Archive for the ‘Cocktails & Recipes’ Category
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
Posted by Arctic Wolf on August 6, 2013
Old Tom Gin represents a style of gin which was popular in 18th Century England prior to the introduction of London Dry Gin. According to gin lore, Old Tom Gin derived its name from Captain Dudley Bradstreet who in the early 1700′s purchased property in London which had a good amount of gin on the premises. He set a picture of a “tom cat” upon the window facing outside and allowed word to be spread that gin was available at the establishment with the cat in the window. A passerby who wanted a shot of gin would place a penny in a slot in the wall under the windowed cat which would roll into the establishment signalling the bartender inside to pour out a shot of gin which would be funneled into a tube running through the wall. The passerby would either drink it directly from the tube or collect it to consume later. Apparently this practice spread throughout London, and gin generically became know as that ‘Old Tom’ Gin in reference to the Tom Cat which signaled the presence of gin within an establishment.
Hayman’s Old Tom Gin is apparently produced from an old English recipe which can be traced to the 18th century. The style of this gin is softer and sweeter than the more typical London Dry Gin. Part of the reason for this is that the gin is lightly sweetened (which in 18th Century England was probably done to mask the taste of impurities as distillation was in its early days of refinement). When the Coffey still was introduced, a better quality of spirit became more readily available which did not need to be sweetened and the resulting style of London Dry Gin replaced Old Tom Gin as the industry standard. However many old cocktail books from the 19th century still refer to Old Tom Gin in their recipes. The recent cocktail renaissance has led to a demand for this older style of gin.
Note: According to their website, Hayman Distillers is the longest serving family owned gin distiller in England today. Their Old Tom Gin has recently arrived in the Alberta market imported by Lifford Spirits who provided me with a bottle to review upon my website.
You may read my full review by Clicking the following excerpt (link):
“… The initial breezes above the glass also reflect this sweetness as the resulting aroma has a pleasant sweetness with effervescent citrus notes underlying a soft but firm juniper presence. If you take time with the glass it is possible to catch glimpses of orange peel, lilacs, hints of anise and a soft earthiness …”
Please enjoy the review and the cocktails which follow, the Martinez, and my recipe, Sunshine Days.
Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Gin, Gin Review | Tagged: Gin Review, Hayman's, Martinez, Old Tom Gin, Uncle Tom's Cabin | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on August 1, 2013
Leblon Cachaça is produced at the Leblon Distillery in Patos de Minas, in the center of Brazil’s major sugar cane growing region. At Leblon they use both traditional and European wine-making techniques to produce their Cachaca. According to the Leblon website:
“Gilles Merlet, famous master distiller from the Cognac region of France, takes Cachaça to a whole new level with his ‘French touch,’ transforming our distillery in Patos de Minas to the state-of-the-art Maison Leblon. Gilles produces small batches using alembique copper potstills, then polishes the Cachaça in XO Cognac Casks for an ultra-smooth taste. The Cachaça is then blended across batches for flavor complexity, body, and aroma.”
I find it interesting that as Cachaca is expanding its market appeal outside of Brazil, the spirit seems to be evolving to appeal to a broader audience. I expect the cognac enhancement will leave a tangible imprint upon the Leblon Cachaca’s flavour. I guess I will find out as I sample the spirit.
You may read my full review by clicking on the following link:
“… The flavour is a unique mixture of sharp white pepper, and earthy flavours which remind me of lowland agave, grilled zucchini and squash. (Actually, the sharpness of the white pepper also reminds me of agave.) There are also hints of zesty citrus flavours and a mild impression of what I will call ‘musty grass’ …”
I mixed a few cocktails with the Leblon and feature the Caipirito at the end of the review. Enjoy!
Note: I was provided with a sample bottle of Leblon Cachaca for review by the Kirkwood Group who are the local distributors here in Alberta.
Posted in Cachaca, Cocktails & Recipes, Silver Cachaca Review | Tagged: Cachaca, Cachaca Review, Caipirito, Cocktails, Leblon, Silver Cachaca | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 30, 2013
Words like “hand crafted” and “‘Small Batch” seem to be words thrown about by liquor producers in the same manner that rice and confetti are thrown about at a TV wedding. I guess the theory is that if you throw out enough rhetoric, some of it is bound to stick. So it is refreshing to write about a distillery where the words “hand crafted” and “‘Small Batch” really mean exactly what they imply.
Barry Bernstein and Barry Stein own and run the Still Water Distillery, and as far as small batch distilling goes, they are the real deal. They founded Ontario’s first micro-distillery in 2009, and pride themselves in not only being the Distillers and the Blenders of their craft spirits; but also in being the distillery’s Chief Bottle washers and Bottle Fillers. In fact, there is not a single aspect of the business that they do not either personally oversee or do themselves. Barry and Barry bring their spirits from grain to bottle in small batches, first sourcing locally grown grain, then mashing, fermenting, distilling, maturing, and bottling the spirits right at the distillery. And yes, they bottle and package every spirit they produce by hand!
Still Waters Single Malt Vodka is one of their hand-made spirits. It is not your typical Vodka. It is made from 100 % malted barley on their own German-made pot still.
Here is a link to my full review of this new Single Malt Vodka:
“… I received indications of a very light butterscotch sweetening the spirit just a little. I also sensed some indistinct floral notes with maybe a hint of licorice …”
At the end of the review I suggest a couple of nice cocktails, the Vodka Mojito, and Civility.
Please enjoy the review, and of course my cocktail suggestions!
Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Vodka, Vodka Reviews | Tagged: Canadian Vodka, Cocktails, Hand Crafted, Micro Distillery, Single Malt, Small Batch, Still Waters Distillery, Vodka, Vodka Review | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 25, 2013
Cachaca is a spirit similar to (but not quite the same as) rum. The roots of Cachaca predate the distillation of rum stretching back almost 500 years to the early sixteenth century when Portuguese colonists brought cuttings of sugar cane to Brazil. The spirit they created is distilled from the fermented juice of sugar cane. Its popularity in Brazil is enormous as Wikipedia quotes 2007 figures which state 1.5 billion liters of Cachaca are consumed annually in Brazil. The Brazilian consumption alone is high enough that if Cachaca were considered its own spirits category (as perhaps it should be), it would be the ninth largest spirits category in the world.
Pitú Cachaca (which according to the label on the back of my bottle is pronounced Petee-too Kah-sha-sah) is produced by Engarrafamento Pitu Ltda., an eight decade old family run company located within Pernambuco, in northeast Brazil. Their Cachaca is made from the juice of newly harvested sugar cane which is milled to extract the juice, then filtered and fermented before undergoing distillation with the final product rested in marrying tanks to soothe the flavour before bottling.
(I was provided with a sample bottle of the Pitú Cachaca by PMA Canada who are the local importers of the Spirit here in Alberta.)
You may read my full review of this uniquely Brazilian Spirit here:
“… The initial entry is lightly spicy as I taste white pepper with citrus undertones. Very quickly the musty earthiness of the Pitú Cachaca kicks in as the vegetal flavours remind me of grilled pineapple, sautéed mushrooms and baked butternut squash which are all tainted with dabs of earthy lowland agave …”
I went a little crazy on the cocktails with this one (after all it is a cocktail spirit), and at the end of my review you can find a few cocktail recipes, one of my construction, the Amazing Tickle; and one from the producer website named the Cacharita.
Please enjoy the review and the amazing cocktails!
Posted in Cachaca, Cocktails & Recipes, Silver Cachaca Review | Tagged: Amazing Tickle, Cachaca, Cachaca Review, Cacharita, Cocktails, Pitú, Silver Cachaca | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 23, 2013
Danfield’s Canadian Whisky is produced in the small City of Lethbridge in my home Province of Alberta. It is produced for Williams & Churchill by Schenley Distilleries Inc. at the Black Velvet Distillery, (also referred to locally as the Palliser Distillery). Williams and Churchill are not distillers themselves, rather they appear to be a third-party company which owns the Danfield’s Brand. They are also very difficult to contact, and therefore the only information I have about the Danfield’s Limited Edition 21 Year Old Canadian Whisky comes from the little booklet which is strung around the neck of the bottle. According to this booklet, the 21 Year Old is a small batch whisky produced from rye, corn and malted barley. It is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume and prior to this bottling, the whisky is apparently “diamond filtered” to add further polish to the whisky.
Being a bit of a collector of Canadian Whisky, I have had a couple of bottles of the Danfield’s Limited Edition in my possession for about three years now. I finally broke down and opened one such that I could provide a review here on my website.
Here is a link to my full review:
“… The rye continues to pour out with the scent becoming earthier as it changes from a clean dry rye to a thick fruit-filled rye over the course of the nosing. Hints of marzipan and orange peel come forward as does a nice underlying nuttiness which reminds me of the wild hazelnuts which grown around the lakes in west-central Alberta …”
Please enjoy the review and the suggested cocktail recipe which follows, the Iced Ruby Manhattan.
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Cocktails & Recipes, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Canadian Whisky, Cocktails, Danfield's Canadian Whisky, Iced Ruby Manhattan, Whisky, Whisky Review | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 20, 2013
John “Calico Jack’ Rackham was a pirate of the early eighteenth century who seems to have two primary claims to fame. The first was that his design of the ship’s flag may actually have been the first use this design for a Jolly Roger flag ever on a pirate ship. The second is that his crew featured two female pirates, Anne Bonny and Mary Read (Rackham actually believed Mary Read was a man when she joined his crew).
Researching Calico Jack, I learned he received his nickname due to his fondness for colourful cotton calico clothing. Apparently some of hes crew liked his flashy look to as he and Anne Bonny were apparently lovers. (It is also reported that Ann Bonney was actually another man’s wife.) Calico Jack’s pirate days seem to have begun in 1718 when he was elevated to the Captaincy on an English warship during a mutiny, and it ended at the end of a hangman’s noose in November of 1720 after being captured off the shore of Jamaica. His short career of piracy was highlighted by the plundering smaller ships near the coastal shorelines in a stolen sloop and ended shortly after it began.
I hope that the Calico Jack Spiced Rum fares better in terms of appeal and quality than its namesake.
You may read the review by clicking the following link:
“…. I took a nice deep wiff and found that the nose of this rum is quite nice. I’m guessing Madagascar vanilla, (which is all the rage for spiced rum these days), and fragrant rummy caramel rose up in a nice mixture …”
This is a re-posting of my original review from March of 2010. I have edited a few typos and added a nice cocktail, Spiced Rum and Root Beer.
Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Rum, Rum Reviews, Spiced Rum | Tagged: Calico Jack, Rum Review, Spiced Rum, White Rock Distilleries | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 16, 2013
Solan Number 1 Malt Whisky is produced by Mohan Meakin Limited at the Kasauli Distillery which is found in the Himalayan Highlands at an elevation of over 6,000 feet. (The town of Kasauli in located in the Solan District, Himachal Pradesh, India.) The distillery was founded in the late 1820s by Edward Dyer who apparently chose this location because the climate in this area of India was quite similar to his native Scotland, (and because the British troops in the nearby Punjab had a taste for Scottish style whisky).
Solan Number One is blended with mature Malt Spirits produced using traditional Scottish methods of malting, kneading, and distillation on vintage copper pot stills and aged in oak casks. I was recently sent a sample bottle by the local Alberta distributor, Madira Spirits Inc. and asked if I could provide a review here on my website. I was more than happy to oblige.
You may click on the following excerpt to read my full review:
“… The initial nose is honeyed with a mixture of sweet malt and butterscotch, some clean oak spices and hints (but only hints) of a rum-like cane syrup. I let the glass sit to see how the nose developed, and I was rewarded with a few new notes of orange peel, heather and tobacco. I find the aroma appealing …”
Included at the conclusion of my review of this surprisingly good whisky is my latest cocktail, Indian Summer.
Please enjoy my latest review!
Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Indian Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Cocktails, India, Indian Summer, Indian Whisky, Kasauli Distillery, Malt Whisky, Mohan Meakin Limited, Solan Number One, Whisky, Whisky Review | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 15, 2013
Three years ago a new whisky was produced in Canada which was completely different from any other whisky I had seen. For one thing, the distillation mash for the whisky was based primarily upon wheat, not barley, corn, or rye. (This was not as surprising as you may think, as the distillers of White Owl Whisky are Highwood Distillers, based in High River, Alberta. They have, after all, been distilling their very wonderful Centennial Whisky with a wheat based mash for many years.) However, it was the next feature of the whisky which I found most interesting and unusual. White owl is a clear, well-aged, ‘cocktail’ whiskey! In fact if the bottle did not say whisky on the front you would be forgiven for believing this was an Ultra-premium Vodka, until you opened the bottle, at which time you would realize that the spirit inside is unmistakably whisky!
The whisky achieves its clear form by the means of carbon filtration. Highwood crafts and blends an aged whisky, and then runs it through a filtration process to remove all colour and smooth out the taste profile. This is a first for me, and I believe a first for well-aged Canadian Whisky!
I was lucky enough (sorry Portwood, I couldn’t resist) to receive a sample bottle directly from the distillery after touring the facility three years ago, and today, as the good folks at Highwood Distillers are hard at work cleaning up after the recent flash flood which affected their town and their distillery (read here), I thought it would be nice to revisit my review of three years ago. (My original review was, I believe the first published review for Highwood’s ground breaking cocktail whisky.)
Please click on the excerpt to read my revised review. (Actually only slightly edited to correct some grammatical errors in the original review. I concluded after a recent tasting that the character and quality of the whisky had not changed.)
“… As I take the first sip, the first impression I have is of a soft whisky flavour accented by a hint of licorice. The oak flavours are mild and there is no harsh tannin or unbridled spice. Yet in the background, if you let it develop, that true Canadian rye whisky spice and flavour present themselves. Butterscotch rises and falls as does the hint of licorice and even a touch of cereal grain …”
Three years ago, I was so enthusiastic about this new whisky that my review included, not one or two, but rather five cocktail recipes which all tasted fantastic when made with White Owl Whisky.
(And for the record, I am still enthusiast about Highwood’s ‘cocktail whisky’, and I still feel very lucky to have been on of the very first persons to have received a sample bottle three years ago.)
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Cocktails & Recipes, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Canadian Whisky, Clear Whisky, Cocktail Whisky, Cocktails, Highwood Distillers, Whisky Review, White Owl Whisky | Comments Off