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Cocktail Hour: The Autumn Daiquiri

Posted by Arctic Wolf on September 5, 2015

Aged rums are not just for sipping neat or mixing with cola. In fact, daiquiri-style cocktails made with aged rum have an added dimension of flavour which is very appealing. Here is one such mixed drink I recently created for the cool autumn evenings which are sure to be on their way.

Dark Wing Daiq SAM_1694Autumn Daiquiri

2 oz Flor de Caña 5 (Añejo Clasico)
1/2 oz Orange Curacao
3/4 oz fresh Lime Juice
3/4 oz fresh Lemon Juice
1 oz sugar syrup (1:1 ratio)
Lemon slice

Add the first five ingredients into a metal cocktail shaker with ice
Shake until the sides of the shaker frost
Strain into a cocktail glass
Add a Lemon Slice for garnish


If  you are interested in more of my original cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more mixed drink recipes!

Posted in Cocktails & Recipes | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Review: Wild Turkey 81 (Kentucky Straight Bourbon)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on September 3, 2015

Wild_Turkey_81_BourbonWild Turkey produces their bourbon from a mash bill which includes three grains: corn, barley, and rye. This mashbill is said to have a relatively high proportion of rye which gives the whiskey brand its signature spicy kick. The new flagbearer for the brand, Wild Turkey 81 (Kentucky Straight Bourbon) has recently replaced Austin Nichols Wild Turkey Bourbon in the Wild Turkey line-up here in Alberta. This bourbon spirit, rather than being bottled at the regular 40 % alcohol by volume is instead bottled at a slightly higher proof, 40.5% alcohol by volume or 81 proof hence the name Wild Turkey 81.

According to the Wild Turkey website, this flagship whiskey is meant to be a mixing spirit. In fact the website describes Wild Turkey 81 as,

“an everyday whiskey that can stand up to any mixer or in any cocktail with the bold, in-your-face taste that is distinctively Wild Turkey.”

Although the spirit carries no age statement, the producer’s website informs us that this Kentucky Straight Bourbon is aged for approximately six to eight years in what the company refers to as their ‘famous #4 alligator char‘ American Oak barrels.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Wild Turkey 81 (Kentucky Straight Bourbon)

“… The initial breezes above the glass bring forward a sweetened butterscotch note wrapped in oak and cedar spice. Scents of vanilla and honeycomb come forward mingling in the air with the fine wood spices creating an impression of light toffee. The spices grow in intensity and begin to throw off dry rye-like scents of ginger …”

Please enjoy my review which includes a great cocktail suggestion, the Honeylemon Ginger Julep.


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

Mixed Drink: The Honeylemon Ginger Julep

Posted by Arctic Wolf on September 2, 2015

Here is a tall refreshing deck drink suitable for summer evenings with friends and family.

Honeylemon Ginger Julep SAM_1707Honeylemon Ginger Julep
(an Arctic Wolf Recipe)

2 oz Wild Turkey 81 Bourbon
1 oz Wild Turkey Honey
1 1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz sugar syrup (1:1 ratio)
a splash of ginger-ale to fill

Muddle 2 sprigs of mint with the sugar syrup in the bottom of a shaker
Add the Wild Turkey 81, the Wild Turkey Honey and the Lemon Juice
Shake over ice until the cocktail shaker frosts
Fine strain into a tall glass filled with ice
Complete with a splash of ginger-ale and stir
Garnish with another sprig of mint

Enjoy Responsibly!

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!

Posted in Cocktails & Recipes | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

A Rum Howler Tasting

Posted by Arctic Wolf on August 31, 2015

On My Deck 2About twice a month I gather my friends together and I host a Rum Howler Tasting. These are normally informal gatherings where I serve various spirits which have been forwarded to me from industry to review upon my website. I ask my friends to contribute by bringing food and fresh fruit for cocktails and we sample four or five spirits in a relaxed atmosphere where each person can take it as seriously or as casually as they like. Sometimes I gather feedback which makes its way onto my website, and other times it is just about sharing a drink with my friends and having some fun and good conversation.

Occasionally, I receive requests from industry, or from persons who have read my reviews to host a more formal gathering whether it be at a licensed social club, pub or even within a retail liquor store. I have no problem helping out with these events, although sometimes those who request my services are surprised that I actually charge a fee for my time and effort. (I think the fee is reasonable although that sentiment is not shared by all.)

Recently I was asked to host a rather significant event at the Derrick Golf and Winter Club to celebrate one of its member’s 50th birthday. I was given a significant budget for the rum, and told to bring a good range of well aged rums which represented not just the  lower priced rums which I considered to be a great bargain, but also would include one or two significantly priced rums one of which should sit atop the rum world as an example of the very best which could be found. I was told that if I felt a particular rum met this criteria, I should bring it along as a salute to the guest of honour.

I gave the tasting some thought and settled upon 5 rums which I believe were not only great examples of the various different styles of rum which can be found in the Caribbean, they also were readily available in my locale such that my guests could search them out after the event. And, I indeed included a particularly worthy rum which I was sure would please our Guest of Honour.

This is the list I came up with, and the order which I served them in:

  1.  Angostura 1919 (Trinidad)
  2.  Brugal Siglo de Oro (Dominican Republic)
  3.  Ron Millonario Solera 15 Reserva Especial (Peru)
  4.  El Dorado 12 Year Old Special Reserve (Guyana)

And the extra special rum which was served at the conclusion of the tasting to salute the guest of honour:

5. Panamonte Reserva XXV – 25 Year Old Rum

You can click on the links to read my personal reviews of each of these special rums, but I also thought I would provide some feedback from my 32 guests as to how they felt about each rum.

The Tasting

The first bit of feedback I asked my guests to give me was to compare the $50.00 bottle of Angostura 1919 to the $115.00 bottle of Brugal Siglo De Oro. I kept the prices to myself so that this would not influence anyone’s decision. These two rums are each good examples of the lighter Spanish style, and they highlight just how good a rum can become after spending a significant amount of time in the oak barrel. The results were predictable as all but three guests chose the Siglo De Oro as the best of the two. This was expected as the Siglo de Oro had been aged twice as long as the Angostura 1919 and it’s price reflected its longer aging time.

Next I asked the same question of the $50.00 bottle of Ron Millonario 15 Reserva Especial versus the $40.00 bottle of El Dorado 12 Year Old Special Reserve. Each of these rums is from South America. They have a sweeter flavour profile, and each is significantly aged. However, the Peruvian rum (Ron Millonario) is a blend of 7 to 15-year-old rums, whereas the Rum from Guyana (El Dorado) has a true 12 year age statement meaning its entire contents must be no less than 12 years old. This time the room was more equally split, however there was a small majority of guests who preferred the less expensive offering from El Dorado.

Finally, I asked my guests to choose their favourite rum from the first four they were served. The sweeter rums from South America prevailed, and the less expensive El Dorado 12 Year Old Special Reserve was the clear favourite with half of the room choosing it over the other more expensive rums. The Ron Millonario 15 Reserva Especial was a close second. There were a few persons who chose the most expensive of the four, the Brugal Siglo De Oro as their favourite, and one of these persons told me afterwards that he did not think the contest was even close. His palate definitely preferred the drier spirits.

After each had given me their preferences, I told them the values of these particular rums here in Alberta, and the room was shocked that the least expensive, the rum from El Dorado was such a stand-out. (I wonder if the guests would have chosen differently if they had known the prices of the various rums they were tasting?)

I ended the tasting with a salute to the Guest of Honour, and we all toasted him with a sample of a rum from a $380 bottle, the 25 Year Old Panamonte XXV Rum. Because this was the final toast, and I did not want to spoil the event with more questions for my guests, I let everyone savour the Central American rum from Panamonte. I did notice however, as I looked around the room after everyone was gone, that the Panamonte XXV was the only spirit to have been completely consumed by every guest. Apparently it was very well received by all.

Note: If you wish to hire the Rum Howler to add a little pizzazz to your next Tasting Event, you may use my Contact Me page to reach out to me. My fee is reasonable (at least I think so).

Posted in Extras, Festivals and Events | 2 Comments »

Review: Jefferson’s Reserve Bourbon (Very Old)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on August 29, 2015

Jeffersons Reserve SAM_1688Jefferson’s Reserve Straight Bourbon Whiskey is considered to be the flagship brand of the Jefferson Bourbon line-up. It is a small batch bourbon reportedly produced by marrying a selection of only 8 to 12 barrels of aged bourbon. The spirit has no age statement although the bottle makes a point of mentioning that the spirit is ‘very old’. (Of course this could mean practically anything, and whether a significant amount of whiskey younger than 8 years enters the blend is unknown to me.)

The spirit (owned by Castle Brands) was created in 1997, by Chet and Trey Zoeller. It is bottled at 45.1 % alcohol by volume and named for the third president of the United States who apparently repealed the Whiskey Tax after his Republican Party came to power in 1801.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Jefferson’s Reserve Bourbon (Very Old)

“… The initial aroma from the glass is steeped in oak and cedar spice. I can smell wood sap and freshly sawn oak planks. Mingled within the oak is a deep rich caramel toffee which smells delicious. As I let the glass sit and breathe, I notice some chocolate and cola aromas entering the breezes with notes of honeycomb and delicious barbecued corn on the cob …”

Please enjoy my review.



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

Review: Boodles British Gin

Posted by Arctic Wolf on August 25, 2015

BLT SAM_1648

The BLT (Boodles, Lime and Tonic)

Boodles British Gin was apparently first produced by Cock Russell & Company in 1845. The spirit was named in reference to Boodle’s Gentlemen’s Club in St. James’s, London, which was operated by the original Edward Boodle in 1762. (As far as I could determine, Edward Boodle had no part in making the gin, he was simply the Club’s head waiter.) In 2012, the brand was purchased by Proximo Spirits of New Jersey.

The gin is produced from distilled British wheat. This neutral spirit is subsequently re-distilled in a Carter Head copper still, which allows the botanicals to infuse gradually into the spirit. According to the Boodles website, the recipe for Boodles contains no citrus elements; but it does contain traditional herbs and spices which include nutmeg, sage, and rosemary (and of course juniper). A further five ingredients round out the recipe, and it is expected to be served in cocktails or over ice with a slice of citrus (lemon or lime).

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Boodles British Gin

“… The juniper is firm and dominating, however it does not seem to be bitter or unpleasant. The light but firm citrus elements and the bits of spice which surround the juniper seem to lift the spirit and everything is in harmony …”

Following the review is my recipe suggestion for the Boodles British Gin, the BLT (Boodles, Lime and Tonic). Please enjoy responsibly.



Posted in Gin, Gin Review | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Review: Brugal Siglo de Oro

Posted by Arctic Wolf on August 21, 2015

Siglo De OroThe Brugal Distillery was founded in 1888, by Andrés Brugal Montaner. Over the next one hundred and twenty years the company grew steadily, and it is now one of three large rum distillers in the Dominican Republic. Although the Edrington Group now controls the company, George Arzeno Brugal, is the current chairman, and most of the current board members are direct descendants of the original company founder.

According to the Brugal Website, Brugal makes their rum in a traditional manner (from molasses) and ages it on site in Puerto Plata. The Brugal Siglo De Oro was first produced in 1988 to commemorate Brugal’s 100th anniversary. It sits near the top of the ladder as far as Brugal Rum is concerned and undergoes a unique double aging regimen for extra depth and complexity.

1878 Rum Cocktail

1878 Rum Cocktail

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Brugal Siglo de Oro

“… Throughout the evolution in the glass the oak in glass deepens providing a firm backdrop within which the rest of the scents and smells can dance their merry melody. Butterscotch scents move into the oak spice bringing about a wonderful caramel toffee aroma …”

Please enjoy my review which concludes with a wonderful cocktail inspired by Leo Engels from his 1878 bartender’s guide, American and Other Drinks, the 1878 Rum Cocktail.


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

Review: Forty Creek Spike Honey Spiced Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on August 18, 2015

FC SpikeForty Creek Spike Honey Spiced Whisky is produced by the Forty Creek Distillery (now owned by Campari). Former owner of the distillery and brand, John Hall is the Whisky Maker (as he likes to refer to himself) at Forty Creek, and this spirit was produced under his direction.

According to the label on the bottle the ingredients are, Canadian Whisky (presumable John Hall’s flagship whisky Forty Creek Barrel Select), sugar, and natural flavors (presumable honey and spices). It is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Forty Creek Spike Honey Spiced Whisky

“… The spirit caries a deep golden colour with reddish hues visible in the glass. The breezes are mild, and along with the notes of honey are additional notes of butterscotch, vanilla, banana, ginger and cinnamon …”

Please enjoy my review which concludes with a nice tall summertime back deck drink, the Spiced Mammy.




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

Review: Dulce Vida Organic Tequila (Extra Añejo)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on August 16, 2015

extraDulce Vida Tequila is produced from 100% organic agave grown in the Los Altos highlands which are situated in the Tequila Region of Mexico. The company produces the only 100° proof, 100% organic tequila (also free from additives of any kind) in the world. As well as being 100% organic, their tequila is also produced in a manner which embraces the concept of sustainability. During production of the spirit a complete waste recapture program is set in place which results in the production of a nutrient-rich soil supplement which is supplied to the local farming community. As well, the methane gas which is produced as a by-product of the waste collection & processing is captured and utilized to help power Dulce Vida’s production facilities in the village of San Ignacio Cerro Gordo at Campanario (in Mexico of course).

Dulce Vida Extra Añejo is a celebratory spirit which has been matured for just over five years in single oak barrels from the Napa Valley. The Limited Edition spirit commemorates Dulce Vida’s five-year anniversary.

Here is a link to my full review of this extraordinary spirit:

Review: Dulce Vida Organic Tequila  (Extra Añejo)

“… The initial aromas are soft and are much perhaps more reminiscent of a 10-year-old scotch like Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban, than they are of Tequila. This is I suppose not surprising as Glenmorangie pioneered the practice of finishing their spirits in exotic wine casks, and the scotch industry was much quicker to embrace alternative oak barrels than were the other players in the spirits industry. Dulce Vida Extra Añejo is in fact the very first tequila I have encountered which has aged in a wine barrique …”

Please enjoy my review.


Posted in Extra Anejo Tequila, Tequila, Tequila Review | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Review: Diplomatico Single VTG 2000 Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on August 12, 2015

Spanish Diplomat SAM_1677The Diplomatico Single VTG 2000 was produced from a blend of rums which were all distilled in the year 2000. This limited edition rum was created by DUSA Master Blender, Tito Cordero and follows on from his first limited edition rum, the VTG 1997, which (unfortunately for the rest of us) was only released in Venezuela. The distillate from the year 2000 was chosen to be featured in a Single Vintage bottling because of the tremendous sugar cane harvest which was produced that year. Apparently a series of climactic factors in Venezuela combined to produce exceptional growing conditions which led to the bountiful cane harvest. The Limited Edition Single VTG 2000 Rum is a celebration of that exceptional year.

The bulk of the distillate for this particular rum was apparently produced upon copper pot stills, with a smaller portion of the distillate produced upon copper kettle stills. The spirit spent the first 10 years of its aging life in American ex-bourbon barrels, after which it was finished for another 2 years in Sherry casks (Pedro Ximénez). The final rum was bottled in 2012.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Diplomatico Single VTG 2000 Rum

“… The initial scents are aromatic and fruity. There is a beguiling butterscotch sweetness underneath a triumvirate of oak spice, dark sherried fruit (raisins and dates) and luscious baking spices (vanilla, brown sugars, nutmeg, and cinnamon). Orange peel and almond scents entwine themselves into the aromatic breezes melding into the oak and butterscotch giving me impressions both of marmalade and marzipan …”

Please enjoy my review which concludes with my suggested serving, the Spanish Diplomat.


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


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