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Archive for September, 2010

Review: Hiram Walker Original Cinn

Posted by Reese On September - 29 - 2010

When you hear the words “cinnamon schnapps” I’m guessing your brain goes the same place mine does.  Namely, a viscous, fire engine red, sweet liqueur that packs a serious cinnamon punch and burns more than a bit.  I would also venture to guess that you’d never combine the words complex and cinnamon schnapps.  No, the cinnamon schnapps I’m used to is fiery and single noted.  Well, the cinnamon schnapps I was used to, I should say.  You see, on Tuesday I received a bottle of Hiram Walker’s Original Cinn and that whole mental image changed very much for the better.

Hiram Walker Original Cinn

As I poured my first glass I noticed that the telltale fire engine red color has been replaced with a warm brown.  Next as I took a few tentative sniffs I found the aroma of cinnamon in the nose is subtle and it’s accompanied by warm butterscotch and vanilla notes as well.  Interesting, very interesting.

My first comment on sipping Original Cinn was simply “Wow!”.  This is a far more complex cinnamon schnapps than I’ve ever experienced before.  The cinnamon is definitely present, but not overbearing at all, and the butterscotch and vanilla that we found in the aroma come through in the taste as well.  In addition, there is much less burn than what you’d expect from it’s 90 proof.  Also greatly pleasant was the lack of a chemically aftertaste that I’ve come to expect from some schnapps.  Original Cinn truly is a departure from my previous mental image of schnapps and I’m very happy for that.

I think the best testament I can give you for Original Cinn is simply my first sips.  You see, I poured myself a couple ounces to taste.  Immediately on seeing that I’d poured that much I thought, “Crap, I poured too much.  Well, I’ll sample it and pour the rest out.”  But I didn’t.  I sampled it.  I took my tasting notes.  Then I went and sat on my couch and slowly sipped the rest, enjoying it greatly.  I didn’t add anything, no ice, no other spirits, just the liqueur and it was wonderful.

I can definitely see myself repeating that experience as-is many times in the future.  Perhaps sitting in front of the fire, watching it snow and reading a good book.  Or, despite my dislike of hot drinks, I could even see this going in to a mug of dark chocolate hot cocoa for a nice Mexican chocolate flavor.  So, if you have a cinnamon lover in your life or just want something a little different for an after dinner aperitif, keep an eye out for Original Cinn.

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

Rainbow Cocktails

Posted by Reese On September - 27 - 2010

Not sure how this is done, but I’m impressed.

Tequila Sunrise

Posted by Reese On September - 26 - 2010

Yesterday I spent the afternoon driving in the mountains with my girlfriend taking in the beautiful sites and enjoying all the fall colors.  For dinner we decided to stop at a friend’s restaurant in Estes Park (The Sundeck).  Vic has a great menu of classic cocktails and I decided to have one I had heard of before, but never tried, the Tequila Sunrise.  It was well made and quite excellent.  While I was sipping I was also thinking that I hadn’t featured a lot of tequila drinks on Cocktail Hacker and figured the Tequila Sunrise was a great place to start to remedy that.  So, for the next couple weeks I’ll be mixing up some sunshine for us, as we get more and more near the winter months.  Well, at least for those of us in the northern hemisphere.  This one also goes out to my buddy William who is currently in Antarctica where they recently experienced their first sunrise of the summer season.

Tequila Sunrise (Joy of Mixology)
2 1/2 oz Tequila
3 oz Orange Juice
Splash of Grenadine
1) Build the tequila and orange juice in a collins glass with ice
2) Drop the grenadine into the center of the drink

More good news about this drink is I have reason to make up another batch of my super tasty Hibiscus Grenadine.

The Bebbo: A Cocktail Even a Bee Could Love

Posted by Reese On September - 25 - 2010

Well, friends, this post marks the end of my first weeks back and they’ve been fantastic.  Mixing up drinks, participating in MxMo, reviewing spirits, ah, it’s good to be back.  So, what of the Bebbo?  Allow me to say first that it was a fantastic drink to come back with.  The mix of gin, citrus and honey is truly divine.  Not overly sweet, a nice burst of sour from the lemon juice and a smooth sweetness from the honey.

Bebbo Cocktail

Seems a good segue to the first experiment I wanted to conduct with this drink.  Specifically, does the variety of honey play a role in the final flavor?  As you may or may not be aware, the flavor of honey changes based on what the bees fed on primarily.  So, for example, around here we have clover honey and wild flower honey primarily.  In other locales you’ll find varieties such as sage, orange blossom, tupelo, buckwheat, heather, etc.  While my selection of honey certainly wasn’t vast I found that the variety of honey used in this drink didn’t have much affect on the end flavor.  This is due to the honey only comprising a small percentage of the final cocktail and the gin being floral by itself.  A couple tips regarding the honey.  One, make sure to heat it up a bit in the microwave.  I found about 20-30 seconds to be perfect.  That way the honey flows better and doesn’t get all stuck in your jigger.  Two, make sure you give the drink a good solid 30 seconds of shaking.  That will make sure the honey is completely dissolved.

Which brings us along to the gin.  As with many gin cocktails the question I first asked was what gin should I use for this drink?  Should I go juniper forward, maybe citrus forward, something bold, something light?  Given the bold flavor of the citrus and honey I knew a light gin like Sapphire would get mostly lost, so I turned to something bolder and juniper forward, my old pal Tanqueray.  This gin is definitely my preference for this cocktail.  That said, you can certainly use anything you like or have on hand.  The citrus really dominates the flavor profile anyway.

Finally, I mentioned in my intro for this drink that I wanted to experiment with vodka instead of gin to see what the real difference was.  I’ll make the summary quick, the difference was huge.  The vodka Bebbo was still very good.  In fact, I’d happily drink one were it served to me.  However, it lacked the subtle complexity that gin brings to the party.  Without this complexity the drink was a bit one noted.  My recommendation is this.  If you’ve sworn over and over you don’t like gin, try a light gin to start.  Sapphire and Plymouth are both great options.  Once you’ve built a taste for gin (hopefully) you can move on to bolder options.

So, there you have it.  While summer is still in the air and you can still enjoy a meal outside I’d say mix up a light, fruity drink like the Bebbo and soak in the out of doors.  Enjoy!

Voyant Chai Cream Liqueur

Posted by Reese On September - 23 - 2010

Voyant Chai Cream LiqueurAs I’ve mentioned previously, I’m not a hot beverage fan.  Don’t drink hot tea, don’t drink coffee (unless fully adulterated) and rarely drink hot cocoa.  Just never really been my thing.  However, you take me for Indian food on a cold night and I’m going to start craving a hot chai.  It borders on a autonomic response.  Now, cold chai, that’s another beast entirely.  That, I crave almost all the time.  The sweet flavor, the spiciness, the excellent blend of crisp and creamy.  Fully awesome.  So, imagine, if you will, my joy when a bottle of Voyant Chai Cream Liqueur arrived for review.  Suffice it to say, I was giddy.

This article isn’t all about my being a chai fan though.  Voyant Chai is some seriously good stuff.  The creaminess is on par with what you would find in Irish Cream but the flavor profile is completely different.  The aroma is warm and spicy, filled with the notes that you’d expect from chai.  The flavor follows the aroma.  You get flavors of cinnamon, cardamom, vanilla, subtle hints of the liqueur’s rum base and naturally the tea.  Very much reminiscent of a nice glass of iced chai.  Finally, there is a really wonderful back of the tongue spiciness that accompanies each swallow.  I really like this stuff, I’ll definitely be consuming the bottle with a near in-human quickness.  That is, of course, if I can keep it away from my girlfriend and my roommate, both of whom also loved it.

As a brief side note, the bottle notes that real spices are used to flavor the liqueur.  I found that a quick shake before pouring helped to distribute those spices a bit and intensified the flavor.

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