Friday, June 3, 2011

Friday Alcohol Review - Chartreuse Green & Yellow

This time I thought I would do something interesting.  Chartreuese fits that bill perfectly.  If I have to drink, I usually prefer something hard or sitting on a patio slowly sipping St. Bernardus; but Chartreuse got me back into the swing of enjoying a nice glass of wine with my meals.  Not only that but it definitely is a nice alternative to beer and hard liquor if you are trying to watch your calorie/carb intake.

The monks weren't messing around.

Chartreuse is a liquer that was made by monks back in France in the early 17th century. Named for the monastery where they were housed, it boasts that their recipe is aided by the help over over 100 herbal extracts to give it a truly dignified and flavorful taste.  Some sources claim that it is also one of the few wines that truly improve with age although mine is from 2009 so I can't say if this is true or not.  I should probably pick up another bottle and report back here in 15 years. 

This wine also comes in two flavors, green and yellow. Before we begin, my suggestion for your very first time trying this drink is over ice in a normal glass served VERY cold.

Alcohol type: Fine Spirit
Manufacturer:  Carthusian Monks
Country of Origin: Grenoble area, France
Price Range: $60-100 (750ml/Fifth)
ABV: 40% (yellow) 55% (green)
Proof: 80 (yellow) or 110 (green)
Served in: Any glass

Packaging: This is one you could put on your shelf with pride.  Although I don't recommend that as this drink is definitely much better when served very chilled.  Whether you go with the green or yellow, it comes in a nice bottle that actually feels like it has some "weight" to it.  I notice that once you start spending more than $50 on average for a bottle of spirits the manufacturers start to put a little bit of effort into it.   

Eye-Candy: Its thick in the glass but definitely has a nice look to it.  Since the green version is actually made and extracted from the plants chlorophyll it definitely has a distinct look to it.  The yellow while not as thick still makes it look like another fluid that produces naturally in our bodies.  Don't let that disturb you though as I guarantee your mouth won't be thinking the same.

Some even used it as medicine back in the day.

Take-A-Whiff:  Cinnamon, lime, coriander, ginger, grass, and general herbal and spicy notes are what hit your nose when you inhale this piece of work.  If the first four listed there aren't enough for you there are still over 100 other herbal spices and extracts permeating from this beast.  

Tongue-Spasms:  The green has a very distinct liquerur flavor but has a bit of a spicy kick afterwards.  The yellow is more of a mild taste.  I personally prefer the green but try out both at least once and see what works for you.  Or if you prefer pick up both as they each offer a different experience.  For a nice after dinner glass go with the green, if you want one during your meal, take the yellow.  In the end though, only you can decide what works best for your tastebuds.

Smooth-Ride:  Don't let the 55% ABV tag fool you on the green version.  While some may think it hits hard, this is most definitely not true.  Now that is to say it has a little bit of kick to it once it starts sliding down the esophagus but nothing that is going to make you squirm or reach for the nearest glass of water or a lemon-chaser.  In fact, of the friends that I have had the pleasure of tasting this drink with, we wanted another three servings of it before we had enough.

The yellow version.  For those of a modest nature.

Irish Wonda: Since you can really serve this drink in any glass there are a few ways of going about it.  My favorite way to drink it is in a martini glass over crushed ice and then to sip it through a stirrer.  For a good time, throw a shot of it into your hot cocoa.  One of my colleagues enjoyed it with a shot of it in his glass of OJ.  I have not tried that version but thought I would list it here.  You can also use it in cooking.  Cut up some tomatoes and throw them in a cooking pan along with some beans of your choice and chicken breasts or strips.  Then pour a good base of it in there, stir, add your further garnisheeing and bake.  Delicious! 

The biggest con to this drink is its price points fluctuate wildly in your area and the green version always costs more due to being more popular.  The second issue is that out of ten people you give this drink too, I would say half of them will not enjoy it.  It isn't for everyone, but you definitely need to try it at least once.

As always, have fun, drink merrily, and have a designated driver.  Raise your glass D/FW, this one is on me.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Friday Alcohol Review: Captain Morgan's Parrot Bay Coconut Rum

Avast mateys.  It be Friday and that means it is time for some drinking with comrades and landlubbers alike.  Sit on your stool and gather 'round.  For this is a tale of my experience with some of the best rum ye heard of this side o'the........gulf?

"But I don't like coconut!"  What did I say in my first alcohol review?  Nothing ventured, nothing gained.  Not only that, I had a friend of mine who cannot stand anything coconut but downed a shot of this straight up and enjoyed it thoroughly. Yes it wasn't his new favorite drink by any means but he certainly didn't make a face after being a good sport and trying it.

Come here coconut haters, this drink will change you!

The "Parrot Bay" line of Captain Morgan was introduced a while back and since then has released six different "tropical" flavors of its rum in different variations.  Other choices include: mango, pineapple, passion fruit, key lime, strawberry, and orange.  Nobody cares about those though because this one trumps all of them.  No really, I've had them all and I can honestly say, even with pineapple being my favorite fruit of all time, the coconut flavor takes the cake.

What you also need to know is that there are usually two different types of proof for each flavor.  40 proof and 90 proof.  This review is based on the latter.

Alcohol type: Rum/Hard Liquor
Manufacturer:  Captain Morgan
Country of Origin: United States/Puerto Rico
Price Range: $10-20 (750ml/Fifth) 40 Proof, $15-30 (750ml/Fifth) 90 Proof
ABV: 45%
Served in: Shotglass (by itself), Standard Glass (mixed)

Packaging: Parrot Bay Coconut Rum comes in a crystal clear bottle with a blue twist cap.  The decorations on the label are tropical theme with a parakeet flapping its wings on the front.  Whatever flavor you are looking for will further be elaborated by actually displaying the fruit in question on the label itself.  Depending on what proof you are looking for, look to the bottom of the front label.  The 40 proof version has it printed in very small letters but the 90 proof enlarges it quite a bit.

Eye-Candy:  See the picture below.  Most rum people would agree is crystal clear in color and Captain Morgan's Parrot Bay Coconut Rum is no different.  I was first introduced to this drink by being given a glass filled with it at a party and told it was water.  Naturally I was skeptical due to a) this was a beer party and b) see the next section below.  Really and truly, nothing special here.  It's not meant to be a fancy shot by any means and it can be mixed with quite a few other common alcoholic drinks.

It looks like water.  Pull a prank on your friend sometime.

Take-A-Whiff:  Naturally if you dislike coconut the very first thing you are going to notice if someone hands you this without telling you what it is will be the smell.  It is very, very pungent and thus I knew immediately once being handed that cup at the party to tread lightly.  The only fragrance you are going to smell with this drink close to you is the scent of coconut.  So if you are enjoying another very fruity drink at the same time you may want to keep both of these away from each other.

Tongue-Spasms:  The taste of coconut is profound and I would be very disappointed otherwise.  For those of you who enjoy the actual fruit, imagine taking a bite of the coconut while drinking a sip of water at the same time.  It is nothing special by any means.  Once your tongue has had a chance to graciously accept the liquor though, you will have a nice sweet tingle go up your spine.  Truly, it is like eating coconut in liquid form, with lots of alcohol added for the extra inebriation trait. 

Smooth-Ride: Hard to judge really.  For me this would get put on the scale of around a 2.5/5 for me.  However, for MOST other casual drinkers your threshold could be anywhere from a 3 all the way up to a 5 if you are super-sensitive.  I honestly think Sambuca packs a more powerful punch than this one but to each their own.  Be cautious if you have trouble with strong drinks.  You may want to try out the 40 proof version first.

If you want it straight, standard shot glasses are all you need.
Irish Wonda: I like to give this drink to my friends who have never had any hard liquor before.  Even if they claim that they don't like coconut (tip: most of them have never even tried real coconut).  A little push and a reaffirmation that everything will be alright is usually enough to give the most laid-back drinker a chance with this bad boy.  For those of you who truly find yourself enjoying this one though, here are some good choices to make this drink truly "awesome."

Barry Spritzer
1 1/2 oz Captain Morgan's Coconut Rum
4 1/2 oz 7-Up
1 splash grenadine syrup
1 splash lime juice.

The Hawaiian Parrot
3 oz. Captain Morgan's Coconut Rum
1 1/2 oz. Hawaiian Punch
1 1/2 oz. Sprite/Ginger Ale

As always, have fun, drink merrily, and have a designated driver.  Raise your glass D/FW, this one is on me.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tuesday "Tavern" Terse

So here we are on a wonderful Tuesday evening and the very first tavern/pub/restaurant review.  For these reviews I will be talking about an establishment that has to at least have a bar in it.  I usually go with the more tavern/pub styled restaurants but there may be a few "mom and pop" style places here as well.

Remember that if there is any bar or tavern you would like me to do a review on, let me know in the comments section or facebook.  Moving on, tonight for the first review I would like to talk about an establishment that has been very special to me for every time I have been there.  Ladies and gentlemen, Trinity Hall Irish Pub.

Once you walk through the doors, you are Irish.

If you live in the D/FW area and you have never been to Irish pub but want the next closest thing to it.  This is the place to go.  Located off of State Hwy 75 and Mockingbird in Dallas, you will be treated like family here.  While there was one located in Allen for a good amount of time, as of November 2010 it is no longer open for service which is a pity as this is a great place to visit.

View Larger Map

Atmosphere:  Even before walking through the doors you now you are in for a treat.  Just looking at the sign above their main doors tells you that once you step inside, you will not be leaving for the next few hours.  The interior is actually very reminiscent of how pubs are in both the UK and  Ireland.  The lighting is turned down lower than what most people expect; but not far enough so that you cannot see your food and drink.  Take a look at the picture below to see what the tables look like.  They also sport booths that have a nice "Victorian" finish to them.  They also sport a nice section with an old bookcase and desk which really makes you feel like you are part of someplace special.

Sturdy tables and comfortable seating await you here.

The Menu:  Trinity Hall sports a very nice selection of beer, lagers, wine, hard liquor, and seasonal beverages that will satisfy almost anyone who visits.  Their selection is usually around 10-12 pages of different kinds of alcohol so my suggestion to you is to ask your waiter or waitress what they recommend for what is currently in season.  If you like blondes, ask them to surprise you.  Do you like stouts? They have almost two pages of them.  If you ask for those "other" beers such as Bud, Coors, and Miller, don't be surprised if you get a strange look.  What did you come to this pub for anyway?

Trinity Hall has one of the largest selections of alcohol in the D/FW area.

The "Other" Menu:  With classics like Irish Stew, Bangers & Mash, Chicken Crock Pot, and the good ol' Fish N Chips, don't be surprised if it takes you more than 10 minutes to decide on something to eat.  Their menu is very impressive and I recommend trying something new each time you go.  Personally for an appetizer I recommend the "Wurst's Platter" and for your main course the "Irish Stew" just cannot be beat.  Did I mention they have handmade soda-bread always on your table as well?

Fun Factor:  The pub hosts all types of friendly activities that can be enjoyed by families of all ages.  The bar shows regular and premium sporting events on multiple widescreen T.V.s and also hosts wine-tasting events usually twice a month.  Every week they also have a friendly "Pub Quiz" night which consists of questions from all categories you could think of.  Free on Monday nights?  How does a friendly game of Poker sound?  Trinity Hall hosts weekly games of poker with no buy-in cost.  I think the most fun you can have at Trinity Hall though is when their is a live band performing.  These nights the pub fills up very quickly so be sure to arrive early and stay late.  Most patrons get up, sing, and start dancing while swinging their mugs back and forth to the jig.

Irish Wonda: I really cannot recommend this place enough.  Whether you are taking your family out to eat or joining your "brothers" for a couple of pints, you won't be dissatisfied here.  Also, if you are attending on a night that a live band is playing, I definitely recommend staying a couple of hours.  It truly is worth it to see your local D/FW Irish men and women sing and dance to their homelands music.  And don't be shy to ask for the lyrics to sing along.  You may just make a new friend.  If there was one complaint I have to mention it would be that there is no reservations at all and purely first come, first serve.  So on event nights and holidays you better get there early and plan to stay late.

I always do at least.

As always, have fun, drink merrily, and have a designated driver.  Raise your glass D/FW, this one is on me.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Monday D/FW Meet-Up Deals

It is Monday and you know what that means, the start of another lovely week.  For those of you who are currently enjoying the summer or looking for a place to hang out on a Monday night while saving some money on drinks, I am here with the Monday Meet-up to give you some suggestions.

This will be a common update on Mondays where I will pick a few places having specials for those of you who need to meet a last minute friend somewhere or need a quick place to have a school/business meeting.  For the more detailed reviews, hit up the blog on Tuesdays.

Fry Street Public House
$.50 Drafts all night after 9PM
125 Avenue A, Denton, TX
(940) 323-9800

View Larger Map

Barley House
Happy Hour all night long.
5612 SMU Boulevard
Dallas, TX

View Larger Map

Christie's Sports Bar and Grill
$3.25 Wells
$2.75 Domestics
Free Happy Hour Buffet Until 7
Half Price Pool Until 8
Ste 22, 2811 McKinney Avenue, Dallas, TX
(214) 954-1511

View Larger Map

Hope everyone's Monday is awesome.  See you tomorrow night for the first Pub/Restaurant review

Friday, May 20, 2011

Alcohol Review: Romana Black Sambuca Liqueur

For the first update, I thought I might do a nice beer that goes with dinner, or a wine that sits well with everyone.  Then I realized that would be normal, and I am anything but.  Therefore, we are going straight into one of my favorite "dessert" liqueurs, Sambuca.  More specifically, Romana Black Sambuca. 


Sambuca usually contains star anise which gives it a very distinct and sweet flavor.  Now a days it usually comes in three varities: Sambuca, Sambuca Red, and Sambuca Black which are categorized by their colors.  It is very popular in Middle-eastern and Asian society as a way to give food and drink more "taste."  However, the big turn-on (or off) is the flavor of licorice that accompanies it.  This right here is what makes people prematurely turn away or not give this after dinner shot a chance.  However, next time you finish a nice meal and feel the need for a powerful "kick" to complete it; look no further.

Alcohol type: After-dinner Liqueur/Dessert Drink
Manufacturer:  Romana
Country of Origin: Italy
Price Range: $20-30 (750ml/Fifth)
ABV: 40%
Served in: Shotglass (by itself), Coffee/Tea Cup (mixed)

Packaging:  One of the nice perks about Romana Black is that it comes in a very sleek and sharp looking black 750ml bottle.  On the front it has a picture of the Roman coliseum with a brief description of its taste and texture on the back.  This is one of those drink bottles that you could have sitting on a shelf at your home or work and would look very nice or professional.  In fact, if you own all three varieties, line them flat for a vibrant display on a shelf in your dining or guest room.

Eye-Candy:  See the picture below.  Most people would describe Sambuca Black's color as well, black.  However, under the correct light it is actually a very dark shade of indigo or blue.  Under direct artificial light it will actually have a very interesting red rim around the top of a clear shot glass.  Under more natural light you usually see the indigo colored rim. 

Indigo rim is barely visible.  Much easier to see in person.

Take-A-Whiff:  If you do not like the smell of licorice I advise you to skip this step.  Just a tiny whiff and your brain will begin to start its "happy dance."  It is very powerful, very strong, and I recommend to actually inhale only once or twice before drinking as some of my friends have said that the drink loses its touch if you wait too long and just smell it before drinking.

Tongue-Spasms:  Right when the drink hits the tongue are you going to feel a very crisp, strong, and sweet taste.  Where Amaretto is sweet like a Dr. Pepper, Sambuca is like throwing an entire extra cane of sugar in there.  That is the magic of the star anise flavoring at work.  I guarantee you that just one shot of this will fill up any hardcore sweet-tooth's quota for the after dinner dessert.

Smooth-Ride:  If you have a sensitive throat you may want to rethink this one.  I would give it a 3 out of 5 on the "burning" factor.  You will feel it in your throat for the next 2-3 minutes for sure.  However, for most people this is not the uncomfortable burn that hard whiskey gives you, but a sweet "exotic" burn.

The double glass for those of you who like to live on the "edge."

Irish Wonda: This is one of my favorite after dinner drinks when I want something a little more intense than Amaretto.  Not only that, but there are many ways to drink it.  Just want a normal dessert drink?  Straight is the way to go.  Want to look like a dignified gentlemen? Add half an ounce to your coffee instead of sugar or sweetener.  Want an Italian original?  Drop three coffee beans of your choice into the shot and chew on the beans as you drink it.

As always, have fun, drink merrily, and have a designated driver.  Raise your glass D/FW, this one is on me.

How the Ratings Work

This post will give everyone a good idea about how I will be rating the alcohol I post on this blog.  Note that in general, I will be rating the alcohol in terms of a "casual drinker."  Well what is a casual drinker?  This is your friend or family member who will drink a beer with you during the football game, have a wine with a steak dinner every now and then, or take a shot with you at a big celebration party.  They do not go out to drink every night or weekend and they do not keep an extensive collection of alcohol in their residence or work.  In short, these articles will give you a good description of what you can expect should you choose to be adventurous when you either go out to a party or a nice restaurant.  Lets move on with the descriptions.

Packaging:  This will describe what the container that the alcohol comes in.  Naturally when you walk into a football party, you can always recognize Budweiser, Miller, and Coors because they are some of the most recognizable marketing brands in our culture today.  However, at a party, business meeting, or group-outing you may not recognize that round, potion-shaped, black bottle that someone is drinking out of.  In the end, this section will show you how the product looks (so you can recognize it in the store or restaurant), and whether or not it is something you would want sitting on your shelf.

Eye-Candy:  Similar to the packaging section, this will tell you how the alcohol actually looks like once it is poured into the container of your choice.  Naturally some are drank straight out of the bottle or can in which case I will pour them into a proper mug or cup so you can see what they look like.  Lets be honest, some drinks out there look amazing when they are made.  Especially those fruity ones that the girl you were hitting on last week likes to order.  Whenever you see her at the bar she always orders the same one.  Starting to see the advantages of being able to call your drinks gentlemen?

Take-a-Whiff:  Just as some drinks look amazing, their smell might leave something to be desired.  There are those out there though that smell so amazing it would be a sin not to sit back and enjoy a few inhales before partaking in the delight of sending it down your throat.  A lot of people I have drank with think I am weird for smelling my drinks that I have never tried before; but to me it is no different than smelling that apple pie your grandmother just set on her ledge for you to gawk at for fifteen minutes while it cools.

Tongue-Spasm:  Remember the first time you took a sip of your first frozen margarita with extra lime in it?  Did it make your tongue to a flip in your mouth?  That is what this section describes.  If the drink in question will cause most people to get a kick as soon as it hits the tongue, it will be described in detail here.  One of the biggest mistakes I saw a friend make once was downing a drink quickly because it had no smell and looked clear like water.  His tongue then hung out of his mouth for the next hour.  It is always wise to know what you are getting into.  However, for the more adventurous crowd, some choose to skip knowing this section beforehand for the extra "thrill."

Smooth-Ride:  Drinking some hard liquor?  Feel like a shot of 252?  I hope your throat has some insurance on it because it will be burning for the next twenty minutes.  This section will describe everything from the feel of the alcohol heading down your throat to the final aftertaste of your inebriating-concoction.  In simple terms, this will tell you whether the drink in question will leave you on the floor gasping for air and putting on a hilarious show for all your friends.  Those of you with sensitive throats be sure to read this section first.

Irish Wonda: This will be similar to a Jerry's "final thoughts" or the bottom-line opinion.  I might give some suggestions on how to mix it with other items or show similar brands if the product isn't in your area.  This is a "my" area where I give my personal experience with the drink that you might be able to relate to if you enjoy alcohol like I do.

In the end, when it comes down to the final say, only YOU can decide whether or not you truly like something.  This is why your mother always said "You cant hate something until you try it."  Life is too short to stick your tongue out, or plug your nose at everything that you think might be disgusting.

The reason I learned to love culinary cooking, alcohol, and eating in general is because of that little saying.  So be a little adventurous.  None of these drinks will kill you (in moderation), and whatever doesn't kill you, makes you that much more awesome.  Happy drinking!

Thursday, May 19, 2011


As of this time. I think I will be updating on Tuesdays and Fridays for my set schedule. I have a list of alcohol that I am going to review, but I am always open to suggestions as well. Just don't make me go buy a $500 bottle of wine. Budget doesn't quite fit there right now.

I am thinking of going in an alternating cycle perhaps. Beer > Wine > Liquor > Beer..... and so on. Let me know as always comments are appreciated.

Welcome to the Blog

Hello everyone.  If this is your first time here I bid you welcome.  This blog will be here for me to post about new beers I try every week.  I will try to update at least 2-3 times weekly.  Due to work, finance, and whatever else life might throw my way it may not happen.

I will start the updates by this weekend hopefully.  Stick around for some awesome beer, wine, spirits, and other liquor greatness.