Pig Nose Scotch Review and the Pumpkin Cocktail

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Pig Nose was launched in 1974. It was created by Richard Peterson of Scotland. It is a blended whisky made by blending Invergordon grain whiskies with Speyside, Islay, and Lowland malts. It is aged for a minimum of 5 years … Continue reading

Pau Vodka Review

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Vodka is a neutral grain spirit that can be distilled from any starch or sugar rich product. There are the usual suspects like grain and potatoes which probably make up the largest share of the market. Then there are rarities like Comb Vodka which is distilled from honey. Pau Vodka is another addition to the unusual side by being distilled from pineapple.

The packaging is beautiful and engaging with a hefty bottle that will look great on the back bar with purple and gold accents. It is distilled in glass stills, which the distillers claim impart no additional flavors to the vodka before being cut with Hawaiian spring water and bottled. In fact the distiller made the glass stills himself.

On the nose it has a slight sweet note with a barely a trace of ethanol. In fact it is quite unremarkable and doesn’t smell like much of anything.

Pau Vodka is smooth but lacks substantial character and has a slight burn that betrays it’s presence on the way down.

Overall while a solid product, I was slightly disappointed in the final result. I was hoping for some of the pineapple essence to seep through if only subtly as a minor background note. I actually like vodka where the character of the distillate is present like with Comb Vodka.

I offer this simple take on a Moscow Mule adding some fresh pineapple to the mix which complements the zing of the ginger.
Hawaiian Mule
2 oz Vodka (Pau Vodka)
1/2 oz Lime Juice
5 oz Ginger Beer
4 1/2 inch cubes of fresh pineapple
Combine the vodka, lime juice, spent lime shell, and pineapple chunks in a cocktail shaker. Fill with ice, shake, and strain into a glass filled with ice. Top with ginger beer, give a light stir, and garnish with a lime wheel.

Review sample provided by representatives of Pau Vodka.

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

Ron Fortuna 8 Year Old Rum Review

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Ron Fortuna 8 Year Old is a relatively new rum that comes from Nicaragua and is named after the Roman god of fortune. Currently it is the only expression that is being offered. Ron Fortuna is column-distilled five times from … Continue reading

Monkey Shoulder Review

Monkey Shoulder Whiskey

Monkey Shoulder Whisky is a blend of 3 Speyside malts: Balvenie, Glenfiddich, and Kinivie. First they are individually aged in bourbon casks. Once the casks reach the appropriate age of maturity, 27 are chosen to be blended to create Monkey … Continue reading

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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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

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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