The 2011 Rum Howler Awards – Part 1 (Best Mixers)
Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 8, 2011
Last year I began my Rum Howler Awards which sought to recognize the most favoured spirits I had sipped and sampled over the past year. Today I am continuing what I hope will be an annual tradition with my Second Annual Rum Howler Awards! Of course, everyone should understand that I must introduce some provisos when I hand out these awards. I cannot judge any spirit which I have not tasted. I also cannot attempt a comparative final tasting when the previous sample I received for my review, was so small that I now have none left to compare. Fortunately for the most part, like last year, I was able to save enough of each product sample just for the purpose of these awards.
The Rum Howler Awards are meant to be a fun excuse for me to revisit my most favoured distilled spirits and share that re-visitation with you my readers. I am trying to choose the best of the best, but like all competitions of this nature, the awards are subjective and will reflect my personal preferences. The awards for today will concentrate on those spirits which I have found make particularly tasty cocktails. (I have added Gin, Tequila and Vodka categories to round out the awards to include all distilled spirits I review.)
Best White Rum in a Daiquiri
And the Winner is:
Honorable mention to Mount Gay Eclipse Silver.
I consider the daiquiri to be the benchmark cocktail for white rums. In my side by side tastings it was basically a contest which pitted the clean crisp flavour of Newfoundlander’s White Rum against the funky character of the Mount Gay Silver Eclipse. I found that the new White Rum from the Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corporation was simply outstanding in the cocktail. (The Silver Eclipse from Mount Gay is very ‘funky’ and delicious as well.)
Most Outstanding Gin in a Lime Fizz
And the winner is:
A Gin Fizz (similar to a Tom Collins) is a simple cocktail which mixes gin with lemon or lime juice, simple sugar and soda. It is a very popular bar-drink/cocktail, and because I like ‘fizz’ style bar-drinks more than Martinis or the standard Gin and Tonic, I decided to use the Gin Fizz as my cocktail of choice for judging this spirit in a cocktail. It was the smoothness of the Tangueray No. 10, which won the day in my side by side comparisons.
Most Outstanding Whisky in a Horses Neck
And the winner is:
Anyone who has read my reviews realizes that I love to mix cocktails and bar drinks. I believe that the vast majority of whisky drinkers do the same even when they buy a premium bottle. The Horse’s Neck (Whisky and ginger-ale) is the standard cocktail that I like to drink with my whisky, and as such it is a very suitable bar drink to use for judging the mixability of each whisky. All three of the Nominees above are great whiskies for serving with ginger-ale; but my friends and I have been ‘hooked on the Chinook‘ ever since we first tried it several months ago.
It was no surprise to me that it won the day in my head to head taste-off.
Most Outstanding Blanco Tequila in a Margarita
And the winner is:
Honourable mention to Cabo Wabo Blanco
Like the Daiquiri, the Margarita is another benchmark cocktail. Whenever I review Blanco Tequila, I mix a Margarita to begin to test the spirit’s cocktail range. I tasted four different spirits side by side in a Margarita taste-off this summer, and it came down to a choice between the Cabo Wabo and the PaQui. Both were excellent; but, by a small margin I preferred the Margarita made with PaQui Tequila.
The Best Vodka in a Cosmopolitan
Of all the awards presented today, I think perhaps that his was the toughest to judge. I (and some of my friends) sampled the Cosmos several times attempting to rank the spirits; but we seemed to come up with a different winner each time. It was the Pristina Vodka however, which always seemed to rank first or second each time I did a taste comparison. You cannot go wrong with any of these Vodkas for mixing premium cocktails, but by the slimmest of margins, I prefer the Pristina.
And there you have it, the first five Rum Howler Awards for 2011:
The Best White Rum in a Daiquiri, Newfoundlander’s White Rum.
The Best Gin in a Lime Fizz,Tangueray No. 10.
The Best Whisky in a Horses Neck, Chinook Canadian Whisky.
The Best Blanco Tequila in a Margarita, PaQuí Tequila (Silvera).
The Best Vodka in a Cosmopolitan, Pristina Vodka
Each week until Christmas I shall reveal some more of the Awards… Stay Tuned!
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