Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 12, 2016
The Big Rig Craft Distillery opened their doors on October 17, 2015 and they already have an impressive line-up of spirits for sale at their boutique store within the facility. These spirits include their Premium Vodka and Wildrose Gin; their selections of White Dog Distillate (not whisky for three years yet); and their intriguing Sugar Beet Brum. As well, they are experimenting with an array of flavoured Vodkas some of which are bottled and ready for sale, and others which are in development.
Big Rig Premium Vodka is produced from a Rye and Red Winter Wheat mash on the company’s main still (Mighty Morley). This is a versatile still consisting of a large wash still, two columns, and a condenser. The columns are different sizes, a short 4-plate column is used for stripping the spirit (reducing the water content), and a tall 16-plate column is used for Vodka production. When the company refers to their spirit being distilled 16x, they are referring to the 16 plates in the tall column still. Their distillate must be distilled through each plate on the way up the column. After distillation the spirit is triple filtered and reduced to bottling proof (40 % alcohol by volume).
(More complete information regarding the production of Big Rig Premium Vodka can be found here: The Big Rig Distillery Tour.)
Here is a link to my review:
“… When I allow the vodka to warm up, its flavour profile becomes more interesting. The aroma begins to carry a firmer vegetal presence with impressions of banana and plantain mixing with lemony balsam. The flavour also brings a firmer (but not strong) vegetal component with flavours of banana and plantain sitting underneath the impression of grain spice and citrus …”
Please enjoy my review of this product from Alberta’s newest craft Distillery.
Posted in Vodka, Vodka Reviews | Tagged: Big Rig, Craft Distillery, Premium Vodka, Review | Comments Off on Review: Big Rig Premium Vodka
Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 11, 2016
The cocktail presented today is the modern 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 a regular vodka instead of the lemon flavoured variety.
Like most home bartenders, I do not have a ready supply of Vodka Citron, nor a suitable lemon vodka substitute in my home bar. However, I wanted to construct a Cosmopolitan which would be similar to the IBA formulation. I did this using my newly acquired Big Rig Premium Vodka, and tweaking the recipe by adding a touch of lemon juice and decreasing the lime juice by the same amount. I tried different garnishes, and decided that orange peel seemed to suit the overall flavour profile of the serving (the IBA formulation states a lime slice garnish).
Here is a delicious Cosmo, which you can make at home:
Big Rig Craft Distillery Cosmopolitan
2 oz Big Rig Premium Vodka
1 oz Cointreau
1 oz Cranberry juice
3/4 oz Lime juice
1/4 oz Lemon juice
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
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 a chilled glass
Garnish with Orange Peel
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!
Note: My review for Big Rig Craft Distillery Premium Vodka will publish tomorrow!
Posted in Cocktails & Recipes | Tagged: Big Rig Craft Distillery, Cocktails, Cosmopolitan, Premium Vodka | Comments Off on Cocktail Hour: The Cosmopolitan
Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 4, 2014
Sobieski Vodka is (according to their website) the number 1 selling premium vodka in Poland. It is a true Polish Vodka distilled on a multi-column still from 100% Dankowski rye which was harvested in the low-lying Mazovia (Masowse) region of Poland. The spirit was named ‘Sobieski’ to pay homage to King Jan III Sobieski (1629 – 1696) who is generally regarded as the last great King of Poland whose spirit of indomitable will remains even today as an integral aspect of the Poland’s national character.
When I sampled Sobieski for the first time, I had several friends over, and we tasted the Vodka as part of a private tasting event which included 2 other Vodkas each representing a similar style, but each at a different price range. The aim of the tasting was to see whether we could taste the difference between economy, premium and ultra-premium spirits in a relaxed almost-party like setting. (The three Vodkas included in the tasting were, Khortytsa Platinum Vodka (priced at $17.95), Sobieski Vodka (priced at $25.95), and Belvedere Vodka priced at ($48.95). The prices given are based upon current LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario) listings.)
After the tasting event, I continued my examination of each spirit putting each brand through the paces of my Vodka Review Methodology. This is of course the review for Sobieski vodka imported into Alberta by the Western Canadian distributor Charton Hobbs who provided my sample bottle for this review.
You may click on the following excerpt to read the full review:
“… When I threw back a shot of Sobieski, I was very pleased at how clean and smooth the spirit tasted. When served well chilled, the Vodka displayed no burn at all, only a nice spicy glow which heated the palate lightly and slowly crept down the throat …”
I hope you enjoy my review which includes a nice cocktail recommendation, my own Yellowbird of Sunshine, which mixes Sobieski Vodka with lemon juice and Maraschino liqueur (and tastes absolutely delicious).
If you are interested in a direct comparison the previously published review for Khortytsa Platinum Vodka can be found here.
Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Vodka, Vodka Reviews | Tagged: Cocktail, Polish Vodka, Premium Vodka, Sobieski, Vodka, Vodka Review, Yellowbird of Sunshine | Comments Off on Review: Sobieski Vodka
Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 12, 2013
The Rum Howler had another great year tasting Vodka in 2013 as it seems like producers from all over the world have been sending me samples for review upon my website. My quirky style of vodka review appears to have struck a chord with these producers, especially those in Eastern Europe who have told me that my willingness to bring the gastronomic experience into my review process is much appreciated. The willingness of foreign producers to send me samples in spite of the huge difficulties they can experience in dealing with Canadian Customs and Excise means that I had an unusually strong group pf spirits for this years Vodka Awards.
As is the case each year, all of my Rum Howler Awards are based upon side by side tastings within each category of spirit. I taste the spirit neat, and I also mix a few cocktails with each spirit. This year, with the very best spirits, I also compared each spirit with various food pairings in my efforts to determine the very best.
All spirit samples which I receive to review on my website are automatically considered for my awards. I do my review, and then I set aside the remainder of the spirit for the end of the year judging. I also receive additional industry samples specifically for these awards. The competition was particularly fierce this year, and it is time for me to reveal the recipients of my 2013 Rum Howler Awards for Excellence in the Production of Vodka.
These Awards are for the best Vodka Spirits I encountered in the year 2013!
Posted in Awards, Extras, Flavoured Vodka, Vodka, Vodka Reviews | Tagged: Flavoured Vodka, Premium Vodka, Rum Howler Awards, Super Premium Vodka, Ultra premium Vodka, Vodka, Vodka Reviews | Comments Off on The Year in Vodka (2013 Rum Howler Awards)
Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 22, 2012
According to the website information, Beluga Noble Russian Vodka is manufactured in a remote area of Siberia, reported to be 300 km from the nearest large settlement. The vodka is produced from grain alcohol (some of the alcohol may be produced from malted grain), and purified Siberian spring water. Even though artesian spring water is naturally pure, for this Vodka, it must also undergo a double filtration, through quartz sand and a special silver filter. After distillation, a third stage of purification involves a 10.5 meter coal column filter which is composed of birch charcoal. Prior to bottling, the vodka is rested 30 days. This rest period apparently allows the molecular components within to stabilize allowing for a smoother more velvet-like mouth-feel and taste.
Interestingly enough, Beluga vodka also contains other special ingredients (in extremely small quantities) such as honey, oat extract, and Silybum Marianum (milk thistle) extract. The addition of minute quantities of special ingredients is consistent with what I know of traditional European production methods where each distilled vodka has its own recipe and its own special ingredients. It is these special ingredients used in very small proportions which contribute to the individual character of each Vodka. (By small quantities I really do mean small; typically these extra ingredients are measured in parts per million.)
Beluga Noble Russian Vodka has recently been introduced into my home Province of Alberta. It is a Premium Vodka which is priced to occupy the same market niche as Grey Goose and Belvedere. A bottle was delivered to me by Thirsty Cellar Imports, who are importing this spirit and I was asked to provide a review on my website.
Here is an excerpt from my review:
“… The nose is clean with faint wisps of lemon and spice. There is something else in the air as well, a very soft aroma which seems very vaguely sweet and herbal, and at the same time very vaguely like fresh cereal porridge (made with milk). As I sip the Vodka, I am very impressed. I taste very lightly sweet flavours of lemon and citrus zest as well as a very gentle spiciness. The aftertaste is vaguely sweet reminding my of honey or cane syrup, and I taste a very light maltiness which is very appealing… “
Here is a link to my full review:
Please enjoy my review of this new Premium Russian Vodka which includes recipe for a standard Vodka Martini, and my own Estate Cocktail.
Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Vodka, Vodka Reviews | Tagged: Beluga Vodka, Cocktails and Recipes, DrinkWire, Martini, Premium Vodka, Russian Vodka, Vodka | Comments Off on Review: Beluga Noble Russian Vodka
Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 2, 2012
There are subtle aromas and flavours which can be appreciated when Vodka is sipped or when it is consumed as a shot. As well, when served with good food, vodka has the ability to enhance the gastronomic experience by cleansing the palate between bites allowing you to taste each morsel more completely. When I review Vodka on my website, I try very hard to convey my appreciation of these subtle nuances of pleasure which Vodka can provoke. I think I am doing something right, because my Vodka reviews are amongst the most popular on my website.
This Year I have separated the Vodka Awards from the Tequila and Gin Awards to give them more prominence. All spirit samples which I receive to review on my website are automatically considered for my awards. I do my review, and then I set aside the remainder of the spirit for the end of the year judging. This year, for the first time ever, I also received additional industry samples specifically for these awards.
Here are the recipients of my 2012 Rum Howler Awards for Excellence in the Production of Vodka. These Awards are for the best Vodka Spirits I encountered in the year 2012:
Posted in Awards, Flavoured Vodka, Vodka, Vodka Reviews | Tagged: Premium Vodka, Rum Howler Awards, Vodka Awards, Vodka Review | Comments Off on The Year in Vodka
Posted by Arctic Wolf on August 23, 2012
The Khortytsa Distillery is located in the City of Zaporizhzhia, in the south of Ukraine. The facility is relatively new, its first distilled products were rolled out in December of 2003. According to the company website, the distillery uses only high quality grain spirits produced by Ukraine’s best factories for vodka manufacturing. Although the facility and the brand are relatively new, they have made a significant impact in the global market where today, Khortytsa is found in 85 countries worldwide.
The Khortytsa Brand was recently introduced into Canada, and I was recently asked by the local importer, Ukrainian Drinks Ltd. to provide a few reviews of some of their selected products.The second of these products which I sampled is the Khortytsa Premium Vodka.
Here is an excerpt from my review:
“… When I took my first full swallow of the Khortytsa Premium Vodka, I noticed that the light sweetness and soft citrus remain at the front of the delivery. Although the vodka has this initial softness, it also imparted some significant spicy heat to my palate and to the back of my throat after the full swallow. The Vodka is smooth all the way down the throat …”
You may read the full review here:
I have included a great new cocktail with the review, the Estate Cocktail.
Please enjoy the review and the new cocktail I have created. Cheers!
Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Vodka, Vodka Reviews | Tagged: Cocktails and Recipes, Khortytsa, Premium Vodka, Ukranian Vodka, Vodka, Vodka Review | Comments Off on Review: Khortytsa Premium Vodka
Posted by Arctic Wolf on April 29, 2012
Nemiroff Premium Vodka was introduced as an elite-class vodka when it first appeared in the Ukrainian market in March of 1999. According to the Nemiroff website, this premium vodka is produced from a triple distilled spirit which must undergo ten stages of purification/filtration. The final spirit is polished to for clarity with a specially prepared absorbent. As with all Nemiroff Vodkas, only natural ingredients and are used in its production.
I received a sample bottle, and was asked to review the Nemiroff Premium Deluxe Vodka the local importer of Nemiroff Vodka here in Alberta, Canada.
Here is an excerpt from my review:
“… The nose of the Nemiroff vodka when served at this temperature displays a very mild lime citrus with touches of bread dough and a few vaguely sweet and minty scents above the glass. When the Vodka is introduced to my mouth it coats my tongue and my palate with a nice creaminess, and the flavour matches the nose, especially with those light wisps of lime citrus). A spicy grain-like warmth fills the mouth and back of the throat upon swallowing. There is a lingering aftertaste of lime soda….”
You may link to the full review here:
Please enjoy the review, and the suggested cocktails which I have provided!
Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Vodka, Vodka Reviews | Tagged: Nemiroff, Premium Vodka, Ukranian Vodka, Vodka, Vodka Review | Comments Off on Review: Nemiroff Premium Vodka
Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 25, 2012
Zirkova Vodka is a relatively new Vodka brought to the market here in Canada by Multiculture Bevco owners of the Slava Ultra Premium Vodka and Zirkova Vodka brands. Although this company is based in Oakville, Ontario, the Zirkova is an authentic Ukrainian Vodka produced in the Cherkassy region of Ukraine at the Zlatogor Distillery from rye and wheat grain. This Premium Vodka is four times distilled with only the ‘center cut’ of each distillation brought forward to the final spirit.
I spent a little time with John Vellinga at the Rocky Mountain Food and Wine Festival this past fall. He is the founder of both the Zirkova and Slava Vodka brands and the CEO of Multiculture Bevco. I found that Mr Vellinga is passionate about his Vodka, and this passion was evident in our discussions as he went to great lengths not only in educating me about his Vodka production, but he also poured me several shots and cocktails to demonstrate the character of both of his Vodka brands in the glass.
I was given a bottle of Zirkova Vodka by the local distributor, River Valley Beverage Group for the purpose of a review here on my website. Here is an excerpt from my review:
“… The Zirkova is not as creamy as some of the more recent vodkas my tasting group have tried. It is, however, very clean upon the palate, and as I swallowed this first sip, it was very clean in the throat as well. A mellow rye-spice ‘heat’ is present in my throat after I swallow. I detect no bitterness, only a very light aftertaste of rye and a delicate impression of lemon-lime flavour of citrus zest… “
Here is a link to the full review:
As well I have included a recipe for the Rustic Breeze, a cosmopolitan style cocktail with a nice raspberry twist.
Please enjoy the review and the cocktail recipe!
Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Vodka, Vodka Reviews | Tagged: Cocktails and Recipes, Premium Vodka, Ukranian Vodka, Vodka, Vodka Review, Zirkova | Comments Off on Review: Zirkova Vodka
Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 24, 2012
Highwood Vodka is a triple distilled wheat Vodka produced at the Highwood Distillery in High River, Alberta, situated near the foothills of the Rocky Mountains just 30 minutes south of Calgary. This vodka follows the recent trend of low-priced premium vodkas which take up the lion’s share of the market here in Alberta, Canada.
I used my Vodka Review Methodology, putting this spirit through the same paces as I have done for the higher priced spirits which I have reviewed. It turns out that the Highwood Vodka stands up to its higher priced competitors quite well.
Here is an excerpt from the resulting review:
“… There was very little aroma apparent as we raised our shot-glasses to our noses, light wispy bits of starch and grain perhaps, and maybe a touch a citrus zest in the air. As the vodka covered my tongue, my first impression was that this is a rather soft vodka which carries a nice bit of rye-like spice forward. I also seemed to be able taste just a hint of that lime citrus which I had noticed in the aroma…”
Here is a link to the full review:
I have included a a nice cocktail with this review, The Kamikaze.
Please enjoy the review and the accompanying cocktail!
Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Vodka, Vodka Reviews | Tagged: Canadian Vodka, Cocktails and Recipes, Highwood Vodka, Premium Vodka, Vodka, Vodka Review | Comments Off on Review: Highwood Premium Vodka