Ah, a puzzle after our own hearts. Unfortunately, I threw it back too quickly. And that's because I like my drinks neat, not on ice.
But this is fun stuff. Three examples of liquors, encased in answers that on some level do not directly reference the actual beverage, and all three sitting on top of answers that contain "ICE". Thus, they are all served ONTHEROCKS. Clever.
On the other hand, the only theme answer that truly doesn't have a connection with the alcohol is SCOTCHTAPE: here the word was originally used in the derisive form of "stingy". Thus non-alcoholic. On the other hand, the drink bourbon's name comes from the HOUSEOFBOURBON (possibly via Bourbon County in Kentucky or Bourbon St. in New Orleans). And TEQUILASUNRISE is the name of a tequila cocktail, so no love there.
Otherwise, the puzzle has the remarkable pair of -IOUS answers in the NE and SW. Both AMPHIBIOUS and OBSEQUIOUS are wonderful answers, and just on their own make the puzzle a notch more fun. I didn't see SUICIDE Squad, nor have I ever eaten SEACARP. Just wanted to make that clear.
1A: MacBook ___ (PRO) went in without a thought, even though "air" would fit in there also. I give it a B-. CANTORS and HILLEL give the puzzle a Jewish feel. Is this a nod towards other holiday traditions besides Christmas? I doubt it.
Not a fan of SNERT, but otherwise I have no issues with the rest of the fill.
Carelessly let ROuRKE stand when GuTEAU was so obviously wrong. I think it's time for me to stop having FWOEs in preparation for the next ACPT, coming up in early April. I hereby pledge to try to be better about the stupid mistakes.
I've never heard of SEACARP, so I looked it up. It's mostly a southern ocean fish, apparently, and it's also known by the names, morwong, butterfish, fingerfin, jackassfish, snapper, and moki. Strange.
POINTA (Starting place, on a map) was odd, and took me forever. Also love the -IOUS answers, and who doesn't love a good alcohol-related theme? What, you're not counting this as another in the "holiday" series?!?
Same error as Horace. Hah! Jackassfish! Funny. I've had *red* snapper, but never snapper or, I believe, moki, so I don't think I've tried SEACARP either. I enjoyed the theme, too, of course, but rarely have anything ONTHEROCKS. I mean, no one that enjoys a nice, quality booze has it any way but neat nowadays, do they? The clue for TETE was a bit gross.