Blackmaker Root Beer Liqueur
Review Blackmaker Root Beer Liqueur (83.5/100)
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
I was invited visit the local office of the River Valley Beverage Group recently where I met Doug Robb who took some time out of his day to show me around and let me sample some of the spirits which they were importing into Alberta. Just before I was about to leave (after tasting some downright wonderful stuff) Doug asked me, “Do you like root beer?”
I think the question was rhetorical. After all, who doesn’t like root beer? My answer being firmly in the positive gave Doug a reason to reach into a nearby box and he pulled out a bottle of Blackmaker Root Beer Liqueur.
This root beer liqueur is produced by White Rock Distilleries of Lewiston, Maine. It is apparently made from a combination of wintergreen, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, anise and sweet birch; the combination of which creates an authentic root beer flavour. Although I was given a few other samples to take home and review, curiosity got the best of me, and the first of the sample bottles which was opened in my tasting room was the Blackmaker Root Beer Liqueur.
In the Bottle 4/5
The Blackmaker Root Beer Liqueur is bottled in the squat bottle pictured to the left. I remember a time growing up in rural Alberta when we used to get these traveling salesmen who would drop by. One of the items which my parents would always buy was some old-fashioned root beer which, to my memory anyway, came in a similar bottle. It could be that bottles of root beer we bought were a lot larger (and of course they were non alcoholic), but the similarity in style brings back good memories.
In the Glass 8.5/10
I poured a bit of the Root Beer Liqueur into a shot glass and began my observations. The color is a deep brown with some reddish tinges, and the aroma from the glass is like an old-fashioned root beer flavoured lollipop. I admit that I just sat back in my chair in my tasting room and enjoyed taking wiffs from my glass relishing in the aroma. It was kind of like being a kid again, except that this root beer lollipop has some real ‘pop’ in the aroma that was never included in the regular variety lollipop.
The reason for the ‘pop’ is because under that nice sweet root beer scent is a nice updraft of (35 % abv.) alcohol. You can smell that lightly astringent alcohol aroma rising from the glass wrapped up in the sweet root beer scent. The overall effect is very nice.
In the Mouth 50/60
That root beer lollipop flavour got me in all the right ways as I began to sip from the shot glass. This is sweet, and in some ways it’s a little like root beer on steroids. The 35 % (abv.) seems to make the spiciness of the liqueur more intense. The root beer flavour and the sweetness of the drink are much stronger than your regular root beer soda. And although the flavour is undoubtedly root beer, I did notice the wintergreen, the cloves and the anise a little more strongly than I normally do in regular root beer, but it works for me, and I like it!
I decided to mix a bit of the Blackmaker Root Beer Liqueur, and I found it mixed quite nicely with 7-up or Sprite soda (see below for recipe). I suspect mixologists more skilled than I can come up with many more ways to enjoy this liqueur.
In the Throat 12.5/15
The finish is quite sweet as you might have guessed, but it is also quite spicy. I noticed the ginger more in the finish than I did on the palate but I also noticed a nice, what I will call a, ‘root beer’ fade in my throat. The light astringency from the 35 % alcohol is still with the spirit but this astringency has seemed to serve the purpose of intensifying the root beer flavour rather than acting as any sort of detriment to the liqueur.
The Afterburn 8.5/10
I am impressed. I was very curious about a root beer liqueur but I was not really expecting to be enchanted by the spirit the way I was. Like any flavored liqueur, this spirit will only appeal to those who like the base flavour. But if you do like root beer, and if you have a bit of a sweet tooth, then the Blackmaker Root Beer Liqueur is bound to please you.
You may read some of my other reviews of Liqueurs and Flavoured Spirits (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.
Here is a nice back-deck recipe for a hot simmer day.
1 1/2 oz Blackmaker Root Beer Liqueur
Lots of Ice
Build in a tall glass and enjoy!
As you can see the Blackmaker Liqueur will settle to the bottom so you need to stir the drink well before you enjoy it!
My Scores are out of 100 and you may (loosely) interpret them as follows:
0-25 A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49 Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59 You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69 Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74 Now we have a fair mixing spirit. Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79 You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84 We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails.)
85-89 Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94 Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+ I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.
Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and Bronze medal scale as follows:
70 – 79.5 Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5 Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95 Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+ Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)