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Martini Monday: Shaken Vs Stirred and the Dry Martini

Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 15, 2015

Double Strain

Ali Dedianko Double Strains her Martini

As everyone knows (at least those who have been following my Monday Martini series), I was invited to a special Belvedere Martini Seminar hosted by Blevedere’s Vodka Global Ambasssador Ali Dedianko which served as the inspiration for these Martini explorations. One of the topics which came up at her seminar was whether a proper martini should be shaken, or whether it should be stirred?

The popular theory is that the violence of shaking a martini in a cocktail shaker with ice will cause more of that ice to melt, and will therefore dilute your cocktail. Following that line of thinking, it would seem that stirring should be the preferred method of chilling your martini.

However, it is time to debunk this notion that shaking your cocktail to chill it will necessarily cause excessive dilution. The simple fact is that whether you are shaking your cocktail, or whether you are stirring your cocktail, the science of thermodynamics dictates that the same volume of ice will melt to bring your cocktail to zero degrees irregardless of whether it is shaken or stirred. It is not possible for one method to melt more ice that the other when chilling a bar drink.

But, that is not the whole story. What shaking in a cocktail shaker full of ice can do, is break the ice into very small pieces which will slip through the large holes on your cocktail strainer. It is those small ice particles which might make it into the cocktail which cause dilution of your martini as they will continue to melt after the bar drink is poured. That is why, if we choose to shake our Martini to chill it rather than stirring the cocktail in a mixing glass, we should take an additional step and double strain our chilled bar drink into our martini glass. The second strainer should be a fine sieve which will catch those small ice particles. After catching them in the fine sieve, we can then discard them into our bar sink keeping them out of the our bar drink.

Dry Vodka Martini SAM_1606This means that when I make my Dry Vodka Martini, I do not need to worry about dilution. And because I do prefer to shake my martinis rather than to stir them (this saves time), I always remember to double strain the cocktail.

In the case of the Dry Martini recipe I am sharing today, I have decided to additionally shake things up (pun intended) by adding not one but two garnishes to the bar drink. Some purists may believe it is sacrilege to add more than one garnish; but I really enjoy the complimentary flavours of both cucumber and lime in my martini. This is especially true when I use a superior vodka such as Belvedere Unfiltered (my review of this spirit will be published in a few short weeks). This particular premium vodka has a light but firm rye flavour. It makes sense to give this spirit just a little more to work with, and so I will make a small break from tradition.

Here is a link to my recipe page where you will find my Dry Martini:

Dry Vodka Martini (with cucumber and lime)

Note: The moral of this posting is that there is in fact a bit of truth to the idea that cocktails which are shaken rather than stirred may be slightly more diluted. However we can mitigate this effect with a second fine sieve, which is why if a Martini recipes calls for the drink to be shaken, it should always specify that the cocktail should also be double strained.

As noted, I prefer to shake my cocktails. It is a faster way to make multiple cocktails for friends, and it puts on a better show for those who might be watching.

Chimo!

Posted in Cocktails & Recipes | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Review: Gilbey’s London Dry Gin

Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 14, 2015

Gilbey’s Gin is owned by spirits conglomerate Diageo; but it is produced and sold under its current license by Beam Suntory. The Beam Suntory website does not contain extensive information regarding Gilbey’s; however I did find this statement which describes its production:

“In making a fine London Dry Gin such as Gilbey’s, the fermentation process is similar to whiskey production. The fundamental difference is that the congeners, the natural taste elements that are so necessary to Bourbon and Scotch are absent. Instead, gin’s flavor is introduced to the alcohol when it is in a vaporous form and made to pass through a “filter” of juniper berries, herbs and spices.”

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Gilbey’s London Dry Gin

“… I discovered a very traditional gin profile with firm juniper aromas leading out in front of lightly sweet citrus scents of orange and lemon. There are some fine spices in the breezes which remind me coriander, ginger and cardamon, as well as some floral accents resembling lilacs and white lilies …”

Please enjoy my review which includes two nice recipe suggestions, Gilbey’s and Tonic, and a Vesper Cocktail.

Chimo!

Posted in Gin, Gin Review | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Review: Centennial Limited Edition Canadian Whisky (NAS)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 12, 2015

Whisky Splash SAM_1629Centennial Limited Edition Canadian Whisky is produced by Alberta’s own Highwood Distillers. It has quietly replaced Highwood’s former Centennial 10 Year Old Canadian Whisky (see review here) as the flagship brand of their Centennial Lineup. The Centennial brand is unique in Canada as rather than using corn as the base grain for this whisky, Centennial uses soft Canadian winter wheat and rye  This gives the Centennial brand a smooth and soft flavour profile which I have found is unlike any other Canadian whisky. In fact, using grains grown exclusively on the Canadian prairies, distilling the grain in their home Province of Alberta, and aging the spirit in the severe Western Canadian climate makes  Centennial is a Whisky unlike any other in the world.

Centennial Limited Edition features no age statement which makes it different from the Centennial 10 Year Old Whisky which used to carry the flag for the brand. When I asked the folks at the distillery I was told that the Centennial brand had reached a point of popularity such that Highwood could no longer meet the demand for their 10 Year Old whisky across the country. This meant that the distiller was faced with two choices. They could either raise the price to temper demand (and annoy their loyal customers), or they could create a new flagship Centennial Whisky (the Limited Edition) which they could produce in sufficient quantity to meet the new demand across Canada. They chose the second course, although they are hoping this new blend is met with the same enthusiasm as the previous blend.

Here is a link to the full review:

Review: Centennial Limited Edition Canadian Whisky

“… I let the glass sit for a while, and noticed that the rye grain was joined by wood spices and these spicy accents seem to grow in the breezes. I also notice a light almost bitter astringency in the air which seems to be related to the building rye spice. As the glass continues to decant, some dry grassy tobacco comes to the fore and a light fruitiness is evolving from the rye which is also filling the air with light scents of ginger …”

Please enjoy the review which concludes with a nice recipe suggestion, the Canadian Whisky Splash!

 

Posted in Canadian Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Review: Angostura Single Barrel Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 11, 2015

SAM_0296 Angostura Single BarrelThe Angostura Single Barrel Rum is aged in selected American oak (bourbon) barrels for a minimum of 5 years. According to the Angostura website, it is a blend of medium and heavy bodied rums hand drawn from their state-of the-art continuous five-column still. The blend is an authentic pure Trinidadian rum which is limited each year to only a certain number of batches.

I found my bottle for review while shopping at one of the Duty-Free liquor shops at the Trinidad International Airport. I was intrigued enough to pass over many more well-known brands of rum and whisky, and I have decided to give the rum a review here on my website. As always I shall begin with the bottle the rum is presented in.

Here is a link to the full review:

Review: Angostura Single Barrel Rum

” … I begin to notice a rich caramel building, and a strong indication of oak imparting fresh scents of honeycomb, vanilla, cedar and toffee into the breezes above the glass. As the glass breathes, the oak becomes firmer and a light smokiness of dried fruit aroma develops. Marmalade, oak, dried apricots and spicy toffee are all apparent in the fully decanted glass …”

Please enjoy this review!

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Review: Satsuma Rum Liqueur

Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 10, 2015

Satsuma Daiquiri SAM_1624

Satsuma Daiquiri

Louisiana Spirits was formed in 2011 with the stated aim to produce a world-class rum in Lacassine, Louisiana from Louisiana sugarcane.  By 2013 their distillery located a few miles east of Lake Charles, Louisiana, was producing a craft rum in what they call the largest privately owned rum distillery in the USA. Currently three rums are produced (a spiced, a flavoured, and a white rum) which have made their way into the Alberta market via Lifford Wines who distribute and market the spirit here in my home Province of Alberta.

Their Satsuma Rum Liqueur is flavored with Satsuma juice. For those who do not know, the Satsuma orange is a Mandarin-style orange imported into the United States originally from the former Satsuma Province in Japan. According to the website information, the folks at Louisiana Spirits started mixing this Satsuma juice with their Bayou Rum during the last Satsuma harvest in Louisiana. Apparently the taste was so good that they decided to produce a Rum liqueur based upon the Satsuma Orange.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Satsuma Rum Liqueur

“… When I bring the rum liqueur to my nose, the aroma drifting into the breezes reminds me of a mixture of fresh tangerines and orange Kool-aid. Those scents rise alongside a sweetness which is quite intense and I understand why the producers decided to call their spirit a ‘liqueur’ which implies more sweetness than a ‘flavoured rum’. …”

Please enjoy my review which includes my new recipe, the Satsuma Daiquiri.

Have a great day everyone!

Posted in Flavouerd Rums, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Martini Monday: The Vesper Cocktail

Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 8, 2015

Ali Dedianko, Belvedere Global Vodka Ambassador

Ali Dedianko, Belvedere Global Vodka Ambassador

Last week I introduced everyone to Belvedere’s Vodka Global Ambassador, Ali Dedianko who hosted the Belvedere Martini Seminar which I attended at the downtown Edmonton restaurant, North 53. During that seminar, she introduced me to a very delicious cocktail called the Reverse Vesper (which I will discuss in one of my future postings). The Reverse Vesper is of course, based upon the more famous Martini-style cocktail the Vesper, (which is the subject of this posting).

The Vesper appears to be the invention of Ian Fleming who first published the recipe in his famous 1953 novel, “Casino Royal (which is also of course the novel that introduced the world to the iconic British secret agent, James Bond). In chapter 7 of the novel, Bond tells a bartender to build him a dry martini in a deep champagne goblet. His specific instruction is:

“Three measures of Gordon’s, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it’s ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon peel.”

Felix Leiter who is accompanying him seems impressed with the bar drink, so James Bond goes on to explain to his CIA counterpart:

“I never have more than one drink before dinner. But I do like that one to be large and very strong and very cold and very well-made. I hate small portions of anything, particularly when they taste bad.”

Vesper SAM_1604Ian Fleming’s sentiments regarding proper cocktail construction hold a ring of truth as that is indeed the manner in which most of the bartenders I have spoken to prefer to build their best cocktails.

Of course Bond comes up with the perfect name for his cocktail when he meets Vesper Lynd in the next chapter. Her name was chosen by to her parents because she was “born on a dark and stormy night” and thus they chose the Latin word “vesper” for her name which means “evening”. James apparently feels the name suits his cocktail and asks Miss Lynd if he can borrow the name.

I have decided to construct my Vesper Cocktail as closely as possible (given what is available in my home bar setting) to James Bonds original formulation.

You can find this recipe by clicking on the following link which will bring you to my Vesper recipe page:

The Vesper Cocktail

Note: After the 1953 publication of Casino Royale,  the Vesper Cocktail became popular with bartenders around the world; however, the actual name of the drink and its complete recipe was not mentioned on-screen in the original, 1967 Casino Royale Movie. This first Casino Royale movie did not star Sean Connery. Instead actor David Niven played James Bond in what was actually  a spoof film which satirized the other James Bond films produced to that point. It was not until 2006 when the 2nd adaptation of the original Casino Royale novel was released as a movie, that we heard the first onscreen reference to the Vesper cocktail. Of course, by then the original novel had already made it famous.

Chimo!

 

 

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Twitter Tasting: Crown Royal Hand Selected Barrel

Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 6, 2015

Crown Royal Single Barrel (Davin) SAM_1633Yesterday, I received my first bottle of the brand new Crown Royal Hand Selected Barrel Whisky. What makes the bottle I received even more special is that this particular bottle has been drawn from a very particular barrel. The barrel that my good friend Davin De Kergommeax selected right out the Crown Royal whisky warehouse in Gimli, Manitoba.

If you do not know Davin, although I suspect many of you do, he is (like myself), is a true devotee of our great Canadian Spirit, whisky! He has created his own website (Canadian Whisky) where he publishes various articles about our mutual passion and of course his fantastic reviews. He has also been instrumental in launching the first ever fully independent Canadian Whisky Awards! These awards have highlighted not only the best tasting whiskies made in Canada, but they also award special achievements by Canadian Whisky Distillers in areas of innovation, brand extension, and media/advertising. And as if that was not enough, he is also the award-winning author of Canadian Whisky: the portable expert” which is probably the best guide ever published about the great Canadian Spirit.

If you haven’t heard of Crown Royal Hands Selected Barrel, it is the first production Canadian whisky ever to sold in the single barrel format, drawn from a single oak cask and brought to a full 51.5 % alcohol by volume bottling proof. Now the folks at Crown Royal didn’t just go into their warehouse and start checking random casks of whisky for this expression. They chose a very particular whisky to showcase as their first Single Barrel Whisky. A whisky from a rye heavy mashbill (64% corn, 31.5% rye, and 4.5% malted barley) which was distilled upon their one of a kind Coffey Rye still which is located in their Gimli facility.

Davin de Kergommeaux

Davin de Kergommeaux

Now, I was curious, and so I asked Davin how the selection process worked for him. He told me that he went down to the facility in Gimli in May of 2014 to taste some of the barrels. Then he went back in December (of the same year) to make his final selection. According to Davin:

“It was freezing cold so we tasted the whisky from four “finalist” barrels in the office.  They were remarkably different from each other.  I brought a sample home with me to sip on until the final product arrived a couple of weeks ago.  It really was a lot of fun from start to finish.”

And now I have one of the bottles drawn from the barrel that Davin himself chose. I find this so remarkable, that I have decided to share my first tasting of this remarkable spirit with anyone who cares to join me tomorrow at 1:30 PM (Mountain Standard) on Twitter (https://twitter.com/RumHowler). I will have my camera ready and my glencairn glass full, and if all goes according to plan publish my first thoughts and tasting notes live online on my twitter account using the hashtag ‘Rum Howler Tastes Crown Hand Selected Barrel’. I hope some of you join me, and if any of you happen to also have a bottle or sample of Crown Royal Hand Selected Barrel, please post your thoughts online as well.

(And if any of you have ideas as how to make this easier for everyone to follow and participate, please post your ideas, I am pretty much a rookie at Twitter Tastings, having never done one before.)

Chimo, and see you tomorrow at 1:30 PM (MST)!

Posted in Canadian Whisky, Whisk(e)y | Tagged: , , , , | 5 Comments »

Review: Tanqueray Rangpur Gin

Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 5, 2015

Lady of the Empire

Lady of the Empire

Tanqueray Gin was originally produced by Charles Tanqueray in London, England in 1830 at the Bloomsbury Distillery. The distillery prospered through the nineteenth century; but after being in production for over one hundred years, it was badly damaged in the bombing raids of World War II by the German air force. One still survived, and this still affectionately called “Old Tom” was moved to the new facilities in Cameron, Scotland where Tanqueray gin is currently produced. Tangueray Rangpur is a new style of gin from Tangueray. Whereas their flagship gin simply called Tanqueray is a traditional London Dry Gin which features , juniper, coriander, angelica root and licorice as the four major botanicals used in its construction. The Rangpur on the other hand is not labeled as a London Dry Gin, (it is simple labeled Gin) and according to the Tanqueray website features the Rangpur Lime as one of its major botanicals along with Juniper, Coriander, Bay leaves and Ginger.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Tanqueray Rangpur Gin

“… The aroma from the glass is more citrus forward with scents of both lime and lemon dominating the breezes and the juniper trailing along behind. The Rangpur also seems to have a stronger herbal component with hints of menthol and grassy lemonbalm. The spiciness of the coriander and ginger is very restrained …”

Please enjoy the review which is followed by one of my gin cocktails, the Lady of the Empire.

Chimo!

Posted in Gin, Gin Review | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Forty Creek Three Grain Harmony

Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 4, 2015

3_Grain_Harmony_Bottle_21May2015This is one of my favourite times of the year, as every year in early June, Forty Creek Whisky announces their annual special limited release whisky. This years release has been named Forty Creek Three Grain Harmony, and the distillery is once again inviting the public to participate in the release by offering to let you choose your own numbered bottle.

Reservations for choosing your bottles open at noon on Monday, June 8th and continue until 5:00 p.m. on June 26th, 2015. Of course numbers are available on a first come basis and no two bottle numbers will be the same. (Only 9000 bottles will be produced.)

According to the folks at Forty Creek:

Forty Creek Three Grain Harmony is the 9th Limited Release from Forty Creek Whisky. This year, we decided to create a bit of music by carefully blending and harmonizing three single grains: rye, barley and corn. We began by fermenting and distilling each individual grain separately. Both the rye and the barley stocks date back to when we first began our Forty Creek Distillery. This Limited Release marks the first time these stocks have been introduced into one of our whiskies. As with many of our Signature Editions, the separate, single grain whiskies were patiently aged in toasted white oak barrels. At their peak flavour potential, they were then artfully blended to create the subtle yet complex whisky we named Three Grain Harmony.

The new special release whisky will be bottled at 43% alcohol by volume, and you can find more information here:

Forty Creek Three Grain Harmony

(Barley and Rye stocks that date back to the beginnings of the distillery sounds pretty special to me. I usually reserve a few bottles for myself, and this year will be no different.)

Posted in Canadian Whisky, Whisk(e)y | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Review: Captain Morgan Coconut Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 3, 2015

Coconut Breeze SAM_1618On February 11, 2015, Captain Morgan introduced three flavors to its fleet of rums, CAPTAIN MORGAN® Pineapple Rum, CAPTAIN MORGAN® Coconut Rum, and CAPTAIN MORGAN® Grapefruit RumThese new Caribbean flavors are each five times distilled and of course made from cane molasses. Each of the expression blends natural flavors with CAPTAIN MORGAN® White Rum, resulting in a spirit which can be enjoyed as a summer cocktail mixer.

According to my Dan Kleinman, Vice President of Marketing, Rums for Diageo North America:

“This summer, we’re looking for consumers to flip over their hammocks and have a little fun with their mojitos and daiquiris by enjoying our new pineapple, coconut and grapefruit extensions. After last year’s successful launch of CAPTAIN MORGAN® White Rum, we wanted to expand our offerings in the category. These flavors allow adult fans to diversify their cocktails, providing them with a taste of the Caribbean no matter where they may be responsibly enjoying our products.”

Here is a link to my review for Captain Morgan Coconut Rum:

Review: Captain Morgan Coconut Rum

“… This flavour features a firm coconut melded into a rum-like cane sugar with bits of vanilla showing through. The rum seems to carry the right balance of sweetness alongside the coconut flavour such that sipping is pleasant and not cloying …”

Please enjoy the review, I will be tackling the Captain Morgan’s Pineapple Rum in a few short weeks.

Chimo!

Posted in Rum Reviews, Flavouerd Rums, Rum | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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