Pearl Vodka

Pearl Vodka

How do you rate Pearl Vodka? 

Our Reader Score
[Total: 5 Average: 2.4]

Pearl vodka is my new, favorite vodka for making straight-up, martinis with two olives. I like my martinis very dry with little or no olive juice. Who would waste good money on vodka and put olive juice in it? Not me, but maybe that’s just me. I never did understand the dirty martini craze. Of all of the different wines, foods and liquors I’ve tasted and reviewed, I think vodka is not only the most difficult to rate, but the most disagreed upon substance known to man. I frequently visit the VodkaBuzz website where I often don’t agree with the reviews. It was of no surprise to me that Pearl had a poor rating: 2 out of 5 stars. Pearl is a completely misunderstood and under-rated vodka now let me tell you why:

What Makes a Good Vodka?

Let’s be honest. The majority of alcohols we drink are deeper and richer, tasting than vodka. Vodka is most commonly used as either a mixer or a martini. Even the once popular classic martini is getting doused these days with either olive juice or some type of fruity, syrup. I think the majority of vodka drinkers are looking for as little flavor as possible without the bite of 80 proof alcohol. While there is nothing wrong with that, I think that mindset has caused the characteristics of a good vodka to become greatly unnoticed or underrated. Would we want our bourbon, tequila, scotch or gin to have as little flavor as possible? Like any good drink, vodka should be smooth, but that doesn’t mean it has to lack character. Martini drinkers, especially, should demand some character and flavor from their vodka. So, to understand what makes a good Vodka we should agree on what does not a good vodka make: a flavorless, clear alcohol. If you truly want to taste and enjoy a good sipping vodka, here is what you will love about Pearl.

Pearl Vodka Tasting Notes

Pearl vodka will be a complete mystery to you if you are to judge it only by its subtle aroma. There is very little burn to the nose which might make you believe you are about to drink something which seems very familiar and agreeable to you. For those who are after something which is rather ordinary in a vodka, you will either feel sadly misled or pleasantly surprised after your first swallow. I first tasted Pearl after priming my taste buds with a shot of my standby, familiar favorite and affordable Ruskova Russian vodka. I was immediately intrigued by the mellow, yet substantive, after-taste which filled my senses with caramel, vanilla, and dare I say – Scotch? Wow. My senses were certainly captivated. Deciding to put the brakes on my intrigue, I made my first martini with the remaining contents from Ruskova, 1.75 Liter Bottle. I must admit, I had a hard time concentrating on my first martini. My thoughts kept going back to the Pearl and how much different my experience might be had I used that to make my first martini. I drank the first one rather quickly and eagerly went back to the Pearl to make my second martini. Pearl made the best martini I have ever tasted. The caramel, vanilla and scotch flavors were just as I remembered them from my first taste. There was very little burn. Pearl vodka is a liquor that has far better character and taste than the typical, colorless alcoholic chemical we think should be vodka. I’ll give you my pearl vodka rating:

Pearl Vodka Final Rating

My Rating on Pearl Vodka: 

Our Score

The only reason that I didn’t give Pearl a perfect 5 out of 5-star rating is that it would leave no room for something better. Is there as such a thing as perfection? Pearl vodka will certainly make you think twice before answering that question.


Share Button
Our Reader Score
[Total: 5 Average: 2.4]

How to Clean a Keurig Coffee Maker

how to clean a keurig coffee maker

There is nothing worse than the anticipation of a good, strong cup of coffee only to find that your brewer decided to stop working.  I started brewing a cup of coffee in my Mr Coffee Keurig Brewer this morning, then stepped away to my computer desk to give it time to do its job. When I came back to the Keurig machine two minutes later, the brewing process had finished but there was only a dribble of coffee at the bottom of my cup. A full cup of water remained in the Keurig reservoir. I’ve been told how to clean a Kuerig Coffee maker, but didn’t think it was necessary. I normally just run a cup of water through the brewer every day just to keep excess grinds of coffee out of my cup. Apparently, that is not good enough.  I took a look inside of the brewing mechanism and it was pretty gunked up with old coffee grinds and scum.  After some quick online research, I’ve determined there are two of three steps you need to take to get your Keurig brewer clean.  Step 1 is mandatory; steps 2 and 3 are interchangeable.

3 Steps to Clean a Keurig Coffee Maker

Clean Keurig Coffee Maker with Vinegar

  1. Use Vinegar:
    Run a full cup of Vinegar through the brewer. Repeat and brew four times by just pouring the same hot vinegar through the machine each time. This will clean the inside of the mechanism and completely descale your unit. Vinegar is a great cleaning tool for any coffee maker and will probably get your machine brewing properly. On the other hand, however,  what can you do about all the gunk and slime that’s on the outside of the mechanism? (See Picture Below)
  2. Wipe Clean:
    Take some q-tips and wet paper towel and wipe the surface clean. Due to the instruments small and sharp nooks and cranny, this is not easy. Press the q-tips into a small section of paper towel and push the paper in and around all of the corners and sides. You can use the vinegar too for moisture.
  3. Take Keurig to Sink
    Unplug the unit and take your Keurig over to the kitchen sink. Just be careful to keep the your cord out of the way as you run warm water through the inside of the mechanism until it is clean. A much better way to clean this would be to remove the brewing mechanism, but this is not an option. Or is it?

Tempting Way to REALLY get your Keurig Brewer Clean

Dirty Keurig Brewer
This might work, but caution: Could end up being an article about How to Clean a Keurig Coffee Maker: NOT.
On the inside of the mechanism are 3 little screws. See close up of one screw pictured to the left. It appears that the entire inside of the brewer parts can be removed by taking out these little screws. Attempt this at your own risk and with great caution – and use a good screw driver which fits the screws exactly right. When I attempted to remove one of the screws, I could feel the metal of the screw begin to strip from the force of the screw driver. That was all the convincing I needed to give up on this idea. Getting the brewing mechanism half-removed and ending up with a couple of stripped screws could end up a real headache, if not completely ruin the Keurig Coffee Maker. You wonder: Why in the world didn’t they make it so this part can be  removed as it is with the Tassimo Brewer.
Share Button
Our Reader Score
[Total: 1 Average: 1]

Starbucks K Cups will be here Soon

Starbucks K CupsStarbucks K Cups are almost here! The suspense is killing me. How much will they cost? Will they come in 12-Cup, 18-Cup, 24-Cup, 50-Cup boxes? Or will they be available in 80-Cup boxes like the Newman’s Own Organic Coffee that I buy from Costco?  And will the Starbucks K Cups taste as good as the Starbucks Tassimo K Cups which are no longer made? I foolishly bought a Bosch Tassimo brewer a few months ago before reading the disheartening news that Starbucks would no longer be making coffee for it.  Starbucks is the main reason I chose the Tassimo in the first place.  Fortunately, I bought a Mr Coffee Keurig for the office at Costco a few months ago for just $69.00. So, I will have the privilege of buying Starbucks K Cups for it when they arrive at the stores in November.  The one thing I did learn is that nothing comes close to the Starbucks t-discs I buy for the Tassimo. The Gevalia coffee is about as flavorless as you can get and virtually all the K Cups made for the Keurig are superior. Most of the K Cups brands I’ve bought for the Keurig are tasty enough that Starbucks is practically not necessary.

keurig delivers knock out punch

The K Cups Donut Store Coffee and Newmans Extra Bold are excellent. To save money, I buy the Newmans extra bold in 80-count k cup boxes at Costco for about $35.00. That’s 44 cents for a cup of coffee that’s almost as good as Starbucks. Without Starbucks for the Tassimo, the Keurig brewer choices blows away anything else that’s available for the Tassimo. Isn’t it unbelievable how the Tassimo company could lose their best business partner in Starbucks to a competitor that already has infinitely more coffee choices? Honestly, I haven’t even tried half of the K-Cups brands that are available at my own supermarket, let alone the dozens of other choices available online and at specialty retailers. Who is managing Tassimo’s business and how do they still have a job?  Or, do they still have a job?  I think Keurig has delivered the knock out punch with the announcement of the Starbucks K Cups deal. Enough crying over spilled coffee, let’s talk about what’s coming out for lucky Keurig owners this November:

Not only will Starbucks K Cups be available next month, we won’t even have to look very far to find them. The Huffington Post reports  that we’ll be able to find Starbucks at retailers like Walmart and Target.  For some odd reason, Starbucks will not sell the K Cups at their own store locations until next year and they won’t be available in Canada until March 2012. Looks like you’ll be able to get these K Cups in some of Starbucks most popular flavors: Breakfast Blend, Sumatran, Pikes Roast, French Roast and House Blend. Unlike Dunkin’ Donuts Coffee which for some dumb reason is only sold at Dunkin’ Donuts shops that don’t exist in most states of the U.S, Starbucks realizes they stand to make more money selling coffee at the major retailers. Oh, and they’ll even be making the K Cups Tazo tea available too. And I’ve found the answer to another one of my  question: It looks like you’ll be able to buy Starbucks K Cups in 10, 16 and 54-Count Boxes.  Hopefully, Costco will jump on the bandwagon and give me something that’s competitive with the 80-Packs I buy for $35.00, but I won’t hold my breath. Starbucks has always been expensive, but worth it.

I would expect Tassimo brewers and T-Disc sales to drop like flies while the sales of all types of Keurig brewers to break records in time for Christmas. Until we know the pricing on the Starbucks K Cups,  I won’t make any prediction about which coffee brand sells the best. Keurig has plenty of good choices.

Share Button
Our Reader Score
[Total: 0 Average: 0]

Old Chub Beer

Old Chub BeerWhile the name, Old Chub, might sound like pipe tobacco, a fishing lure or a plump old man, I assure you it is beer. Old Chub Beer comes in a can and a 6-pack sells for $8 to $9 dollars. Rated at 8% alcohol, Old Chub, is a very strong, dark scotch ale beer. I learned about Old Chub from a friend, whom recommended it when I explained to him how crazy I was about the pricey, thick-syrupy, chocolate-molasses Bourbon Barrel Stout that costs $16.00 per 750 ml bottle. So how does it taste?

Old Chub Beer Tasting Notes

You can smell the caramel darkness of Old Chubbefore you even take that first sip. I thought it was a bit more pungent, but not as thick with molasses as the Bourbon Barrel Stout. The first sip packs a pretty good punch and goes down warm. It has plenty of caramel and butter-scotch flavor, without the chocolate and molasses of the Bourbon Barrel Stout. Unlike the Bourbon Barrel Stout, the Old Chub leaves a bit of a bitter aftertaste near the back of the tongue, but it is really not that unpleasant. I think Old Chub would be even better served not quite so cold – just a little bit below room temperature. You’ll definitely want to drink Old Chub out of a glass or porcelain mug. It gets better tasting the more you drink. By the time, I took the last sip of Old Chub, I was ready to pour the next one. Those who think they don’t like dark beers might have a different opinion of them after tasting Old Chub. While Old Chub Scottish Ale is certainly not of the high quality, smoothness and complexity of the
Bourbon Barrel Stout,  it offers you a much cheaper alternative when you’re in the mood for a very rich, good dark beer. So, where does Old Chub come from and where do you buy it?

Where to find Old Chub Beer

Oscar Blues BreweryOld Chub is made by Oscar Blues Brewery in Lyons,Colorado. Oscar Blues makes 5 other brews: Dale’s Pale Ale, G’Knight Imperial Red, Mama’s Little Yella Pills, Ten Fidy and Gubna. If the taste of the beer isn’t interesting enough, you can always fall back on the names. Oscar Blues also have a variety of different brews that they serve on Tap. Oscar Blues is not only a brewery, but a bar and grill featuring down-home cookin’ and blues music. Really, this looks like a fun place to visit. Old Chub is a fun and hearty which has piqued my interest in trying all of their other brews.

Share Button
Our Reader Score
[Total: 0 Average: 0]

Eristoff Vodka

How do you rate Eristoff Vodka? 

Our Reader Score
[Total: 1 Average: 2]

Eristoff VodkaEristoff Vodka is a triple-distilled, bargain-priced vodka made in France. To me, premium vodkas are a rip-off. The top-shelf brands in the elegant bottles like Grey Goose are overpriced. It is my belief that the majority of people who pay a pretty penny for these expensive vodkas could buy brands for less than 1/2 the price and be just as happy with the smoothness and flavor. It is really tragic to pay good money for vodka than mix it with sour, cranberry juice or a dirty martini full of salty, olive juice.  Don’t get me wrong, some vodkas are better than others, but don’t think you have to pay a Grey Goose or Ketel One price to enjoy a good clean taste. There are 1.75 Liter brands selling for less than $21.00 that will satisfy most people. Is Eristoff Vodka  one of those that compares favorably to the top-shelf brands?

Eristoff vs Top Shelf Vodka Brands

Taaka is the cheap vodka brand which all cheap vodkas are to be compared, in my opinion. No, Taaka is not a great vodka by any means, but for the price just about anyone can learn to mix with it in such a way to make it tolerable. Eristoff is appreciably better than Taaka and probably better than most vodkas in the $20.00-and-under per 1.75 Liter bottle price range.  Eristoff is a wheat-based alcohol, so stay clear of this if you have any severe gluten allergies or aversions to wheat-based food products. Eristoff has a very sharp, bitter front to it. Almost bitter enough that it hides any of it’s vanilla-sweet over-tones. The pepper is extreme to the point where it is almost hot. I noticed a bit of caramel in the taste, but only after some real effort getting past the front-of-the-mouth, sharpness that rings long after you’ve downed the first swallow.  The good news, however, is that the bitterness does not follow it’s way down your esophagus and into your gut like Taaka and some of the other bargain-priced vodkas. Eristoff vodka actually has a smooth, sugary finish. If you’re not expecting too much for your $17.00, you won’t be too disappointed. That is, unless you’ve been drinking Ruskova, another bargain-priced vodka made in Russian that is much better, all-around. I have been getting Ruskova at my Costco Liquor store for $13.00 per 1.75 Liter bottle. Ruskova is smoother up front with more vanilla and much better, overall flavor than Eristoff. For a few bucks more you can buy Svedka which according to some people is among the best.

Vodka is a peculiar alcohol to rate with extremely varying opinions, so don’t go by my word alone. I remember thinking that Sobieski Vodka was over-rated, yet some vodka drinkers insist that it is the best you can buy for under $20.00. My hunch is that if you tried Sobieski, Eristoff and Ruskova, the Ruskova would come out on top and save you a few bucks, too.

Give us your Rating on Eristoff Vodka

Our Reader Score
[Total: 1 Average: 2]


Share Button
Our Reader Score
[Total: 1 Average: 2]