Sunday, November 29, 2009

Root Organic Liqueur

'Art in The Age' ROOT is based on old Root Tea medicinal infusions that date back to the 1700s where settlers learned of the value of these North American herbs from the Native Americans (talk about Thanksgiving! ). Because of the purifying and preservative power of alcohol, it was added to the herbs and then finally . . . a spoonful of sugar to make the medicine go down. 100% organic neutral grain spirit mixed with roots, herbs, spices, citrus and pure cane sugar-- this stuff is delicious!. The nose is sweet with birch, mint, oily spices and sugarcane honey. Flavors move on your palate bouncing it seems from the Wintergreen, and then with delicate . . . finesse birch, vanilla, citrus, clove and allspice in a bed of clean sweet taste reveal themselves. On the finish everything resolves and finally the smoked tea shines clearest here as does the nutmeg. A masterful achievement and a joy to drink--terrific neat and even better with ice, also amazing used in a great cocktail.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

St James Cocktail

i was re-reading an old cocktail book and i came across the St James Cocktail . . . Now, i must have made it-- but. . . things do slip.
So i hunted down my Saint James Rhum Agricole to taste again ( before making the cocktail) and all i had was the Hors d'Age . . which frankly is delicious --so good i would 'rarely' use it in a cocktail-saving it for sipping, but my mind was set..

1 1/4 Oz Saint James Rhum
(i used 2 1/4 Oz-- it was the Hor d'Age--i wanted it to lead!)
1 1/4 Oz Orange Juice-Fresh
1/4 Oz Orange Curacao
(i Used Bouchants in one and Grand Gala
in the other and both were magnificent.)
1/4 Oz Gin (Martin Miller Westbourne Strength-- Hellz yeah!)
Shake with ice and strain
Serve in a Chilled cocktail glass
(i also liked it Garnished with a flamed Orange peel and Some bitters
Bokers and Peychauds both were great for totally different reasons.)

This is a great drink- Tasty. Apparently it was invented by Conrad Rosenow who i found very little info on, but hey he made this drink so he is a good dude in my book.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Appleton 30

Only 1,440 bottles of Appleton Estate 30 Year Old were made. . . and i sampled from 2 of them! This rum started as exquisite distillate from Appleton, aged for 8 years-- was blended and then laid down for another 22 years--to emerge as a a masterful achievement in balance and gracious flavors. On the nose there is orchard blossoms, golden apples stewed with maple, cinnamon, ginger, cedar and candied orange zest delicately buttressed by vanilla. The palate is much lighter than i expected from the nosing, but the flavors are intricate iterations of the aroma—presented with flowers, oxidized fruit, dark wood tones, voluptuous baking spices and creamy caramel/vanilla. The finish clings, showing molasses, maple, soft spice and sumptuous oak nuances. This is exquisite rum.

Ron Millonario Solera 15 Reserva Especial

Ron Millonario, Solera 15, Reserva Especial is distilled from select molasses, fermented with specially adapted yeast, in Scottish column stills and then aged in a four stage Solera system that takes 15 years to complete, and utilizes both American and Slovenian Oak, Ron Millonario prides itself on ‘bringing together old and modern techniques, and uniting art, science and tradition’. Aromas of prune, allspice, dates, nutmeg, cloves, balsam, Demerara sugar and dried-fig build to also show caramel, candied tree fruits, maple, butter toffee and molasses—each carving a marvelous invitation to taste. The palate is full with treacle, sweet tea, Lazarakia, mince tart, Panettone, Marzipan, toffee bathed in a lovely sweetness that washes the palate but maintains a clean, salient limpidity. The simple mouth-feel reveals dried fruits, caramel, fig custard, sultanas and butterscotch. All this leads to a solid finish, with lovely balance that articulates in a gentle fade that is rich with excellent palate activity. This is deeply enjoyable Rum and it comes in a sassy package that may remind you of another Rum bottle from the past ...

The Puritan Cocktail

The Puritan Cocktail is a a wonderful old school cocktail to mix one up the recipe looks like this:

1 3/4 oz gin
1/2 oz dry vermouth
1/4 oz Yellow Chartreuse
1 dash orange bitters
Stir in mixing glass with ice & strain
Serve in a cocktail glass

Gorgeous drink, really.. but-- i always make it this way, and call it:

A Green Puritan with 2 Cherries

2 oz gin
3/4 oz dry vermouth
1/2 oz Green Chartreuse
2-3 dash orange bitters
Stir in mixing glass with ice & strain
Serve in a cocktail glass, Garnish with 2 Brandied Cherries.

Truly a lovely drink.

[last one i made was with Martin Miller Westbourne for the Gin, Noilly Prat for the Vermouth and Reagans for the Bitters-- This was AMAZING, but i always mix it up]

Friday, November 13, 2009

Balvenie 17 Madeira

Every year, Malt Master David Stewart, searches out a different cask type to mature a new expression of The Balvenie for limited release. Sixth in a line of extraordinary Release’s, the Balvenie Madeira 17 has set a new unbelievable benchmark for this style of Scotch. It is harmonious, balanced, luxurious and exceptionally rewarding. The sublime matrimony of dried fruit and baking spice begins deftly articulated on the nose, where aromas play, supported by rich grain nuance, honey and oily roasted nuts. On the palate the show really lights up, dried blackberry (and the flowers from the bush), caramel, Mirabelle plum, apple, dried berries, honey, sultana and vanilla spiced with nutmeg, allspice, and cinnamon backed up with toasted buckwheat and nuts. The finish is supple, protracted, vibrant and clean showing more oily nuts and clean baking spice. This exemplary whisky is a brilliant display of balanced flavors—each one shining in its moment gloriously and miraculously revealing wave after wave of saporous delights. Grab this whisky quickly, and try it neat— you’ll be glad you did.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Woodford Reserve Seasoned Oak Finish

The Woodford Reserve's, Masters Collection bottling demonstrates ‘one-of-a-kind’ bourbon from a ‘very-limited’ production, created to reveal a single- unique and intrinsically ‘experimental’ aspect as an evolution on the normally excellent Woodford Reserve.

‘Seasoned Oak Finish’ is the fourth release in the series of limited-edition Masters Collection line and it is easily [one of] the best. The whiskey has been finished in barrels made from wood that has been seasoned 12 times longer than average and it shows marvelously. The wood spice is deeply evidenced on every aspect of the whiskey; the nose each nuance is balance and interwoven— Oolong tea, toffee, brown bread, caramel and roasted nuts with miner dried fruit in the background. The flavors on the palate are more categorized, richer flavors lead with treacle, quince, black cherry, caramel and dried plum, only to be followed by dryer tones of mahogany, tea, leather, cocoa, tobacco and a plethora of intricate spices (cinnamon, clove, caraway) that escalate as they articulate to a saporous dawdling finish that leaves you smacking your lips for more.

To explain what the whole ‘Seasoned Oak Finish’ is: typically the oak for whiskey barrels are ‘seasoned’ for only three to five months— the staves and head pieces are allowed to dry naturally (to get rid of excess moisture and excessive tannin). As an experiment the cooper’s for Woodford Reserve aged a batch of staves and head pieces for at least 3 years, and as long as 5 years (getting rid of even more of the moisture and tannins—allowing more subtle and delicate wood tones to shine through), to then make barrels from it, and instead of charring them (the normal practice for Bourbon) they just toasted them (to draw the ‘subtle’ characteristics to the surface).
Then they took mature Woodford Reserve bourbon, aged the normal seven or eight years, and put it in these special barrels for an additional 8 months. The resulting whiskey is by far the most exceptional offering yet from the Masters Collection.
The resulting effect on the whiskey demonstrates ‘wood’ influences well beyond the age; definitely what i'd call a successful experiment.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Ardbeg Corryvreckan

This a review I wrote for Hi-Time about the newest expression of Ardbeg, which is called The Corryvreckan! (the Photo is courtesy of David Layden)

Corryvreckan's nose is provocatively inviting with full-bodied, intense and vigorous aromas that lead with fleshy smoke, straw, dried crab-apple, roasted pecans, candied lemon, golden raisins, dates and caramel prolifically articulating while delicate verbena and fennel waft in the background to create an enticing invocation of scents. These aromas, so tantalizing and full, resolve with deliberation on the palate—they are vital and meditative; these supple flavors are joined by sea salt, dry vegetal tones, vibrant pepper nuance and the peaty-beauty intensifies. The finish lingers blessedly and includes smoke—cured back—bacon, mesquite, camphor with rich honey tones, tree—fruit and roasted oily- nuts to an earthy quiet fade.

Like everything that Ardbeg makes, Corryvreckan is impressive, a welcomed extension to an amazing line up of wonderful whisky— each one exciting, contemplative, and vibrant.

The Corryvreckan takes its name from a famous whirlpool to the north of Islay (one of the world's largest natural whirlpool); the name is derived from the legend of a Norse Prince, who sailed into the whirlpool to express his undying love for a princess before being dragged in. Trapped within only to be rescued by the Goddess guardian of the whirlpool (Cailleach Bheur) who, in turn, falls in love with him; To see a wonderful animated version of the story check out the video clip below (it is awesome!) that was produced by Ardbeg to celebrate the Committee release of Corryvreckan.

There are more shenanigans afoot at Ardbeg . . .

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

320 Main

On Sunday, i went out with a friend (Matt Robold-aka RumDood) to chat about a project that we are working on; there was place both of us had wanted to check out in Seal Beach called 320 Main. So we gathered our significant others and met up in Seal Beach, a block away from the Ocean, in this stylish, classy quaint little Restaurant/Lounge. Honestly, we were hopeful... Matt and i had met Jason at a mixology competition that we had judged a few months prior and the drink he made was wonderful (he has now perfected it and it is on the Cocktail Menu-- it is the 'Scintillator' every judge was amazed at the drink-- pop in and try one!); Jason mentioned 320 and said we should check it out.
A couple months pass and here we are finally trying it out... Holy mole is this place fantastic!
First off-- great ambiance... comfy bar, well-disposed people, nice private booths, quick friendly staff (always smiling means they must like working there!) the only drawback for me ( i know it is only me...) was the TV.
Second-- great service.. we sat down at the bar and as we were making our greetings a glass of water and a drink menu magically appeared-- before i was completely situated-- awesome! Now mind you it was a Sunday night, and it was early (5:30PM) but there was a good crowd (not packed but healthy) already i was feeling good about this place the smells coming out of the kitchen were amazing. 1st Drink was a 'Scintillator' (Like i is a tasty drink) Jason recommended starters--which brings me to--
Third-- The food is incredible! The starters were-- Braised Rolard for the Meat eaters and Mac&Cheese for the Vegetarians (see menu here . . ) both of which were exquisite, delectable and perfectly plated! Even the meat eaters were impressed with the Mac&Cheese-- it is easily the best i have ever had--and (being the one of the Vegi's) i have had a lot! i had a bunch more drinks including The best Mai Tai i have ever had in a bar, a yummy Aviation, a Great Apfel with Beefeater 24, a stunning Bourbon Crusta Made with Hirsch Small batch, another new drink that Jason is working on called 'Bizarro' (which is delicious but he isn't settled on the recipe yet so i wont divulge any details) there were more but the we ordered more appetizers and they were: Eggs Mimosa, Duck Fries, Bruschetta and Mushroom Flat Bread. EVERY THING WAS TERRIFIC! i have no idea how you can make it to an entree (with starters as delectable as this) but we are going to plan our food better next time in an attempt to get to at least one 'Main' course.

There were wondrous drinks, and glorious grub shared by friends in a wonderfully comfortable environment... this place gets my highest recommendation!! it is absolutely top notch; try it for yourself at your earliest convenience.
i didn't have a camera so i stole the pictures from 320Main St, i figured they wouldn't mind....