proof66 Liqueur Tasting Results
    On February 28, 2009, Proof66 held its third tasting featuring the fine and variegated liquid art that is the liqueur.Where the two prior tastings (vodka and rum) were done blind and under controlled circumstances, the format for the liqueurs was much different.
  • Men Have to Learn to Drink Too
    Photo by evilgreg3000 at Flickr. We wrote an article (Ladies! Drinks to Order Now that You're Grown Up) a while back at the suggestion of some female readers who wanted something a little less girly to order in the bars.
  • Iron Chef has FAILED Us!
    What a tragedy. Here we are, watching the fine Iron Chef show featuring Symon vs Trabocchi (first aired February 2009).
  • Happy Valentine's Day!!
    Why don't you slip out of those wet clothes and into a dry martini? (Robert Benchley)Liquor is, without a doubt, the lubrication of love! There are those neophytes who quickly become overwhelmed and literally drowned in a mental haze of alcohol and - in that fugue state - embrace beer goggles or the like and belatedly find themselves hooked up with some abnormally large and hairy troll (female) or unusually crass and partially-lobotomized neanderthal (male). Wine gives courage and makes men more apt for passion!(Ovid)Blame not the liquor! Heavens no may as well blame the sun for being too hot or a compass needle for pointing north! It is quite something else for the elite! For them, there's nothing quite like your lover mixing you a perfect martini and serving it to you (in the buff, of course!).
  • Agave Spirits Challenge Results Announced
    In Cancun, Mexico, over the course of February 2 through February 8, six judges from all over the world assessed eighty different tequilas in the inaugural Agave Spirits Challenge.There were four levels of judging with the potential of being awarded a Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze medal.
  • Novus Vinum's Top Pics for 2008
    Novus Vinum is a wine and spirits review service that recently released its 2008 Top 10 Spirit-The Best Selection for your Home Bar. We would characterize this as a rather eclectic list that's rather heavy on the unusual rather than the consistent.
  • BTI Announces its Best Buys of 2008
    The BTI announced their best buy list for 2008. It's a great concept especially in these times of economic turmoil.
  • Hello Noilly Prat!
    Don't look now but the true martini enthusiasts across America are roiling in pain and stocking up the basement.The Wall Street Journal reports that Noilly Prat-regarded as the spiritual nexus of all classic dry martinis-is changing its US formula.
  • Holiday Gifts... What to Buy
    How to use this site: Proof66 gathers the professional reviews of different agencies and aggregates them for your use. Select a liquor and at a glance compare their ratings, prices, and origins.
  • Ladies! Drinks to Order Now that You're Grown Up!
    How to use this site: Proof66 gathers the professional reviews of different agencies and aggregates them for your use. Select a liquor and at a glance compare their ratings, prices, and origins.
  • What do the Presidential Candidates Drink?
    How to use this site: Proof66 gathers the professional reviews of different agencies and aggregates them for your use. Select a liquor and at a glance compare their ratings, prices, and origins.
  • St. Germain Wins San Francisco and our Hearts!!
    How to use this site: Proof66 gathers the professional reviews of different agencies and aggregates them for your use. Select a liquor and at a glance compare their ratings, prices, and origins.
  • Me & Five Minis
    The idea was to sample 5 types of rum while watching the presidential debates. We don't have five minis of rum, said the liquor store clerk.
  • Inaugural Vodka Tasting Results!
    Vodka! What more versatile liquor is there? It mixes in anything; it can be taken straight as a martini; it can be frozen; it can be fermented from just about any organic matter around; it appeals to everyone from sorority pledges to Donald Trump; and it is the first liquor to acquire some certified rabble score testing here at Proof66. On 9/8/08 we held our first tasting of 8 separate vodkas.
  • Official Launch of Proof66!!
    It's happened. You've done it.