For today I’ve got another side by side review of two liqueurs. Bols Ginger and Domaine de Canton Ginger. Both are ginger liqueurs designed for a variety of cocktails, and have similar flavors but very different nuances and price points.
We’ll start with the Bols (since I have more of it at the time of writing). The liqueur has a strong ginger aroma similar to ginger beer and is virtually colorless. At 24% ABV it’s the heavier of the two in its sugar content, but it makes up for it with an intense bite of ginger flavor especially at the back end. Early on you’re mostly hit with a sweet sugary flavor and some interesting caramel notes. Overall it’s not a bad flavor additive, but you won’t be drinking it straight. At around $13-15 it’s a resonable price for the flavor needed for certain cocktails. I’ll give it a solid 7/10 overall.
Next is the Domaine de Canton. A french style ginger liqueur at a slightly higher 28% ABV. Side by side there is a noticable color difference in that the Canton is slightly gold in color. There is still a bit of ginger on the nose, but it’s much less pronounced and considerably sweeter smelling. It also feels slightly (but just barely) thicker in viscosity as when you swirl it in the glass it will temporarily coat its inside walls. The like the aroma the ginger flavor is more subtle mixing in hints of vanilla and possibly some orange notes. The biggest advantage for the Canton that I can see is the lack of a harsh ginger flavor burn at the end. It’s a smooth drink from start to finish and extremely well rounded! However at around $33-35 a bottle it’s going to be something for your extended bar rather than a daily mixer. That said I’ll give it a solid 8.5/10 overall. Despite the higher price point, you’re looking at a reasonably priced product that could easily be served over ice, or with a nice pairing of dry vermouth or gin.
At the end of the day however the two products are very different but also a little the same. For some cocktails I think the Bols could make an easy substitute especially in recipes calling for 5 or more ingredients. However, if you’re looking to put a simple twist on your martini, don’t skimp on the cost for the more premium product, it’s worth every penny!
So I’m fairly embarrassed that the first cocktail of 2019 is in the middle of February, but I’m proud to finally be a day a head of a holiday for releasing a drink. This should give everyone the day to snag the ingredients if you don’t already have them.
Consulting a cocktail book of mine I was intrigued by this simple, but interesting cocktail. A visually simple light rose color, with an inviting nose of a light banana and tart berry. The drink starts off sweet with a mix of the flavors, hits with a banana and light vodka burn on the mid pallete, and finishes with the tartness of cranberry. I fell like this is a cocktail that could really be changed based on your choice of ingredients. A sweet banana liqueur will make a sweeter drink, while a stronger 99 Bananas will get you a punchier cocktail with less flavor and more burn. Additionally a cheaper vodka would make this drink more harsh than smooth and complex, so if you’re making it for a lover spend the extra cash and get a nice top shelf vodka.
Overall it’s a simple but interesting cocktail. Inviting in color and flavor, but not complex enough for the experienced mixologist to call a “regular.” If you’re looking to impress, but still keep under a budget this might be a good choice. Outside of that, I think there are better options for these three flavors.
Alcohol Taste Rating: 6.5/10
Overall Rating: 7.5/10
2 oz Banana Liqueur
1 oz Vodka
3 oz Cranberry Juice
Shake and strain into a wine glass (no ice).
“Won’t you be mine?”
I’ve been off and on returning to my “wandering around” in the game Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and I was struck with inspiration on the 4 “powers” you get in the game (Incoming SPOILERS). Revali’s Gale lets you glide upward with a gust of wind, making it easier to traverse mountains. For this original cocktail I wanted to play with both the visuals of the power and the flavors of the game’s region. Specifically using Grey Goose vodka to mimic the Rito (bird-like race) and the regional wheat flavor (wheat vodka); I played with various iterations of a mix of flavors to get the desired color and flavor. It had to be green, light, airy, and in a tall glass. Thinking about it more and more I wanted to also incorporate some mint to reflect the tall mountains and snow shown in the game. For that reason I decided to do a riff on the classic Mojito.
The “Revali’s Gale” is a light summer style drink, with refreshing flavor that will elevate you to new heights. The drink looks very similar to a classic Mojito, but is considerably greener and the bottom. It has a light minty aroma and paired with a few visual mint leaves a very inviting presentation. Like any Mojito you’re greeted with a light taste of your choice spirit and club soda which moves quickly to a little sweet lime. With this variation you get a finish of melon and mint which keeps you going back for more. As you drink to the bottom and start to mix in the darker liqueur components, you get more melon and citrus, but it’s not overpoweringly sweet. Overall this is a nice twist on the summer classic, and can really be enjoyed in any season. If you’re not a huge rum person and want to go for a vodka variant, this might be the cocktail for you!
Alcohol Taste Rating: 4/10
Overall Rating: 7.7/10
2 oz Grey Goose Vodka (or other Wheat Vodka)
1 oz Lime Juice
2 sugar Cubes
6-8 Mint Leaves
Splash Blue Curacao
Muddle Lime Juice, Mint, and Sugar in a mixing glass. Add ice, and vodka. Shake well. Strain into an iced collins glass and top with club soda. Add a splash of blue curacao, then a splash of Midori. Serve to a wandering hero.
“Revali’s Gale is now ready!”
The Vesper is arguably the best martini you’ve never had. It’s origin is thanks to Ian Fleming’s famous character James Bond, in the 1953 Novel (and 2006 Film) Casino Royal. As Bond himself describes it the drink contains: “Three measures of Gordon’s, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it’s ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon peel. Got it?”
Now unfortunately for us Kina Lillet hasn’t been in production since the mid 1980s, and Gordons Gin has also changed since then as well (and is now known for being fairly low end). Bond also usually requests a Russian Vodka, which personally I’m not a fan of. So, for a modern Vesper it’s best to stick with your favorite of the harder spirits, and pick yourself up a bottle of Lillet Blanc. The remaining instructions hold true making for a truly classy cocktail.
The drink straight out of the shaker will be a cloudy white, but eventually will turn clear as it hits the air and settles. The thin waft of a lemon peel (best used a kitchen peeler for) brings a distinct lemony aroma to the nose. On the front of your palette you’re greeted with refreshing gin flavor, a lemon and Lillet hit you quickly after that, and you’re finished with a slight burn from the vodka (depending you your choice you may get a smoother flavor). This cocktail I’d say depends quite highly on the quality of your ingredients. Granted I’m using a mild American Style Gin here as well as a cheaper American Vodka, so the flavor profile will reflect the Lillet and Lemon more than the vodka and gin. If you’re looking for a stronger flavor try mixing with Beefeater or Bombay for the gin, and/or Boyd & Blair, Kettle One, or Absolut, for the vodka.
Alcohol Taste Rating: 8/10
Overall Rating: 7.4/10
1 1/2 oz Gin
1/2 oz Vodka
1/4 oz Lillet Blanc
Shake all with ice. Pour into a chilled cocktail or coupe glass. Squeeze lemon peel over drink (express the oils) and drop it in.
“Gosh, that’s certainly a drink,” said Leiter
So recently I picked up a set of 4 pints with laser etched designs of the popular series Avatar: The Last Airbender and Avatar: Legend of Korra. With these new glasses in my set I was inspired to design 4 drinks that embodied the franchise. The first in this set (today’s cocktail) is a spin on the classic long island iced tea.
In addition to the recent glassware I found myself buying a bottle of Pimm’s No. 1 Liqueur, which in retrospect was a terrible idea. Pimm’s tastes like flat cola and cheap vodka, and not in a good way. However in having it on hand it allowed me to impart the cola flavor without the unnecessary fizzy element. I also thought I’d be spending more time refining this, but I honestly don’t think it needs any more work. Sometimes you just get lucky and design something spectacular the first time around!
The cocktail itself imparts a unique yellow-green color, not unlike a generic green tea and the aroma is citrus with a hint of melon. The drink starts sweet, moves to sour and a little lemon, and finishes with an alcohol burn (but surprisingly not much of one). If you’re looking to use up some Pimm’s as I was, why not give this long island ice tea variant a try. However, I wouldn’t buy the Pimm’s just for this. Instead leave a can of cola open overnight, then use that the next day.
Overall Rating: 8/10
Alchohol Taste Rating: 6/10
Uncle Iroh’s Pai Sho Earth Tea
3/4 oz Light Rum
3/4 oz Gin
3/4 oz Vodka
3/4 oz Blended Whiskey
1 1/2 oz Midori
3/4 oz Pimm’s No. 1
Top with Lemonade
Fill a pint glass to the top with ice. Straight build ingredients in order, Stir well.
“Strong enough for a Firebender, Green enough for Ba Sing Se”
It’s been a while since I’ve posted back to back days, but I figured I was over due to get some new drinks up here to the blog.
I decided to go for this shot for two reasons. First that it’s been too long since I’ve had a shot, and second because I’ve had this sampler bottle of Godiva sitting for about 10 months that I haven’t touched.
So like any shot there isn’t much savoring to do and it’s a strong “down the hatch” flavor. The aroma is that of whatever vodka you choose with a slight hint of mint. The shot itself is a strong rush of mint flavor with a slight chocolate linger. The cherry garnish at the end really helps ease the mint and cool everything off. It’s not a bad little shot and with the Halloween nut-jobs already starting to plan their events 2 months early, this would could make a good starter for everyone at a party. Made in advance of course.
Overall Rating: 6/10
Alcohol Taste Rating: 9/10
1/3 Part Godiva Chocolate Liqueur
1/3 Part Vodka
1/3 Part Peppermint SchnappsSpeared Cherry
Layer in a presentation shot glass (watch your ABV percentages for a proper layer). Spear a maraschino cherry and set it on top. Down in one gulp and eat the cherry.
“Take a bite!”
Today’s blending cocktail is probably my favorite thus far for the week. The Mediterranean Freeze is an interesting color, but is well complemented by the garnishes. The opening aroma is very orange-y making for a very inviting drink. It starts off with the taste of a basic screwdriver (vodka and OJ), then moves to a sour citrus, then finishes with a subtle melon that keeps you going back for more. I wouldn’t say that the peach schnapps is lost in this drink, but it does lend itself to the overall sweetness in the first few sips. This is really solid blending cocktail and worth making again, perhaps in a larger quantity for a party.
Alcohol Taste Rating: 2-3/10
Overall Rating 9/10
1 oz Vodka
3/4 oz Midori
1/2 oz Peach Schnapps
2 oz Sweet/Sour
3 oz Orange Juice
Orange Slice and Cherry
Blend liquid ingredients with ice, pour into a pint glass. Garnish with an orange slice and a cherry.