Olmeca Altos Tequila




Olmeca Altos TequilaIf you don’t want to pay good money for good tequila, you will want to read this full, review on Olmeca Altos Tequila. Before I get into the specifics of the brand and its qualities, I want to make a point about ambiance. Let’s face it, when it comes to enjoying a good tequila, atmosphere makes a huge difference. I think the reason many of us are so fond of Tequila in the first place is that the taste reminds us of our most recent vacation where we once enjoyed refreshing, margaritas near a crystal clear swimming pool or white-sand beach in the middle of an ordinary work week in the middle of an ordinary January day. During those cold winter months, if we’re lucky enough to make that trip to Cancun, Puerto Vallarta, Cozumel or the many other dozens of beautiful vacation spots of warmth and sunshine, the taste of a fresh, lime-squeezed margarita will leave us with an indelible memory of relaxation and care-free paradise. Obviously, even the best tasting bottle of tequila in the world won’t replace the enjoyment we get from a week of paradise, but it goes a long way in improving our attitude,  even if it is only for the memories. So, for this reason, I have to be honest by admitting that my most recent review of Olmeca Altos tequila is a bit influenced by the beautiful weather and surroundings in which it was enjoyed.

Olmeca Altos Plata is Perfect for Cocktails

Olmeca Altos PlataThe bottle pictured above is of the Olmeca Altos Plata 100% blue agave tequila. As you can see by the photo of the empty bottle, the very last drop was enjoyed in the cocktails pictured above. A May, 70-degree, calm, sunny, early evening in Arvada, Colorado on a southern-exposure deck with a nice view is about as close as you can get to being on a beach in Mexico in January. So, I have to confess that my review, here, may be slightly biased by the outstanding climate, good feelings and vibes of my immediate surroundings where I enjoyed making this critical analysis. For starters, let me state the obvious: Olmeca Altos Plata is a very smooth liquor – much smoother than any bargain-priced tequila I’ve ever tried. There is no need to drown its flavor with sugary lime-aid mixes. The Plata tequila is actually good enough to be sipped on its own. This is an exceptionally smooth tequila which easily rivals some of the more popular brands which cost twice as much or more. Don Julio and Petron, both come to mind. While I am a big fan of Don Julio, I think Patron is an over-rated brand with a big marketing budget. To be honest, I don’t think it is even as good as, Olmeca Altos. In fact, I don’t think I would even pay 3-times the price for Don Julio knowing how good this one is.  If you’re a true tequila aficionado, don’t expect the Altos Plata to give you those over-tones, substance and character of more expensive, award-winning brands. However, this tequila definitely gives you that full, sweet taste of agave nectar. I also note a fair hint of white pepper, vanilla and just a hint of smoke. The initial taste has a it of a burn, but it quickly tapers off to a very sweet and smooth agave finish. This is the perfect tequila for dry mixers such as the cocktails pictures above. Here is the recipe in case you’d like it:

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Flor De Cana Extra Dry Rum




Flor De Cana Extra Dry RumThe hot days of our extended summer in Arvada, Colorado caused me to try Flor De Cana Extra Dry Rum for the first time. I’m normally not much of a rum drinker, but the thought of mint, lime and rum in Mojitos sounds great during the warmer months of summer. A few weeks ago, I skimped at a bar and paid $1.00 less for the Mojito made with the cheaper Cruzan Rum over the pricier Flor De Cana Extra Dry 4 Year. That turned out to be a good decision. Here’s a dirty, little secret about expensive alcohol that the bar business doesn’t want you to know.

Don’t Waste Good Extra Dry Rum in Sugary Mixed Drinks

Mixed and sugary drinks like Mojitos don’t need an expensive rum to be enjoyed. In fact, you would be throwing your money away if you did. I decided the typical Mojito recipe with simple syrup is way too sugary for me. I prefer the drinks that are less sweet and dry so I can appreciate the actual spirits. Spearmint or peppermint leaves are sweet enough on their own and it is much healthier to forego all that unneeded sugar. Here is a way to make a fantastic, healthy Mojito using all natural ingredients.

Mojito Recipe Using Flor De Cana Extra Dry Rum

When using all natural ingredients, the quality of the spirit  brand becomes makes a noticeable difference in the character, smoothness and flavor of the drink.  Here is how I make a Mojito with three and only three ingredients: Lime, Mint Leaves and Flor De Cana Extra Dry Rum. Cut into a lime and squeeze a couple of slices into your stainless steel shaker along with a few mint leaves. Add about 2 jiggers of Flor De Cana Extra Dry Rum and add a cup of crushed ice. Shake like crazy and pour into a martini glass. Add a sprig of fresh mint and slice of lime for garnish.  You will enjoy the heck out of sipping these on a hot summer day. And unlike, other, overly sweet mixed drinks, the brand of rum does indeed make a huge difference.  Now, onto my review.

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Best Triple Sec

Best Triple SecThe best triple sec is one that doesn’t cost a fortune and won’t ruin a good margarita. So, where can you get a great bottle of triple sec that won’t cost you an arm and a leg? Triple sec is basically an orange liqueur which is often a popular compliment to margaritas.   Unfortunately, many of the cheap brands of triple sec I’ve tried do more damage to margaritas than good. Gran Marnier  and Contreau are costlier liqueurs. I’ve never cared for the flavor of Gran Marnier in Margaritas. I think it makes them taste soapy which coincidentally is the same problem with cheaper brands of triple sec. Contreau is a great liqueur which compliments almost any mixed drink, but who can afford it? Surely, there must be a good compromise when it comes to finding a better Triple Sec, right?

Don’t Ruin a Good Marg with a Cheap Triple Sec

I’ve experimented with inexpensive brands of triple sec such as Hiram’s, Finest Call and DeKuyper, but none of them help make a better margarita. In fact they make it worse. I kept wondering why I couldn’t get a good marg even with a good quality, 100% blue agave tequila.  I don’t actually believe in using expensive brands of liquor like tequila for mixed drinks, but there are several good ones that don’t cost an arm and a leg that make infinitely better tasting margaritas. For that reason, I was determined to find the best triple sec at an affordable price.

Stirrings Triple Sec – All Natural

When it comes to getting the most-bang-for-the-buck, Stirrings is the best triple sec I’ve ever tried. Actually what makes Stirrings better is that it has less – less of what makes those cheaper triple sec brands so unappealing. As it’s label implies, Stirrings is all-natural. There is none of that soapy taste that I’ve noticed with cheaper brands. Stirrings is a 100% natural triple sec made from sun-ripened oranges. The moment I opened the bottle,  I could tell Stirrings was far superior to the cheaper brands.

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El Charro Tequila

El Charro TequilaEl Charro Tequila is an extremely affordable Reposado made from 100% agave nectar. I don’t know about you, but when I find a 750 ML bottle of 100% Agava tequila for under $15.00, I buy it right off the shelf with no questions asked. The El Charro Reposado was only $13.98 at my local, Westminster Total Beverage Liquor store, which is a fabulous place, by the way, for discovering affordable brands of tequila. There were a couple of other choices I considered before I spotted the El Charro tequila which was labeled, 100% PURO DE AGAVE.  One of them happened to be my wife’s previous favorite tequila, Epsolon. Epsolon Reposado tequila normally sells for around $20.00, but it was only $17.98 at Westminster Beverage and the shelf was adorned with a very impressive rating of 92 points. I agree with my wife that Epsolon is a decent Tequila for the price, but I’m not sure I agree with the expert rating. Perhaps, it is good marketing and public relations to get these ratings from the so-called tequila snobs.

The shelf holding the El Charro Tequila came with no such rating label, but at $14.00, there is very little risk in trying it. Many times before, I’ve bought inexpensive, 100% Pure Agave tequila and have been very impressed with it. Tres Alegres Blanco and Rancho Alegre (both Silver and Reposado) are a couple of great bargain-priced tequilas that come to mind. These tequilas became a couple of my staple brands for making margaritas. Only two problems: The liquor store stopped carrying the Tres Alegres and I’ve been able to find it elsewhere at an equally low price. And, the Rancho Allegre gave me a headache for some odd reason.  So far, no signs of a headache from El Charro, but is it any good?

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Kru-82 Vodka

Kru-82 Vodka
The Review


Kru-82 VodkaAs I write this review, I have no idea if Kru-82 vodka is from France or Holland – or both. My bottle clearly says that Kru-82 is distilled in France. Other reviews mention that it comes from Holland. Either way, this was an impulse purchase for me. I was leaving my Costco liquor store and spotted this 1.75 Liter bottle of vodka the very first time. The bottle even comes with a 200ML metal flash which the cashier told me was completely filled with vodka. Also, there was a tag attached the Kru bottle, giving it a 92 rating. Sadly, I cannot remember which publication gave Kru-82 this lofty rating and I have lost the tag. How could I be so careless?
Like every other new vodka I try, it is solely for the purpose of making martinis and proving to myself whether or not I can ever be convinced that it is worth paying more for something other than Taaka. Believe me, I’ve tried plenty of vodkas that are under $25 for a 1.75 and much better than Taaka. Ruskova, Svedka, Superia and Fris are a few that come to mind. It’s not that I don’t appreciate the smoothness and other flavors of these vodkas, I just don’t see the value in paying more for what I consider to be a very plain-tasting liquor. I like sipping on Martinis with two olives, shaken vigorously and served up in a vermouth coated glass. After the first few sips, the Taaka goes down just fine and never gives me a headache unless I drink too much (that is true with any liquor). It is also worth noting that I don’t always agree with the tastes of other vodka review sites. Sobieski and Tito’s are two vodkas that are loved by many that I don’t find very good. Kru-82 is one of those rare occasions where I agree with the author of, VodkaBuzz.

My Impression of Kru-82 Vodka

How Does it Taste?

I poured my first sip of Kru-82 into my martini glass; swirled it and thought it had a crisp, clean aroma with very little burn to the nose. The first, warm sip was light, airy, with hints of ethanol similar to Tito’s and Sobieski. The difference, however, is that the Kru-82 has a more pleasing, sugary finish to me than these other two vodkas. When shaken with ice and turned into a martini, the Kru-82 vodka was noticeably better than a Taaka martini, as it should be.
Though I prefer it to Sobieski and Tito’s, I still wouldn’t rank it among my favorites, or would I pay extra for it. If I had to put a number on it from 1-100, I’d give Kru-82 it’s name: Kru-82 gets an 82 Score. Now, back to the mystery of where this vodka is made.

Is Kru-82 from Holland or France?

My bottle says, distilled in France, but everything I looked up online says Kru-82 is from Holland. Isn’t that weird? I’m sure there is a logical answer to this mystery. Here is what is interesting: Most of the online reviews I’ve read show that the product is sold in a .750 liter metal flask, the same as my 200ml sample that came with my 1.75 liter glass bottle. It is also interesting to me how the opinions of this vodka range anywhere from horrible to delicious. Perhaps the difference in opinion either have to do with where the vodka is distilled or how it is bottled. At any rate, who do you believe? The mystery is as intriguing as a freshly, shaken martini.

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