Archive for the ‘Cocktails & Recipes’ Category
Posted by Arctic Wolf on September 3, 2013
As the Highwood Distillery readies itself to recommence production at their facilities in High River, Alberta in the aftermath of the June 20th, 2013 flash flood. I thought it would be an appropriate time to revisit their flagship spirit, Highwood Canadian Rye Whisky. The Highwood Distillery is the only locally (Albertan) owned distillery in Canada. It sits in the heart of the High River community, producing more than 300,000 cases of bottled spirits per year. Although the bulk of their production goes towards Vodka, Flavoured Vodka, and Premixes, they also produce a sizable (and growing) amount of Canadian Whisky each year.
I consider the Highwood Canadian Whisky to be a unique product unlike anything else on the Canadian whisky landscape (I also find it very tasty). What is so original about the Highwood Whisky is the grain from which it is distilled. Highwood uses local Canadian prairie wheat for the distillation base of all of their Highwood branded whisky. This is because wheat alcohol, rather than barley or corn alcohol, has less heavy non-digestible components. This makes for an extremely smooth easy to drink whisky. After sampling most of the Highwood Whisky range, I have come to the conclusion that they are making some of the smoothest whisky in the world.
Highwood Canadian Rye Whisky is produced from prairie rye and wheat grain in a batch style distillation (the grains are distilled and aged separately). The whisky is aged for at least five years in charred American white oak barrels (without the addition of additives), and when it is mature, it is blended to produce that distinctive Canadian ‘rye’ flavour profile consistent with our Canadian Whisky. The whisky is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.
You may read my review by clicking on the following excerpt (link):
“… The first thing I noticed about the Highwood Whisky as I sipped it was that it is a smooth, gentle, and mellow whisky which has the soft sensation in the mouth of a much older whisky. Honeycomb, ginger, wood spice, and a light dab of vanilla all support a wonderfully clean, dusty rye flavour. There is polish in evidence here …”
I included two classic Canadian Whisky cocktails at the end of the review, the Canadian Rye-Whisky Splash, and the Old Fashioned Cocktail.
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Cocktails & Recipes, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Canadian Whisky, Canadian Whisky Review, Cocktails, Highwood Whisky, Old Fashioned Cocktail, Whisky, Whisky Review, Whisky Splash | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on September 2, 2013
Agavero is a blend of 100% blue agave Tequila (Reposado and Anejo), and the essence of the Damiana Flower. This is not a true Tequila spirit but rather a Tequila based liqueur. Lazaro Gallardo, the founder of Los Camichines Distillery, in Jalisco, Mexico, is credited with creating Agavero in 1857. It is produced as a sipping liqueur meant for those who want a lighter, sweeter and more refined Tequila experience.
Previously, Agavero was distributed worldwide by the Diageo conglomerate, however the brand was recently transferred to Proximo Spirits who have been increasing their presence on the world stage by acquiring key brands of distilled spirits such as Matusalem Rum, and Jose Cuervo Tequila. Agavero (Licor de Tequila) is bottled at 32 per cent alcohol by volume, and is currently distributed in my home market by The Kirkwood Group.
You may read the full review by clicking on the excerpt below:
“…The agave flavour, the orange and lime citrus notes, and the hot pepper burst are all felled into submission by a sweet sugary syrup. The result is a mild, somewhat pleasing combination of punky agave and sweet syrup…”
Please enjoy my review which includes a nice Margarita style cocktail, cheers!
Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Liqueur, Liqueur Review, Tequila Liqueur | Tagged: Agavero, Cocktails, Liqueur, Liqueur Review, Tequila Liqueur | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on September 1, 2013
Cachaca Thoquino has been produced for more than a 100 years by the Aquino family, in Sao da Barra, (the Campos area) north of Rio de Janeiro. This is a traditional sugar cane region within Brazil, and in fact the harvest of sugar cane in this area can be linked back to the earliest settlement of the Brazil sometime between the late 15th and early 16th centuries. The “Thomaz de Aquino” company is amongst the few distilling companies to own its own sugar cane plantations. Therefore the company controls the entire process from the cane field to the Cachaca in the glass.
The Thoquino Cachaca is being marketed outside of Brazil by Giffard Dupius a spirits company well-known for their specialty liqueurs and syrups. In my home market, Nons Drinks To Go (Giffard Canada) is the local distributor, and they provided my sample.
You may click on the following excerpt (link) to read my full review:
“… The initial aroma reminds me both of blanco tequila in that I sense an agave-like fruitiness with spicy white pepper, and very rum-like in that I sense the mildly sweet aroma of sugar cane with hints of banana and citrus, Although the impressions of tequila and white rum are in my mind, I must point out that the spirit has its own character. It carries more esters and musty fruit-like impressions than white rum, and it has a stronger vegetal presence in the glass than tequila …”
Please enjoy my review which includes a nice tall cocktail which I call the Mad Darby.
Posted in Cachaca, Cocktails & Recipes, Silver Cachaca Review | Tagged: Cachaca, Cachaca Review, Cocktails, Gifford Dupius, Mad Darby, Silver Cachaca, Thoquino Cachaca | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on August 26, 2013
The Ron Mocambo 20 Anos Anejo is distilled by Licores Veracruz, S.A. de C.V. According to their website the 20-year-old edition which I sampled is called The Art Edition. The Art Edition is a throwback style of rum which uses old techniques of rum production, and then combines those techniques with modern aging techniques to produce an aged rum of unique taste and character.
Three years ago, a friend of mine brought a bottle of the Art Edition back from Mexico for me to taste and review. The result was my very first ‘stylized’ review where in my preamble to the review, I let my imagination take flight as I described the impressions the rum brought to me as I sipped it for the first time. The review was very popular, and I have wanted for the past three years to return to this rum for a second time. To that end, another friend of mine recently came back from Mexico, and my wish for a second chance at this bottle was granted when he came to my house for a visit and left me a small sample.
Of course, I had to close my eyes and let my imagination take flight for a second time. The rum still carries that same dry oaky flavour I remembered from before, and wouldn’t you know, my imagination took me to that same place I visited before.
You may read the full review here:
“…The Macombo 20 Art Edition is a style of rum that genuflects at the altar of old wood without apology. The rum embraces its age, and its time spent in wooden casks. In fact I would say the Macombo Art Edition is a celebration of old wood and cask aging….”
For your enjoyment, I have added a two sipping cocktails I designed to the end of the review, The Last Vaquero, and Vaquero Magnifico.
Please enjoy my review of this outstanding Mexican Rum!
Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Dark Rums, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: Cocktails, Dark Rum, Mexican Rum, Mocambo, Rum, Rum Review, The Last Vaquero, Vaquero Magnifico | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on August 25, 2013
Croft Pink advertises itself as the first Pink Port. This new Port style is produced in a manner which handles the Douro Valley red Port grapes in a similar manner to that which is used when producing a non-wooded white wine. According to the Cort Pink website:
” This vinification method extracts a light amount of colour from the skins without extracting astringent tannins which would make the palate of this light style of Port aggressive. The cold settling prior to fermentation and the cool fermentation are fundamental to enhance the freshness of fruit and its elegance.”
Although the production method is similar to that used when making white wine, the product is undeniably Port wine. It is made from red grapes in the Douro Valley, fortified with distilled grape spirit, and bottled at 19.5 % alcohol by volume.
You may read my full review by clicking on the following excerpt:
“… I noticed that this Port expression is not nearly as assertive in aroma other styles of Port which I have sampled in the past. Light, sweet fruity aromas of strawberries, raspberries, green grapes and effervescent grapefruit zest greet my nose …”
I found this wine very much at home in long tall drinks with lots of ice; and, as you will see in the review, I also found a nice cocktail recipe which mixes Croft Pink with Scotch and Apricot Brandy which is very tasty.
Enjoy the Review!
Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Dessert Wine Review, Dessert Wines, Pink Port | Tagged: Croft Pink, Dessert Wine, Fladgate Partnership, Pink Port, Port Wine Review | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on August 22, 2013
Doorly’s Fine Old Barbados Rum (Doorly’s XO) is a product of R. L. Seale & Co. Ltd., distilled at the Four Square Distillery in Barbados. The Doorly’s XO is blended from aged rum stocks which are said to vary from six years to ten years of age. The bottle does not contain an age statement, therefore it may be true that to maintain a consistent taste profile, the actual age of the youngest stocks may vary from batch to batch. The rum is aged initially in American oak barrels, but after blending the final rum is finished in Spanish oak (Sherry casks). The final rum is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.
My original review for Doorly’s XO published in April of 2010 shortly after the rum arrived in my home province of Alberta. Recently I decided to open a new bottle just to see if my perspective (or perhaps the rum) has changed.
You may click on the following excerpt to read my entire revised review:
“… The rum appears to have a strong column still influence as it immediately brings fine oak spices forward into the air above the glass. Caramel and maple scents are pushed upwards as are banana and orange peel spice. A nice deep dark tobacco lurks in the glass as well as some indications of orange marmalade and apricot jam …”
The Doorly’s rum is very easy to enjoy in a rocks glass with a little ice. It also serves very well as a high-end mixer as evidenced by my cocktail suggestion (the Spence Cocktail) at the end of the review.
Please enjoy my latest review!
Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Dark Rums, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: Bajan Rum, Cocktails, Dark Rum, Doorly's Rum, Four Square Distillery, R.L. Seale, Rum, Spence Cocktail | 1 Comment »
Posted by Arctic Wolf on August 18, 2013
Rum Nation is an Italian company created by Fabio Rossi. His company is headquartered in Italy; but Fabio purchases select rums from various distillers in the Caribbean and the Americas. As a result Rum Nation provides a rather unique assortment of limited edition bottlings.
According to my correspondence with Mr. Rossi, the Rum Nation Barbados 10 Year Old Rum is a true Bajan rum, distilled from sugar cane molasses. The blend is composed of both pot and column still rums which are then blended and aged for approximately nine years in American oak (ex-bourbon) barrels, and then finished for 12 to 18 months in Spanish (Ex-Brandy) casks. The rum was distilled at the West Indies Refinery at Brighton, Black Rock, St. Michael, Barbados. (This distillery is today more commonly known as also known as the West Indies Distillery, and is the same distillery which produces both the Cockspur and the Malibu rum brands.)
You may click on the excerpt to read the full review:
“… I taste spicy tobacco, sappy oak (with hints of bourbon underneath), and light orange peel flavours all melded beautifully into the sweet rum-like flavours of butterscotch, caramel, and toffee. The resulting rum is full of character, but never demanding …”
Please enjoy both my review of this aged Bajan rum and the very nice cocktail at the end of the review, the Rum Sazerac (Arctic Style).
Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Dark Rums, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: Bajan Rum, Barbados, Black Rock Distillery, Cocktail, Dark Rum, Fabio Rossi, Rum, Rum Nation, Rum Review, Rum Sazerac, West Indies Distillery, West indies Refinery | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on August 16, 2013
Spicebox Whisky is based in Montreal, Quebec where they blend and bottle their Spicebox Canadian Spiced Whisky. Their new Spicebox Pumpkin Spiced Whisky was introduced last fall, and if you search enough through the liquor stores here in Alberta you can still find a few bottles hanging around. I really do not know much about this flavoured whisky as Spicebox website hasn’t listed it yet. I believe it is a seasonal product which might return in larger numbers again this fall. The Whisky is bottled at 70 proof or 35 % alcohol by volume and was brought into the Alberta Marketplace by Mondia Alliance Wine and Spirits of Montreal.
You may click on the excerpt to read the full review:
“… Impressions of vanilla, brown sugar and butterscotch are dominant, however bits and dabbles of cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom and ginger work their way into the breezes as well. These breezes above the glass actually do remind me of the sweet spicy aroma of a freshly baked pumpkin pie, (minus the actual pumpkin of course) …”
I admit this offering surprised me with its tastiness, and I was able to construct a very nice cocktail, the Orange Pumpkin Spice Muddle!
Enjoy my review, and if you happen to own a bottle of the Spicebox Pumpkin Spiced Whisky, do try my cocktail!
Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Flavoured Whisky, Spiced Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review, Whisky Liqueur | Tagged: Canadian Whisky, Cocktails, Flavoured Whiskly, Mondia Alliance, Pumpkin Spiced, Spicebox Spiced Whisky, Whisky Review | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on August 12, 2013
Ron Matusalem prides itself on being a Cuban style of rum with a history in Cuba they trace back to 1872 when two brothers, Benjamin and Eduardo Camp, together with a partner, Evaristo Álvarez opened a distillery in Santiago de Cuba. According to the information I found last April on the Matusalem website, the rum they were producing began to win acclaim by the first quarter of the 20th century. The distillery apparently operated until the 1960′s when due to the Cuban Revolution the Álvarez family was exiled, and the rum they made disappeared from the landscape.
The brand was resurrected by Claudio Álvarez Salazar, who is the great-grandson of Evaristo Álvarez. Of course, it was not possible, given the political situation in Cuba, for Claudio to produce or bottle the rum in Cuba. Apparently, it is produced (presumably by a third-party as Ron Matusalem does not own a distillery) in the Dominican Republic, and then bottled in Lawrenceburg, Indiana by Proximo Spirits.
The subject of this review, Ron Matusalem Gran Reserva 18 is not an 18-year-old rum as many people believe, rather it is aged according to what the Matusalem company calls a solera aging process. According to the website descriptions, the average age (not the youngest age) of the rum in the blend is 18 years.
You may click on the following excerpt to read my full review:
“… The initial aroma carries a nice mixed aroma of caramel, oakspice and vanilla. The rich scent is complimented by dabs of marmalade and banana. As the glass sits, the oak spices build in the air, and the rum scents in the air are enriched by added impression of maple toffee, hints of cinnamon and cloves, some pipe tobacco and perhaps a bit of roasted walnut as well …”
Please enjoy my review which includes a nice recipe for well aged rums, The Rum Old Fashioned!
Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Dark Rums, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: Aged Rum, Cocktails, Dark Rum, Matusalem Rum, Ron Matusalem 18, Rum, Rum Old Fashioned | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on August 8, 2013
Barry Bernstein and Barry Stein own and run the Still Water Distillery, Ontario’s first micro-distillery which they founded in 2009. They not only manage the distillation and the blending of the Still Waters’ products, they also act as the distillery’s Chief Bottle Washers and Bottle Fillers. In fact, there is not a single aspect of their business that they do not either personally oversee or do themselves.
Late last year, Still Waters released the cryptically named Still Waters 1+11 Canadian Whisky, a blend of selected whiskies from other Canadian producers to which they have added up to 10 % of their own Hand-Crafted whisky. I tasted this new whisky last fall when I scored it blind as part of my duties as one of the jurors for the Canadian Whisky Awards. When I later examined my scores and noticed the Still Waters Whisky had done well on my score sheet, I decided to contact the distillery to see if they would be interested in a review.
Happily, they agreed and forwarded me the necessary sample.
You may click on the following excerpt (link) to read the full review:
“… The initial nose brings a lovely dry rye grain to the breezes filled with scents of autumn harvest including the fresh straw and chaff. As the glass breathes, impressions of caramel and corn build with accents of tobacco, sandalwood and oak spice. I notice indications of both zesty citrus fruit (lemon in particular) as well as a touch of fruity sourness with the two nuances playfully dancing together in the light breezes above my glass …”
Please enjoy the review which includes a new cocktail I call the Crow’s Nest.
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Cocktails & Recipes, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: 1+11 Canadian Whisky, Canadian Whisky, Cocktails, Still Waters Distillery, Whisky, Whisky Review | Comments Off