Sunday, November 20, 2011

Tasting Time, An Assortment of New Beverages

The Fed Ex guy has been spending a lot of time making drop offs at my apartment lately. This weekend I had some friends help me check out some of it.

Downslope Wine Barrel Aged Rum
Downslope was one of the distilleries I sampled on my trip to Colorado. Aged rum is not unusual, but Downslope has chosen wine barrels for its aging. The result after one year is a 80 proof rum that definitely tastes differently from most rums. I felt it tasted like cognac and my fellow tasters agreed. I highly recommend Downslope Wine Barrel Aged Rum it if that’s your taste in spirits.

Belvedere Bloody Mary
I was a little apprehensive when I heard about Belvedere Bloody Mary. The premise is that it contains all the spices you need to make a Bloody Mary if you just add tomato juice. I actually brought this bottle along with some tomato juice to a tailgate and it got an interesting response. I enjoyed it very much and would definitely keep a bottle around the house. The results were mixed among others, mostly because it isn’t very spicy. I happen to like my Bloody Mary’s mild, but those who like spicy ones said it wouldn’t be worth the trouble of having to start flavoring this, it would be easier to use Bloody Mary mix and straight vodka.
Also of note on the Belvedere front is Belvedere Red, but this isn’t a new and different spirit, it’s a very special bottle. This special edition of the vodka is all about giving back as Belvedere is donating 50% of the profits to the Global Fund in Africa to fight HIV/AIDS.

Bols Genever
Bols Genever is considered to be gin, but it tastes like anything but – and this comes from a true gin drinker. This is a spirit that has been made in Holland for nearly 200 years. It’s a grain spirit, made whiskey-like with a wheat, corn and rye distillation, barrel aged for 18 months in oaked. The gin designation comes from a distillation of juniper and other botanicals. The bad news is that – as a gin drinker – I didn’t like Bols Genever. The good news is that it got the thumbs up from some Jack Daniels drinkers who quickly mixed it with Coke and enjoyed.

Twist Essence Water & Kona Red
Not all of the liquids that come my way are alcoholic.  I recently received two beverages that come without any alcohol that are totally different. Kona Red is made from the fruit of the coffee plant and is full of antioxidants. It’s delicious and full of nutrients, however, it is rather high in calories and sugar. I would suggest mixing it with some club soda (or a clear spirit) if you aren’t prepared to give up 380 calories for a bottle.

Twist Essence Water doesn’t have any calories, but that puts it in a class with dozens of other fruited waters. As a Vitamin Water Zero fan, I was interested in trying this. The Pomegrante-Blueberry just has a very light fruit taste and is even a bit tart (despite an addition of Stevia). On the other hand, I really liked the Mango-Acai. I thought it was fruity and slightly sweet and I would definitely think of purchasing this as a Vitamin Water substitute.

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