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Archive for 2010

Review – The Lash Spiced Rum

Posted by Reese On October - 19 - 2010

The Las Spiced RumI’ve got a new spiced rum on my sampling docket today, The Lash.  At present, the distribution in the US isn’t all that broad, but I’m certain it will grow as this rum is really quite good.  Deeper in color than most spiced rums I’ve seen, this one starts life as a Trinidad rum aged four years in bourbon barrels.  From there it heads to the Netherlands where it is introduced to real spices and vanilla extract.  The final product is not chill filtered so you may notice a bit of sedimentation but I think that’s a good thing.  It shows that real spices were used in the production and not purely extracts and oils.

In the aroma I found strong notes of cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla backed by a mixture of warm spices.  In the flavor I’m getting the strong notes of cinnamon and vanilla again with noticeable hints of nutmeg and cardamom.  The overall flavor reminds me very much of a well made fruitcake (No, that’s not a bad thing).  There is a sweet element and a bold mix of spices all combined quite harmoniously.  There is no burn to this rum which isn’t all that surprising since it clocks in at a relatively low 35% ABV.  Although this is low for most distilled spirits I think it could be a very good thing for those interested in taking the leap from mixed drinks to sipping alcohols.

The advertising material for The Lash seems to follow that same plan by offering two simple serving suggestions.  Serve it neat or on the rocks.  If you must, they advise you can mix it with some cold Coke.  And therein lies the small leap.  For many who enjoy a rum and Coke the leap from that to a glass of The Lash on its own won’t be a monumental one.  So, if you’re looking to expand your horizons with a new spiced rum or, for that matter, looking to take the leap to a sipping alcohol then The Lash might be a great place for you to start.  I know I’ll be enjoying it neat from time to time.

† The product reviewed here was provided to me as a free sample. If you’re wondering what that means check out my sample policy.

Review – Cruzan 9 Spiced Rum

Posted by Reese On October - 13 - 2010

If you look at my collection of liquor you’re going to notice that the number of rums I have on hand is second only to my selection of gins.  This is no odd coincidence; I’m a huge rum fan.  One class of rum that I’ve always been a bit intrigued by, though, is spiced rum.  I love the spices they use (cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, etc).  Problem I’ve always had though is what do I do with spiced rum.  In some cases it’s flavor can work fantastically with the other ingredients in a drink, though I don’t seem to reach for it often enough.  Having reintroduced myself to the category with a bottle of Cruzan’s new offering, simply titled 9, I will definitely be changing that habit going forward.

In the nose of Cruzan 9 you’re going to get notes of vanilla, nice caramel sweetness and warm spices.  The flavor follows the aroma in this one with a great mix of spices, vanilla and a very subtle bit of sweetness.  The blend of spices used in this rum are allspice, vanilla, cinnamon, pepper, ginger, nutmeg, clove, mace and juniper berries.  As I’m typing this up, reading the spices off the bottle, I’m surprised to note the inclusion of pepper and juniper.  Definitely not what I would expect, but they work really well in the overall spice flavor.  Speaking of that flavor the spices all form a very harmonious spice layer in the flavor profile that I find really pleasant.

I can’t say anything bad about this spiced rum at all.  It’s a great blend of spice flavors that is very well executed without losing the character of the rum itself.  I’m very much looking forward to sampling this rum in some winteresque cocktails.  I think it’s mellow spice notes will blend very well with a number of cocktail ingredients.

† The product reviewed here was provided to me as a free sample. If you’re wondering what that means check out my sample policy.

Milk Punch

Posted by Reese On October - 10 - 2010

It’s raining outside.  It’s been cold all day.  There is a dusting of snow of the mountains.  Fall has officially arrived in Colorado and I’m loving it.  For me, with fall comes a desire for things dense, comforting and likely unhealthy.  So, naturally I chose a punch for this week’s cocktail.  It’s not a punch like you’d think, though.  There’s no fruit, no bubbles, and milk.  Yes, milk.  Looking at the recipe it should really be thought of as more similar to eggnog than the punches we’re most used to.

With that, a recipe.

Milk Punch (Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails)
1 oz Brandy
1/2 oz Dark Rum
2 tsp Simple Syrup
2 dashes Vanilla Extract
4 oz Whole Milk
1) Combine in a shaker with ice
2) Shake and strain into a shaved ice filled glass
3) Top with nutmeg

Interesting thing about this recipe is that, despite it being from a book called “Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails”, it’s not really forgotten or vintage.  This recipe is more akin to what’s currently served in New Orleans as a brunch pick me up.  Dr. Cocktail mentions that the original recipe included dark rum but no vanilla extract.  The rum giving the drink a touch of vanilla flavor.  So, one thing I plan to do is to track down a truly classic recipe and give that a try as well.

To the shakers!

Tequila Sunrise – Mildly Uninspiring

Posted by Reese On October - 9 - 2010

As a cocktail writer, some of these wrap up posts are much easier than other.  Sometimes I’m very excited to pass on what I’ve learned over the course of my experiments and other times I need a swift kick in the ass to get it all down.  Sadly the Tequila Sunrise falls under the latter category.  I love good orange juice.  I love good tequila.  I don’t love this cocktail.  It’s kinda boring in the same way that Screwdrivers are boring.  Sure, they’re not bad.  In fact, they’re pretty good.  Problem is, I’ve had the best and now, okay isn’t good enough.

Tequila Sunrise

I’m not just going to whine about this cocktail for the whole post.  As I said, it’s really not all that bad.  If you’re interested in a refreshing tequila drink and you’re bored with the Paloma, here are some tips for making a decent Tequila Sunrise.  First, unless your orange juice has a good bit of sourness you’re going to a want a squeeze of lime with this one.  Second, much like a Gin and Tonic this drink is all about the ratio.  Specifically, it’s all about the ratio you like.  Want it more intense, use less orange juice, more mellow, use more.  I think you get the idea.  Third, add your grenadine last, even after you have all the ice in the glass.  Then give it a very gentle stir.  This will help the grenadine mix just a touch and give your drink a gorgeous color gradient.  Fourth, use a tequila that you like.  For me I go with a nice plata tequila, like the Olmeca Altos I reviewed earlier in the week.  However, if you like a mellower agave flavor then a reposado is what you want.  Lastly, please, please, please use good grenadine.  Don’t buy colored sugar water.  If you really want something good, make up a batch of Hibiscus Grenadine and be very happy.

So, there you go.  It’s tasty, but not a recipe that I’m going to find myself craving.  Onward, friends, onward.

Review – Olmeca Altos Tequila

Posted by Reese On October - 6 - 2010

Let’s get something out in the open.  I am, by no means, a tequila expert.  I enjoy the spirit, but haven’t had a ton of experience with it.  That said, I’ve been really disappointed by the number of tequila cocktails I’ve featured on Cocktail Hacker over the last couple years.  Truth be told, there aren’t a ton of them out there to work with.  Obstacles aside I promised myself to keep looking.  So, when I was contacted about receiving some samples of a new tequila being launched in the US, Olmeca Altos, I jumped at the opportunity.  Seemed  perfect impetus for me to find a great tequila cocktail to mix them with.  And, indeed, I’ve been using them for my Tequila Sunrises to great success.

Olmeca Altos is one line in the Olmeca family of tequilas that includes Olmeca, Olmeca Altos and Tezon.  Olmeca Altos differentiates itself from the others in that all of the blue agave used in its production is grown in the Altos region of Jalisco, Mexico.  The clay-like properties of the soil in this area make it particularly good for growing agave and the mineral content gives the plants from that region their own special character.  All of the Olmeca Altos tequilas are 100% blue agave and they’re all 40% ABV.  Pretty much par for the course for the premium tequila market.

Olmeca Altos PlataOlmeca Altos Plata – 40% ABV

This tequila has a very clean, crisp aroma dominated by the nice smell of agave.  Which, while dominant, is by no means overpowering.  The flavor follows suit.  It’s an extremely clean flavor.  Agave is again the main player with the flavor lingering for quite some time on the palate.  There is a very subtle sweetness present in the tequila as well that I found quite pleasant.  Finally there is no “burn” per se, but rather a light warmth.  Overall a very nice tequila and definitely my choice for mixing cocktails.  The agave flavor is prominent enough to where it isn’t lost to other flavors but still very smooth.

Olmeca Altos ReposadoOlmeca Altos Reposado – 40% ABV

The reposado version of Olmeca Altos presents a very warm golden color.  The agave in the nose is less prominent than I found in the plata, but still present.  This was paralleled by the flavor with a gentler agave taste and more flavors of the wood coming through.  The pleasant sweetness that I enjoyed in the plata is still present here as well.  This representation is very well balanced.  The tequila maintains the agave core flavor, but mellows and increases in complexity during the barrel aging process.  I could definitely see myself enjoying this as a sipping tequila.  Finally, while this tequila also makes a great cocktail it’s much more subdued than the plata.  For me I enjoy the agave flavor coming through in my cocktails so I’ll stick to the plata for cocktails and the reposado for sipping.

If you’re interested in learning more about Olmeca Altos and the tequila process as a whole you should check out the Olmeca Altos page on YouTube.  They’ve released the first two of five short films and I really enjoyed them both.  You get an up close and personal view of the land, the process and the people.

One last note.  For those of you across the pond, Olmeca Altos is nothing new to you.  And, that said, the stuff we’re just now getting in the US is the same that you’ve enjoyed for some time.  I’m a bit envious.

† The product reviewed here was provided to me as a free sample. If you’re wondering what that means check out my sample policy.