Category: Drink Review

November 12, 2013 Tim Brown

A drink review of Sioux City Sarsaparilla, Kickapoo Joy Juice, Bawls Guarana, and Waialua Soda Works Mango Soda!

October 22, 2013 Kelly Ireland

There’s nothing quite like the flavors of fall: cinnamon, squash and all. And when it comes to squash, Starbucks hits the spot with its pumpkin spice latte. The drink is a blend of coffee, pumpkin flavor, steamed milk, whipped cream and pumpkin pie spices sprinkled on top — a sure delight for the lovers of autumn.

October 11, 2013 George Hyde

Regular TNL readers know water is probably one of the best, greatest drinks in existence. It’s cool, refreshing, healthier than other soft drinks and a basic necessity for life. So then comes the question of where to get it.

UAA has many plentiful sources of water, but they’re not all worth tapping into. As a result, I took it upon myself to journey across our campus to find the best sources of water for students.

My benchmark was a glass of ice water from the Cuddy Cafeteria. This and Subway are probably the best sources of water at UAA, but they’re not always convenient sources. So without further ado, let us begin the crawl!

The fountains here are a tad warm, with a faint metallic, fountainy taste. Maybe they’re ideal in a pinch, but it’d be healthier and far more refreshing to grab a Smart Water from one of the vending machines on the first floor.

I grouped these together because they’re both similar: They still have that distinct, fountainy taste, but they’re a touch chillier than the PSB, making them a more refreshing choice.

RASMUSON HALL, Rating: 3/5
The water here is warm but thankfully lacking in taste. I’d imagine the fountains here are much healthier than the other fountains in the west quad.

Fountains here are very similar to the SU’s fountains in that they’re very poor. But they’re a bit cooler, thanks in part, I think, to the chillier atmosphere of the WFSC in general.

STUDENT UNION, Rating: 1/5
Subway notwithstanding, this is probably the worst place on campus to get water from a fountain. The water is quite warm and has that strong taste that the worst fountains are infamous for. Stick to Subway if you need water here.

This is one of the better — if not more obscure — sets of fountains on campus. The water is quite cool, and the distinct fountain taste is very, very faint. It’s very refreshing after the long walk from the Student Union.

Next to the parking garage, this is also a distinct area thanks in part to the Brita water station sitting right next to the fountains. The Brita fountain is great but is limited to water bottles. Thankfully, the normal fountains don’t disappoint either, being really cold with next to no taste.

The fountains here are a bit of a mixed bag. On one hand, I’d say they might just be the coldest fountains on campus, which makes them a convenient counterpoint to the Kaladi Brothers just across (which charges a small fee for water). Unfortunately, the fountain taste hits like a truck almost immediately. It’s refreshing after a long walk from the other side of campus, but if you can, jump for a drink from Kaladi’s instead.

There’s literally only one fountain in this building, and it’s hidden well upstairs. Thankfully, the search was worth it. The taste is nearly nonexistent, and the water is quite chill. That puts it almost on par with the Natural Sciences Building’s fountains, but its obscurity makes it a bit of an inconvenient stretch. It’s worth the effort, though.

ARTS BUILDING, Rating: 3/5
My crawl came to an end at the Arts Building, where the water was underwhelming. It’s cold and refreshing, to be sure, but the taste is still noticeable, even if it’s not as much as, say, the SSB. Worth it after a long journey, to be sure, but not ideal.


October 1, 2013 Kelly Ireland

Fall is all about nostalgic flavors and comfort food. It is a transitional period between students’ fast-paced summer schedules and the cold, dark winter. This season is a great time to put on warm clothes, go on a walk and have a hot drink while enjoying the changing colors of the leaves and the crisp air.

August 27, 2013 Tim Brown
Photo by Tim Brown
Photo by Tim Brown

Local craft beer producer Anchorage Brewing Company doesn’t shy away from bold ingredients with their Galaxy White IPA. The Belgian-style white IPA is a hoppy and aromatic, medium-bodied ale fermented in French oak barrels.

To fully strap in your senses, pour sparingly into glass stemware. Galaxy White pours opaquely as a rich, light orange color in a pinot glass. It has a small but persistent head and beautiful lacing.

Galaxy White is not an overload of hoppy bitterness, but contains 50 International Bitterness Units. Characteristics that spike out of the glass are of coriander and peppercorn, which compete perfectly with funky tart of brett and kumquat fruit.

The beer’s namesake is taken from the Australian Galaxy hops it is fermented with. The official webpage of Anchorage Brewing plays with branding that hits close to home, laying out the narrative, “Captain Cook travelled from Australia to Alaska, and so have the Galaxy hops used to create this adventurous brew.”

Anchorage Brewing Company has clearly put an emphasis on product presentation. All of their bottles feature real cork and beautiful original artwork from local graphic artist Ray Flores.

Clever marketing aside, the ale stands out on its own in the increasingly crowded craft beer market. In the eyes of this reviewer, Anchorage Brewing Company isn’t blowing smoke when it claims to be brewing on the “frontier of beer.”

July 25, 2013 Tim Brown

When it comes to the beverage industry, trends are everything. For the fashion-conscious choice of drink is can be a statement — “Are you Coke or Pepsi?”

July 10, 2013 Casey Kleeb

Honeydew, cucumber and mint cooler HANDS-ON TIME: 15 MINUTES TOTAL TIME : 50 MINUTES SERVES 8 Peel and chop one honeydew melon and half a cucumber. Puree the melon and cucumber together with and one cup of fresh mint leaves in a blender until smooth. This may have to be done in increments, unless the blender is…

May 29, 2013 Heather Hamilton

Sometimes simplicity is the way to go. But simplicity with a subtle kick is often much more satisfying. Milbrandt Vineyards’s 2009 merlot is a deep reddish-purple, and at a 13.5 percent ABV, it’s also a decent hitter. The wine can be served either chilled or at room temperature, which is the traditional temperature for consumption….

May 1, 2013 Heather Hamilton

Graduation parties are places for family, friends, food and fun. It’s also a place for beer and cocktails because most grads are over 21. One cocktail to stay away from is The Graduate from There are other variations of the recipe, but steer clear from this particular variation at all costs. To make this cocktail, pour one shot of Disaronno or other amaretto liqueur, one…

April 24, 2013 Heather Hamilton

The zombie apocalypse is upon us, and the only way to get out alive is to act like the ene­my. You must shamble as they shamble, groan as they groan and drink what they drink — which, for the more sophisti­cated undead out there, is appar­ently a zinfandel.

April 9, 2013 Heather Hamilton

There’s something to be said about pretty packaging. While it’s never smart to judge a book, or wine, by its cover, doing so might just lead to an interesting and new experience.

April 3, 2013 Tim Brown
Photo by Tim Brown
Photo by Tim Brown

Sake, like wine produced from grapes, is the product of fermentation. Similar to traditional grape wine, it has traditions associated with tasting.

“Junmai” refers to how polished the rice used in the fermentation process is. Junmai-grade rice is regulated for other aspects of quality as well. The heart of rice grain contains the most starch, so the outer portions are milled away. It seems that, not unlike the hyper-preferential world of grape production, Japanese rice is laboriously grown for precise qualities.

Hakutsuru Superior Junmai Ginjo appears a translucent, pale yellow color when poured. Most interesting is the aroma, where hints of pear, lychee and walnut can be found. As the sake crosses the palate, the aromatic pear expresses itself as apple, grass and returns to the hint of walnut.

Learning to detect the nuances of sake can be rewarding. Hakutsuru Superior Junmai Ginjo is best paired with delicate seafood, such as shrimp or sashimi, and
soy-based dishes.


Drink: Hakutsuru Superior Junmai Ginjo
ABV: 14.5%
Company: Hakutsuru


March 27, 2013 Heather Hamilton

Jellybeans don’t just come in Easter baskets anymore.

This shooter will knock you on your rump, so pay attention. Pour half an ounce of the blackberry brandy into a shot glass, filling it about a third of the way. Slowly pour in a third of a shot of Sambuca, which will layer it due to the differing densities of the alcohols. Layer the Southern Comfort on top.

Sit back and admire your handiwork if you got it right. Layering is difficult if you’ve never done it before.

The scent of this Jelly Bean shot is sweet and a little fruity. Drink it all in one gulp — you’re not meant to taste it until after you swallow.

Once you do though, there’s an immediate burn from the brandy. It’s not horrible, and it paves the way for the delectable jellybean taste that follows. Sambuca is an anise-flavored liqueur, and what else does anise flavor? Licorice. This flavor morphs the sweetness of the blackberry brandy and SoCo into something exactly like a jellybean. It’s uncanny and delicious.

Whether you get the layering correct or not doesn’t affect the flavor, so don’t despair if you mess it up. You’ll have a delicious and relatively strong shooter either way.

Drink: Jelly Bean

Ingredients: Blackberry brandy, Sambuca, Southern Comfort

ABV: ~37.33%

Rating: 5/5

March 18, 2013 Heather Hamilton

When looking for a new drink to try, don’t just Google a combination of your favorite ingredients and pick the easiest one — especially if it has a ridiculous name.

For fans of Kahlúa and vanilla vodka, the Mind Eraser may seem appealing, but it’ll disappoint if you find the wrong recipe.

This regrettable version calls for three ounces of Kahlúa, three ounces of vanilla vodka, a splash of club soda and ice. Either combine the ingredients and stir, or pour them into a shaker and go nuts. Ice in the drink is OK.

The problem with this recipe is that no ingredient is added to dilute the Kahlúa. Sure, the club soda and vodka are there, but there isn’t enough of either to do the job properly. The club soda only adds fizz.

The flavor is sweet and thick, almost syrupy. It smells and tastes like straight Kahlúa. The vanilla vodka is completely hidden. Other than carbonation and bubbles, you’re essentially drinking straight Kahlúa. The kick, depending on how generous you are with the vodka, doesn’t come until the end, when the vodka’s burn hits the back of your throat.

That’s it — the drink is essentially just lightly carbonated Kahlúa with a vodka burn.

Wasting alcohol is a party foul, whether you’re at a party or not. And because this drink is so sweet and syrupy, you’d consider it if you made the mistake of mixing one yourself.

But, there’s a quick fix to make the cocktail more palatable and last longer: Turn it into a carbonated White Russian.

Grab some milk, half-and-half creamer or liquid non-dairy creamer, and pour it into the glass. Add to taste and then stir.

The end result is leagues better than the Mind Eraser. And remember the overall lesson here: Google can find what you’re looking for, but it doesn’t always know if the result is good.


Drink: Mind Eraser

Ingredients: Kahlúa, vanilla vodka, club soda, ice

ABV: ~30.5%

Rating: 1

February 26, 2013 Heather Hamilton

Bitter is the name of the game with Claar Cellars Cabernet-Merlot fusion wine.

This particular wine is made with a 60 percent helping of cabernet sauvignon and 40 percent merlot. Depending on the vintage and brand, these aren’t always the sweetest wines, but somehow the Claar Cellars blend of the two manages to be extra bitter.

February 19, 2013 Heather Hamilton

Headache, sore throat, body aches and a nose so stuffed up it could reinforce a dam — yep, it’s cold season, and some people have it bad. And bad, of course, is a sugarcoated term for, ”Leave me alone. I think I’m dying.”

February 12, 2013 Heather Hamilton

Despite not actually being from Fairbanks, this California Sherry wine definitely packs a punch.

This sherry is light in color, a touch of amber in an otherwise clear liquid, and it’s got a powerful scent. At first, the scent is consumed with the odor of alcohol, but a second try reveals a deeper, nutty and earthy undertone.

February 5, 2013 Heather Hamilton

The Manischewitz blackberry wine is made completely from blackberries, with no additional fruits thrown in. Its color is a deep red hue, similar to strawberry jam, and its scent is sweet and fruity, though not easily identifiable as blackberries.

January 29, 2013 Kate Lindsley

The No-heat-o Mojito virgin drink is not a simple mocktail. Its sweet flavor will appeal to both those under and over the drinking age. Despite its minor complexities, a focused attention to detail is well worth the delicious result.

January 22, 2013 Heather Hamilton

When in doubt, ask a waiter for one of the darkest beers the restaurant carries. But even if the darkest brew he or she has to offer is an ale, don’t turn him down. It might surprise you.

November 19, 2012 Heather Hamilton

When hosting a game day gathering, there’s nothing more important than food and beverage choices. For those over the age of 21, “beverages” usually means beer.

But for those who aren’t fond of beer, cocktails are also acceptable.

October 29, 2012 Heather Hamilton

It’s a misnomer if there ever was one — there’s no vodka or gin in the Pumpkin Martini, so it isn’t a real martini. But it is a delicious drink for autumn.

The newly renamed Pumpkin “Rumtini” has four and a half shots of pumpkin cream liquor (I used Fulton’s Harvest Pumpkin Pie Cream Liqueur) and one and a half shots of spiced rum. Toss the ingredients into a shaker with ice, shake wildly for 15 seconds or so and strain into two martini glasses, because two small martinis are more fun than hogging the goodness all to yourself.

The first thing of note is the light dusting of nutmeg scent along with the pumpkin. It’s a very gentle and unassuming odor all around, so the kick of the first sip is a surprise.

A pure, unadulterated rum sting is the first thing that hits your taste buds. But, before you can register the unexpected booze bomb on your tongue, it’s already faded into pumpkin pie. The change is instantaneous, and it’s almost as if it never happened for how soothing the pumpkin flavor is. There is a slight rum burn at the back when the drink goes down, but after a few sips it fades away.

The initial shock fades with each sip as well, and by the bottom of the glass, all you taste is a smooth, liquid pumpkin pie with a little spunk.

Try adding a touch of pumpkin pie seasoning for garnish or a dash of ground nutmeg for a darker color. It’ll add another little kick to the mix.

Drink: Pumpkin Martini

Ingredients: spiced rum, pumpkin pie cream liquor

ABV: Rum, 30 percent; liquor, 12.5 percent

Rating: 5

October 11, 2012 Kate Lindsley

This drink sounds complicated, but half the fun is making it. It takes around 20 to 30 minutes to make and serve, but at the end you have a wonderfully autumnal sipping drink It is well suited for socializing inside, watching the best scary movies to prepare for Halloween.

September 17, 2012 Heather Hamilton

Fu-Ki Sake may sound like a silly name, but this traditional Japanese rice wine packs quite a punch.

It’s clear, heavy and possesses a light, earthy aroma that’s subdued but powerful once it’s in your nose.

September 11, 2012 Heather Hamilton

Do you like the kick of a plain martini, but also enjoy fruitier flavors? The Lemon Drop martini is a glorious cocktail and fits those parameters to a tee.

Pour a shot and a half of vodka, half a shot of triple sec, a teaspoon of the superfine sugar and three-fourths a shot of lemon juice into a shaker with ice, shake like crazy and then strain into a martini glass to whip up this easy number. It goes down fairly easy as well.

The tip is sweet, but holds just a bit of citrusy tang that feels fresh and light. The vodka kick hits at about mid-tongue, where it morphs the drink’s flavor into something a bit more sour and weighty but still maintains its fresh first impression. The end and aftertaste are pleasant, with the freshness of the lemon and orange, courtesy of the triple sec, strong enough to negate most of the burn that typically occurs after sipping on vodka-based drinks.

The drink is sweet enough, and the lemon and orange flavors strong enough, that you can’t really taste the telltale vodka flavor. This makes the drink more enjoyable, and you’ll likely want another. Make sure to have a full stomach and some water, though, or else a few of these deliciously deceptive drinks could end up knocking you off your feet.

July 24, 2012 Heather Hamilton

It’s a geeky week, so here’s a geeky cocktail to whet your appetite: the Batman Cocktail. It’s not a perfect tribute to the Caped Crusader, but it’ll do in a pinch. Pour a shot of spiced rum, half a shot of coffee liquor and half a shot of vanilla vodka in a shaker with ice…

July 10, 2012 Heather Hamilton

There are few drinks that can knock you on your rear as fast as a few well-placed Jäger Bombs; in addition to being strong shots, they’re also smooth and tasty. Jäger Bombs consist of Jäger and Red Bull; pour the Jäger into a shot glass, pour the red bull into a small glass, drop the…

June 30, 2012 Heather Hamilton

Rum and Cola is a simple cocktail for summer get-togethers, but it’s even more enjoyable if a little grenadine is added in. If you’re a fan of cherry cola, then Cherry Rum and Cola is for you; adding grenadine to plain cola and rum instead of purchasing pre-mixed cherry cola also allows for flavor control….