New drinks update

It's not quite in the same realm as airline-sized mini-bottles or cheap flasks favored by hoboes, but it might have had its origins there. A new product called Pocket Shot is a shot-at-a-time line of liquors in hard-to-break soft pouches. The San Jose, CA, manufacturer packs 'em up at 120 units per case (10 sleeves with a dozen 50-milliliter units per sleeve). The 80-proof liquors come in vodka, rum, tequila, whiskey and gin.

It's confined to Pennsylvania and New Jersey at the moment (unless you call 800/308-2600 for ordering assistance), but Bluecoat may be getting in on the U.S. gin revival at an opportune moment. The five-times-filtered American Dry Gin prodiuct just being rolled out uses organic juniper berries for its basic flavor profile. Thereafter the herbal ingredients are proprietary although it's obvious there is a mix of citrus nuances. The manufacturer, Philadelphia Distilling, notes, "The remaining botanicals are also organic, contributing to all natural flavors without outside influences."

At one time lychees, or "lychee nuts" as some people erroneously call them, were confined to occasional use at offbeat Chinese restaurants. But, with the global revolution in food availability, they're fairly accessible. Thus, we have Lichido, a French liqueur made primarily from the Asian fruit. However, lychees (also spelled lichees and a few other ways in various countries) are not boldly flavored, thus the addition of cognac, guava, peach and vodka in the drink.

And, far removed from such sweetish tastes, we have Perique, a liqueur based on the Louisiana Perique strain of spice tobacco often used in Virginia blend cigarettes. It was created by Ted Breaux, known most widely for his absinthe concoctions. It's 62 proof, and available in very limited quantities.

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