The Rum Howler Blog

(A Website for Spirited Reviews)

  • Top Rums of 2017

  • Top Canadian Whiskies of 2017

  • Cocktails and Recipes

    Click Image for Awesome Recipes

  • Industry Interviews


    Click the Image for Great Interviews with the Movers of Industry

  • The Rum Howler Interview (Good Food Revolution)

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

  • Advertisements
  • The Rum Howler Blog

  • Copyright

    Copyright is inherent when an original work is created. This means that the producer of original work is automatically granted copyright protection. This copyright protection not only exists in North America, but extends to other countries as well. Thus, all of the work produced on this blog is protected by copyright, including all of the pictures and all of the articles. These original works may not be copied or reused in any way whatsoever without the permission of the author, Chip Dykstra.
  • Rum Reviews

  • Whisky Reviews

  • Gin Reviews

  • Tequila Reviews

  • Vodka Reviews

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 2,061 other followers

  • Subscribe

  • Visitors

    • 11,367,506 pageviews since inception
  • Archives

  • Follow The Rum Howler Blog on

A Valentine Suggestion: Cosmo for Two

Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 11, 2019

Valentines is only a few days away and my cocktail suggestion this year is the Contemporary Classic, the Cosmopolitan, which according to the IBA (International Bartenders Association) is a cocktail made with Vodka Citron (lemon flavoured vodka), Cointreau (orange liqueur), Cranberry Juice, and freshly squeezed Lime Juice.

The serving is by no means consistent, and if you order a Cosmo (as the bar drink is frequently referred to) you will most likely receive a variation on the recipe usually using an unflavoured vodka, a sweetener, Cranberry juice and lime juice. An orange peel garnish is also quite popular, (the IBA formulation states a lime slice garnish).

Like most home bartenders, I do not have a ready supply of Vodka Citron, nor a suitable substitute in my home bar. However, I wanted to build my Valentine’s Cosmopolitan with a light influence of lemon flavour as in the official IBA formulation. I did this by using a recently acquired bottle of Smirnoff No. 21 Vodka and tweaking the recipe with a touch of lemon juice while decreasing the lime juice by the same amount. I decided that for Valentine’s Day a raspberry garnish would be an interesting twist.

Here is my Valentine recipe (built for two) of the Contemporary Classic Cocktail!

Valentine’s Cosmopolitan for Two

3 1/2 oz Smirnoff No. 21 Vodka
1 1/4 oz Cointreau
1 1/4 oz Cranberry juice
1 oz Lime juice
1/4 oz Lemon juice
1/4 oz Simple Syrup (1:1 ratio)
Fresh Raspberries

Add the first six Ingredients into a cocktail Shaker with ice
Shake until the outside of the shaker begins to frost
Strain the cocktail into two matching chilled glasses
Garnish with fresh raspberries.

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

Have a Happy Valentine’s Day



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

Bitter(s) Review: Bittermens Boston Bitters

Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 8, 2019

Bittermens Boston Bittahs were formulated in the summer of 2008 from a combination of combination of citrus & chamomile. The formulation was originally called “Summer Bitters” but the name was changed to Boston Bittahs later that year as the new flavour combination celebrated both the return of summer and a return to Boston after 14 years.

According to the company website:

It’s citrus, citrus, citrus and more citrus, supported with a heavy dose of chamomile. We think it smells like summer. Try it in your favorite fizz, sour or bright tropical drink. It works extremely well with pisco and scotch as well.

Here is a link to my thoughts regarding Boston Bittahs:

Review: Bittermens Boston Bittahs

“… I was glad when I discovered that Bittermens recommended Boston Bittahs in fizz style drinks and citrus cocktails as this meshed with my observations. Tall Rye and Ginger-ale drinks, Tom Collins and Palomas, and shorter ‘Gimlet’ style cocktails all seem to work with Boston Bittahs …”

Please enjoy the review and my suggested cocktail (the Boston Patriot) at the conclusion.


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

Review: The Irishman Founder’s Reserve

Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 6, 2019

Bernard and Rosemary Walsh began producing their own independent Irish Whiskey brands in 2007 with the introduction of The Irishman 70 (aka The Irishman Original Clan in the USA) and The Irishman – Single Malt. In 2009 they expanded the portfolio with the introduction Writers Tears, a boutique brand which was created to bring additional nuance to the Irish Whiskey category. Although these brands are distilled and aged by a third-party distillery, Bernard and Rosemary recently opened the Walsh Whiskey Distillery and began to produce their own new-make spirit in 2016. (See note below for an important change with respect to the Walsh Whiskey Distillery and the Writer’s Tears and The Irishman brands.)

The subject of this review is Walsh Whiskey’s flagship brand The Irishman Founder’s Reserve. This is a direct descendant of The Irishman 70, made to the same recipe of 70 % Single Malt Irish Whiskey and 30 % Single Pot Still Whiskey (with no column distilled whiskey in the blend at all).

Here is the link to my full Review:

Review: The Irishman Founder’s Reserve

“… The immediate nose brings a nice combination of fine oak and grain spices forward with hints of ginger and orange peel in the breezes. This is quickly followed by nutty barley grain with aromas of hazelnut, almond, burlap and leather. A light sweep of vanilla with hints of baking spice (cinnamon and nutmeg) works its way into the air above the glass as do light impression of poplar and willow …”

I hope you enjoy the review, please stay tuned as next week I will take a look at the Writers Tears Red Head Single Malt Irish Whiskey.


Editor’s Note:


The Directors of Walsh Whiskey Distillery have decided to split the business by separating out the existing drinks brands business, built on the Writers’ Tears and The Irishman premium and super-premium Irish whiskeys, from the distillery business at Royal Oak, in Ireland’s County Carlow, effective January 25, 2019:

Current sales, marketing and distilling objectives are being fully met, however the Irish and Italian Directors differ on how to develop the combined business into the future. 

This change will result in the Irish directors taking full control of the existing drinks brands business built on the Writers’ Tears and The Irishman brands that are among the most popular premium and super-premium Irish whiskeys in the world being sold in 50 countries worldwide. Consumers of Writers’ Tears and The Irishman portfolio of brands are assured of their uninterrupted availability. This business will continue to trade under the name Walsh Whiskey.

Illva Saronno will take full ownership of the distillery, which is renamed “Royal Oak Distillery”. Illva’s objective is to further enhance Royal Oak as a centre of excellence in Irish whiskey making by continuously improving its technology and processes, producing all three styles, Malt, Pot and Grain under one roof, enhancing the visitor experience and achieving recognition as one of the best quality Irish whiskey producers in the market.

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

Walsh Whiskey launches 7 brands in LCBO Whisky Shop

Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 4, 2019

A Walsh Whiskey Feature will launch 7 brands in LCBO Whisky Shop on February 7, 2019:

  • Writers’ Tears Red Head
  • Writers’ Tears Copper Pot Cognac Cask Finish
  • Writers’ Tears Cask Strength
  • The Irishman Founder’s Reserve
  • The Irishman Founder’s Reserve Caribbean Cask Finish
  • The Irishman Single Malt
  • The Irishman Cask Strength

Established in 1999, Walsh Whiskey is a producer of the premium triple-distilled Irish craft whiskey brands – The Irishman and Writers’ Tears.

Bernard Walsh, founder, is a farmer’s son from County Tipperary, a landlocked rural area that’s home to mountains, rivers, lakes and farmland.  A mere 100 northeast kilometers away, one can find the town land of Clorusk and within, Royal Oak, a small village in County Carlow and the home of Walsh Distillery (now Royal Oak Distillery)

Bernard and Rosemary Walsh began producing their own independent Irish Whiskey brands in 2007 with the introduction of The Irishman 70 (aka The Irishman Original Clan in the USA) and The Irishman – Single Malt. In 2009 they expanded the portfolio with the introduction Writers Tears, a boutique brand which was created to bring additional nuance to the Irish Whiskey Category.

Recently I was sent a media kit from Woodman Wines & Spirits who represent Walsh Whiskey interests in Ontario. I have decided to publish a timely series of reviews introducing several of Walsh Whiskey Spirits during the LCBO launch and running through to St. Patrick’s Day.

The first review for the The Irishman Founder’s Reserve will publish on Wednesday just before the launch.


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

Cocktail Bazaar: Allspice Dram and the Appleton Maroon Swizzle

Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 1, 2019

I get sent a lot of recipes from media and spirits companies who either want me to publish them here on my website, or just to peak my interest in a particular product. Recently a few recipes which have come my way require a specific liqueur (Allspice Dram) which is (as near as I can tell) almost impossible to find in my locale. One recipe in particular which was sent to me several months ago (the Appleton Maroon Swizzle) looked so good that I went on a mission to find Allspice Dram just so I could make one.

It turns out Allspice Dram is a liqueur made with lots of Allspice and a little Cinnamon. It seems to be a spirit which would be right up my alley as it is highly recommended as a complement to aged and dark rums in tiki style cocktails.

Although my research had indicated to me what Allspice Dram was, I still couldn’t find it in any stores. So I thought to myself, maybe I can make some at home. Luckily for me, there are many recipes online (if you look for them), and after reading them over I sort of melded the information together and came up with my formulation. I am not sure how close this is to the real thing; but I do know that when I finished my version of Allspice Dram, it seemed to work very well in my cocktail, the Appleton Maroon Swizzle.

Here is how I made my Allspice Dram.

Allspice Dram

1 1/2 Cups Old Sam Demerara Rum
1/4 Cup Crushed Dry Allspice Berries
1 Large Cinnamon Stick
1 Vanilla Bean
1 1/3 Cup Water
2/3 Cup Demerara Brown Sugar

Crush Dry Allspice Berries into large pieces
Add Old Sam Demerara Rum and the crushed berries into a large canning jar
Seal the jar tightly and shake to mix thoroughly
Allow the mixture to sit for about 1 week
Break the Cinnamon Stick into 3 pieces and add it to the steeped mixture
Add one Vanilla Bean as well
Seal the jar after mixing thoroughly
Allow the mixture to sit for 1 more week
After the second week strain the mixture though a fine sieve to remove the large pieces of spice
Strain one more time through a fine filter (a coffee filter should work)
Bring the water to a boil and add the Demerara Sugar to make a weak Demerara Syrup
Add the Demerara Syrup to the strained allspice and cinnamon infusion
Allow the mixture to sit for one more week.


Of course now that I had made my key cocktail ingredient, it was time to make the Appleton Maroon Swizzle.

Here is the recipe:

Appleton Maroon Swizzle

1 1/2 oz Appleton Estate Signature Blend VX Jamaican Rum
1/2 oz Demerara Sugar Syrup (1:1 ratio)
1/4 oz Allspice Dram
1 oz Fresh Lime Juice
Long Strip of Naval Orange Peel and
Mint Sprig for garnish

Rub orange peel along rim of a rocks glass and then squeeze some zest into the glass
Add the four ingredients with crushed ice into the glass and swizzle with a swizzle stick
Add more ice to the top
Garnish with a long orange peel down the side of the glass and a mint sprig

Enjoy Responsibly!

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

That was a lot of work for the sake of one cocktail, then again I have a nice bottle of home-made Allspice Dram which I can use for many more.


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

%d bloggers like this: