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And the Best Rums of 2018 were …

Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 16, 2019

I hope everyone can forgive my tardiness and that this year I had to pair back my list of the best rums of 2018 from 100 to 50. It wasn’t that I did not encounter enough great spirits to fill the list, rather it was that I did not have enough time at the end of the year to complete the list (see here). In fact my time was compressed to such a degree that my list is publishing about a month after the fact. As I said, I hope you can all forgive me for my tardiness.

About the list, I have  tasted each of these rums within the past three years and all of them have been given a full review on my website. You may read these reviews by clicking on each spirit in the list which opens the review page for that cane spirit.

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Here is a link to my Countdown list of the best rums of 2018:

The Rum Howler Top 50 Rums of 2018

Please everyone, enjoy the list Responsibly!

Chimo!

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Posted in Awards, Extras | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

2018 Ends on a Bitter(s) Note

Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 3, 2019

The calendar has turned and more than a few people have been wondering what happened to the Rum Howler at the end of the year that was 2018. He was nearing the end of his Fall and Christmas Cocktail Bazaar and was about to publish his annual lists of top Rums and Canadian Whiskies, when suddenly The Rum Howler Blog went silent on December 12, 2018.

What happened?

The best explanation I can give you is that a perfect storm of circumstance caused the year to end on a Bitter note. (And strangely enough, that is not all bad.)

The beginnings of the 2018 disaster had its roots in a decision made 18 months previous when my Wife and I, decided it was time to build a new house which featured wheelchair accessibility for my youngest son as we were finding it increasingly difficult to meet his needs in what was then our current home (a two-story with no bath or bedrooms on the main level).  So we hired a builder, I helped to design the house, and we built it over the 18 months with a move in date scheduled for December 1 (ish) 2018.

Six weeks prior to the scheduled move, we contacted our telephone/television/internet provider (Telus) asking them to have the services moved over by December 11th.  At the end of November, I was nervous as Telus hadn’t contacted us or given any indication as to when the services were to be moved. So I called them, several times, and each time was given a promise that an Escalation Manager would contact me promptly to let me know the status of the install.

Making a long story somewhat shorter, I was finally contacted in mid December and told that services could not be moved until Springtime when the ground was thawed. It had something to do with the new area I had moved to being a fibre optic only neighbourhood. You would have thought Telus could have told me that in October, not after our move-in date.

The Rum Howler during happier times in Guyana

I think you figured it out. On December 11th, which was when my wife and I moved to our new house we were without that vital link to the blogosphere, the internet. I was able to post one more recipe in my Cocktail Bazaar which had been previous uploaded, but all of my remaining work was on my home computer, and with the Christmas Season in full swing at my retail store, I was not able to post from work either. The Rum Howler Blog unfortunately was silenced.

Enjoying Rum at my previous digs

However, all was not lost. I contacted Shaw Cable on December 12th, and they were able to schedule a hook-up for December 24th. Issues with the cable line caused the install to be delayed until December 31st and even today (January 3rd), our phones are still not working right. But I do finally have internet. So the reviews and cocktail recipes can finally be reignited.

There was a silver lining to all of this. My wonderful wife, Maureen, made a troubling Christmas Season better by presenting me with a Bitter Advent Calendar on December 1st. Each day from the 1st to the 24th I was given a small gift to unwrap and inside was a small bottle of bitters.

So during the coming year, I plan to review each of those small bottles giving you my thoughts and recommendations for each of the bitter flavours. With bitters becoming increasingly popular, the bitter reviews should be a welcome addition to my website.

So Happy New Year Everyone!

Sorry for the rather bitter ending to 2018, hopefully those bitter feelings will converted into something more positive this year.

 

 

Posted in Howls | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Christmas Cocktail Bazaar: Holiday Bliss

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 12, 2018

I am nearing the end of my Cocktail Bazaar which was inspired by Smirnoff Vodka as their US media team was kind enough to send me a plethora of recipes and samples to taste and experiment with. From those samples and recipes, I chose those which suited my skills as a home bartender to share with you, and I created a few of my own as well. My hope is that the recipes I have shared can be duplicated not only by professional bartenders, but also by my readers at home.

The holiday recipe I am sharing today features Smirnoff Peppermint Twist which was described to me as a deliciously cool flavoured vodka which features the taste of sweet candied peppermint. Peppermint Twist can apparently be served as a chilled shot or mixed into holiday-themed cocktails. I was sent quite a few recipes for Peppermint Twist and one of those which caught my eye was an indulgence called Holiday Bliss.

What I like about this serving is that it is not only relatively easy to create with the simple ingredients I have at home, it also features Don Julio Anejo Tequila as a complimentary ingredient. I have come to really enjoy tequila, and finding a new recipe to enjoy with the agave spirit was a delight.

Here is the recipe sent to me by the cocktail gurus at Smirnoff. It’s meant to be a holiday cocktail, but you can be forgiven if you want to indulge year round!

Holiday Bliss

1 oz. Smirnoff Peppermint Twist
1/2 oz. Don Julio Añejo Tequila
3 oz.  Chocolate Milk
Ice
Grated Cinnamon and Nutmeg

Add the first three ingredients into a Metal Shaker with Ice
Shake until the outside of the shaker begins to frost
Strain into a rocks glass and top with grated nutmeg cinnamon

Enjoy Responsibly!

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

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Don Julio is a 100% Blue Weber Agave Tequila made from agave grown in the highlands of Jalisco. The company was established by Don Julio González, who apparently began to examine the prospect of making his own Tequila in 1942. Don Julio Añejo is produced in small batches, aged in American white-oak barrels for eighteen months.

Here is a link to my previous review:

Review: Don Julio Anejo Tequila

“… The agave flavour is mellow accented by mild touches of white pepper, and the sweetness of a light caramel. I taste a very mild oak presence and an underlying honey-like sweetness which is very appealing …”

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Smirnoff Peppermint Twist is a limited seasonal offering from Smirnoff Co. bottled at 30% alcohol by volume. It features a ‘scratch and sniff’ bottle allowing you to enjoy the seasonal scent of peppermint and candy cane before you even open the bottle. You may read my full review of this flavoured vodka here:

Review: Smirnoff Peppermint Twist

” … The peppermint flavoured vodka is perhaps a touch on the sweet side, then again it is the flavours of peppermint and candy cane which are featured and the spirit would not be a true holiday spirit if it did not accurately reflect this sweetness …”

I hope you enjoy the review, Chimo!

 

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

Fall Cocktail Bazaar: Green Light District

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 9, 2018

I always enjoy it when media and spirit companies send me recipes to share here on The Rum Howler Blog, and since I began my Fall Cocktail Bazaar several weeks ago, I have received many more recipes than I can possibly publish is the short time frame I have allotted for this Bazaar. (Some of those extra recipes may show up later when I engage in other projects.)

You might wonder how I choose which recipes to share. As I indicated recently to the Smirnoff Media Team, I have a home bar, but I am not a professional bartender. So I prefer recipes which not only are easy to make at home, I also require that those recipes use ingredients I already have on hand.

Basically these are recipes which I expect my readers could also make at home without the need to run out to the store to gather exotic liqueurs or garnishes. As well I try to only publish recipes which (according to my palate at least) are enjoyable and tasty.

A recent recipe sent to me by the Bulleit media people is the Green Light District. This unusual recipe mixes Bulleit Rye, Creme de Menthe, Creme de Cacao, and Heavy Cream. The decadent serving can be mixed up in a matter of minutes, and it is a perfect after dinner treat to share with someone special. It is a little boozy, so please restrict yourself to one if you have to drive home.

Green Light District

2/3 oz Bulleit Rye
2/3 oz Creme de Menthe
2/3 oz Creme de Cacao
2/3 oz Heavy Cream
Ice
Sprig of Mint

Add Bulleit Rye into a metal shaker with ice
Add Creme de Menthe, Creme de Cacao and the Heavy Cream
Shake until the outside of the shaker begins to frost
Strain into a cocktail glass
Garnish with a Sprig of Mint

Please enjoy Responsibly!

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

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Note: Bulleit Rye Frontier Whiskey is bottled at 45% alcohol by volume and (according to the Bulleit  website) the spirit is a straight whiskey produced from a heavy rye mashbill (95 % rye) which also contains a small amount of malted barley (5 %).

Here is a link to my review:

Review: Bulleit Rye Frontier Whiskey

“… full of sappy new wood smells of both oak and cedar with accents of fresh rye bread. Dusty dry grain and honeycomb are evident as well. There is a sense of fresh tobacco with some light baking spices (vanilla, ginger and cinnamon) and maple syrup …”

Please enjoy my review, and continue to enjoy the cocktail Bazaar!

Chimo!

 

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

Christmas Cocktail Bazaar: Smirnoff Holiday Punch

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 2, 2018

Smirnoff recently unveiled four new Limited Edition festive ornament bottles for you to celebrate the holiday season with their iconic Smirnoff No. 21 Vodka.  And some more good news, each of the ornamental bottles are now filled with non-GMO Smirnoff No. 21 Vodka.

As I am well into the seasonal phase of my Fall Cocktail Bazaar I have decided to share this tasty punch recipe sent to me by the Smirnoff Media Team and created by Kendra Darling (Simply Darrling)

Smirnoff Holiday Punch combines Smirnoff No. 21 Vodka with combination of Autumnal Fruit flavours and Citrus Juices which are freshened with Sparkling Wine and garnished with Raspberry Sherbet. The recipe as shown serves 12, just double it for larger gatherings.

Smirnoff Holiday Punch

5 oz Smirnoff No. 21 Holiday Ornament Vodka
6 oz. Cranberry-Raspberry Juice
2 oz Pineapple Juice
10 oz Orange Juice
1 oz Lime Juice
12 oz Bottle Sparkling Wine
Raspberry Sherbet
Slices of Limes, Oranges and frozen Cranberries

Combine all the Juice in a punch bowl
Stir in the Sparkling wine and the Smirnoff No. 21 Holiday Ornament Vodka
Garnish with slices of Limes, Oranges, and frozen Cranberries
Place a ball of raspberry sherbet into a glass
Ladle punch into the glass

Enjoy Responsibly

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

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Note: Smirnoff No. 21 is a triple distilled spirit, produced on a large multi-column still from North American prairie grain and bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume. And just in time for the holiday season, Smirnoff No. 21 is now non-GMO (non genetically modified).

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

 
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