Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 21, 2014
The Alabazam is an old cocktail recipe usually credited to Leo Engels, an American bartender (working in London) who published the recipe in 1878 (recipe number 192 by the way) in his cocktail book, American and Other Drinks (grab yourself a copy because this is not the only gem in the book). His recipe bears a resemblance to the modern Sidecar, but with one significant difference, Mr. Engels used Angostura Bitters in the recipe (with the lemon juice and orange Curacao), lots of Angostura Bitters!
I have seen a few modern versions of the recipe, usually with the bitters toned down, and the teaspoon of sugar replaced with a teaspoon of simple syrup. However, I recommend the original construction, as well as the use of a robust brandy which will stand up to the bitters. After a bit of experimentation I found Miguel Torres 20 Hors d’âge works extremely well. (see review for Miguel Torres 20 Hors d’âge here)
Leo Engels recipe can be summarized as follows:
Half a wine glass of brandy (about 1 3/4 oz)
2 teaspoons Orange Curacao
1 teaspoon Angostura bitters
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Shake well over fine (crushed ) ice
Strain into a wine glass
The Miguel Torres 20 Hors d’âge Brandy, with its strong oak flavour running throughout, works very well with the heavy dose of bitters in the Alabazam. I also used Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao (see review here) to obtain as close to an original 1878 Curacao flavour as possible. When you try to duplicate the recipe please, do not skimp on the sugar, as the lemon juice and bitters are unforgiving if not balanced by the appropriate amount of sweetness.
Miguel Torres 20 Hors d’âge, is a double distilled brandy made by the Torres family (or bodega) who have been intrinsically linked to the wine making region of Spain known as the Penedès for over three centuries. Their brandy is produced from selected wines of the Parellada (a traditional Catalan white varietal) and Ugni Blanc (also known as Trebbiano in Italy) grape varieties. After distillation of the wine in copper pot stills, a careful selection process is undertaken to choose the most positive aromatic fractions, and these are aged in french Limousin oak barrels.
Posted in Brandy and Cognac Reviews, Brandy Review, Cocktails & Recipes | Tagged: Brandy, Brandy Review, Cocktails, Dry Curacao, Miguel Torres 20 Hors d’âge | Comments Off on Alabazam and Miguel Torres 20 Hors d’âge – Instant Classic!
Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 18, 2014
The Wild Geese Rum Collection is the companion to the Wild Geese Irish Whisky Collection. While the Wild Geese Irish Whisky collection sought to bring the Story of the Wild Geese and their struggles in European Armies to light, the Wild Geese Rum Collection continues the saga bringing to light the story of some of these Wild Geese who after service in the continental armies of Europe found themselves transported to America and the Caribbean where many worked upon the Rum Plantations in the new world.
The Wild Geese Caribbean Spiced Rum has been aged for up to five years and has been blended with tropical fruits and spice. You may read my full review here:
“… the possibilities for mixing the Caribbean Spiced Rum seems to be opening up in front of me as I sip. The initial flavour impressions I receive across my palate are similar to what I experienced as I nosed the glass. I sense a trio of fruitiness which resembles cherry licorice, fresh mango and sliced pineapple …”
Please enjoy my review which includes two cocktail suggestions, the Metro Swizzle, and the Spiced Darwin.
Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Rum, Rum Reviews, Spiced Rum | Tagged: Cocktails, Metro Swizzle, Rum, Rum Review, Spiced Darwin, Spiced Rum, Wild Geese Collection, Wild Geese Soldiers | Comments Off on Review: Wild Geese Caribbean Spiced Rum
Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 14, 2014
Photo and Cocktail courtesy Tanduay Rum
In 1999, The Manilla Wine Merchants Inc. formally changed their name to Tanduay Holdings, and the rum they produce, Tanduay Rum is regularly listed alongside Bacardi Rum as one of the best-selling brands of rum in the world. If you haven’t heard of Tanduay, do not be alarmed, it is a fact that as few as six years ago, I had not heard of them either. The reason is simply because almost all of those rum sales occur in Asia where Tanduay is the most popular brand.
About two years ago my good friend Lance, who also reviews rum (see his website, Liquorature) supplied me with a sample of Tanduay Superior a 12 Year old Rum for me to review. More recently (two days ago in fact), I was sent two additional sample bottles (from Tanduay’s North American PR firm) of what I believe are Tanduay Distiller’s best-selling rums, the Tanduay Silver, and the Tanduay Gold.
I will of course be reviewing the Tanduay Silver and Gold rums over the course of the next several weeks; but in the meantime, I thought you might like this nice Cocktail recipe sent to me from Tanduay’s PR Company which I am featuring as my 2014 Valentine’s Cocktail.
The Red Runner
1 ½ oz. Silver Tanduay Asian Rum
1 ½ oz. Tart Cherry Juice
½ oz. Lemongrass Syrup
Brandied Cherry (or three)
Combine the Tanduay Rum, the Cherry Juice and Lemongrass Syrup over Ice and Shake well.
Strain into an Iced filled Rocks Glass and top with ginger ale
Garnish with a brandied cherry (or three).
I will be adding this recipe to my cocktail menu shortly; but in the meantime, I hope you all have a Happy Valentine’s Day spending some time with that special someone you hold dear to your heart. And if you are interested, please enjoy my previously published review of the Tanduay Superior Rum:
Note: If you are interested in more of my original cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more of my mixed drink recipes! And yes, do try the The Red Runner, it is quite delicious!
Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Rum | Tagged: Cocktails, Red Runner, Rum, Tanduary Silver, Tanduay, Tanduay Gold, Tanduay Superior | Comments Off on A Review and a Valentine’s Cocktail for Tanduay Rum
Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 13, 2014
Chivas Brothers were established at the turn of the 19th century (1801) as a grocery store in Aberdeen, Scotland. The company gained a strong reputation for luxury goods, and as a result they began (in the 1850′s) to produce a premium blended scotch whisky to meet a growing demand from their customers for a more refined whisky than was available at that time. Chivas Brothers cemented their reputation for producing quality whisky, and even today they are considered by many to be the standard-bearer for premium blended Scotch whisky. The company is currently owned by Pernod Ricard, and the home of their blended whisky brand, Chivas Regal, is the Strathisla Distillery (founded in 1786) located at Keith, Moray in the Speyside whisky producing region of Scotland.
Blood and Sand
Chivas Regal 12 Year Old Blended Scotch Whisky is Chivas Brothers’ flagship whisky. The blend includes both grain and Single Malt Whiskies which have all been aged a minimum of 12 years. Their line-up also includes 18 and 25-year-old blended whisky expressions. Although the Company is owned by Pernod Ricard, in Canada the Chivas Brand is distributed by Corby.
You may read my full review here:
“… the initial aroma is very pleasant with notes of butterscotch entwined with vanilla and herbal notes of lemon grass and heather. As the glass breathes, I begin to notice more woody tones with scents of willow, and sandalwood mixed in. A bit of sweet maltiness comes through as well as just a small dab of grainy spice …”
For your enjoyment I have included a classic Scotch Whisky cocktail (Blood and Sand) which tastes absolutely great with the Chivas Regal.
Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Scotch Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Blood and Sand, Chivas Regal, Cocktails, Pernod Ricard, Scotch, Whisky, Whisky Review | Comments Off on Review: Chivas Regal 12 Year Old Blended Scotch Whisky
Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 12, 2014
Belvedere Vodka is (according to their website) “the world’s first luxury vodka“. It is a four-time distilled spirit produced in the Polish town of Żyrardów from Dankowski rye and water pulled from Belvedere’s own underground artesian wells. When I sampled Belvedere for the first time, I had several friends over, and we tasted the Vodka as part of a private tasting event which included 2 other Vodkas each representing a similar style, but each at a different price range. The aim of the tasting was to see whether we could taste the difference between economy, premium and ultra-premium spirits in a relaxed almost-party like setting. (The three Vodkas included in the tasting were, Khortytsa Platinum Vodka (priced at $17.95), Sobieski Vodka (priced at $25.95), and Belvedere Vodka priced at ($48.95). The prices given are based upon current LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario) price listings.
After the tasting event, I continued my examination of each spirit putting each brand through the paces of my Vodka Review Methodology. This is of course the review for the Ultra-Premium Belvedere Vodka imported into Alberta by the Western Canadian distributor Charton Hobbs who provided my sample bottle for this review.
You may click on the following link to read my full review which includes my suggested serving, the Lemon Martini.
“… The aroma was clean with a soft lemony spiciness rising into the air. When I sipped on the spirit, I was surprised at the firmness of this soft lemon flavour. I should stress that the flavour the vodka presented in the glass was not harsh or vegetal. Rather it was a soft lemon-like flavour which featured an underlying cereal-like earthiness running through the spirit …”
Please enjoy my review!
Interesting Note: Yesterday I was invited to be a guest judge at the Vodka Olympics (hosted by the good folks at Aligra Wine and Spirits). A group of jurors (about 10 of us) tasted and scored 12 different Vodkas in a completely blind format. Reinforcing my perceptions during my review (which was written about a week ago), Belvedere was revealed to be the third best vodka in the grouping. It turns out that Belvedere actually is a true ultra-premium Vodka. (Incidentally my personal score card had it rated number 1!)
Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Vodka, Vodka Reviews | Tagged: Belveder, Cocktails, Lemon Martini, Ultra premium Vodka, Vodka, Vodka Review | Comments Off on Review: Belvedere Vodka
Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 10, 2014
Lemon Hart is an iconic rum brand with roots which stretch back to the late 18th century when Mr. Lemon Hart began to supply rum to the British Royal Navy. By 1804, production of his “Lemon Hart Rum” was moved from his small merchant office in Cornwall, England to a larger facility in London. Over 150 years later the rum was being produced at the Hiram Walker Distillery in Ontario, Canada. True to its roots as a Navy Rum, the brand remained a Demerara blend with the base rum bulk shipped from Guyana to the Hiram Walker Facility where it was aged and blended with a small amount ( 1.5 %) of Canadian Rum for tax purposes.
The Original Lemon Hart rum is now blended with 100 % Guyanese distilled and aged rum. It is bottled in Canada by the Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corporation (NLC) for Mosaiq, and I have confirmed that all of the previous Guyanese marques for this the rum have remained the same as before. Thus the difference between the old blend and the new blend comes down to the scrapping of the Canadian rum content as well as the differences which aging in Guyana rather than in Ontario, Canada will impart to the final rum.
Here is a link to my full review:
“… the spirit brings forward aromas typical of a dark rum. Licorice stained molasses with hints of cinnamon and cloves are obvious with additional indications of fine oak spices underneath. Bits of vanilla well up as do impressions of cocoa, oolong tea, dry fruit, and nicotine stained tobacco …”
Please enjoy the review which includes my suggested serving, the Cuban Special.
Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Dark Rums, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: Cocktails, Cuban Special, Dark Rum, Lemon Hart, Original, Rum, Rum Review | Comments Off on Review: Lemon Hart Original Demerara Rum
Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 6, 2014
Two years ago I was offered a rare trip to Guyana, South America to visit the home of El Dorado Rum, Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL). The trip was part of a media tour designed to bring more awareness to the El Dorado brand and the wonderful rum which the Diamond Distillery produces (see my write-up of the distillery tour here). One of the more interesting finds I came across when I was in Guyana was a bottle of whisky produced by Demerara Distillers called Diamond Club Black Label Whisky. I happened to see it during a media tour of Georgetown (the largest and the Capital city of Guyana) in a local liquor store, and the whisky was selling for less than 3 bucks Canadian per bottle.
I had no idea that the folks who made El Dorado Rum, also produced a Black Label Malt Whisky, and I was of course very curious about the spirit. When I quizzed the folks at the Diamond Distillery, I was told that the base malt for this whisky is produced by Inver House (who own Balblair, anCnoc and Old Pulteney), and that they will occasionally ship bulk malt whisky to Guyana where it is blended (or stretched) with locally produced cane spirit, and sold as their Blended Malt Whisky.
You may read the full review by clicking on the following excerpt link:
“… I detect light butterscotch aromas, some fine wood spices complete with hints of ginger and cardamom, bits of heather and some lightly pungent and lightly spicy tobacco in the breezes complete with a light malty sweetness …”
Enjoy my review which includes a nice cocktail suggestion, the Georgetown Sour.
Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Black Label, Demerara Distillery, Diamond Club, Diamond Distillery, Guayana, Whisky, Whisky Review | Comments Off on Review: Diamond Club Black Label Malt Whisky
Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 4, 2014
Sobieski Vodka is (according to their website) the number 1 selling premium vodka in Poland. It is a true Polish Vodka distilled on a multi-column still from 100% Dankowski rye which was harvested in the low-lying Mazovia (Masowse) region of Poland. The spirit was named ‘Sobieski’ to pay homage to King Jan III Sobieski (1629 – 1696) who is generally regarded as the last great King of Poland whose spirit of indomitable will remains even today as an integral aspect of the Poland’s national character.
When I sampled Sobieski for the first time, I had several friends over, and we tasted the Vodka as part of a private tasting event which included 2 other Vodkas each representing a similar style, but each at a different price range. The aim of the tasting was to see whether we could taste the difference between economy, premium and ultra-premium spirits in a relaxed almost-party like setting. (The three Vodkas included in the tasting were, Khortytsa Platinum Vodka (priced at $17.95), Sobieski Vodka (priced at $25.95), and Belvedere Vodka priced at ($48.95). The prices given are based upon current LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario) listings.)
After the tasting event, I continued my examination of each spirit putting each brand through the paces of my Vodka Review Methodology. This is of course the review for Sobieski vodka imported into Alberta by the Western Canadian distributor Charton Hobbs who provided my sample bottle for this review.
You may click on the following excerpt to read the full review:
“… When I threw back a shot of Sobieski, I was very pleased at how clean and smooth the spirit tasted. When served well chilled, the Vodka displayed no burn at all, only a nice spicy glow which heated the palate lightly and slowly crept down the throat …”
I hope you enjoy my review which includes a nice cocktail recommendation, my own Yellowbird of Sunshine, which mixes Sobieski Vodka with lemon juice and Maraschino liqueur (and tastes absolutely delicious).
If you are interested in a direct comparison the previously published review for Khortytsa Platinum Vodka can be found here.
Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Vodka, Vodka Reviews | Tagged: Cocktail, Polish Vodka, Premium Vodka, Sobieski, Vodka, Vodka Review, Yellowbird of Sunshine | Comments Off on Review: Sobieski Vodka
Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 2, 2014
Torres Jaime I is produced in the Penedès region of Spain by Miguel Torres. This distinctive brandy is named for the founder of the House, Jaime Torres Vendrell, and is produced from old soleras which were aged from selected distilled wines. In fact, some of these soleras began their lives as distilled Pardella Wines destined for the Torres 10 Brandy, but were instead kept aside to serve as reserve stocks. To make the Torres Jaime I, these reserves were enriched with some of the House’s best soleras, the oldest of which were aged 30 years. The final piece of the puzzle (so to speak) was the addition of a small amount of aged 1972 eau-de-vie of Folle Blanche lees (which is normally used to produce high-quality pot-still brandy).
Although I reviewed this lush, well aged brandy about two years ago; yesterday, I added a new cocktail to the review.
You may read my full review with the added cocktail, Brandy Février, here:
“… The Torres Jaime I exhibits a dark, lush copper colour in the glass. The brandy is complex, assertive and very intense. In fact, the bouquet from the glass has the ability to fill the room when it is poured. The aroma is oak stained and very rich… “
Please enjoy my review of this excellent aged Brandy, Cheers!
Posted in Brandy and Cognac Reviews, Brandy Review, Cocktails & Recipes | Tagged: Brandy, Brandy Févier, Brandy Review, Cocktails, Jaime Torres | Comments Off on Review: Torres Jaime I Brandy (30 year Solera)
Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 20, 2014
This past Sunday, my friends and I spent the afternoon (while watching the football games) sampling and comparing three different Vodkas which represented similar styles, but different price ranges. The aim of the tasting was to see whether we could taste the difference between economy, premium and ultra-premium spirits in a relaxed almost-party like setting. (Basically the way vodka is normally enjoyed by most casual consumers.) The three Vodkas we chose were, Khortytsa Platinum Vodka (priced at $17.95), Sobieski Vodka (priced at $25.95), and Belvedere Vodka priced at ($48.95). The prices given are based upon current LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario) price listings.
Over the next several weeks I will be posting the results of our findings in the form of a review for each Vodka. This review is for the Khortytsa Platinum Vodka which held up very well against the higher priced competition. I should note that I reviewed this particular brand about a year and a half ago, my tasting notes this time around were very similar; however, my enjoyment of the Platinum Vodka seems to have increased, and this increased enjoyment is reflected in my revised scores.
You may read my full review by clicking on the following review excerpt:
“… The first sip reinforced the nose with the spiciness of grain evident and a firm but mild citrus flavour. A lightly bitter taste was present which reminded me of spruce bark and thyme. Despite this light bitterness, the vodka appears smooth and easy to sip. It is up to the individual sampling the Vodka whether that light bitter taste is appealing or not …”
Enjoy my latest review for Khortytsa Platinum which includes a nice cocktail suggestion, the Minted Vodka Daiquiri.
Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Vodka, Vodka Reviews | Tagged: Cocktails, Khortytsa Platinum, Ukranian Vodka, Vodka, Vodka Review | Comments Off on Review: Khortytsa Platinum Vodka