Posted by Arctic Wolf on August 3, 2014
Two and a half years ago, I published a comparative review of Schweppes Tonic versus a new upstart Tonic water which had just entered the Alberta market, Q Tonic.
It all started when I was visiting one of my favourite Liquor Stores, (Lacombe Park Spirits in St. Albert if you want to know), when Karim, who is one of the owners, asked me to try a Gin and Tonic with a new Tonic Water he had started to carry called Q Tonic.
I let him make me a small sample cocktail, and it was pretty good. In fact, I was intrigued enough to make contact with Jordan Silbert, the founder of Q Drinks and asked him if he would like to send me a sample and some information, especially as I had began to receive quite a few a few gin samples to review and a premium Tonic water seemed like a good idea.
My thought was that it would be fun to make some side by side cocktails with Q Tonic and Schweppes Tonic to see if I preferred one over the other consistently. Jordan agreed, and I received a few small bottles of Q Tonic in the mail shortly before Christmas. This was good because the gin samples were beginning to pile up, and I wanted to get at them.
So with four different gins, Beefeater 24, Citadelle Reserve, Port of Barcelona and Broker’s Gin, I set out over the next couple of weeks to test the Gin and Tonic Cocktail with both Q Tonic and Schweppes Tonic.
I published the results of this exercise in January, 2012 and you may read those results by following the provided link:
Although my Schweppes vs Q Tonic comparison was published over two years ago, I thought it appropriate to revisit this publication as a sort of teaser for my next project, the Gin and Tonic Challenge! Throughout the month of August I will be examining about 15 different Gins I have collected in an effort to find the Best Gin for the quintessential summer cocktail, the Gin and Tonic.
Stay tuned ….
Posted in Howls | Tagged: Gin, Gin and Tonic, Q Tonic, Schweppes Tonic | 5 Comments »
Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 28, 2014
This past May, I was invited by Thirsty Cellar Imports, to attend a Rum Master Class hosted by Hernan Parra Arango, Rum Master for Dictador Colombian Rum. At the event, the attendees were given the opportunity to taste the entire Dictador line-up which included not only the fantastic Dictador Rums, but also two unique Colombian premium aged gins.
These premium gins are the result of the passion of former President of Dictador, Dario Parra, who had during his many travels in the United Kingdom developed a tremendous love for gin. Dario studied many gin recipes and back home in Colombia he developed his gin for his own personal use, utilizing traditional ingredients in conjunction with berries and botanicals native to Colombia. Dario Parra’s passion has resulted in the creation of two special aged gins which are now sold internationally, Dictador Treasure, and Dictador Ortodoxy.
The subject of this review is Dictador Ortodoxy Aged Gin, which as the name implies has been constructed to have a traditional, or orthodox, flavour profile which will be familiar to gin enthusiasts. This gin is produced from sugar cane alcohol which is distilled 4 times to 96 % alcohol by volume. During the 5th distillation each botanical is macerated and distilled separately before being blended. The blended gin is then aged for 35 weeks in previously used rum barrels, and then filtered clear to be bottled at 43 % alcohol by volume.
You may click the following Review excerpt to read the full review:
“… The initial breezes from the glass bring forward light juniper and alpine forest scents with a touch of cotton candy whispering in the background which gives the air above the glass a lovely hint of sweetness. This aroma seems gentle and relaxed as there are also enticing floral accents with hints of citrus zest and lemon balm …”
Of course I have added a few recipes for your enjoyment, a Gin and Tonic, and a Grapefruit Martini. Both are absolutely great with Dictador’s Ortodoxy Aged Gin!
Posted in Gin, Gin Review | Tagged: Aged Gin, Cocktails, Colombia, Dictador, Gin, Gin and Tonic, Gin Review, Grapefruit Daiquiri, Ortodoxy | Comments Off on Review: Dictador Ortodoxy Aged Gin
Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 20, 2014
Highwood Distillers is a Canadian distillery located just east of the Canadian Rockies in the town of High River, Alberta. I have visited the distillery and watched first hand as they turned the local wheat into whisky, vodka. and gin. Their Sahara Dry Gin is produced in the London Dry style from locally produced wheat and naturally sourced Rocky Mountain water. I am not privy to the exact recipe of this gin, but according to their own website, juniper, citrus of lemon, and other botanicals are all added during the final distillation. This is s very dry gin. So dry in fact, that the folks at Highwood named it Sahara.
Lime Crusta with Sahara Dry Gin
Sahara Dry Gin recently received a bit of a make-over and is now sold in a stubby new bottle which is shown to the left. I was recently provided a sample bottle in the new configuration by the folks at Highwood for the purpose of a revisiting my previous review here on my website. As this gin was likely produced after the distillery was retrofitted with new equipment after the flooding of 2013.
I thought revisiting my review was timely.
Here is a link to my full review:
“… The nose has a laid back quality of juniper and lighter accents of lemon and grapefruit. There is a bit of an alpine scent mingled with the juniper and perhaps some scents of willow thicket, meadow grass, and spring flowers. Everything is all rather mellow; but it is also rather enjoyable …”
I included two nice cocktails at the conclusion of the review, a very nice ‘cooler’ style cocktail to enjoy with the Sahara, the Jumping Buffalo Cooler, and my brand new cocktail, the Lime Crusta!
Please enjoy my review and my suggested cocktails, Cheers!
Posted in Gin, Gin Review | Tagged: Cocktails, Gin, Gin Review, Highwood Distillers, Jumping Buffalo Cooler, Lime Crusta, Sahara Dry Gin | Comments Off on Review: Sahara Dry Gin
Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 9, 2014
Berry Bros. & Rudd is London’s oldest wine and spirits merchant with over 300 years of experience and tradition to draw on. Use this expertise and a team of spirits experts they created No. 3 London Dry Gin. The recipe is based upon three fruits and three spices, and to those I shall speak to in the review. However, I shall say as a bit of foreshadowing, that sometimes artistry can be found in simplicity.
I first sampled the No. 3 Gin at a store called Lacombe Park Spirits in St. Albert, Alberta. I have come to know the proprietors, Karim and his brother Jeff, quite well over the past couple of years, and when Karim discovered that I was about to venture into a series of Gin reviews he insisted that I try one of his favourites.
I was convinced after one sip that this was a gin which I wanted to review, and after contacting the website for No. 3 London Dry Gin, Ross Hendry from Berry Brothers & Rudd, arranged for me to receive a bottle sample with of course the help of the local distributor Charton-Hobbs.
Here is a link to the full review (click on the excerpt):
1878 Gin Cocktail
“…When that first sample was poured for me at Lacombe Spirits, the first thing I noticed was the assertiveness of the aroma around the glass. I commented to Karim (the proprietor of Lacombe Park Spirits) that this was exactly how I liked my gin to smell in the glass. The nose was full of juniper, but it was not sharp and unpleasant, rather it was full of aromatics which lifted the juniper scent out of the glass and then surrounded it with floral notes and a beguiling sweetness…”
Leo Engels, published his Bartender’s Guide, American and Other Drinks, in 1878. It is a fascinating glimpse into early mixology at a time when bar drinks and cocktails were just beginning to evolve and spread through North America and Europe. At that time, the word ‘cocktail’ was reserved for a specific type of bar drink, which resembles what we call the Old-Fashioned cocktail today.
Included in my updated review of No. 3 London Dry Gin is a reconstruction of Leo Engels’ original Gin Cocktail recipe, the 1878 Gin Cocktail.
Please enjoy my review and the recipes that follow!
Posted in Gin, Gin Review | Tagged: 1878 Gin Cocktail, Berry Bros. and Rudd, Cocktails, Gin, Gin Review, London Dry Gin, No. 3 London Dry Gin | Comments Off on Review: No. 3 London Dry Gin
Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 5, 2014
Broker’s Gin is a relatively new brand, created in 1998 by the Dawson Brother’s (Martin and Andy). Despite the rather recent creation of this brand, the recipe for Broker’s Gin is reported to be over 200 years old. Apparently, during the design phase for the brand, the Dawson brothers tasted and tested many newer recipes as well; however they found that sometimes the old ways really are the best ways, and after various trials they chose the 200-year-old recipe.
Broker’s Gin is made from traditional copper pot stills in a distillery located near Birmingham, England. The spirit is a wheat-based, quadruple-distilled, pure grain gin. Ten natural ingredients are used to flavour the spirit, and of course the primary botanical used is juniper. The ten botanicals are steeped in the quadruple-distilled base spirit within the still for 24 hours prior to the spirit being processed through a final, fifth distillation to produce Broker’s Gin. Like the recipe for the gin, the Birmingham distillery where it is created is over 200 years old.
Posted in Gin, Gin Review | Tagged: Brokers, Cocktails, Gin, Gin Review, Lady of the Empire, Lime Martini | Comments Off on Review: Brokers Gin
Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 26, 2014
Yesterday, I had a few of my friends over for a bit of a spirits tasting. I chose three aged spirits for the group to analyze (more on those in a later posting), and afterwards I made some gin cocktails for everyone to enjoy. The first gin I poured was Hendrick’s, and the cocktail which I chose to showcase the gin was the classic Tin and Tonic. The Hendrick’s and Fever Tree Tonic I served went over so well that I decided to revisit the Hendrick’s Gin review which I had written about three years ago.
The people who make Hendrick’s Gin pride themselves on being just a little quirky, and perhaps a bit eccentric. Their offbeat website revels in the odd and the peculiar and tries to convince all who peruse the site that Hendrick’s Gin is special exactly because of the things which make it odd and peculiar.
The gin is produced in Scotland, in the village of Girvin, Ayrshire by William Grant & Sons (who are perhaps better known for their whisky distillations than their gin). It is made small batches (450 litre batch size) using two unusual stills, a copper Bennett Still which has been dated to 1860, and a Carter-Head still made in 1948. These stills each serve a different purpose, but together they create a unique gin made with 11 different botanicals, and infused with cucumber and rose petals one batch at a time.
You may read my full review as well as my take on a quirky Gin and Tonic by clicking the link below:
“… The nose begins with mild citrus tones which are accented by juniper. I catch hints of lemon-lime and orange as well as a fleeting impression of black licorice and fennel. The impressions continue to be fleeting with hints of light familiar scents, perhaps a touch of lilac, and perhaps something more earthy like damp moss. This is very complex …”
Please enjoy the review and if you happen to have a bottle of Henricks’ Gin handy, do try the Hendrick’s and Fever Tree Tonic cocktail which concludes the review!
Posted in Gin, Gin Review | Tagged: Gin, Gin and Tonic, Gin Review, Hendrick's Gin | 1 Comment »
Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 15, 2014
With Spring finally arriving, I am continuing on my Spring series of Gin reviews to welcome in the warmer weather. This week I take a second look at two Beefeater Gins. Beefeater London Dry Gin and Beefeater 24.
Beefeater is currently produced in Kennington, a district of South East London, in the United Kingdom. The company has roots stretching back to 1820, when the Chelsea Distillery was constructed on Cale Street and served as the first home for Beefeater Gin. The founder of the company, James Burrough, was not born until 1835, and it was not until about 1876 that the Beefeater brand was created from gin produced at the Chelsea Distillery. Over time the brand has changed locations twice, first in 1908 to Hutton Road, and then in 1958 to its present location in Kennington.
The Beefeater Gin website lists 9 botanicals which are used to flavour its flagship spirit and they are juniper from the hills of Italy, Siberia and Macedonia; Seville orange peel; bitter almonds; ground orris root; coriander seeds; angelica (seeds and root); licorice; and lemon peel.
Here is the link to the full Review for Beefeater London Dry Gin:
“… Soft piny notes of juniper arise beside predominant scents of orange and lemon citrus. Because I know what other botanicals are used in the gin’s construction, I am able to discern some notes of coriander and very faints wisps of licorice …”
Beefeater 24 is advertised as being handcrafted with 12 botanicals which include grapefruit, bitter almond, orris root, Seville orange peel, rare Japanese Sencha tea and Chinese green tea. This makes the Beefeater 24 Gin more complex in construction than the regular beefeater Gin which listed 9 ingredients. There are other differences as well, The new Beefeater 24 is bottled at a higher proof (45 % alcohol by volume) which to me seems most welcome, and all of the ingredients are apparently steeped in grain alcohol for 24 hours prior to a 7 hour distillation where the master distiller makes an artisan cut by hand from the heart of the distillation run.
Here is the Link to the full review for Beefeater 24:
“… There is a ‘freshness’rising out of the glass and I liken it to the scent of an alpine forest on a warm spring day when the snow is melt just beginning. The aroma of evergreen boughs and juniper jumps out of the glass pushed ahead by a crisp citrus-like aroma…”
Please enjoy each review!
Posted in Gin, Gin Review | Tagged: Beefeater 24, Beefeater Gin, Gin, Gin Reiview | Comments Off on Revisiting Beefeater Gin (and the 24 too)!
Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 9, 2014
London No. 1 Original Blue Gin is a product of Gonzalas Byass who are a Spanish wine/cellars company which also produces a variety of distilled spirits including brandy, anisette, botanical vodka and of course gin. Their gin is triple distilled (from English grain in London, England) on a traditional pot still in small batches by Master Distiller, Charles Maxwell. According to the London No. 1 website the gin is distilled with 12 key botanicals which include: Juniper from Croatia; Angelica root and Savory from France; Coriander from Morocco; Cassia bark from China, Liquorice from Turkey, Cinnamon from Ceylon, Almond from Greece; and Lemon peel, Orange peel, Lily root and Bergamot from Italy.
Big Blue Sexy
The product was first test marketed in Spain, and is now being launched in limited quantities internationally. It is bottled at 47 % alcohol by volume ensuring a more concentrated flavour than more traditional distilled spirits which are bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.
I was given a bottle for review by Woodman Wines and Spirits Inc. who have informed me that this product is now available again in limited quantities in Ontario, Canada. (I have seen it on the shelves here in Alberta as well.)
You may read my review by Clicking on the following excerpt.
“… The aroma from the glass is intensely floral. It has a sharp quality which similar to freshly bloomed lilacs. The more familiar gin aromas of earthy juniper, spicy cardamom, lemon peel and orange citrus lie somewhat behind that floral intensity …”
I included a classic cocktail recipe, The Pegu Club Cocktail, with this review, as well as a recipe of my own, Big Blue Sexy.
Please enjoy the review and of course my included recipes, Cheers!
Posted in Gin, Gin Review | Tagged: Big Blue Sexy, Blue Gin, Cocktails, Gin, Gin Review, London No. 1 Gin | 4 Comments »
Posted by Arctic Wolf on April 29, 2014
Polo Club American Dry Gin and my Cara Cara Gin Cocktail
Polo Club American Dry Gin is a product of Minhas Micro Distillery located in Munroe, Wisconsin. According to the press information provided to me by MCBSW Sales (agents for Polo Club in Alberta), their American Dry Gin is an artisan spirit crafted in small batches from “ultra clean neutral grain spirit” and steeped with botanicals which include juniper, lemon peel, coriander, and licorice. The neutral grain spirit is apparently distilled ten times using a patent pending process (US Patent Application Number 13/843036) on a copper pot still.
Despite the small batch process, and the multiple distillations of the neutral grain spirit; the Polo Club American Dry Gin is very affordable in my market. As the advertising sheets I saw claim,
“The botanicals are steeped, but the price is not steep.”
You may read my take on this relatively new American Dry Gin by clicking on the following excerpt link:
“… As I nosed the glass, an assertive juniper aroma (which reminded me of spruce boughs) climbed up into the breezes accompanied by lightly sweet zesty scents of lemon and lime citrus. I also detected a very light pungent spiciness similar to ginger and cardamom which lay somewhat hidden in between more assertive juniper and citrus. As I spent time nosing the glass, this spiciness increased slowly coming out of the shadows and becoming the dominant characteristic of the nose …”
As you can see from my picture to the left, I included a recipe suggestion in my review, the Cara Cara Gin Cocktail. Perhaps if I continue to indulge in a few more gin cocktails, that stubborn winter will leave us and the warm Spring we were promised will finally arrive.
Posted in Gin, Gin Review | Tagged: American Dry Gin, Cara Cara Gin Cocktail, Cocktails, Gin, MCBSW Sales, Minhas Micro Distillery, Polo Club | Comments Off on Review: Polo Club America Dry Gin
Posted by Arctic Wolf on April 13, 2014
Ungava Gin is a product of Domaine Pinnacle a family owned orchard and cidery located on a beautiful heritage property near the historic village of Frelighsburg in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada. Although primarily known for their Ice Cider and Maple Creams, Domaine Pinnacle also produces a very unusual Gin called Ungava.
In case you do not know, the Ungava Peninsula sits at the northern extreme of Quebec, between Labrador and the Hudson Bay. This is at first glance, a barren uncompromising land situated atop the tundra of the North Canadian shield. There are no trees to be found, and Tundra stretches (seemingly) endlessly from Ungava Bay in the east all the way to Hudson Bay in the West. To the North are the cold waters of the Hudson Strait which separates the Ungava Peninsula from Baffin Island to the North. This is (again at first glance) not the ideal place from which to begin the idea of creating a new gin.
However, if one looks a little closer (although, of course, you must look in the summertime), and if one talks to the Inuktitut people who have lived in the region for centuries, one will discover that there are a variety of botanical plants growing in the tundra right before your eyes. Six of these unique arctic botanicals (which grow wild in the region) are used in the construct of the Gin that bears this regions name. These botanicals, Nordic Juniper, Crowberry, Labrador Tea, Cloudberry, Arctic Blend, and Wild Rose Hips are hand-picked in the summertime and serve to bring a unique Northern Canadian charm to the Ungava Gin.
You may read my full review of this interesting gin by clicking on the following excerpt link:
“… The initial breezes above the glass display a nice triumvirate of juniper, lemon citrus and floral scents which seem to be integrated well with each other. As I let the scents and smells drift in the air, it seems to me that the juniper is taking the lead role in that triumvirate. The citrus smells seem to contain elements both of lemon and grapefruit zest with a touch of orange Curacao riding along in between …”
Please enjoy the review which includes my cocktail suggestion, the Nottingham Walrus!
Have a great Sunday Everyone!
Posted in Gin, Gin Review | Tagged: Arctic Gin, Cocktails, Domaine Pinnacle, Gin, Gin Review, Nottingham Walrus, Ungava Gin | Comments Off on Review Ungava Gin