Pink Pigeon Rum Review and the Smoked Pigeon

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Pink Pigeon is named after an endangered bird native to Mauritius. At one time there were only 10 left in the world. The rum is distilled in the oldest distillery still in operation today in Mauritius.The vanilla is then handpicked … Continue reading

The Journey to Eden Begins with Gin and Rhubarb

Sometimes you want something that is simple to prepare, light, and refreshing for those hot summer days. Many people turn to Gin and Tonic as that classic summer sipper or a crisp white wine. For that reason I have taken Gin and Proscecco in order to create the:

The Journey to Eden
8 ozs London Dry Gin (Gordon’s)
3.5 ozs Rhubarb Syrup
2 ozs lemon juice
8 dashes Peach Bitters (Fee Brother’s)
2 dashes Grapefruit Bitters (Fee Brother’s)
12 ozs Prosecco (La Marca)

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Notes:
It is crisp, light and without being cloyingly sweet. The bitters dance in unison with the sparkling wine as it has notes of fresh summer peaches and ripe grapefruit. The rhubarb and gin unite, creating a uniquely satisfying flavor. It is like summer in a glass with both floral and fruity notes tickling your nose and soothing. A note on the Prosecco, it is a steal at around $12/750ml. It is light and crisp. The flavor is ripe and fresh, full of citrus, peaches, apples, and grapefruit with hints of spring flowers on the nose.

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Tequila Revolucion (Silver y Reposado) Review and the Oaxaca Old Fashioned

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Tequila Revolucion was established in 1994 by Juan Carlos Arav as a range of super-premium 100% Agave tequilas. The bottles are emblazoned with 2 pistols as a tribute to the Mexican revolution that began in 1910.

There are a full range of expressions available but I only received samples of the Silver and the Reposado. Up first for review is the Silver.

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Tequila Revolucion Silver
On the nose there are strong aromas of agave and light floral notes, backed up by subtle hint of citrus. Upon tasting, agave is present throughout with hints of vanilla, a light floral touch, and a hint of pepper in the background. The silver retails for approximately $40/750ml.

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Tequila Revolucion Reposado
The Reposado is aged for 10 months. On the nose there are still strong floral notes of agave. The agave is complemented by aromas of almonds, honey, vanilla, and oak. On the palate there is an oaky agave taste with a touch of herb and peppery spice. The Reposado retails for approximately $50/750ml.

And now some cocktails for your drinking pleasure:
The first drink is a wonderful take on the old fashioned offered at Mayheul in NYC. This is my reversed engineered version.
Oaxaca Old Fashioned #2
1.75 ozs Reposado Tequila (Tequila Revolucion Reposado)
.25 oz Mezcal (Del Maguey)
1 tsp Agave Nectar
3 Dashes of Peach Bitters
1 Dash of Orange Bitters
Shake all ingredients with the ice and strain into an ice filled low ball glass.
Notes:
It is smooth, a touch fruity because of the bitters, and a hint of sweetness from the agave to make the cocktail extremely easy sipping. The Mezcal lingers in the background adding it’s trademarked smokiness.

My inspiration for this next drink was the Kama Sutra created by Ronalldo Colli which appeared in an article on Sfgate.com.
Unbridled Fury
1.75 ozs Reposado Tequila
.25 oz Mezcal (Del Maguey)
.5 oz Green Chartreuse
Dash of creme de cacao
2 dashes of chocolate bitters
flamed orange peel for garnish
stir all ingredients with ice and garnish with flamed orange peel
Notes:
Green Chartreuse and chocolate are a proven combination. For that reason I decided to take the original recipe and add touches of chocolate and replaced the flamed lemon peel with a flamed orange peel which I feel works better with the chartreuse and chocolate combo. The flamed orange peel is essential in opening and lightening this drink up.

The next drink is a take on the margarita created by me, in which the simple syrup is replaced with 2 liqueurs and a touch of egg white is added to create a silky smooth mouth feel. I named it the Slight Detour because it deviates from the classic margarita.
A Slight Detour
1.5 ozs Silver Tequila
.75 oz lime juice
.5 oz Domaine De Canton
1 bar-spoon of St. Germaine
.5 oz egg white
Notes:
It’s a smooth, florally and spicy cocktail. The egg white smooths over and harmonizes all the flavors.

The last drink was created by Robert Rowland that I came across in the book Left Coast Libations.
St. Magnus
8 mint leaves
2 slices of Meyer Lemon
1.5 ox Silver Tequila
.5 oz Ginger Juice
.5 oz Agave Nectar Syrup (1:1)
.25 oz Lemon Juice
.25 Aperol
Ginger Beer
Very gently muddle the mint and the Meyer Lemon slices in the bottom of a double rocks glass. Fill the glass with ice. Add all the remaining ingredients except for the ginger beer. Stir and top with ginger beer.
Notes:
Agave nectar syrup is a simple mix of a 1 part Agave nectar with 1 part water. A complex, refreshing, and spicy short drink. It is essential to get a high quality ginger beer, such as that offered by Fever Tree.

For more drinks I’ve written about using tequila see my posts on the Mexican Squirrel, the El Diablo, and the Frostbite.

Disclosure: These were review samples that I received.

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Tap 357 Maple Rye Whisky Review and the Bitter Awakening

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For full disclosure I received this sample bottle from Van Gogh Imports.

Tap 357 is a Canadian Rye Whisky crafted from cask-aged 3, 5, and 7 year old rye whiskies blended with pure Canadian maple syrup. It is distilled four times before being aged in used bourbon barrels. It is then combined with “Canada 1 Light” maple syrup and left to rest until it is deemed that it is ready for release. Finally it is bottled at 81 proof.

Tap 357 pours a light golden straw color.

On the nose it evokes memories of Sunday morning breakfast with pancakes, smothered in butter and syrup. There are notes of maple and grain, with the maple being dominante.

The sweet maple flavor helps to mellow the spiciness of the rye, without overpowering it. There are notes of maple, brown sugar, and just a hint of grain.

Overall its a nice product, that is smooth and approachable. Some may find the sweetness of the maple overwhelming especially when drunk neat, but I do think that it works well in cocktails.

Tap 357 has a suggested retail price of $29.99 for a standard 750ml bottle.

You can’t have a bottle of booze without something to mix with it, so I offer you the:
Bitter Awakening
1.5 oz Apple Brandy (Lairds 7 Year)
.75 oz Tap 357
.25 oz Simple Syrup
2 dashes Fees Orange Bitters
2 dashes Fees Old Fashioned Bitters
Stir all ingredients with ice and strain over a large chunk of ice in an old fashioned glass

Notes:
The apple brandy and the sweet maple rye work well together creating a drink that evokes the aroma of baked apples. The bitters help to keep the drink from becoming overly sweet and unbalanced.

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44 North Huckleberry Vodka Review and The Royal Bloodline

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44° North Huckleberry Vodka is produced by the 44° North Distillery in Idaho. According to their website, it is the first vodka approved to wear the Idaho Potato Commission’s official seal. It is distilled from 100% Idaho potatoes, blended with sweet Rocky Mountain water, and infused with mountain huckleberries.

It is sweet and fruity on the nose with a rich berry smell. It doesn’t smell artificial, in fact it has a fresh and natural smell that entices you to take a sip. The natural smell carries through on the taste filling your mouth with a burst of berry flavor. It is silky smooth and well balanced, finishing with a warming sensation rather than a harsh burn.

It is on par if not better than some of the other flavored vodkas available from many of the major and more well known distillers.
I used the Royal Toast as my inspiration for the drink below.
Royal Bloodline
1.5 oz 44° North Huckleberry Vodka
1 oz Lillet Blanc
.5 oz Cherry Brandy (Cherry Brandy)
1 dash of Orange Bitters
stir all ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass
Notes:
The rich cherry brandy and light berry flavor of the vodka are balanced out by the complexity of the Lillet Blanc. The vodka also adds an alcoholic punch that helps to open up the other flavors and bring out the nuances of the Lillet.

The 2nd drink is called:
Black Magic
2 oz 44° North Huckleberry Vodka
.5 oz – .75 oz Coffee Liqueur (depends on the strength of your liqueur. the stronger the coffee flavor the less you need.)
1 tsp of lemon juice
shake and strain into an ice filled rocks glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.
Notes:
This one tastes just as you would imagine. It has a strong coffee flavor with a fruity background provided by the vodka. The lemon juice helps to brighten and lighten both of the stronger flavors and bridge the gap between them. Try this in place of your next black or white russian and let me know what you think.

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Comb 9 Gin Review and The Love Turned Bitter

Comb 9 gin is unlike any other gin on the market. While most gins are made with a grain based alcohol, Comb 9 is made from distilled honey.

Orange blossom honey is made into a light and dry honey wine, then distilled into vodka. This vodka comes out flavorful with notes of orange blossom, combating the common belief that vodka must be odorless and tasteless. The vodka base is then redistilled with 9 botanicals including: juniper, licorice, coriander, rose petals, galangal, and lavender. The honey floral base plays a supportive role that helps to unite the botanicals together producing a smooth finish.

This is a well made spirit that is well worth the money considering the time and effort that went into it’s production. Added to this, its the only gin on the market that uses honey as its base.

The first cocktail is a simple refreshing libation created by me just in time for the summer season.
Love Turned Bitter
2 oz Gin (Comb 9)
1 oz Aperol
.75 oz Grapefruit Juice
2 dashes of Orange Bitters
1 dash of Grapefruit Bitters
5 oz Ting
Shake the first 5 ingredients with ice and strain into a ice filled highball glass. Top with Ting and garnish with a grapefruit twist.
Notes:
The botanicals and orange blossom flavors of the gin combine well with the bittersweetness of the Aperol. The drink has a subtle candy like sweetness (reminds me of the original bubblegum flavor) that is kept in check by the Aperol and bitters. A great drink to sip on a warm summer day.

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The next cocktail was created by Kyle Davidson of the Violet Hour in Chicago.
Easy Out
1.5 oz Gin (Comb 9)
1 oz Grapefruit juice
.5 oz Raspberry syrup
.5 oz Aperol
.25 oz Campari
Combine all ingredients in mixing glass and stir. Strain over large ice chunk in rocks glass.
Notes:
Usually when you see a drink that contains citrus juice the instructions often call for shaking the drink. However, according to the creator he feels that stirring this drink creates a richer body. As always try it both ways to see which you prefer.
Campari and Aperol go great with grapefruit and combining this with fresh juice which helps to accentuate that flavor profile. The sweet and tart flavor of the raspberry syrup help to keep the bitter flavors from overpowering the drink. I tried subbing out the raspberry syrup for homemade hibiscus grenadine which adds sweet floral notes. Another refreshing cocktail.

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The Communist
1 oz Gin (Comb 9)
1 oz Orange Juice
.5 oz Cherry Brandy (Cherry Heering)
.75 oz Lemon Juice
Shake in an iced cocktail shaker and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Notes:
I came across this cocktail in the book: Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails by Ted Haigh.
Depending on the sweetness of your orange I would experiment with adding a touch of simply syrup (.25oz) or cutting down on the lemon by about the same amount. The drink has an interesting tart cherry flavor with botanicals of the gin in the background.

Behold the Origin of the Martini – The Martinez

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The Martinez has been around since the late 1880’s and has gone through an array of variations. All of them contain the same 2 essential ingredients: Gin and Sweet Vermouth, albeit in different ratios. The origin of this cocktail still remains a mystery, with no one person being able to claim the drink as his or her original creation. Despite its origin being clouded, it’s clear that in some respects it gave birth to the iconic martini. It is a wonderful drink that deserves to be enjoyed.

Martinez
2 oz Sweet Vermouth (Cinzano)
1 oz Old Tom Gin (Ransom)
1 tsp Maraschino or Curaçao (Luxardo)
1 dash of Aromatic Bitters
Stir all ingredients with ice
Stir all ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Notes:
I like the vermouth heavy version of yesteryear. The modern drinks tend to put the gin forward instead of allowing it to play a supporting roll to the vermouth. In some modern versions the proportions are 2:1 in favor of the gin.
The drink is sweet and aromatic, with the botanicals of the gin coming through without overpowering the vermouth. The maraschino lends a light touch of added complexity to the drink that is just discernible in the background. If using curaçao it adds a subtle fruit note. This would be a great cocktail to introduce someone to gin.

For another version check out:
Modern Martinez (Jamie Boudreau)
1.5 oz Sweet Vermouth
1.5 oz Old Tom Gin
2 barspoons of maraschino
2 dashes Fee’s Orange Bitters
Stir all ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass

The Mexican Squirrel: A Perfect Tequila Manhattan

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The Manhattan is one cocktail which allows for endless variations. It’s ratios can be adjusted to suit each persons individual taste and other base spirits can be substituted to create an entirely different drink, while still adhering to the character … Continue reading

Solera

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I came across the Solera Cocktail on the Imbibe website. It was created by Dominic Venegas.
This cocktail makes an excellent use of sherry.

Solera
2 oz Santa Teresa 1796 Rum (Ron Zacapa)
1 oz Lustau Palo Cortado Peninsula
.75 oz Taylor’s Velvet Falernum
2 dashes of Regans’ orange bitters
Stir with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Express the oils of an orange twist over the drink and drop in.

Notes:
The original drink calls for Santa Teresa 1796 rum. Unfortunately, I did not have any in my liquor cabinet, so I substituted it with Ron Zacapa 23. If you don’t have these particular rums, try and substitute another aged rum. If you don’t have the sherry, substitute with another sherry. The final taste profile of the drink will be different but you should get a glimpse at this drinks greatness.
There is orange on the nose due to the expressed oils floating on the surface of the drink. The richness of the rum and sherry are balanced out by the spiciness of the falernum and the bite of the bitters. The drink is a symphony of flavors that delights the palate and soothes the soul. A wonderful after dinner sipper.

Young’s Double Chocolate Milkshake

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Before any other frozen beverage such as the: slurpee or smoothie there was the milkshake. The earliest printed reference to the milkshake was in 1885, but the drink contained whiskey. Furthermore it was served as a health tonic as well as a delicious cold treat.
Ivar “Pop” Coulson is often credited as the inventor of the milkshake. In 1922 he added ice cream to the traditional malted milk and the milkshake was born. From there it’s popularity has skyrocketed and it continues to soar with new variations based on this same formula.
For this variation on the milkshake I decided to go back to the milkshakes roots and create an alcoholic version.

Young’s Double Chocolate Milkshake
8oz chocolate stout (Youngs Double Chocolate)
1.5oz rum (Brugal Anejo)
.5oz port (Noval Black)
2 dashes chocolate bitters
2 scoops vanilla ice cream (Häagen-Dazs Vanilla Bean)
Combine all the ingredients an blend until smooth. Pour into a chilled pint glass or whatever you have on hand and enjoy

Notes:
The beer really shines in this drink. The chocolate and maltiness of the beer combine well with the creaminess if the ice cream. The rum gives a little extra backbone to the drink with the port adding a touch of fruitiness on very the backend leading to a dry slightly bitter finish. You can’t go wrong with this. Try it and let me know what you think.

Have you ever tried Young’s Double Chocolate Stout? What’s your favorite milkshake.