Tasting Video #20

May 21, 2024 |

When it comes to Google searches, Bottle #26: Boggs Cranberry Liqueur is one of the bottles on my website that gets the most hits. And it’s because people who liked Boggs Cranberry Liqueur when it first came out LOVE the stuff, and they are searching still today for it. For this video I sat down with my good friend Andy to see what all the fuss was about. And for once, chunky turned out to be a GOOD thing!

Prefer to read than watch? Check out the transcript under the video.

TRANSCRIPT

Teaser

Tammy: Because we haven’t shaken it up yet.

Andy: We haven’t shaken it up yet.

Tammy: Do it?

Andy: Let’s take a chance on it.

After Opening Credits

Tammy: Hello and welcome to My Tiny Bottles, the project I’m exploring my grandmother’s legacy of miniature liquor bottles one tiny bottle at a time. I’m your host, Tammy Coxen, and I am here with my friend Andy.

Andy: Hi, Tammy.

Tammy: Hi, Andy. We are both at Boskone, which is a science fiction convention in Boston, Massachusetts. And I ran into Andy and his partner, Kevin, at a party last night. And I said, “Hey, are either of you available to taste a bottle with me tomorrow?”

Andy: And Kevin is too busy being the science guest this weekend at the convention and speaking.

Tammy: So I had to settle for Andy. Which is a joy! So, Andy, you and I have shared many cocktail crawls in cities that we have been in together.

Andy: We definitely have.

Tammy: So I know you are an appreciator of fine drinks. What credentials would you say you bring to this project?

Andy: I mean, I’m not a professional, not at all, but 25 years ago my husband and I met over a case of wine and I moved out to California and started getting to know the winemakers in my local regions. And discovered some craft distillers who were local and got to know them. And Kevin designed and built, and I was the sanity check on, a bartending robot.

Tammy: A bartending robot. Beautiful. Maybe we could throw some video in so you can see the robot in action. Do you have video?

Andy: There should be video. There’s definitely stills.

Tammy: Excellent. So, you mentioned wine is kind of where you got your start. Well, I don’t have any wine. Maybe I should have brought my very, very old tiny bottle of wine from California. I should have brought that.

Andy: That would have been amusing.

Tammy: But what I decided to bring for you instead, since you are from California, visiting Massachusetts, is some good old New England flavor – Bottle #26: Boggs Cranberry Liqueur.

Andy: So I moved to California from Wisconsin, which is also a cranberry region.

Tammy: Okay, but not like New England! You know, it’s called a Cape Codder.

Andy: Yeah, yeah, I know. And I was just like, I like me some cranberry.

Tammy: Oh good. I don’t know if you’ll like this.

Andy: This is true.

Tammy: But I will say, this is probably the bottle on my website so far that has gotten the most hits. And it’s because people who liked Boggs Cranberry Liqueur when it first came out LOVE Boggs Cranberry Liqueur, and they are searching still today for it. And so they land on my site when they’re looking for it, and they find out that there’s a new bottle. But generally the people who remember it from the old days aren’t as fond of the new bottling.

Tammy: But this is probably not what they remember either. When Boggs came out in the 1970s it was 40% ABV, so a full-strength spirit, it would have been you know, quite punchy. Or maybe it was 40 proof. I can’t remember, darn it, can’t remember.

Tammy: Anyway, it was higher proof, right? Probably higher quality. But then by the 1980s, like so many of those liqueurs it sort of had gotten dumbed down. So this one is 25 proof. So I think it was probably 40 proof and now it’s 25 proof, so that makes sense.

Tammy: 12.5% alcohol by volume. Not a very promising ABV for something that’s been in a bottle for probably 35 years. It’s got an 89 on the bottom of the bottle so that tells us the bottle was made in 1989. So probably around then for this one. So, yeah. I can’t promise it’ll be good, but those are sometimes the most fun.

Andy: It looks a little chunky.

Tammy: That’s what I was gonna ask you. Why don’t you tell us what you’re seeing here?

Andy: It’s kind of hard to see, but it looks it looks like it threw a sediment and… it looks a little chunky.

Andy: That may, that might be promising because it means that there actually probably was actually cranberry juice with fiber in it in the original.

Tammy: So here’s my question for you.

Andy: Yeah?

Tammy: Do we try to decant a little off the top or do we shake it?

Andy: I’m thinking we try to decant a little off the top to start.

Tammy: Okay, and then we try to shake it?

Andy: And then we maybe try to shake it.

Tammy: Because, yeah, you can imagine, this is described in the articles at the time as being this ruby red color, it’s clearly not ruby red anymore.

Andy: It’s very caramel red now.

Tammy: Well-sealed though.

Andy: Yes.

Tammy: Let’s see if I can get it open.

Andy: Oh, there it goes!

Tammy: Nice satisfying crack. We like a good crack. Oh, and actually it’s got a little cap too. So they really were trying to make this last.

Tammy: It kind of smells like what you’d expect. Pouring. That cranberry gunk just gets higher and higher.

Tammy: Oh, that’s so syrupy!

Tammy: Alright, I’m just pouring a little bit to try not to get the gunk, and then if we decide to shake, we’ll have more to work with here.

Tammy: I got chunks. The game is lost.

Holding up glasses to look at it.

Andy: Yeah, I mean it’s golden. It’s a dark golden.

Tammy: But that makes sense, you know, for things. They oxidize over time. Wine will lose its color. So that’s not surprising.

Andy: It doesn’t smell terrible.

Tammy: It doesn’t smell terrible. It smells fruity.

Andy: Well, yeah, actually I’m picking up actual honest to God cranberry.

Tammy: Okay, that’s promising.

Andy: It’s that kind of bitter sour note.

Tammy: Yeah, I wish I could expect some sour cranberry punch here, right? That’s what I like about cranberry juice. It’s got sour, it’s got bitter. I can’t imagine a 1989 liqueur is going to deliver on any of that promise. Even in its time I don’t think I would have delivered on any of that promise.

Andy: Right. Well, I mean, this would have been probably sweetened – well, we can tell it is sweetened – but probably it would have been like canned cranberry sauce, cranberry jelly kind of flavor. Let’s find out.

Tammy: Let’s start.

Both sip.

Tammy: Definitely way better than some of the things I’ve tasted.

Andy: Better than I expected.

Tammy: It’s not unpleasant.

Andy: It tastes like cranberry. It’s not a very strong taste of cranberry.

Tammy: No. Because we haven’t shaken it up yet!

Andy: We haven’t shaken it up yet.

Tammy: Do it?

Andy: Let’s take a chance on it.

Tammy shakes vigorously

Andy: Oh, that’s disturbing.

Tammy: The color got a lot darker. Flips bottle over. Oh no, it’s all still at the bottom. Look at that. Yeah, just a sediment block right there at the bottom. All right.

Andy: And the sediment really has not powdered and turned into flakes.

Tammy: Nope, it’s just chunks. Pouring now chunky liquid. Yep, there you go.

Andy: The color is better.

Tammy: No, no, it’s not really. It’s just now intermingled with chunks.

Tammy Well, that was a useful lesson to learn about bottles because I have others that are sedimented and clearly shaking is not going to help.

Tammy: I do get a little more fruit now.

Andy: Oh yeah, definitely.

Tammy: Yeah.

Andy: You know, that’s (long pause), this is (another pause), it’s surprisingly decent.

Tammy (nodding): It’s surprisingly decent. Which makes me kind of understand all these people who come to my page trying to find out about it, because if it’s this tasty after you know 30 years, like I can imagine it must really have been something.

Andy: I mean it is – and the thickness does this to some extent – it is canned cranberry jelly flavor. I mean you get the syrup, that coating your mouth pectin-y kind of thing.

Tammy: Yeah, but I would say that now that I’m getting some chunks with each sip I’m getting some of that acid that I was looking for.

Andy: Oh yeah, there’s a lot more of the acid present now.

Tammy: And now it like, it reminds me a lot more of cranberry. Wow. I am way happier than I expected to be.

Andy: I kind of now actually want to find out what the current cranberry liqueurs taste like.

Tammy (sipping again): That’s good. It’s really good. If it just didn’t look quite so… I’ll try to get a picture of the floaties. So we can put that in the video so people can see what it looks like. It’s really a little terrifying. (Sorry, no picture – imagine little red jelly blobs in a brownish red liquid)

Andy: You know, I think it didn’t as much throw a sediment as the cranberry solids, like, gelled in the bottle.

Tammy: Right, because I’ve done things with cranberries before and they have a lot of pectin in there. They just want to gel.

Andy: You’re right. The sugar, the pectin… in the end it could have preserved the cranberry from being destroyed.

Tammy: Well, we might just sit here and sip on our cranberry.

Andy: I am not disappointed.

Tammy: I am not disappointed.

Andy: I am surprised. So that was a success, and in a pleasant way. Which neither of us were really expecting!

Tammy: Well, we’ll save a little bit of this for Kevin to try later.

Tammy: Thanks so much for joining me, Andy, this was an unexpected delight. Can people find you someplace online?

Andy: The bartending robot is on Facebook at the Drinks Advanced Research Projects Agency –DARPAbots. And we plan to have the robot at International Robo Games in San Jose in April.

Tammy: That’s very exciting. I will drop a link to that in the show notes. And of course you can find out about this bottle, go learn its history in its story at mytinybottles.com. You can also follow me on social media at @mytinybottles.

Tammy: If you are a Boggs Cranberry fan, tell us what you remember. How do our observations reflect yours? Do you have an old bottle lingering around? And has it to congealed into a surprisingly delightful cranberry-jelly-suspended-in-sugar-solution type situation? If so, let me know.

Both: Cheers!

 

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2 Comments

  1. We loved Boggs back in the day! Yes, it had much higher alcohol content as would be fit a liqueur. It was tart and sweet and a bit syrupy. It was nice with rich desserts like cheesecake, chocolate decadence, etc.

    Reply
    • Thanks! Have you tried the new version? It’s from a different company that just bought the name, so far as I can tell.

      Reply

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