Cana Brava Rum Review

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Cana Brava is the work of The 86 Co. which is made up of Simon Ford, Dushan Zaric & Jason Kosmos (founders of Employees Only), Malte Barnekow, and Kris Roth. Cana Brava is a 3 year old aged rum from … Continue reading

Mixology Monday (Mxmo) LXVI: Bein’ Green

Mixology Monday, the online cocktail party, has returned for another installment. This months party is hosted by Wordsmithing Pantagruel and the theme is: (it’s not easy) Bein’ Green. Here is the description:

With the warm days of summer now fading off into the distance in our rear view mirrors, let’s pay one last tribute to the greens of summer before the frosts come and our outdoor herb gardens give up the ghost for the winter. For our theme for this month, I have chosen: (it’s not easy) “Bein’ Green.” (Perchance due in no small part to my predilection for Green Chartreuse.) I’m giving you a wide berth on this one, anything using a green ingredient is fair play. There’s not only the aforementioned Chartreuse; how about Absinthe Verte, aka the green fairy. Or Midori, that stuff is pretty damn green. Crème de menthe? Why not? Douglas Fir eau de vie? Bring it! Apple schnapps? Uh…well…it is green. I suppose if you want to try to convince me it makes something good you can have at it. But it doesn’t have to be the liquor. Limes are green. So is green tea. Don’t forget the herb garden: mint, basil, cilantro, you name it – all fair game. There’s also the veritable cornucopia from the farmers market: green apples, grapes, peppers, olives, celery, cucumbers…you get the idea. Like I said, wide berth. Base, mixer, and or garnish; if it’s green it’s good. Surprise me. Use at least one, but the more the merrier.

The field was literally open to anything. With this in mind I really wanted to make a Japanese Garden from Bar High Five in Tokyo: “a mix of single-malt Nikka 10-year Yoichi whisky (only available in Japan), Midori Melon Liqueur, Suntory Green Tea Liqueur, and a prototype green tea bitters of Hidetsugu’s own creation”.

Instead I turned my trusty bottle of Green Chartreuse for inspiration and came up with the:

Hazy Morning
1.5 oz Reposado Tequila
.75 lime juice
.5 oz pineapple gomme syrup
.25 Green Chartreuse
Mezcal Rinse
Combine all the ingredients except the Mezcal with ice, shake, and strain into a mescal rinsed cocktail glass.
Notes:
Mescal, Tequila, Pineapple and Green Chartreuse all in one cocktail glass create one big happy family. Rich and silky with a touch of smoke.

The next drink is from the Imbibe website. In reality the original recipe, Put the Lime in the Coconut is actually for shaved ice and not a cocktail. Now its time to add some rum.
Siren’s Song
1 Cup Coconut Cream (Coco Lopez)
.5 Cup Lime Juice
.5 Cup Rich Simple Syrup (2:1)
Zest of 1 Lime
Combine the coconut cream, lime juice, simple syrup and lime zest, stirring well. Overfill a small cup or dish with shaved ice and drizzle with the coconut-lime syrup. Garnish with lime zest and a lime wedge. For my boozy boozy variation add:
1.75oz Lemongrass Infused White Rum (Oronoco) per serving.

Notes: A refreshing treat that takes you back to the warm days of summer. The lime really cuts through and adds a bright and zesty flavor with the lemongrass adding its soft touches in the background.

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7 Daiquiri’s in 7 Days: Royal Daiquiri


The Royal Daiquiri is a tasty twist on the original daiquiri. The proportions and preparation of my drink are different from the ones originally offered by Don the Beachcomber.

Crème Yvette is a violet, citrus, and vanilla liqueur that was first produced in the 1890′s. It went out of production but was revived by the Cooper Spirits Company, the makers of St.Germain. It is a combination of 4 berry fruits (blackberry, raspberry, cassis, strawberries) that is blended with dried violet petals. At the end of the maceration process honey and orange peel is added. It has rich sweet berry notes balanced out by a delicate violet flavor. Lingering in the background are touches of orange and hints of silky vanilla.

The Royal Daiquiri
2.5 oz Gold Rum (Ron Abuelo 7 Year)
1 oz Lime Juice
.75 oz Crème Yvette
1 dash of Orange Bitters
Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass filled with crushed ice.
Notes:
Despite the hefty amount of Crème Yvette the drink is not sickly sweet. The floral notes from the Crème Yvette add a nice delicate touch and the vanilla complements the flavors of the rum. There is a delicious berry aroma and flavor that makes you yern for the long warm days of summers.

7 Daiquiri’s in 7 Days continues with the: Look Normal and a bonus drink, the Freshman Daiquiri
If you missed yesterdays Daiquiri Post: La Florida Cocktail

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7 Daiquiri’s in 7 Days: La Florida Cocktail

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The original drink appears in Trader Vic’s Bartenders Guide from 1972 and is sometimes referred to as the Floridita Cocktail. The La Florida Cocktail is the creation of Constantine Ribailagualt and was one of the signature drinks of the La Florida bar in Havana, Cuba.

It’s name is strikingly similar to the Floridita Daiquiri but they are two different drinks. The daiquiri contains maraschino liqueur while the cocktail uses crème de cacao, sweet vermouth, and grenadine as the sweeteners. This particular version of the drink appears in the PDT cocktail book and is the creation of Jack McGarry.

La Florida Cocktail
2 oz Banks 5 Island Rum
.75 oz Lime Juice
.5 oz Crème de Cacao (Marie Brizard)
.25 oz Sweet Vermouth (Cinzano)
1 barspoon Grenadine (Hibiscus Grenadine)
Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lime wheel and enjoy.
Notes:
The drink is well put together and despite the .5 oz of Crème de Cacao the chocolate flavor is still subtle and interwoven with the herbal qualities of the vermouth. The final flavor is not one you would except but its delicious and well worth exploring.

7 Daiquiri’s in 7 Days continues tomorrow with the: Royal Daiquiri

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Mixology Monday – Equal Parts

So after a long hiatus Mixology Monday has returned. With a big thank you to Paul Clarke of Cocktail Chronicles for running it the past 6 years. Now the torch has been passed to Frederic Yarm of Cocktail Virgin Slut. The theme for this event, which is hosted by Frederic is as follows:

For this month, I have chosen the theme of equal part cocktails — those simple drinks where only one jigger is needed despite how many ingredients are added. These recipes have gained a lot of popularity as classics like the Negroni and Last Word have resurfaced, and variations of these equal part wonders have become abundant.

For me this is the holy grail of cocktails. We strive to create cocktails that are in perfect balance. But equal parts cocktails elevate that balance to another level.

One of my favorite cocktails that fits this criteria was the Fior di Sicily which I have written about previously. However, I wanted to offer something new for this months MxMo. After scouring around for a drink I stumbled upon the Calvados Sidecar on the Liquor.com website.

Calvados Sidecar
1 oz Calvados (Lairds 7 year Apple Brandy)
1 oz Cointreau
1 oz Lemon Juice
Combine equal parts cinnamon and sugar in a small saucer. Rub the rim of a cocktail glass with a lemon wedge and dip the top of the rim in the sugar mixture so that it is coated evenly. Place the glass into the freezer to let the rim harden. Combine all the ingredients in an iced cocktail shaker, shake, and strain into the prepared glass. Garnish with an orange twist.
Notes:
Looking at the picture I realized that I forgot the orange twist. Oh well things happen. As I didn’t have any Calvados in my house I subbed it with Apple Brandy. The cinnamon and sugar rim is essential and marries well with the Apple brandy, reminding you of cold apple pie.

Irish Whiskey is the forgotten base spirit and while not as cantankerous and moody as it’s brother Scotch, it does not find its way into many cocktails. So what better way to celebrate Irish Whiskey than in an Equal Parts Cocktail. While it maybe cliche I wanted to combine it with Guinness. I came up with a recipe that I think works and is quite simple. Yet as I was sipping on it I thought that it would be a wonderful candidate for a topping of cocktail foam. Does anyone have any ideas for what flavor the foam should be? If so reply in the comment section below.

Every Dog Has It’s Day
.75 oz Irish Whiskey
.75 oz Guinness Syrup (infused with orange peel and vanilla bean)
.75 oz Lemon Juice
Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Notes:
In the creation of the beer syrup I loosely followed the directions provided by http://spiritsandcocktails.wordpress.com/2007/10/02/molecular-mixology-v-kentucky-monk/. In a future post I will explain how I created my Guinness Syrup version.

To see all the wonderful drinks created for this MxMo please click here.

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Flor de Caña 4 Year Review & The Daisy de Santiago, Boukman Daiquiri

Flor de Caña is a brand of rum distributed by Compañia Licorera de Nicaragua. It was founded in 1890 by Francisco Alfredo Pellas and is today headed by a fifth generation member of the Pellas family. From it’s humble roots it has grown into one of the most widely recognized rums along with holding one of the largest rum reserves in the world.

In this post we will be taking a look at the Extra Dry 4 Year Old Rum.
On the nose there are is an initial intense alcohol aroma which assaults the nose and it is impossible to get any discernible aromas off the spirit. After it opens up there are aromas of caramel, tropical fruit (pineapple and banana), and a hint of freshly cut grass on a summer afternoon.

Upon tasting there are initial flavors of caramel and more tropical fruits. This is followed up by some earth tones, a touch of coconut and the just discernible presence of vanilla. This last subtle touch of vanilla is due to the 4 years that the rum spent in aging in oak barrels. There are hints of sweetness in the beginning but the rum has a dry finish. Not to be forgotten either, this rum is still rough around the edges and has a some alcohol burn. This is acceptable as this rum was not designed to be sipped on it’s own but rather as a wonderful additions to cocktails. Give it a try in your next Mojito or Daiquiri and it will be a rewarding experience. Flor de Caña Extra Dry 4 Year retails for around $15/750ml. Sample provided by representatives of Flor de Caña.

The first drink this evening comes to us from Charles H. Baker
Daisy De Santiago
2 oz White Rum (Flor de Caña Extra Dry 4 Year)
1 oz Lime Juice
.25 oz Simple Syrup
.75 Yellow Chartreuse
1 oz Club Soda
Shake first three ingredients with ice and pour into a chilled wine glass filled with cracked ice. Add club soda and then float chartreuse on the top. Serve with a straw and garnish with mint sprigs.
Notes:
If you like daiquiris then you will enjoy this as it has the same flavor profile. It’s tart and refreshing with added herbal complexity and effervescence.

The next drink up is an original creation. I have been wanting to Bonal in a cocktail for some time. Bonal is a cross between an amaro and sweet vermouth. It has the bitterness of gentian and the sweetness of stone fruits.
Heads or Tails
2 oz White Rum (Flor de Caña Extra Dry 4 Year)
.75 oz Bonal
.25 oz Amaretto (Disaronno)
Stir all ingredients together and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Flame an orange coin over the drink and drape over the side of the glass
Notes:
When you bring the drink up to your nose you are immediately enveloped in rich orange aromas. The amaretto adds a touch of nutty sweetness to the background.

The last drink is a a creation from Alex Day of the Franklin Mortgage and Investment Company in Philly.
Boukman Daiquiri
1.5 oz White Rum (Flor de Caña Extra Dry 4 Year)
.5 oz Cognac (Remy Martin VSOP)
.75 oz Lime Juice
.75 Cinnamon Syrup
Shake and strain all ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lime wedge.
Notes:
This is quite possibly one of my favorite rifts on the classic daiquiri. The addition of the cognac and the cinnamon adds richness and texture. This is one not to be missed and can be enjoyed year round.

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White Lion VSOA Review and a Brief History of Arrack

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Marco Polo commented on the production of arrack in his 13th century travelogue II Milione. It has remained essentially unchanged all these years. He wrote:

“Nor have they any wine except such as I shall now describe. You must know that they derive it from a certain kind of tree that they have. When they want wine they cut a branch of this, and attach a great pot to the stem of the tree at the place where the branch was cut; in a day and a night they will find the pot filled. This wine is excellent drink, and is got both white and red. It is of such surpassing virtue that it cures dropsy and sick and spleen.”
The Travels of Marco Polo, 1292

This spirit is not to be confused with Arak or Batavia Arrack as they are completely different spirits. Arak is from the Middle East, distilled from fermented grapes, and flavored with aniseed. Batavia Arrack is from Indonesia and is distilled from fermented sugar cane and rice. Lastly we have Coconut Arrack which is from Sri Lanka and is distilled from the naturally fermented nectar of coconut flowers. VSOA cannot be referred to arrack in the US. This is because in the US, the alcohol laws strictly define this word and related spellings (arak, arack, araka, raki, etc) to apply only to aniseed spirits.

VSOA is distilled from naturally fermented coconut nectar before being mellowed for 2 years in barrels of Halmilla Wood.

It is a rich golden amber color. It has a very sweet aroma that is slightly nutty with hints of vanilla and tropical fruits with a slight vegetal note in the background.

On the palate it reminds be of a sweeter rum and a fruiter whiskey all rolled into one with a slight vegetal funk (in a good way). The notes of vanilla and tropical fruits are present in the taste with a nutty finish.

Overall this is an excellent and unique product. Give it a try ad it’s one not to be missed.

White Lion VSOA retails for around $26/750ml and comes in at 36.8% alcohol per volume.

VSOA Old Fashioned
2 ozs White Lion VSOA
.25 oz All spice Dram (St. Elizabeth)
1 tsp of Simple Syrup
2 dashes of Fee’s Old Fashioned Bitters Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into an ice filled old fashioned glass.

Passion fruit Daiquiri

2 ozs White Lion VSOA
1 oz Lime Juice
1 oz Passion fruit Syrup
Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass


Ceylon Swizzle
2 ozs White Lion VSOA
1 oz Ginger Liqueur (Domaine De Canton)
1 oz lemon juice
1 oz Pineapple Juice
1 oz Vanilla Simple Syrup
Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into an ice filled highball glass. Garnish with orange wheel. I prefer to garnish it with a lemon. Notes: The drink has a nice honeyed tropical taste to it. It was a touch sweet for my tastes and I would cut down on the simple syrup to .75 oz. Adding a couple dashes of orange flower water adds a subtle floral touch and is a nice match for the honey like notes in the drink.


Review sample was provided by White Lion VSOA.

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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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Ron Abuelo Añejo 7 Year Review and the Pago Pago Cocktail

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Ron Abuelo traces its history back to the first sugar mill in the Republic of Panama and began producing rum in 1936. The rums are distilled from molasses before being aged in white oak casks.
Ron Abuelo 7 year is a light straw/copper color.
On the nose it opens up with a dry woody note before giving way to notes of vanilla and caramel.
It has sweet notes of vanilla, toffee, butterscotch, and caramel before finishing with a mildly dry nutty character. There is almost no trace of burn and it goes down extremely smooth.
The rum is incredibly affordable with a suggested retail of $23/750ml. This rum is equally at home drunk neat or in a variety of cocktails. Its affordable price point and delicious taste leaves plenty of room for experimentation without breaking the bank.

Pago Pago Cocktail
adapted from Beachbum Berry Remixed
1.5 oz Gold Rum (Ron Abuelo 7 Años)
3-4 chunks Fresh Pineapple
.5 oz Lime Juice
.5 ounce Green Chartreuse
.25 oz White Crème de Cacao (Marie Brizzard)
Muddle the pineapple in a cocktail shaker with the lime juice and liqueurs. Add the rum and ice and shake well for about 10 seconds. Double strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Notes:
The first time this recipe appeared in print was back in 1940. This is a drink that has such classic exotic drink ingredients as rum, pineapple and lime juice but it ups the ante with the herbal complexity of green chartreuse. It is refreshingly complex without being overwhelming. It’s perfect for a Friday evening sitting outside watching the sunset.
While I have not yet done so I think an interesting twist would be to infuse the rum with fresh cut pineapple thus creating a rich and aged pineapple rum without the need for muddling. In the future I’m going to have to give it a try and see how it comes out.

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Apricot Rum Fizz
2 ozs Rum (Ron Abuelo 7 Year)
1 oz Apricot Liqueur (Rothman and Winter)
.5 oz Lime Juice
3 oz Ginger Beer (Fever Tree)
Combine the first 3 ingredients and shake with ice. Strain into an ice filled low ball glass. Top with ginger beer.
Notes:
This is a light and easy sipping cocktail. The vanilla, caramel, and toffee notes meld nicely with the sweet fruitiness of the apricot liqueur. The ginger beer helps to keep everything in balance with its spicy bite.

Lastly I offer up my variation on the Captain’s Blood cocktail. I have decided to rename my variation Dr. Blood. The reason is because in 1935 the film Captain Blood was released in which Errol Flynn plays a Dr. Peter Blood who eventually becomes Captain Blood. This movie was the first thing that came to mind when I saw the name of this cocktail, hence its new name, the Dr. Blood.
Dr. Blood
1.5 oz Rum (Ron Abuleo 7 Year)
.5 oz Falernum
.25 oz Orgeat
.75 oz lime juice
1 Dash Angostura Bitters
Combine all ingredients and shake with ice. Strain over a large chunk of ice in a low ball glass
Notes:
Falernum is a sweet syrup used most often in tiki drinks. It contains flavors of almond, ginger, clove, lime, and depending on the recipe vanilla and/or allspice. Orgeat is a sweet syrup made from almonds, sugar, and rose and orange flower water. In future posts I will describe how to make your own. The drink is wonderfully tropical with sweet spice throughout the drink.

Disclosure: This was a sample bottle that was sent to me.