I would like to thank you, the reader, for your constant visits to this site. I’m amazed at the new comments on older posts still showing up. Despite my hiatus from blogging, you’ve kept coming back and giving me a reason to keep the blog and write. So for all you readers out there, thanks and stay tuned.
Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category
Relax, Mom. What I meant to say was I had Ron de Jeremy RUM. An interesting play on words, considering ron is Spanish for rum. A clever name for the rum branded with the former special education teacher turned adult film star and multi-faceted entertainer, Ron Jeremy. Ron isn’t the first celebrity to endorse a brand of spirit, thinking immediately to Dan Aykroyd’s Crystal Head Vodka. While I can’t speak for Dan’s product, I can say that a celebrity endorsement can make or break a product. However, Ron “the Hedgehog” Jeremy seems to have the gift for getting those endorsements and having them pay off.
I have to admit I have a cynical attitude towards celebrity-endorsed products. By that I mean, their particular endorsement of a product does not automatically make me reach for my wallet. However, I am a fan of certain musicians, actors, etc….and if celebrity endorsements didn’t mean anything to people like me, the advertising agencies would have a their work cut out for them. I said all of that to say this….it’s not THE factor to get me to buy anything.
Ron de Jeremy is marketed as The adult rum. I am not sure what that means, but the bottom line for me as a spirits enthusiast and amateur cocktailian, is taste. Imagine receiving a sample of Ron Jeremy…uh, I mean Ron de Jeremy for your opinion. Admit it…it brings either a smile to your face or something’s wrong with you. Anybody who has seen an adult film in the last twenty years or so has probably seen Ron’s work. If not, you know the name. What I want to know is the RUM.
A Panamanian blend of seven-year-old rums by Cuban Master Distiller Francisco “Don Pancho” Fernandez, the color of Ron de Jeremy is deep amber. The aroma is very rich and strong, containing notes of vanilla, cane sugar and spice. The taste…very rich and long lasting, with a smooth, slightly spicy finish. I feel this rum would stand up well with fruit and cream-based drinks, coconut, etc. It would also be a great addition to cola, or simply sipped neat or with ice. Could you imagine a rum from Ron Jeremy being anything else?
The world rests just a little bit better now. Thanks to the men and women that serve our country, there has been a victory in this seemingly endless war on terrorism. Regardless of religious or sexual preference and complete disregard for their own safety, our men and women in uniform have risked their lives to achieve a momentous victory. On this Memorial Day, we remember the sacrifice they have made and the families they have left behind. . I sleep in safety at night because of their sacrifice. However, political and social commentary aside, it seems fitting and past time to review Brave Spirits’ At Ease Rum.
Summertime is the perfect time for fruity, refreshing drinks. I enjoy them around a poolside, out with friends, or at home after a nice dinner evening with friends. Two spirits come to mind…tequila and rum.
Brave Spirits At Ease Rum is perfectly suited for for your summertime rum drinks. Highly mixable, it does well lending a hint of flavor that clear rums do to drinks such as the Mojito. Upon tasting, it was pretty hot on the palate, and needs something to cool it down a little. By hot, I’m referring to the alcohol burn associated with drinking highly alcoholic beverages. More time in the barrel cuts back on this somewhat, by lending more flavor (and color) to the rum. As you can see by the graphic to the right, At Ease Rum is perfectly clear. Also, by saying hot…I’m not saying that is a bad thing. There is a certain amount of ‘heat’ to all alcoholic beverages. I just happen to see it more in clear liquors.
Back to summertime and relaxing….if you are going to be making a big picture of Mojitos, Painkillers, or the like…At Ease Rum will put you ‘at ease’. Summertime is all about enjoying yourself with family and friends, vacation and relaxation. It’s time to enjoy your summer and breathe a sigh of relief with Brave Spirits At Ease Rum.
Racking up several prestigious awards in recent months doesn’t hurt a spirit brand, especially when that brand has been around for years. Usually perched high atop the top shelf in my neighborhood liquor store with it’s uniquely shaped tapered-neck bottle, I had often admired it’s beauty, while hearing of its wonderful taste and aroma.
Some time ago, I was privileged to receive a sample of this spirit, which sat atop my own personal liquor cabinet until I had such an occasion to sample it. In the meantime, Michael Collins Irish Whiskey has undergone a bottle re-design, pictured left, and I hear rumors that a recipe change as well. Although I cannot confirm the latter, one thing about Michael Collins remains true–it still wows the pants off any discriminating whiskey drinker–at least this whiskey drinker anyway.
I started off with the blend first, because that’s the way I look at things. Popular opinion and marketing has really started emphasizing Single Malt and Single Barrel and other such terms to differentiate one spirit from another. If you are a student of whiskey or whiskey, you know that there are indeed differences between a blended whiskey and a single malt, single cask and cask-strength bottling. This does not even touch the finishing of whiskeys–whether they are finished in casks with sherry butts, etc.
Simply put, a blended whiskey is a whiskey that is a BLEND from various barrels of like age–not necessarily from the same distillery. This doesn’t mean it is cheap whiskey, bad whiskey, rot-gut, or whatever. It simply means BLENDED. In fact, if it weren’t for blended whiskeys the whiskey business would be out of business. Ireland is not immune to this, and thus, the distillery which produces Michael Collins probably survived many a lean year on it’s blends alone. It is touted as the only independent distillery in Ireland. Kudos!
Now for the whiskey….very easy on the nose, gentle aromas of vanilla and wood. By character, Irish whiskey usually is light in body and color. Michael Collins doesn’t differ here. In fact, I find it to the epitome of Irish Whiskey. Light in mouthfeel and flavor, highly mixable and very drinkable. My first taste was in a glass with a splash of cool water. Later, I did (Lord forgive me), have it with a large ball of ice in the center. The whiskey was gone before the ice barely had a chance to melt.
Bottom line, Michael Collins doesn’t disappoint. Looking forward to enjoying more Michael Collins Blended Irish Whiskey and Single Malt with friends. Learn more about Michael Collins Whiskey by visiting http://www.sidneyfrank.com/michael-collins.
Oops! I know back when I reviewed two delicious products from the Don Q Family of Rums, Cristal and Limon, that I said at the end of that post that Don Q Gold would be the next up. Well, trust me it is coming!
I was surprised with the opportunity to review this rum, as I was not expecting a professional sample from Don Q. (Thanks @jaejr! ) I hadn’t written anything in a while. In fact, I hadn’t had too much to drink in quite a while. I wasn’t planning on having folks over, but I got this message via facebook (where else) from my older sister proclaiming Mojito Mondays were back!
I think the Mojito was one of the first drinks I made for visitors to the home bar, and I just so happened to have this lovely bottle of Don Q Mojito Rum sitting precariously on my shelf. I couldn’t resist. What better way to sample a Mojito-flavored rum than with a Mojito.
Adapting the traditional Mojito recipe, I omitted the fresh mint (shock). Keep in mind now, folks, I had yet to lay a lip on this stuff. I added a 1/2 oz of lime juice, an 1/2 oz of simple syrup, and 2 oz of Don Q Mojito Rum. Whiz bang! Topped off with a little club soda with lots of ice and hey, I was serving mojitos. I would have loved to have the mint handy to add as a lovely garnish and to enhance the flavor of mint subtly hidden within the bottle. The drink was a hit. I tasted it, and so did others. Nice and refreshing! That’s what a Mojito is supposed to be. Like a good gin is to the Tom Collins, good rum is to the mojito. Don Q Mojito did not disappoint!
So, I told you I hadn’t properly tasted this rum. Quickly pouring myself a shot, I sipped the rum. Simply delicious! I didn’t feel the burn of alcohol in the least, but instead a slightly sweet taste. I could detect the presence of lime and mint flavors, which are subtle. I know it makes a hell of a good Mojito as it’s name implies, but also could be used as the base for other rum-based drinks, adding a new dimension to some old favorites.
Wherever you live, go to your liquor store and demand Don Q rums….I’m quite sure they’ve an edge over the competition! After all, Don Q is the #1 rum in Puerto Rico and in other areas of the globe.
As far as coffee goes, I’ll admit I am not a huge fan. I work at a place where coffee is the expected as soon as you walk in the door, with myself often making the coffee and serving it to visitors and employees alike. However, I never understood the reason why I should drink something hot when it’s already hot outside, at least in Louisiana.
My dislike for coffee itself as a beverage of choice should not be construed as I hate the flavor of coffee. Give me coffee ice cream or whip me up a mocha frappacino and I’m a happy man.
Having already a good coffee liqueur in your home bar is a must, however, and mine is no exception. I’ve made many cocktails with that black elixir for those coffee drinkers out there that bleed the stuff. I was thrilled to receive, although it’s been quite awhile, a sample of the limited edition Kahula Coffee Cream.
In a word, it’s delicious. It’s like a frappacino with a little umph. Silky smooth on the palate with the great flavor of coffee you’d come to expect from Kahula. It’s a cream liqueur that remains shelf-stable for quite some time, however, it’s recommended that you refrigerate it after opening to help in the shelf-life of the product.
Last night just so happened to be one of the times where family comes over and I get the chance to flex my mixology skills by whipping up some tasty libations. Armed with a full freezer of ice and some good-looking citrus, I was prepared. As the night progressed and the hummus and blue corn chips and mojitos (more on a wonderful product there), the focus turned to a coffee based cocktail or two.
Here’s what I came up with:
Move Over, Mudslide!
- 2 oz strong coffee (I used a Senseo brew)
- 2 oz Kahula Coffee Cream
- 2 oz Half-n-Half
- 1 oz Rich Simple Syrup
- Combine all ingredients in an ice-filled shaker. Shake the devil out of it, until you can’t hold the shaker anymore.
- Strain through a mesh strainer, as to help cut down on the amount of foam you serve.
- Serve in a pre-chilled cocktail glass
There you have it. Yes, I know it’s incredibly sweet and quite tame for a cocktail. But, allow yourself to tweak it a bit for your audience, perhaps with a clear, tasteless spirit of your choosing, and I’m sure everyone will be quite happy.
In our pursuit of trying all of the cocktails listed in Ted Haigh’s Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails, our next drink is the Amarosa. No, it has nothing to do with the young woman from The Apprentice reality series! We are talking VINTAGE here, although those episodes seem like a lifetime ago to me.
The Amarosa Cocktail is a simple cocktail to prepare with only three ingredients: gin, kirschwasser, and Cora Bitters. Simple enough, right? Well, not so much. The ingredient list comes with one difficult to find ingredient –Cora Bitters. Since they are not made any longer, Amaro Cora is suggested as the appropriate substitute.
The problem is, more for me than for most perhaps, is that Amaro Cora isn’t just sitting around on the liquor store shelf. I found it following Doc Cocktail’s suggestion. You’ll find it in the book. The cost of this rare ingredient is on the cheap side, so this drink won’t leave you broke. Even if it did, though, it is well worth the time and investment. I’ve never had anything like it.
The cherry flavor of the kirshwasser plays with the spicy notes of the Amaro Cora just right, with gin very very subtly acting as a canvas in the background. With little lemon spiral over the drink, dropped right in, it is tremendous. I found this drink to be great when introducing someone to using potable bitters in cocktails. There is enough of bitter deliciousness there without turning them away forever and enough sweetness there to keep them coming back for another sip.
The Amarosa Cocktail
- 3/4 oz gin (I used Plymouth)
- 3/4 oz kirshwasser (Hiram Walker)
- 3/4 oz Amaro Cora
- Stir with lots of cracked ice
- Garnish with a lemon spiral
Another entry into the annals of long lost and forgotten, until now, the Algonquin Cocktail. Named for the famous Algonquin Round Table once located in the New York hotel. Literary types would sit around this famed table, and discuss matters of the day.
As Ted Haigh, the author of the book, Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails states, fresh dry vermouth is simply a must in this drink, and every drink with vermouth for that matter. So if you go into your favorite bar and order this one, you may want to ask the bartender how long the bottle has been sitting there.
Passing through an airport bar in recent months, I happened to order a martini. Of course, I was asked if I wanted vermouth in it. After seeing the guy grab a bottle sloshing 1/4 of its contents off a high, dusty shelf, I was actually relieved this time to see him rinse the glass with it and discard the remainder. There is nothing more nasty than old vermouth. Henceforth, I believe old vermouth is responsible for the nonsensical fanaticism about NOT having vermouth in a martini. Well, vermouth does not bode well with many vodkas, but it is excellent with gin. It is also excellent in this cocktail. But nonetheless, the real star is the rye whisky. I used Russell’s Reserve Rye. OMG.
I hate to use that phrase. LOL. It’s almost as bad as ← that one.
My love affair with honey started at a young age. I loved the way it tasted, how it felt in my mouth. As I grew older, my love of the stuff grew as well. Stories of how honey was fermented and served as mead in the great drinking halls of old captivated me. So, when I first saw this interesting bottle sitting on the shelf in the liquor store with its woven sleeve of rafia and with a cap like a beehive I was intrigued. Not so much by the interesting wrapper, but by the familiar allure of honey. Yes, like a bee to a beehive I was hooked. I simply had to try it. What could be wrong with something made from honey?
What is Barenjager? One thing it is not is mead. Barenjager is made not from fermentation of honey, but from blending honey with grain alcohol. This allows the honey flavor and texture to shine through. While not mead, I’m sure that Barenjager would’ve been enjoyed in days of old. According to their website at www.barenjagerhoney.com , bear hunters, hence the word “barenjager”, in medieval Europe drank something called meschkinnes, a kind of moonshine made from honey by area beekeepers and farmers. In the 15th century, one company called the Teucke and Koing Bear Trap Company introduced Barenjager, the first professionally produced meschkinnes. Today, Barenjager is produced by Schwarze and Schlicte and imported by Sidney Frank Importing Company.
I wasn’t disappointed in tasting Barenjager. Like those spoonfuls of honey I snuck as a child, it coated my throat with enough honey sweetness to know I was indeed tasting something made from honey. Of course, there is a little alcohol burn at the end, but not enough to prevent anyone from drinking Barenjager neat.
I decided to try one of the recipes included with the product, the Pink Honey Martini. I shudder at calling it a martini, but hey, we’ve all done it, right? The recipe is calls for 1 part Barenjager, 2 parts vodka, splash of cranberry juice, and sweet and sour mix. The verdict….can’t taste the Barenjager. So, I dialed down the recipe to 1 part Barenjager, 1 part vodka, splash of cranberry, and sour mix. Much better. Barenjager lends a sweetness to the cocktail of honey, of all things.
While this drink may not be my cup of tea, it was good to see how it would mix with other ingredients. Personally, I prefer Barenjager served neat. However, I am sure it would be delightful warmed in the wintertime.
America is falling in love with Asian spirits. TyKu, an American company, recently provided samplings of two of their products for review. The first of those is TyKu Sake, a super premium Junmai-Ginjo.
In previous articles, readers learned that the special junmai-ginjo designation means that at least 40 percent of the impurities of the rice grains have been milled or polished away, leaving only the best parts for brewing. The literature provided with the sake suggests that TyKu sake be served slightly chilled. Coming in at only 15% ABV, TyKu Sake is easily drinkable to anyone who enjoys a fine wine or craft brew, but without the heaviness that some of those beverages can sometimes leave behind.
The author will admit that he wasn’t all too familiar with sake, having a bad experience in tasting many years before. However, TyKu was light, crisp and refreshing. The bouquet was similar to that of a nice wine, smelling of fresh fruits and flowers. A familiar flavor of soft, fleshy pears lingers on the tongue. A subtle distinct earthiness is detected upon swallowing. The finish is clean, leaving little or no aftertaste.
TyKu Sake could be enjoyed with your evening meal, perhaps with pork or light, grilled fish or poultry.
TyKu Sake is a product of the United States, brewed and bottled in Oregon, where the koji is hand-made in the only cedar-lined koji room in the states. It can be found along with its counterpart, TyKu Liqueur, in many metro area. stores.