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Posts Tagged ‘Vodka’

Cocktail Hour: Gin and Tonic Vesper

Posted by Arctic Wolf on August 8, 2016

Orthydox

Gin and Tonic

The weather has been warm recently, and I found myself wanting to make a nice cold Gin and Tonic. On this particular day I was feeling adventurous and wanted to try an experiment that I had been mulling for some time. I wanted a Gin and Tonic; but I wanted to challenge myself by mixing the serving with a gin which I had previously deemed as being unsuitable for that particular libation. That gin was Tanqueray Rangpur.

Tanqueray Ranpur is a relatively new spirit in the Taqueray family. When I reviewed it last year, I stated that I thought the spirit possessed more than just a passing resemblance to the new “American Style” of gin. This was because within the spirit, the juniper is held in check and other botanicals (in this case strong citrus flavours) are allowed greater expression. Frankly this ‘American Style’ is not a direction I prefer; I like my gin to have a firm juniper presence reveling in the flavour of the berry which gives the spirit its name, especially if I am making a Gin and Tonic. In the case of the Rangpur Gin, I felt that a strong flavour of lime zest would spoil my G & T cocktail. (Lime zest is derived from the lime peel not the lime juice.)

I grabbed my bottle of Rangpur Gin from the shelf, and then (feeling a little like James Bond) I grabbed a vodka bottle as well, in this case Iceberg Vodka. My aim was to use the vodka in the serving to dampen the firm flavour of lime zest while at the same time keeping the alcohol strength of the mixed drink the same as it was before. In essence I was ‘vespering‘ my Gin and Tonic (see post on the Vesper Cocktail here).

G & T Vespet SAM_2735

Gin and Tonic Vesper

After a few tries, I developed a recipe I was quite happy with.Although the resulting Gin and Tonic Vesper was not nearly as juniper forward as would be the case in my usual gin and tonic cocktail, the final serving was nevertheless, refreshing, and the lime zest push from the Rangpur Gin was held in check.

Gin and Tonic Vesper

1 1/3  oz Tanqueray Rangpur Gin
2/3  oz Iceberg Vodka
1/4  oz Fresh Lime Juice
1/8  oz Sugar Syrup
Ice
Q Tonic
Cucumber chunk

Add the first four ingredients into a rocks glass
Stir and add ice
Fill with Q-Tonic
Garnish with cucumber

Enjoy Responsibly!

Note: 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!

If you are interested, you may read my reviews for Tanqueray Ranpur Gin and Iceberg Vodka by clicking the links below:

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Review: Tanqueray Rangpur Gin

Review: Iceberg Vodka

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Enjoy my vespered cocktail and my reviews, Chimo!

Posted in Cocktails & Recipes | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Review: Shadow in the Lake Vodka

Posted by Arctic Wolf on August 3, 2016

Cosmo SAM_2700Legend Distilling is a small craft distillery in the heart of B.C. Okanagan Wine Country. Owner’s Dawn and Doug Lennie moved to Naramata 11 years ago and witnessed the progression of the wine business happening all around them. They were already running their own businesses, but had a dream of working together to build a new company they could share. Whiskey was always been a passion of Doug’s and he had also been watching what was going on with craft distilling in the US. Both Dawn and he decided that spirits would be a great business to bring to the community as a compliment to all the great wines available around them. For Dawn and Doug, offering something new in the area was key. This included their unique location along the Naramata Bench, as other distilleries were being located in more industrial areas.

The Distillery’s flagship Vodka  Shadow In the Lake Vodka which pays homage to the legendary beast Ogopogo. The spirit is produced from 100 % wheat grain grown in the South Peace area of British Columbia which is ground on site at the distillery. It is produced one batch at a time using the distillery’s 3000 litre mash tun and 600 litre hybrid pot still which has one 4 plate column and one 16 plate column attached.

Here is a link to my newest Vodka Review:

Review: Shadow in the Lake Vodka

“… The Shadow in the Lake Vodka was slightly thickened at that cold temperature, and when I brought my shot glass to my nose I noticed the spirit a light vegetal aroma creeping out of the glass. There was also a very light grainy spiciness and a pleasant mint-like scent rising into the breezes …”

Please enjoy my review and the accompanying cocktail suggestion, the Cosmopolitan.

Chimo!

 

Posted in Vodka, Vodka Reviews | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Review: Three Point Vodka

Posted by Arctic Wolf on August 2, 2016

Vodka Daiquiri SAM_2699Eau Claire Distillery opened as Alberta’s first craft distillery in the summer of 2014. The facility is located 35 minutes southwest of downtown Calgary in the picturesque Hamlet of Turner Valley. The name ‘Eau Claire’ has historical significance in Alberta, meaning ‘clear water’, and is representative of the clear water from the nearby Rocky Mountains that is used as the water source of the distillery.

The folks at Eau Claire pride themselves in sourcing locally farmed ingredients, including grains and potatoes from neighbouring farms. Each ingredient is secured from suppliers who are known and respected in Alberta’s agriculture profession. In addition to the direct from the farm suppliers, Eau Claire has a special connection to the land through its own, unique stable of plough horses. Horse farmed grain is a part of the Eau Claire story and culture. It was founder David Farran’s weekend pursuit of traditional horse farming that led him to establish Eau Claire in the first place. A number of the distillery’s products will be made with ‘horse farmed grain’ using agricultural methods dating back to the settlement of Alberta.

Eau Claire’s Three Point Vodka was launched in June 2014 and was the first spirit to be commercially distributed by the distillery.

Here is a link to my latest Vodka Review:

Review: Three Point Vodka

“… The Three Point Vodka was slightly thickened at that cold temperature, and when I brought my shot glass to my nose I was very surprised by the firm aroma which had climbed into the breezes. My guests at the tasting noticed it too and we spent considerable time debating what we had encountered …”

Please enjoy my newest Vodka Review which includes a nice cocktail suggestion, the Vodka Daiquiri.

Chimo!

 

Posted in Vodka, Vodka Reviews | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Cocktail Hour: The Paper Lion

Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 8, 2016

This genesis of this recipe can be traced all the way back to 1933 when Arthur Tarling created a simple gin recipe which won a cocktail competition in jolly old England (Source: 1937 Café Royal Cocktail Book, Coronation Edition). The recipe he created, the Red Lion, mixed equal parts gin, orange liqueur, and a combination of lemon and orange juice. In most recipes I have seen, a dollop of grenadine is used as the sweetener which gives the cocktail a pale red hue. Tarling’s recipe has stood the test of time, and it can usually be found in the gin section of most good cocktail books.

Last year, I tweaked the Red Lion Cocktail, changing the ratios slightly and swapping the grenadine for simple syrup. Of course the cocktail lost its pale red colour and the name no longer suited the cocktail. Thus I renamed my tweaked version, The March Lion and published the recipe as part of a gin review at the beginning of March when the real March Lion (the constellation Leo) was beginning to dominate the southeastern sky each evening. (This spring if you are star-gazing, take note of the very bright star just under the March Lion. That bright star is the largest planet in our solar system, Jupiter, and this spring and summer the gas giant travels with the Lion across the sky.)

Paper Lion SAM_2383This spring I bring you another “Lion” recipe using that same combination of gin, orange liqueur, lemon juice and orange juice. However, this year I wanted to rein in the flavour of the gin without taming the cocktail. In the manner of James Bond, I swapped a portion of the gin for vodka thus retaining the alcohol punch, but bringing the firm gin flavour down a notch. My new construction deserved it own name, and after giving things a little thought, I decided upon the Paper Lion.

(If you are wondering about the James Bond reference, take a little time and research the Vesper Cocktail. In a manner of speaking, I have “Vespered” the Lion.)

The Paper Lion

1 oz Death’s Door Gin
1 oz Death’s Door Vodka
1/2 oz Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Orange Juice
1/4 oz Sugar Syrup
ice
Lemon slice for garnish

Add the first six Ingredients into a cocktail Shaker with ice
Shake until the outside of the shaker frosts
Strain into a chilled cocktail glass
Garnish with an orange slice

And of course 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!

Please note: My gin reviews continue tomorrow with Death’s Door Gin.

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

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 29, 2015

RH-winner2015There seems to be a divide among vodka producers. While most producers, particularly in North America and Western Europe continue to value purity above all else, a small but growing movement (which started in Eastern Europe) of allowing the vodka spirit to express a certain level of flavour is gaining momentum. I have always maintained that there are subtle aromas and flavours which can be appreciated when Vodka is sipped or when it is consumed as a shot, and it seems that some of the producers within Eastern Europe have adherents to this philosophy as well. Hopefully this movement will continue to grow.

When I review Vodka on my website, I try very hard to convey my appreciation of those subtle nuances of flavour and pleasure which the spirit can provide.

As for those Vodka Reviews, they continue to be among the most popular upon my website. And I must admit that reviewing vodka the way I do is certainly fun. The process and methodology I utilize where my friends are invited to participate as we sample and share both cocktails and food pairings with the Vodka spirit allows me to incorporate not only my views of taste and quality, but also my friends observations.

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 may also mix a few cocktails with each spirit. 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 include those samples which were provided in the previous year so as to have a larger field to judge, and I may receive additional industry samples specifically for these awards.

Here is a link to my Vodka Awards Page:

The 2015 Rum Howler Awards – The Year in Vodka

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#14 Beluga Noble Gold Line Vodka (Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 11, 2015

Beluga Noble Gold Line Vodka is an exclusive ultra-premium Vodka, and according to the Beluga Website, it is manufactured from malted spirit and pure Getreidemalz Siberian spring water. Even though artesian spring water is naturally pure, for this Vodka, the spring water must also undergo an extra filtration for an even higher level of purity. After being distilled five times, the vodka is enriched with special ingredients such as rice extract and golden root (rhodiola rosea) extract.

Beluga Noble Gold Line SAM_1887The 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.)

After all of this, the Vodka is rested for 90 days before bottling. This rest period apparently allows the molecular components within to stabilize allowing for a smoother more velvet-like mouth-feel and taste.

Here is a link to the review of the best Vodka I have ever tasted, and the #14 spirit on my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown of the best spirits I have ever tasted.

#14 – Beluga Noble Gold Line Vodka

“… The first taste was lightly sweet and lightly spicy with a flavour I would describe as soft and clean. Hints of lemon tantalized my mouth, and I seem to taste mild hints of bay leaf and thyme, and perhaps an ever so light impression of ginger. As the vodka warmed, the flavours increased in strength; but they never become more than vague impressions. It is almost as if I feel the flavour rather than taste it …”

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

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# 36 Belvedere Unfiltered (Rare Diamond Rye) Vodka

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 19, 2015

Belvedere Vodka is (according to their website) “the world’s first luxury vodka“. It is a four-time distilled spirit produced in the Polish town of Żyrardów from Dankowski rye and water pulled from Belvedere’s own underground artesian wells. I first tasted the new Unfiltered Belvedere Vodka at a recent Martini Seminar hosted in Edmonton by Ali Dedianko, the Belvedere Vodka Global Ambassador.

Dry Vodka Martini SAM_1606At the seminar Ali described the Belvedere Unfiltered spirit as a ‘whisky drinkers vodka’ which was produced to allow the flavour of the Dankowski Rye to shine through. This is because the spirit is produced exclusively from Dankowski Rye grain grown on a Single Estate on one selected Polish farm. (It has its own terroir, if you will.) Furthermore the new Vodka, after being distilled four times, is bottled without filtering (at 40 % Alcohol by Volume) to ensure that the rye flavour within the vodka is not lost.

Here is a link to the review of the #36 spirit on my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown.

#36 – Belvedere Unfiltered (Rare Diamond Rye) Vodka

“…When I brought the chilled vodka to my nose I could detect light aromas of  fresh-baked rye bread combined with a lovely milk chocolate scent. I was surprised that the aroma was so firm as the Vodka was very well chilled. As the Vodka warmed, the spicy rye grain seemed to unravel itself from the lightly sweet chocolate giving me another olfactory dimension to enjoy …”

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

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#42 Wyborowa Exquisite Vodka

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 13, 2015

Wyborowa Exquisite is the Premium version of Wyborowa Vodka and it is produced in Turew, which is a single estate distillery in Western Poland. It is distilled using 100 % Dankowslie Slote Rye Grain. This particular grain is said to give the final spirit a creamy consistency and sweet, nutty note. The grain used to produce Wyborowa Exquisite vodka comes from the fields surrounding the traditional rural distillery. Rectified spirit of excellent quality is diluted with water from a deep spring.

Wyborowa E SAM_1720The Wyborowa Exquisite was one of the very first Vodka spirits I reviewed upon my website. I loved it at once, and upon re-tasting the spirit for my Top 100 Spirits Countdown, I fell in love with it all over again.

Here is a link to the review of the #42 spirit on my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown.

#42 – Wyborowa Exquisite (Wodka)

“… The initial aroma of the vodka presented tantalizing glimpses of rye spices with just a hint of pine and citrus. These impressions were reinforced on my palate although the ghostly flavour impressions seemed to vanish as quickly as they appeared. The Vodka was not as creamy as some of the more recent premium vodkas I have tried. It was however cleaner in the mouth, and as it is swallowed the finish in the throat was clean as well …”

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

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#72 Nemiroff Lex Vodka

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 14, 2015

Lex is the Super Premium Vodka from Nemiroff which was introduced to in Ukrainian Markets in 2003. It is a very interesting premium vodka spirit produced from grain alcohol which has been aged in wood for six months. The spirit undergoes eleven stages of purification, and then the resulting vodka is enhanced with aromatic spirits from natural oats and the Linden blossom. According to the Nemiroff website, the recommended manner in which to enjoy the Lex Vodka is to sip it slowly, savouring its unique qualities neat. Complicated cocktails and/or drinking the Lex as a ‘shot’ style vodka is not recommended.

Nemiroff LexOf course as you read my review you will see that I disagree (and I also think that spirits companies should perhaps refrain from suggesting to the consumer that he or she should limit the ways in which to enjoy their spirits). As well as being a great sipping vodka, I found that the Lex Vodka was also a great ‘shot-style’ vodka and an even better cocktail spirit.

Here is a link to my review of the #72 entry in my 2015 Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown.

#72 – Nemiroff Lex Vodka

“… The initial aroma of the vodka presented tantalizing glimpses of a spicy grain in combination with a warm sweetness and a mild lemon citrus. I am thinking that this sweet lemon citrus must be the Linden Blossom which the Nemiroff website says is evident in the aroma of the vodka …”

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

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#84 Pristina Vodka

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 2, 2015

Pristina Vodka is a quadruple distilled wheat Vodka produced in High River, Alberta in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains just south of Calgary. I have been a fan of Highwood Distillers for a while now; but I was not prepared for what greeted me when I opened a sample bottle Highwood’s Pristina Vodka. Maybe it was the uninspiring bottle and label, or maybe it is just a case of us Canadians being a little too self-conscious to believe we can be as good as everyone else in the world. Whatever the reason, when I put the Pristina in a flight of Vodka samples at a tasting where it was up against an Authentic Russian Vodka called Black Stallion, an Authentic Polish Vodka called Alchemia Czysta, and a popular super premium Vodka made in France called Grey Goose, I was not expecting what happened.

Pristina Vodka TonicWhat happened was that every person at my tasting chose the same Vodka as their favourite, and every person at that same tasting said it wasn’t even close. That favourite, the clear head and shoulders winner without reservation in everybody’s opinion, was of course the Pristina Vodka from Highwood Distillers. Pristina is a gem of a Vodka which deserves far more attention from Vodka lovers than what it receives.

Here is a link to my review of the #84 Spirit in my Rum Howler 2015 Top 100 Spirits Countdown:

#84 – Pristina Vodka

“… I was happy to taste no vegetal tones and to feel no burn at all in my throat. The swallow was clean and completely smooth. The back of my mouth received a mildly spicy warmth; but my throat felt no heat, even with a substantial swallow of the Pristina Vodka. This reaction was consistent amongst those who tasted the Vodka with me. There is a warming of the throat that occurs; but it is a sort of spreading warmth that feels good, not a burn that climbs down the throat. As well, there was not any sort of cloying metallic aftertaste …”

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

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