The Rum Howler Blog

(A Website for Spirited Reviews)

  • The Rum Howler Blog

  • Visit My Online Memorabilia Store

  • The Rum Howler Interview (Good Food Revolution)

    Click on the Image to see my interview on Good Food Revolution

  • Industry Interviews

    Interviews

    Click the Image for Great Interviews with the Movers of Industry

  • Cocktails and Recipes

    Click Image for Awesome Recipes

  • Follow Me on Twitter!

Posts Tagged ‘Cocktail’

Review: Olmeca Blanco Tequila Clasico

Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 31, 2015

_0114_olmecablancoOlmeca is a Tequila brand owned by Pernod Ricard, distributed by Corby Brands here in Canada. The line-up features three sub brands, Olmeca (which is a Mixto), Olmeca Altos (which is a 100 % Blue Weber Agave tequila) , and Olmeca Tezón (which is 100% Blue Weber Agave and which is produced from 100 % Tahona crushed agave).

Tequila Sunrise

Tequila Sunrise

All of these sub brands are double distilled from Mexican Blue Agave in Copper Pot Stills. As well each of the brands will contain some distillate from the juice of agave which has been crushed in the traditional method with a two ton Tahona millstone.

Here is a link to my full review of Olmeca Blanco Tequila Clasico:

Review: Olmeca Blanco Tequila Clasico

“… I noticed an aggressive punch of smokey agave filled the air. The aroma vanished as quickly as I noticed it, and even when I took a cautious sniff from my glass, I could not locate that same punch of punky fruit and smoke. Instead, I noticed a peppery effervescence which was combined with mild agave aromas and a light sweetness which reminded me of cane …”

Please enjoy my review which ends with a nice cocktail suggestion, the Tequila Sunrise.

Chimo!

 

 

Posted in Blanco Tequila, Mixto Tequila, Tequila | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Review: Canadian Club Chairman’s Select Maple

Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 5, 2015

Select mapleCanadian Club Whisky (owned by BeamSuntory) is the oldest (and probably the most influential) Canadian Whisky brand in the world. The company has been granted numerous Royal Warrants from Queen Victoria to Queen Elizabeth II and it has been reported that Canadian Club was the whisky of choice when Al Capone smuggled thousands of Cases of Canadian Whisky into the USA during prohibition. Today Canadian Club Premium is the flagship brand for the company. In Canada, it is aged for a minimum of 6 years in white oak barrels and bottled at 40 per cent alcohol by volume.

Recently Canadian Club added to their flavoured and spiced portfolio by releasing a new maple flavoured whisky , Canadian Club Chairman’s Select Maple. According to the Canadian Club website:

Our master distillers have brought together the world’s finest Canadian whisky with the perfect hint of maple flavour.

Maple Mammy

Chairman’s Maple Mammy

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Canadian Club Chairman’s Select Maple

“… When I steal a sip from the glass, again it is the flavour of maple which one notices immediately (as we should). However, I was pleased to taste a firm whisky presence within the spirit as well. Despite the obvious maple taint, the flavoured whisky still retains its character as a whisky …”

Included in my review is a nice cocktail suggestion which combine the Canadian Club Chairman’s Select Maple with lime juice and ginger-ale, the Chairman’s Maple Mammy.

Chimo!

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

Review: Belvedere Unfiltered (Rare Diamond Rye) Vodka

Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 3, 2015

belvedere-unfiltered-rye-vodkaBelvedere 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.

I first tasted the new Unfiltered Belvedere Vodka at a recent Martini Seminar hosted in Edmonton by Ali Dedianko, the Belvedere Vodka Global Ambassador. At the seminar Ali described the Belvedere Unfiltered spirit as a ‘whisky drinkers vodka’ which was produced to allow the flavour of the Dankowski Rye to shine through. This is because the spirit is produced exclusively from Dankowski Rye grain grown on a Single Estate on one selected Polish farm. (It has its own terroir, if you will.) Furthermore the new Vodka, after being distilled four times, is bottled without filtering (at 40 % Alcohol by Volume) to ensure that the rye flavour within the vodka is not lost.

Unfiltered Reverse Vesper

Unfiltered Reverse Vesper

After the Martini event, I contacted the Western Canadian distributor of Belvedere products, Charton Hobbs who provided my sample bottle for this review.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Belvedere Unfiltered (Rare Diamond Rye) Vodka

“… When I brought the chilled vodka to my nose I could detect light aromas of  fresh-baked rye bread combined with a lovely milk chocolate scent. I was surprised that the aroma was so firm as the Vodka was very well chilled. As the Vodka warmed, the spicy rye grain seemed to unravel itself from the lightly sweet chocolate giving me another olfactory dimension to enjoy …”

Please enjoy the review, and at its conclusion I hope you also enjoy two Martini recipes I created which feature the outstanding flavour of the Belvedere Unfiltered Vodka, a Dry Vodka Martini (with lemon garnish) and a Reverse Vesper Martini (with cucumber and lemon garnish).

Chimo!

Posted in Vodka, Vodka Reviews | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Review: Michter’s US *1 Bourbon

Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 27, 2015

Michter'sThe Michter’s brand can trace its heritage to the Pennsylvania’s historic Bomberger’s Distillery, which in 1980 was declared a National Historic Landmark and is thought to have been up until the time of its closing, one of the oldest distilleries in the United States. In fact, the still house, the warehouse, and the jug house all date back to the 1840s.

The Mitcher’s brand itself was first distilled at the Bomberger facility in 1951 when it was owned by Louis Forman. Forman and his Master Distiller, Charles Everett Beam, apparently created the original whiskey that was named Michter’s Original Sour Mash Whiskey. The name was apparently a play on the names of Forman’s sons Michael and Peter. Over time the Bomberger distillery became associated with the Michter’s Whiskey and became known as the Michter’s Distillery. It was unfortunately closed in 1989 due to bankrupcy.

Since 2004, the Michter’s brand has been produced in Bardstown, Kentucky by Kentucky Bourbon Distillers with the brand currently owned by Chatham Imports, Inc.  The company has apparently built a new Michter’s Distillery in Louisville, Kentucky and has begun to produce their own spirit. This new production has not yet made its way into Michter’s US *1 Bourbon.

1878 Whiskey Cocktail over Ice

1878 Whiskey Cocktail over Ice

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Michter’s US *1 Bourbon

“… The immediate nose is assertive with alcohol (from the high bottling proof), as well as spicy oak and sap, grassy tobacco and sweet butterscotch all reaching up and grabbing at me. There is a lot of fruit including both orange and banana peel, some yellow apple and even a few apricot brandy-like aromas …”

I hope you enjoy my review which includes a nice suggested recipe, the 1878 Whiskey Cocktail over Ice.

Chimo!

Posted in American Whiskey, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Review: Michter’s US *1 Bourbon

Review: Captain Morgan Pineapple Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 25, 2015

CM Pineapple SAM_1621On 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.”

Jump the Shark

Jump the Shark

The marketing team for Diageo sent me samples of all three of the new flavoured rums for review on my website, and I have decided to end this short review series with a look at Captain Morgan Pineapple Rum.

You may click the following link to read the full review:

Review: Captain Morgan Pineapple Rum

“… the pineapple aroma was quite luscious. Although there is an obvious and firm sugar cane-like sweetness which accompanies the pineapple scent, the intensity of the pineapple is very inviting and seems very natural …”

Please enjoy the review which includes the lighthearted cocktail, Jump the Shark.

Chimo!

 

Posted in Flavouerd Rums, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: , , , , , , | Comments Off on Review: Captain Morgan Pineapple Rum

2015 Margarita Challenge #3 – Dulce Vida Organic Tequila (Blanco)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 22, 2015

Dulce Vida SAM_1532

Dulce Vida Organic Tequila is the only 100° proof, 100% organic tequila (also free from additives of any kind) in the world. As well as being 100% organic, this spirit 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).

During the tasting flights for the 2015 Rum Howler Margarita Challenge, the Dulce Vida stood out from the crowd as the light earthy quality which I noticed when I sampled the tequila neat manifested itself as a light smoky flavour in the Margarita cocktail. In fact more than one of my judges asked me later if I had slipped a smoky mezcal in with the tequila. I had not of course, but the observation was astute as the Dulce Vida certainly carries a light mezcal-like character into the cocktail experience.

My jurors were quite smitten (as was I) and the result was that the Dulce Vida Organic Tequila shot all the way up to the number 3 position in my Margarita Countdown.

Here is a link to my recent review published just six months ago:

Review: Dulce Vida Organic Tequila (Blanco)

” … The initial aroma from the blanco spirit is somewhat peppery with a sweet underlying agave scent. There is a light earthy quality which sits within the spicy pepper and some effervescent citrus notes which remind me of lightly sweet grapefruit and lime citrus zest. The breezes above the glass also carry impressions of fresh garden mint, some very mild licorice and a hint of the smell of wet grass just after a light rain shower …”

__________________________________________________________________________

Note: If you wish to follow my 2015 Rum Howler Margarita Countdown, I have created a summary page which will list all of the results as they are published. That page is available here:

2015 Rum Howler Margarita Countdown

Posted in Awards, Blanco Tequila, Tequila, Tequila Review | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on 2015 Margarita Challenge #3 – Dulce Vida Organic Tequila (Blanco)

Review: Centennial Canadian Rye Whisky Dark Chocolate

Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 11, 2015

Centennial_Dark_Chocolate_-_shadowHighwood Distillers is a Canadian spirits manufacturer in the town of High River, Alberta, which is situated 40 minutes south of Calgary, in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. When I visited their facilities a few years ago I could not help but notice how they make their spirits one batch at a time in a friendly, family style atmosphere. I was impressed and I have been a fan of Highwood ever since.

Recently I received a sample of their Centennial Canadian Rye Whisky (Dark Chocolate). The spirit represents a melding of their Centennial Rye Whisky with the a small dollop of Dark Chocolate flavour. The flavoured whisky is bottled at 35 % alcohol by volume.

Orange Chocolate Martini

Orange Chocolate Martini

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Centennial Canadian Rye Whisky Dark Chocolate

“… The Dark Chocolate Whisky has a pale mahogany colour which seems at odds with the rich dark chocolate scents which seem to ooze out of the rye and wood spices drifting in the breezes above the glass. The impact of the chocolate seems to be softened by an impression of fresh dairy cream within the make-up of its aroma …”

This spirit plays well with caramel, cola, coffee, and even (if you check out my recipe below) orange liqueurs. Those are some of my favourite flavours, so I think you can safely assume that my recommendation for the Centennial Dark Chocolate is quite enthusiastic.

Please enjoy my review which includes a nice dessert martini recipe which have I dubbed the Orange Chocolate Martini.

 

Posted in Canadian Whisky, Flavoured Whisky, Liqueur, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review, Whisky Liqueur | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Review: Centennial Canadian Rye Whisky Dark Chocolate

2015 Margarita Challenge #10 – Hornitos Plata Tequila

Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 5, 2015

HORNITOS SAM_1519

Hornitos Margarita

A few days ago I announced that my Rum Chums and I had been busy during the months of March and April sampling a variety of Blanco Tequilas cocktails (Margarita Cocktails to be exact) with the aim of determining which was the best agave spirit for the quintessential Tequila cocktail, the Margarita. Beginning today, on Cinco de Mayo, and then in a countdown format throughout the month of May, I shall publish the results. I am also going to take this opportunity to reassess many of my previous tequila reviews, with the aim of incorporating the newest information available about each brand and of course incorporating my groups deliberations into the review process. I shall begin my publications with the spirit my group judged as the 10th Best Blanco Tequila to use for mixing your Margarita Cocktails, Hornitos Plata.

And in fact, you may read my most recent review of the Hornitos Plata by clicking on the following link:

Review: Hornitos Plata Tequila

“… The entry into the mouth is spicy with more heated citrus zest than I noticed on the nose. In addition to citrus zest, the spicy flavour also carries black pepper, a touch of cloves and perhaps a little ginger across the palate as well …”

If you wish to follow my 2015 Rum Howler Margarita Countdown, I have created a summary page which will list all of the results as they are published. That page is available here:

2015 Rum Howler Margarita Challenge

Note: Hornitos Plata Tequila is a 100 % Agave Tequila produced by the Sauza Tequila Import Company. The Plata Tequila is said to be the creation of Don Francisco Havier Sauza (Don Franco), who is a third generation member of the Sauza family which founded the La Preseverancia, distillery. Incidentally, Don Franco is credited with helping the Mexican Government to establish the Jalisco region of Mexico as the exclusive origin of genuine tequila in 1974.

Please enjoy this new Rum Howler Challenge!

Posted in Awards, Blanco Tequila, Tequila, Tequila Review | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on 2015 Margarita Challenge #10 – Hornitos Plata Tequila

Fresh Squeezed Fruit and the Home Bartender

Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 6, 2014

The Presbyterian (a fine example of a tall soda filled cocktail)

The Presbyterian (a fine example of a tall soda filled cocktail)

In the last four years, I have constructed a lot of cocktails. My first attempts were concoctions where I (like most cocktail newbies) used soda (in the form of cola, 7-up and ginger-ale) as my main mixing ingredient. These drinks were long and tall, easy to make, and (the other cocktail geeks are going to hate me for admitting it) they are usually quite tasty and refreshing.

I still mix tall soda filled drinks; but if you read my cocktail menu you will find that these tall drinks no longer dominate my recipe section. Instead of lots of soda, I am now more likely to choose fresh squeezed fruit juice as the base for my cocktail constructions.

These fresh fruit juices used to intimidate me; now, I cannot really do without them. When I squeeze the juice from a lemon or lime and begin to mix my cocktail, I begin to feel like I am a real bartender, and when I mix this style of bar drink for my friends they actually think I am a cocktail guru!

Sometimes my friends actually seem mesmerized when I grab a lime, squeeze it on my juicer, strain it into my shaker, add some sugar syrup and Vodka and serve them a simple Vodka Daiquiri. Of course, I am no guru; my skills are rather limited. However, I have found that after a bit of practice I can now make a tasty short cocktail. And you can too., all you need is a little confidence, and to follow some simple guidelines.

The first guideline I follow when I make juice based cocktail is that I let the fresh squeezed fruit, not the alcohol spirit control the cocktail. Some fruits, like lemons and limes are very tart and/or sour, and they require the addition of a sweetener (like sugar) to bring them into balance. Other fruits, like oranges and pineapples are already sweet, and they require little, if any sweetener. Then there are the in between fruits like grapefruit which require some sweetness added, but not nearly as much as what the sour lemons and limes do. Over time I have developed a few simple ratios that work as good starting points for me. These ratios are as follows:

  • Sour fruits (lemons and limes) need 2 parts of sugar syrup to 3 parts juice.
  • Intermediate fruits (raspberries and grapefruit) need 1 part sugar syrup to 2 parts juice.
  • Sweet fruits (oranges and pineapple) require 1 part sugar syrup to 4 parts juice.

These ratios are not (of course) fixed in stone, they serve as guidelines. My suggestion is to start here, and then tweak the ratios based upon your preference for sweetness, and for the actual mixing spirit you are using.

(Note: I always use a 1:1 ration of sugar to water when I make my sugar syrup. If you use  a different ratio you should adjust the ratios above accordingly.)

Of course we need to know how much base spirit to add to make a good cocktail, and for this I have a few guideline ratios as well:

  • No more than 3 parts of a 80 proof alcohol spirit to 2 parts fresh juice.
  • Use less base spirit if it is an overproof spirit

If I choose to add a sweet liqueur like Curacao for added flavour:

  • One part liqueur to two parts fruit juice
  • Decrease the sugar by at least half the amount of sweet liqueur used.

Basically I am saying that if I add 1 ounce of a sweet liqueur to a cocktail recipe then I must decrease the sugar syrup amount by at least 1/2 ounce. Again I may have to adjust the sugar syrup in the recipe after the first try; but if I follow my guidelines I will always be close.

Using those simple ratios as my guidelines I can construct all manner of cocktails, and they almost always turn out great!

Let me step you through a likely scenario where the amount and the type of fruit I have on hand controls the cocktail which I build.

Lets say, I happen to have five friends over, and in my fridge I only have one orange, one lemon, and one lime, and on my bar is an open bottle of Herencia de Plata Reposado Tequila. Since I want each of us to enjoy the same cocktail, I am going to need to use all of the fruit. In this scenario, I would begin by using my juicer to squeeze out each fruit.

Let us pretend that I squeezed the lemon and lime juice into a measuring cup, and I ended up with about 100 ml (65 ml of lemon and 35 ml of lime) of juice. Easy enough, I add 65 ml of simple syrup into a convenient container with the fresh lemon and lime juice and I let that stand. Next I squeeze out the orange, and let’s say I get 100 ml of juice this time as well. Again, that’s pretty easy, I add the orange juice to my reserved container with the sweetened lemon and lime, and then add 25 ml of simple syrup. Now, the total amount of fresh juice I have in the container is about 200 ml, and the total sugar syrup is 90 ml.

SAM_0803  HereticWe can now add the alcohol spirit (in this case Herencia Reposado Tequila). In this case I keep my measurements simple and add 300 ml of tequila. Since I already used orange juice, I will leave my orange liqueur (triple sec) out of the recipe. This gives me about 600 ml of cocktail liquid to divide between my five friends and me. Easy enough I grab my cocktail shaker and fill it with ice. I stir the reserve container which holds my cocktail base and add just under 100 ml of the liquid into my shaker. I give everything a good shake and strain into a cocktail glass and then repeat for each guest.

When I finish all six of us have a nice fruity tequila cocktail to enjoy on my back deck. Since some of my friends still like those tall soda filled drinks, so I open a bottle of soda (Q-Soda in this case), and I let them to add a bit of soda to the cocktail if they desire. (Some of my friends may even add a bit of ice, and we all ejoy a great cocktail on a hot lazy Sunday afternoon. (See picture to the right.)

Keeping your bar drink simple is at the heart of the process of making a good cocktail. All you really need is fresh fruit, simple syrup, and a quality mixing spirit. The fresher the fruit, the better the final cocktail.

Here is the simplified recipe of the cocktail I just made:

2 oz Reposado Tequila
3/4 oz orange juice
1/2 oz Lemon juice
1/4 oz Lime juice
7/8 oz simple syrup
ice
soda (optional)

Add the Ingredients to cocktail shaker with ice
Shake until the outside of the shaker frosts
Strain into a cocktail glass
add a splash of soda (optional)
Garnish with a slice of fruit

As you can see the cocktail looks delicious. All that left now is to give it a name.

Any suggestions …

Posted in Cocktails & Recipes | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Review: Booker’s True Barrel Bourbon

Posted by Arctic Wolf on April 20, 2014

Booker's SAM_1112Booker’s True Barrel Bourbon is part of Jim Beam’s Small Batch Bourbon Collection. This collection is composed of Booker’s, and the previously reviewed Baker’s, Knob Creek,and Basil Hayden’s. The whiskey collection is considered by Jim Beam Distillers to be a selection of ‘ultra-premium’ bourbon whiskeys created to establish a high-end category for bourbon, and thus to appeal to the serious whiskey aficionado. The Booker’s Bourbon was named for Booker Noe, who in 1992 began to produce the Booker’s whiskey bottled “straight-from-the-barrel, uncut and unfiltered”.

Apparently, the Booker’s whiskey was originally produced in extremely limited quantities and reserved as special holiday gifts for his friends and family. This high strength ‘holiday bourbon’ was so popular with those who received it that the Beam company decided to produce it as a special bottling beginning in 1992.  Interestingly, Booker’s Bourbon does not carry a consistent age statement from batch to batch as barrels are chosen for character and flavour rather than for being a specific age. For that reason the age of a particular bottle can vary between 6 to 8 years old. Because the whiskey is bottled straight from the barrel the bottling strength can also vary (according to the website) between 59.5 % to 64.55 % per batch.

sam_1118-the-bestiary

The Beastiary

(The Beam Global team must be aware of my fondness for over-strength whiskey because my sample bottle checks in at the full 64.55%.)

You may read my full review by clicking on the following excerpt link:

Review: Booker’s True Barrel Bourbon

“… As I enjoyed the scents and smells which the whiskey brought forward, I was treated to even more richness as indications of dry fruit revealed themselves above the glass along with hints of treacle and pan roasted walnuts. There were also delightful aromas of leather chairs and rich pipe tobacco meandering into the breezes with undertones of smoky charcoal and dabbles of licorice mixed in. What I sense only a little of, is any undo astringency from the whopping 64.55 % alcohol within the glass. Maybe I have a bottle from a particularly outstanding batch; but air above my glass represents a masterpiece of whiskey goodness …”

My cocktail suggestion at the end of my review, The Beastiary, combines the goodness and savagery of Booker’s True Barrel Bourbon with a whopping dose of bitters in the tradition of the Alabazam Cocktail.

Please enjoy my both review and my cocktail which is not for the meek of heart. Happy Easter!

Posted in American Whiskey, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,506 other followers

%d bloggers like this: