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Posts Tagged ‘Gin’

Cocktail Hour: The Sentimental Lady

Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 23, 2016

When I began to explore mixed drinks in a more serious way, my wife purchased a large cocktail book, 1001 Cocktails (Alex Barker compiler) for me to draw inspiration from. I poured over the recipes seeing which ones I might like, and more importantly, which of those that I could also make at home with my small collection of ingredients. To my dismay, most of the recipes called for strange liqueurs, and ingredients which I knew very little of, and many of these ingredients seemed to be used only a few times in the entire book. I certainly was not going to run out and purchase them for the sake of one or two cocktails which I might not even enjoy.

This experience influenced me greatly, and if you pour through my recipes (here) you will find that a common theme to almost all of them is that the home bartender does not need to purchase fancy ingredients which they will have no further use for after enjoying their bar drink.

Having said that, Alex Barker’s compilation of recipes was not without merit for the home bartender. Here and there, (in almost every drink category) were a few recipes I could actually make with my meager bar selection. When I was studying the gin recipes Alex provided I noticed he had several recipes for ‘Lady’ cocktails:  The Lady, The Green Lady, The Fair Lady … you get the idea. His recipe for The White Lady caught my eye. It was a simple recipe mixing Gin with Lemon Juice and Triple Sec. I mixed one, decided it was too tart, so I added enough sugar syrup to suit my taste, and named my tweaked creation Lady of the Empire. It was my first ‘Lady’ Cocktail.

Sentimental Lady SAM_2352Recently when I was playing with Poli Marconi 46 Gin, I fell into the idea of constructing a Margarita Style cocktail using gin rather than tequila as the cocktail’s base. I realized suddenly, that I had made another ‘Lady’ cocktail. All that remained was to give my latest construction a name. It just so happened that a particular song by Bob Welch was playing in the background …

The Sentimental Lady

2 oz Poli Marconi 46 Gin
1/2 oz Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao
3/8 oz Lemon Juice
3/8 oz Lime Juice
3/8 oz Sugar Syrup
Lemon Slice

Place the five ingredients in a metal cocktail shaker with ice
Shake vigorously until the outside of the shaker begins to frost
Strain into a chilled cocktail glass
Add a Lime Slice for Garnish

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!

Note: Tomorrow I will be publishing my review for the excellent Poli Marconi 46 Gin.

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Review: Ferdinand’s Saar Dry Gin

Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 21, 2016

Ferdinand'sFerdinand’s Saar Dry Gin is produced at the Avadis Distillery in Wincheringen in the tri-border region of Germany, near the border of Luxembourg and France. This is wine growing country, especially famous for the semi-sweet Riesling dinner wines which, when I was a youngster, seemed to be present at every wedding I attended and almost all major occasions. It is not surprising then, that Master Distiller, Andreas Vallendar has chosen to infuse his dry gin with Slate Reisling Wine.

The gin draws its name from Royal Prussian District Forester, Ferdinand Geltz who was the historical co-founder of the VDP Mosel-Saar-Ruwer growers’ group. Within its recipe are 30 botanicals, all of which have apparently been hand-picked either by the distillery staff or by the producer from which the botanicals have been acquired. (Directly behind the distillery are quince trees; lavender grows in the fallow vineyards; and lemon-scented thyme is grown in the Distillery’s own garden.) And, as mentioned earlier, topping everything off is the wine infusion which uses hand selected harvest wines from the large Saarburger Rausch vineyard site.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Ferdinand’s Saar Dry Gin

“… The predominant juniper flavour is subdued slightly in the delivery as the floral flavours reminiscent of iris, rose petal and lavender take the lead. Bits of lemongrass and menthol cool the palate slightly, and then citrus flavours of lemon and lime (with a touch of orange) come along in behind. The juniper although subdued is not devoured (it is just dampened slightly allowing the other elements to shine) …”

Please enjoy this review which is the first of about a dozen new gin reviews which will be published over the next few months as I embark on an early season Gin Binge.

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Valentine Cocktail: The Red Lion

Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 13, 2016

This cocktail traces its roots all the way back to 1933 when Arthur Tarling of the London’s Café Royal created a simple gin recipe which won a cocktail competition in jolly old England. The recipe he created, the Red Lion, mixed equal parts gin, orange liqueur, and a combination of lemon and orange juice. In most constructions I have seen online, a dollop of grenadine is used as the sweetener which gives the cocktail a pale red hue which is perfect for Valentine’s Day.

Red Lion SAM_2425Tarling’s recipe has stood the test of time, and can usually be found in the gin section of most good cocktail books.

The Red Lion

1 1/2 oz Gin
1 1/2 oz Orange Liqueur (Grand Marnier)
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
3/4 oz Orange Juice
3/8 oz Grenadine
Lemon twist

Add the first five Ingredients into a cocktail Shaker with ice
Shake until the outside of the shaker begins to frost
Strain into a chilled cocktail glass
Garnish with a lemon zest twist

And of course 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: Tomorrow I tackle the Presbyterian Cocktail made with Catto’s Rare Old Scottish Blended Scotch.

Enjoy the Valentine’s Weekend everyone!

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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


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#16 Citadelle Reserve Gin 2011 Edition (Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 9, 2015

Citadelle Gin has a history which stretches back to 1775 when King Louis XVI authorized two Frenchmen, Carpeau and Stival, to open a genievre distillery at the Citadelle in Dunkirk, which would serve as the Royal Distillery with an exclusive 20 year privilege.  The Citadelle Distillery produced about 1000 litres of genievre per day which was predominantly shipped in small casks for sale in England, where gin was very popular.

Citadelle Reserve Gin (2011 Edition) SAM_1879About 200 years later in 1989,  Alexandre Gabriel of Cognac Ferrand, recognized that in France, gin had become more of an industrial spirit with much of the heritage and refinement lessened by time. He decided to create a handcrafted gin using small copper pots in the style and tradition of the Citadelle Distillery of old. Fortunately records existed of the old gin making techniques at the Citadelle Distillery, and after several years of research Alexandre Gabriel was successful in distilling an old style handcrafted gin under the Citadelle name. The Gin is produced at the Cognac Ferrand facilities in Cognac, France, and according to the Citadelle Gin website, it is produced under naked flame in small copper pot stills using a complex array of 19 botanicals.

Here is a link to the review of the best gin I have ever tasted, and the #16 spirit on my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown.

#16 – Citadelle Reserve Gin (2011 Edition)

“… The aroma which drifts upwards is light and elegant, and very appealing. Mild piny notes of juniper seem to lead into the breezes with scents of lemon and balsam arriving almost as quickly. The oak manifests itself as sandalwood with light rye spices which build up as the glass sits. There is also a soothing floral characteristic to the nose which reminds me of  lilacs in the springtime …”


You may follow my Countdown list of the 100 Best Spirits here: The Rum Howler 2015 – Top 100 Spirits

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

#59 The Botanist Islay Dry Gin

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 27, 2015

The Botanist is the creation of Bruichladdich Master Distiller, Jim McEwan. The spirit is produced upon an old Lomond Still in a distillation process which lasts 17 hours. During the final distillation, the core botanicals are placed into the pot of the still in a particular order after the distillate has been raised to a hand hot temperature. These core botanicals (I believe there are 9 in all) are steeped in the hot distillate for 12 hours before distillation begins.

Bot and Tonic SAM_1260Interestingly, in addition to the core botanicals, the gin also uses 22 unique Islay botanicals which have been gathered by hand from the hills and valleys which surround the distillery. These Island botanicals are placed in loosely woven muslin sacks and then into a casket within the lyne arm of the Lomond still where the vapours of the distillation will run through them near the end of the distillation process bringing a unique Islay character to the Botanist Gin.

Here is a link to the review of the #59 spirit on my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown.

#59 – The Botanist Islay Dry Gin

“… Although the juniper is firm, as the glass rests, the breezes above the glass fill with the subtle nuances of the other botanicals. Ginger-like spices tickle the nose along with hints of spicy cinnamon and cardamom. A light impression of mojito mint weaves its way into the breezes along with lightly bitter undertones of the broken tops of Russian Blue Thistle and the lightly sweet herbaceous tones of sweet clover blossoms …”


You may follow my Countdown list of the 100 Best Spirits here: The Rum Howler 2015 – Top 100 Spirits

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#76 Beefeater 24 (London Dry Gin)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 10, 2015

Beefeater London Dry Gin has roots stretching back to 1820, when the Chelsea Distillery was constructed on Cale Street and served as the first home for Beefeater Gin. The founder of the company, James Burrough, was not born until 1835, and it was not until about 1876 that the Beefeater brand was created from gin produced at the Chelsea Distillery. Over time the brand has changed locations twice, first in 1908 to Hutton Road, and then in 1958 to its present location in Kennington.

Beefeater 24Beefeater 24 and T SAM_1250  is advertised as being handcrafted with 12 botanicals which include grapefruit, bitter almond, orris root, Seville orange peel, rare Japanese Sencha tea and Chinese green tea. This makes the new Beefeater 24 gin more complex in construction than the flagship brand, Beefeater London Dry Gin which lists 9 ingredients. There are other differences as well, the Beefeater 24 is bottled at a higher proof (45 % alcohol by volume) which to me seems most welcome, and all of the ingredients are apparently steeped in grain alcohol for 24 hours prior to a 7 hour distillation where the master distiller makes an artisan cut by hand from the heart of the distillation run.

Here is a link to my review of the #76 entry in my 2015 Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown.

#76 – Beefeater 24 (London Dry Gin)

“… There is a ‘freshness’ rising out of the glass and I liken it to the scent of an alpine forest on a warm spring day when the snow melt is just beginning. The aroma of evergreen boughs and juniper jumps out of the glass pushed ahead by a crisp citrus-like aroma (grapefruit, orange and lemon in that order of dominance) …”


You may follow my Countdown list of the 100 Best Spirits here: The Rum Howler 2015 – Top 100 Spirits

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# 86 No. 3 London Dry Gin

Posted by Arctic Wolf on September 30, 2015

Berry Bros. & Rudd is London’s oldest wine and spirits merchant with over 300 years of experience and tradition to draw on. Use this expertise and a team of spirits experts they created No. 3 London Dry Gin. The recipe is based upon three fruits and three spices, and to those I shall speak to in the review. However, I shall say as a bit of foreshadowing, that sometimes artistry can be found in simplicity.

I first sampled the No. 3 Gin at a store called Lacombe Park Spirits in St. Albert, Alberta. I have come to know the proprietors, Karim and his brother Jeff, quite well over the past couple of years, and when Karim discovered that I was about to venture into a series of Gin reviews he insisted that I try one of his favourites.

London No. 3 SAM_1251I was convinced after one sip that this was a gin which I wanted to review, and after contacting the website for No. 3 London Dry Gin, Ross Hendry from Berry Brothers & Rudd, arranged for me to receive a bottle sample with of course the help of the local distributor Charton Hobbs.

Here is a link to my review of the #86 Spirit in my Rum Howler 2015 Top 100 Spirits Countdown:

#86 – No. 3 London Dry Gin

“… When that first sample was poured for me at Lacombe Spirits, the first thing I noticed was the assertiveness of the aroma around the glass. I commented to Karim (the proprietor of Lacombe Park Spirits) that this was exactly how I liked my gin to smell in the glass. The nose was full of juniper, but it was not sharp and unpleasant, rather it was full of aromatics which lifted the juniper scent out of the glass and then surrounded it with floral notes and a beguiling sweetness …”


You may follow my Countdown list of the 100 Best Spirits here: The Rum Howler 2015 – Top 100 Spirits

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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 »

Some Help on Father’s Day

Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 21, 2015

Dictador Insolent

Dictador Insolent

Today I thought I would give everyone who is scrambling at the last-minute a few suggestions for Father’s Day with the same list of ten spirits which I posted on my refrigerator for my wife and kids. Every item on my list is considered by myself to be a top-notch spirit, however each is available in my local market for less than 100 bucks. That may seem a high watermark for some, but I have three kids and they can chip in together.

Any gift from his list would make any reasonable Dad happy:

1)  Dictador XO Insolent Rum
2)  Ron Millonario XO Reserva Especial Rum
3)  El Dorado 21 Year Old Special Reserve Rum
4)  Booker’s True Barrel Bourbon
5)  Highland Park 12 Year Old Single Malt
6)  Gibson’s Finest Rare 18 Year Old
7)  Wyborowa Exquisite (Wodka)
8)  Botanist Islay Dry Gin 
9)  Corzo Reposado Tequila
10) H by Hine Fine Champagne Cognac (VSOP)

SAM_0699 Graham's Six Grapes

Graham’s Six Grapes

I realize that not everyone can or would want to spend 100 bucks. If you are more budget conscious, then here is a list of ten great budget priced spirits which would still make any Dad happy (including me):

1)  Bacardi 8 Yr Old Rum
2)  Appleton Estate Extra Old 12 Year 
3)  Diplomático Añejo
4)  Ninety “Decades of Richness” 20 Year Old Canadian Rye Whisky
5)  Bulleit Bourbon Frontier Whiskey
6)  Alberta Springs Canadian Whisky 
7)  Highwood Premium Vodka
8)  Broker’s Premium London Dry Gin (40 %ABV)
9)  Herencia de Plata (Reposado)
10) W & J Graham’s “Six Grapes” Reserve Port

The two lists are in no particular order, but I have tried to include a good range of spirit types with the emphasis on Rum of course. Hopefully this helps someone, if not for Father’s Day, then maybe for your own personal shopping.


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