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Archive for the ‘Howls’ Category

Howls are my main method of posting on the front page. They are my way of communicating to you the general information of the site.

Cocktail Hour: The Trolley Car

Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 21, 2016

Trolley CarSAM_2676Here is a new mixed drink for spiced rum which I created after being inspired by Tony Abou-Ganim’s popular modern cocktail, the Cable Car.

When Tony created the Cable Car, he started with the classic Sidecar which mixes Brandy with Lemon Juice and turned it on its head using Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum instead of Brandy in his recipe.

In my serving, I up the ante replacing the Captain Morgan Original Spiced rum with the Captain Morgan 100 Proof Spiced Rum. Then I step off in a new flavour direction replacing the Lemon Juice with Orange and Lime Juice as well as adding a dash of Fees Cocktail Bitters.

Because the inspiration for my cocktail was the Cable Car, I chose to call my mixed drink, the Trolley Car.

Trolley Car

1 1/2 oz Captain Morgan 100 Proof Spiced Rum
1/2 oz Bols Triple Sec
1 oz fresh squeezed Orange Juice
1/2 oz fresh squeezed Lime Juice
dash Fees Cocktail Bitters
3/8 oz Sugar Syrup (1:1 ratio)
Ice
Orange Peel

Add the first five ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice
Shake until the sides frost
Strain into a chilled cocktail glass
Garnish with a thin strip of orange peel

Please Enjoy Responsibly!

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!

Note: My trip through my Spiced Rum Shelf continues tomorrow with a review of Captain Morgan’s 100 Proof Spiced Rum.

Chimo!

Posted in Howls | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Super Bowl Cocktail #1: The Golden Gate

Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 3, 2016

240px-Super_Bowl_50_logoThe Super Bowl (I think it is officially called Superbowl 50) is coming up this Sunday at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California. An if you are like me you have booked the day off (even from the family).  I like to plop myself into my easy chair with a plate of chicken Wings and a nice bar drink. This year, Diageo (the large spirits conglomerate) sent me a few recipes (and the spirit samples to make them), and unlike a lot of the recipes which are sent my way, I thought that they were quite good and worth sharing.

The Golden Gate is obviously inspired by one of the most recognized symbols of San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge. which is located about 40 miles northwest of the home of Super Bowl 50, Levi Stadium. The cocktail is an “Old Fashioned” style serving which mixes Bulleit Rye with Blackberry Syrup and a few dashes of Bitters. Apparently Bulleit Bourbon  has a strong connection to the San Francisco Bay area through founder Tom Bulleit’s love for the city (at least this is what I have been told), and Bulleit Rye was created in direct response to requests from the San Francisco bartending community who wanted a full flavoured rye whiskey for their short and tall cocktail creations.

Hopefully you all like this cocktail as much as I do.

The Golden GateThe Golden Gate

2 1/2 oz. Bulleit Rye
1 oz  Blackberry Syrup (see recipe here)
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
ice

Place 3 of four large cubes of ice into a rocks glass
Add the Blackberry Syrup and bitters
Pour the Bulleit Rye over the ice
Stir and Serve

Enjoy Responsibly!

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

Note: If you haven’t checked it out, here is a link to my review of Bulleit Rye.

Chimo!

Posted in Howls | Comments Off on Super Bowl Cocktail #1: The Golden Gate

The Year In Gin – (The 2015 Rum Howler Awards)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 28, 2015

RH-winner2015Gin appears to be on the upswing, at least that is the impression I receive when I walk into the local liquor stores. I see dozens of new brands alongside the traditional favourites. One reason for all of these new brands of Gin is closely associated with the upswing another spirit entirely, and that spirit is whisky. Whisky has been increasing in popularity for many years now, and to meet the rising demand for whisky, new distilling capacity is being introduced in the form of new distilleries and micro-distilleries throughout North America (and elsewhere). Whisky (in most countries) must be aged for two to three years before it can be sold which means that start-up distilleries in need of cashflow produce and sell their own brands of gin and vodka (which do not need to age) so that they have at least something to generate income while the whisky ages in the oak barrels.

Coinciding with this phenomena is the ongoing cocktail revolution which shows no sign of abating. While Vodka was the spirit of choice at the beginning of the Cocktail Revolution, things are changing and more and more bartenders and home enthusiasts are discovering Gin. The juniper spirit, with its sharp piny aromatics is perhaps the perfect cocktail spirit to turn to when broadening the horizons of cocktail flavour.

Those who read my blog regularly know that I have joined the revolution and embraced gin as one of my go to cocktail spirits. I have embraced the Gin and Tonic, and recently discovered James Bond’s Vesper Martini.

And so with all that ado, it is time for me to pay tribute to the best Gin spirits I encountered in 2015.

Here is a link to my Gin Awards Page:

The 2015 Rum Howler Awards – The Year in Gin

 

Posted in Awards, Extras, Gin, Gin Review, Howls | Tagged: , , , | Comments Off on The Year In Gin – (The 2015 Rum Howler Awards)

A Tasting with Sonoma County Distilling (October 7th)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 2, 2015

Sonoma County logo 4The Sonoma County Distilling Company was founded in 2010 in the heart of Sonoma County. Their focus is Grain to Glass with every level of production handled in-house including the mashing and fermentation of grains, direct-fired alembic pot distillation, barrel aging, and packaging.

Please join Adam Speigal at the KegnCork next Tuesday October 6th between 7pm to 9pm. For only $10.00 you can taste his entire range of California Whiskey. Adam was born and raised in San Francisco, and is the Owner and Head Distiller of the Sonoma County Distilling Company. He started to learn his craft in 2008, and with his team of five, are now one of California’s only completely whiskey focused distilleries. Using handmade, direct-fired copper alembic pot stills and mash tuns, they produce Rye, Wheat, and Bourbon whiskeys which can be found in 9 states and 14 countries including France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Singapore. And now they are in Alberta too!

You can purchase your tickets on the KegnCork website under ” tastings”.

I hope to see you there!

Posted in Extras, Howls | Tagged: , , | Comments Off on A Tasting with Sonoma County Distilling (October 7th)

Inflategate?

Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 24, 2015

QuarterbackA few months ago I wrote a small piece about the NFL’s Deflategate controversy where I questioned the conduct of the NFL with respect to the entire Deflategate affair (see article here). The questions I raised concerning how the NFL and its officials handled the affair before the incident in question, during the game in which the supposed incident occurred, and afterwards remain unanswered, but recently two related incidents have given me cause to revisit what has transpired. The first incident was Tom Brady’s appeal of his suspension which was heard yesterday which of course makes this posting topical, and the second incident was the publication by the American Enterprise Institute of their analysis of the Wells Report. (See AEI Report here)

For those who do not know, the Wells Report was the investigative report provided to the NFL by Ted Wells which served as the basis for the NFL pressing forward with its punishment of the Patriots and Tom Brady for Tom allegedly (more probably than not) being involved in a scheme to deflate footballs just prior to their 2015 Conference Finals Game against the Indianapolis Colts.

The amazing conclusion of the American Enterprise Institute Report is that it is unlikely that the Patriots deflated the Footballs. The report casts serious doubts not only upon the interpretation and methodology used by Ted Wells, but also upon his  factual understanding of the underlying statistical analysis used in the report.

This might all be small news, except the American Enterprise Institute is the same body which provided a testimony to former National Football League (NFL) Commissioner Paul Tagliabue regarding the Bountygate scandal. Their testimony was reported to be a contributing factor in his decision to withdraw penalties against the New Orleans Saints players involved.

With respect to the Wells Report, The AEI analysis makes several startling revelations:

1) The Wells Report relies on unorthodox statistical procedures which were inconsistent with the actual statistical methodology the report describes.

The Wells Report’s conclusions are based primarily upon air pressure measurements of the footballs before the game and at halftime. What complicates things is that the NFL officials had two different pressure gauges which might have been used. These each gave slightly different readings. Even though the NFL official in charge reported using a specific pressure gauge before the game, Wells concludes he must have used the opposite gauge. The conclusions drawn from the Wells Report’s statistical analysis hinge heavily upon which gauge was actually used before the game and which gauge(s) were used at half time. Wells appears to believe his analysis takes all of this into account; unfortunately the math does not back this statement up.

2) In interpreting the results, the Wells Report failed to take into account other reasonable scenarios which would explain the findings.

Basically the report investigated only whether the evidence supported that deflation of New England Patriot footballs had occurred relative to the Indianapolis Colts footballs, and concluded that this relative deflation when it was found was evidence of tampering. It did not take into account an equally plausible theory that instead the Indianapolis Colts footballs may have been showing anomalous inflation. It turns out that the AEI report concludes that this was more likely scenario, and it suggests that this over inflation was caused not by the Colts, but through inconsistent treatment of the footballs by NFL staff when they were measuring the air pressures.

3) The Wells report ignored the predictions of the Ideal Gas Law and the basic physics of inflation and deflation relative to temperature change. 

It turns out that when basic physics is applied to the understanding of how footballs would inflate or deflate relative to temperature and ambient air pressure, the amount of deflation which was noted to have occurred with the New England Patriots balls was pretty much what science would have predicted given the circumstances. It also turns out that the Indianapolis Colts Footballs did not show the amount of deflation which would have been expected given the outside temperature. The AEI report concludes that the most reasonable explanation for this was that when all of the balls were tested during halftime, the Patriot balls were tested at the start of halftime when the footballs were still cold, and the Colt footballs were tested afterwards, after they had warmed up in the locker room. This hypothesis was backed up by the admission in the Wells Report that all of the Patriot balls were tested first (which would have been at the start of halftime), and that they had time to only test four of the Colts balls because halftime had ended. The AEI report states that allowing the Colts balls to warm up in the locker room by as little as fifteen minutes more than the Patriots balls was the probable cause for the relative inflation of these balls relative to the colder Patriots balls.

4) It is unlikely that the Patriots deflated the Footballs

The American Enterprise Institute Report concludes as follows:

The fact that the average pressure of the Colts balls was significantly above the prediction of the Ideal Gas Law, while that of the Patriots balls was not, is inconsistent with the findings of the Wells report. Our conclusion that the warming of the balls during halftime is the key factor overlooked in the Wells report is supported by the observation that the reading of the intercepted Patriots football, measured separately from the other Patriots balls, came in almost precisely at the prediction of the law. Under the hypothesis asserted by the Well report, the odds of this Patriots ball matching the Ideal Gas Law prediction were between 1 out of 3 and 1 out of 300. It is therefore unlikely that the Patriots deflated the footballs.

Posted in Howls | Tagged: , , , , | Comments Off on Inflategate?

The Deflategate Cocktail of Misery

Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 8, 2015

QuarterbackSome questions I have with respect to Deflategate:

1) Why, if as it appears from the Wells report the NFL was already suspicious of New England tampering with game balls, were the balls not tested before the game? 

If the integrity of the Conference Finals Playoff game was of any importance to the league office, should not have the NFL have made sure all balls were inflated properly at the beginning of the game? The outcome of the testing would theoretically have been the same, and if the balls were improperly inflated, it would have been exposed. This suggests to me that the integrity of the game was of secondary importance to the NFL. We can only speculate about what the primary aim of the NFL league office might have been.

2) Why, if 3 out of the 4 Indianapolis Colts balls tested at halftime were also deflated, was not every Indianapolis ball tested?

Apparently there wasn’t enough time to test all of the Indianapolis balls at half-time. Really … an entire half time expires and the NFL only has time to pressure test about 15 balls? And they stop testing when a similar trend of deflation is found within the group of Indianapolis game balls?

You would think that (if the NFL was really concerned about the integrity of the game), then 3 out of four Indianapolis balls under-inflated at half time would have warranted further investigation as well. Could they not have tested them after the game?

3) Why are teams even allowed to handle the balls prior to the game?

MLB Baseball requires the umpires to rub down the baseballs prior to the game and it is my understanding that neither team is allowed to handle them until the umpire releases each ball during the game. In light of the recent events, it seems rather ludicrous that the NFL had not taken similar pre-emptive steps to prevent a scandal like this from ever occurring.

4) Why did the Colts know that the balls might be tested, but not the Patriots?

I get it, you suspect the Patriots are tampering with the balls, and so you devise a plan to catch them. However, this is like a ref in hockey skating to one bench and telling the coach that he would be watching for a certain infraction closely and calling it by the book, but not telling the other team. This doesn’t pass the smell test of fairness. We want a level playing field, that must include equally transparent disclosure of information to both sides.

5) Is the NFL not aware that in their zeal to catch a team skirting beyond the edges of fairplay, that they appear to have trampled those same edges of fairplay much more aggressively?

Don’t get me wrong, if the Pats and/or Tom Brady broke the rules, they deserve punishment of some sort. But this whole incident has been mishandled by the NFL right from the start. They appear to have knowingly allowed the Patriots to play one half of Football with footballs they believe might have been tainted. They appear to applied a different standard of ball testing to the Patriots than they did to the Colts. Their own process of handling the games balls could have been changed prior to the events that transpired to ensure the game was not affected. And their own Commissioner promised that the investigation would also focus on how the NFL could have done things better, but it appears to have not even considered this possibility.

6) Am I wrong, or does this just smell like a league office completely out of touch with reality?

I am not saying the Patriots are innocent. What I am saying is that the NFL league office has to look themselves in the mirror and realize that their actions do not look well here. Because they appear to have acted hastily with an uneven hand, the controversy is sure to reflect as badly upon them as it does Tom Brady and the Patriots.

Comments Welcome!

Posted in Howls | 4 Comments »

Thank You for 2,000,000 visits in 2014

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 31, 2014

On My DeckThank you everyone, for making my website (The Rum Howler Blog) one of the most popular independent spirit review websites in the entire world!

According to the information provided to me in the 2014 Annual Report (sent to me by WordPress), The Rum Howler Blog received over 2,000,000 page views in 2014. In fact, the report tells me that if my website were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 86 days for that many people to see it.

It turns out that last year people from 222 different countries (and from all seven continents of the world) visited The Rum Howler Blog. I received a visit from Vatican City, and yes, I even had a visit from a viewer in Antarctica who apparently read my blog.

I decided to dig into the numbers, and when I checked my web stats at the independent web metrics site ALEXA, I was pleasantly surprised to see that according to their calculations I was ranked as the 350,000th most popular website in the word. Considering the sheer volume of websites out there (over 20 million), that is impressive. According to ALEXA, each person who visits my website spends on average 2 minutes and 23 seconds when they visit. Taking that information along with the information provided by WordPress (which indicates that each person who visits views (on average) 2.5 pages each time they visit), this (if my math is correct) means that a total of 114.5 million seconds of time were spent by various people throughout the world reading what I have written. That translates into 31,778 hours or 1325 days spent by my followers and casual visitors reading my reviews.

All of these numbers translate into a total picture which as of December 31, 2014 ranks The Rum Howler Blog as the most popular spirit review website in Canada; and also, one of the most popular in the entire world.

I guess I want to say …

Thank You!

Posted in Extras, Howls | Tagged: | 9 Comments »

Rare Dram Masterclass Features Glenfarclas 60 Year Old

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 23, 2014

glenfarclas 60Last April, J & G Grant launched the release of their new 60 Year Old Glenfarclas Single Malt Whisky with only 360 bottles available world-wide.  According to George Grant, Glenfarclas’ Sales Director and 6th generation of the Grant family:

“At a time when more and more distilleries are going down the no age statement route for their super premium products, we are delighted to be able to release this magnificent 60-year-old Glenfarclas. My grandfather started laying down stocks for the future way back in the 50s, so it is thanks to his incredible foresight that we are able to bottle this today.I’m sure he would have been as impressed by it as I am.”

In describing his 60 Year Old whisky, George Grant tells us that the spirit was matured in a first fill sherry butt and has a very dark rich mahogany colour. George goes on to say:

“It is surprisingly vibrant with lots of dried fruits, demerara sugar and spice coming through on the nose as well as the rich, oaky tannins that one would expect from a whisky of this venerable age. The sherry influence really comes through on the palate, with rich treacle, bitter coffee and espresso notes all making an appearance. The finish is the longest I have ever experienced – 20 minutes later you will still be able to taste the subtle nuances of this incredible dram.”

Fortunately for those of us who live in Alberta, a few of these special bottles have made it into our marketplace and George Grant has arranged a very special tasting featuring not only the Glenfarclas 60 Year Old Whisky, but also 3 special Family Cask Whiskies each paired with decadent appetizers on the evening of November 3rd at 8:00PM.

Tickets are available for the November 3, 2014 Glenfarclas Rare Dram Masterclass via telephone or email from:

Willow Park Wine and Spirits
10801 Bonaventure Dr SE Calgary
Telephone: 403-296-1624
Email: events@willowpark.net

Cost: $500.00 per ticket

I have been invited to the event, and if I can clear my schedule for that day, I will certainly do my best to attend!

Note: The Glenfarclas Distillery is located on the Recherlich Farm at Ballindalloch in the heart of Speyside. The Distillery was purchased by the Grant Family in 1865, and has remained in the control of the Grant Family for six generations up to the present day. In fact, Glenfarclas is one of only a few distilleries remaining in Scotland which is independently family owned and managed.

Posted in Howls, Scotch Whisky, Single Malt Whisky | Tagged: , , , , , , | Comments Off on Rare Dram Masterclass Features Glenfarclas 60 Year Old

Leave of Absence

Posted by Arctic Wolf on September 15, 2014

Here is just a quick note to let everyone know I will be back to writing reviews soon. Some family health issues have required (and still require) my attention and support, and so I have taken a brief Leave of Absence.

Posted in Howls | 12 Comments »

Q Tonic vs Schweppes

Posted by Arctic Wolf on August 3, 2014

Two and a half years ago, I published a comparative review of Schweppes Tonic versus a new upstart Tonic water which had just entered the Alberta market, Q Tonic.

It all started when I was visiting one of my favourite Liquor Stores, (Lacombe Park Spirits in St. Albert if you want to know), when Karim, who is one of the owners, asked me to try a Gin and Tonic with a new Tonic Water he had started to carry called Q Tonic.

I let him make me a small sample cocktail, and it was pretty good. In fact, I was intrigued enough to make contact with Jordan Silbert, the founder of Q Drinks and asked him if he would like to send me a sample and some information, especially as I had began to receive quite a few a few gin samples to review and a premium Tonic water seemed like a good idea.

My thought was that it would be fun to make some side by side cocktails with Q Tonic and Schweppes Tonic to see if I preferred one over the other consistently. Jordan agreed, and I received a few small bottles of Q Tonic in the mail shortly before Christmas. This was good because the gin samples were beginning to pile up, and I wanted to get at them.

So with four different gins, Beefeater 24, Citadelle Reserve, Port of Barcelona and Broker’s Gin, I set out over the next couple of weeks to test the Gin and Tonic Cocktail with both Q Tonic and Schweppes Tonic.

I published the results of this exercise in January, 2012 and you may read those results by following the provided link:

Comparative Review: Schweppes Tonic VS Q Tonic

Although my Schweppes vs Q Tonic comparison was published over two years ago, I thought it appropriate to revisit this publication as a sort of teaser for my next project, the Gin and Tonic Challenge! Throughout the month of August I will be examining about 15 different Gins I have collected in an effort to find the Best Gin for the quintessential summer cocktail, the Gin and Tonic.

Stay tuned ….

 

Posted in Howls | Tagged: , , , | 5 Comments »

 
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