Thursday, December 18, 2008

[Rum Log] Pyrat Rum XO Reserve

Rum: Pyrat Rum XO Reserve
Age: 15 year blend
Price: $30
Region: Caribbean rums, bottled in British West Indies
Proof: 80

Apparently making good (LOT) tequila wasn't good enough for Patrón - they decided they needed to make high-end rum as well! As it turns out they also felt the need to put said rum in really cool boxes that look like books, and thus we couldn't resist picking up some to try out - if only for the cool box and the novelty of being able to hide our alcohol in the library.

The Pyrat (yes, pronounced pirate) rum is a blend of Caribbean rums, up to 15 years in age. Getting into the bottle was both fun and challenging - first we had to untie a festive orange ribbon, then remove a plastic seal, then pull off the paper seal (while noticing the official hand-written bottling number). After that we had to examine the lovely medallion of Hoti (the Zen patron saint and protector of fortune tellers and bar tenders), and resolve that our next addition to the home network will now have a name. Finally we had to break out the pliers to get the gods-damned cork out. The previous steps were fun though!

The color is a light butterscotch (described as toasted apricot on the bottle). It swirls nicely with an ice cube without getting cloudy. My first impression of the smell was the lovely nose of rubbing alcohol; luckily this faded with a bit of air, so I was less turned off. Once the unpleasant scent faded, a more flowery scent was revealed. And I do mean flowery - we're not talking red wine "flowers" we're talking, like gardenia flowery. There are also hints of brown sugar, vanilla, and cloves.

The taste of the rum is a lot like the smell. Predominantly it tastes of vanilla-coated candy flowers with quite a big kick of lemon. There's also a hint of smooth, cool honey. The flavour improves vastly with some ice to mellow it out, and it has a very soft, wet feeling in the mouth with absolutely no sting or burn. It's very easy drinking, and has little aftertaste other than "cool and refreshed."

Tasting Pyrat provided a lot of review fodder, but I don't think we'll be buying another bottle. We have the cool box now, and plenty of other more subtle liquors to drink.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

[Scotch Log] Glenlivet Nadurra Single Malt

Scotch: Glenlivet 16 Year - Nadurra
Region: Speyside
Malt: Single Malt [Cask Strength]
Price: ~$60
Proof: 112.4

This is my first cask strength, and it's been a very interesting experiencing tasting it. The flavors are much deeper and more complex, I can definitely see why proper scotch drinkers are so fond of cask strength malts. I first tasted it neat, which was good and delicious. I then tried it with a touch of bottled water, which totally ruined the glass. I would highly recommend avoiding ice or water with this scotch. It becomes cloudy, which is to be expected since it is unfiltered, but the taste drastically changed and not for the better. The notes below are for a neat.

Color: Very pale straw coloring, clear and brilliant
Nose: Oaken, and fruity. A bit of pine.
Very oaky, with a bit of other woods. Not much peat or smoke, but not terribly sweet either. It's very smooth after the first couple sips, once your body gets used to drinking a fairly high proof liquor.

*looks up a professional's opinion*
Well, I don't know that I've ever been so far off the mark in my tastings! I tasted mostly wood, and hated it with water. This guy and I weren't even tasting on the same planet I don't think!

Without water: Intense, tickling. Fresh and clean. Resolutely fruity. A full basket of ripe fruit, mostly exotic. William pears, baby bananas, pineapple, coconut, a touch of passion fruit. Lemon pulp. Green apple. Gives a feeling of appetizing freshness enhanced by an aniseed fringe. Lingers on that fruity mood for ever. Creamy note of praline. In the back, some herbal and spicy notes. Green tea, coriander seeds.

With water: The nose becomes softer and more biscuity. Cereal notes come through with buttery aromas. Lemon curd. Freshly squeezed tangerine. A floral touch of gorse.


Without water: Crisp, appetizing. So mouth-coating, with an oily feel immediately followed by a fizzy sensation on the tongue. Lavishly challenging for the taste buds but alcohol is perfectly tamed and never burning. Custardy. Poached peaches in vanilla syrup. White chocolate. Aniseed lollipop. Candied ginger.

With water: Gets more chewy. And even more refreshing on sweet malty and minty flavors. Thirst-quenting.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

[Rum Log] Zaya Gran Reserva

Rum: Zaya Gran Reserva, 12 year
Price: $35
Region: Trinidad
Proof: 80

I by no means consider myself a Rum Connoisseur, even less so than I can call myself a scotch or wine snob - which is saying a lot, considering as how I'm barely a dabbler in either of those. My usual experience with rum involves something cheap and coconutty meeting equal proportions of coke.

And then I met Zaya.

Now, I'm assured that the latest batch of Zaya (from Trinidad, rather than its original Guatemala) is inferior, but I find that hard to fathom. Honestly, if it were any more delicious, I'd be in a bit of trouble.

The rum itself is a really gorgeous dark honey amber color, much darker than even the spiced rums I've seen. Certainly darker than any of my scotches. The scent is overwhelmingly of brown sugar and vanilla - it seems like there's something else hiding underneath, but these two scents are overpowering enough that I can't quite put my finger on it.

The flavor is much like the scent, if more heavily weighted towards the vanilla. It goes down with no sting whatsoever - very warm and smooth. The aftertaste is a little woody with some nice hints of cinnamon.

I tried the Zaya both neat and with a little ice, and I decided the ice is a bit of an insult to it. It waters down the flavors and really detracts from the overall taste. With no ice included there's a bit more sharpness and sting going down, but that's made up for in richness of flavor.

So that's my glowing review... because I really needed to get into expensive rums, in addition to exepensive scotch.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

[Mixed Log] Lychee Vodka Martini

After having one of these at a local Indian restaurant, I investigated how to make one myself. Unfortunately, I was daunted by the total lack of lychees or their syrup at ordinary grocery stores. My compatriot, however, proved my stupidity in the matter by locating canned lychees at our World-Famous (tm) Dekalb Farmer's Market. Maybe they'll get proper fresh ones when they're in season.

Anyway, my mad science mixological experiment turned out to be rousing, sousing success, so I present my recipe to you, Dear Internet Reader. Though not strictly speaking a "traditional" gin martini, I figure I can get away with calling it such since I actually use vermouth.

Remember, enjoy responsibly: always drink while wearing a condom.

Lychee Vodka Martini

3 parts vodka
1 part dry vermouth
1 part peach schnapps [0]
3 parts lychee syrup (recipe follows)
1-2 lychee fruit

Mix over ice in martini shaker. Shake until mixed and cooled. Serve in a martini glass with lychee fruit as garnish.

[0] Many other kinds of schnapps probably work, too. Triple sec could also work well. Go forth and experiment!

Lychee Syrup

0.5 cups water
0.5 cups sugar
8 canned lychee fruit
0.5 cup syrup, reserved from canned lychees
1 teaspoon lemon or lime juice

Combine sugar, lemon/lime juice, and water in a small saucepan and heat until boiling. Continue boiling for approximately 2 minutes. Set in refrigerator to cool.

Once the simple syrup is cool, mix in blender with reserved canned lychee syrup and the lychee fruit. Blend until smooth.

To remove most of the lychee pulp, use a fine strainer. Refrigerate before use. May be stored for up to two weeks in the fridge.

Monday, October 13, 2008

[Wine Log] Terra Barossa Cuvée

Wine: Terra Barossa Cuvée
Price: $12.79
Vintage: 2006
Region: Australia

This wine is bright red, somewhere between ruby and magenta. It has a slightly toasty nose, with a strong blackberry note and maybe a bit of citrus - all in all a very subtle scent, rather than anything too glaring.

On tasting, we were caught off guard by how sweet the flavor was - without any sharp edges, tartness, or dryness. Lots of red fruity taste, and something that brings to mind sugared cranberries.

I'd like to point out that the web site for this Cuvée describes the taste as "medium to full bodied palate showing mouthfilling rich Satsuma plums, blackberry and liquorice," while the back of the bottle claims "full, rich, blackberry fruit characters and creamy oak." Apparently they couldn't make up their minds, either.

Overall: quite tasty and drinkable, but a little too dull. In the end it goes down nonchalantly, and isn't particularly remarkable to drink. We probably won't seek out another bottle - while good enough, we could buy any number of more interesting or less expensive wines.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

[Wine Log] Medieval Rioja 2005

Wine: Medieval Rioja
Price: $11
Vintage: 2005
Region: Spain

This Rioja is a very dark burgundy, leaning more towards the brown-burgundy end of the spectrum than the plum or purple end. The Vintage Wine's website tells me that it's made from 80% Tempranillo, 15% Mazuelo, 5% Graciano grapes. It has a very sweet and fruity bouquet, with hints of cherry and apricot - it smells very wet and juicy.

The flavour of the wine itself is quite subtle, starting out almost too bland (the nice scent of the wine saves it from being boring, luckily), but finishing both sweet and tart - almost lemony.

Monday, June 30, 2008

[Wine Log] Tin Roof Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon

Wine: Tin Roof Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon
Price: $12
Vintage: 2005

Region: California

I'm in DC for work this week, so what better way to spend this gorgeous evening than curled up in a patch of sunlight with a trashy book and a glass of wine? And, while I'm waiting for it to breathe, why not write a quick review in this poor, neglected blog?

First and foremost, I want to give props to the Tin Roof website - any wine site that gives me recipes for meals that pair well with each of their wines wins in my book. Now, on to business!

This Tin Roof Cab has a very nice dark burgundy color. The nose is one of cinnamon and spices, with a heavy dose of flowery plumb. It has a very hearty flavour and is very wet and rich - very little dryness or acidity for a Cab... though it does seem to be gaining a bit more of both of those as I let it sit. I'm getting a lot of blackberry and cherry, with something a little woody on the end. Overall it's very tasty and quite drinkable - I think it will do well to keep me company this evening.

Monday, April 28, 2008

[Scotch Log] Dalmore 12 Year

Scotch: Dalmore 12 Year
Region: Highlands
Malt: Single Malt
Price: ~$30
Proof: 86

It scored a 92 from wine enthusiast, and they'd know right? Erm, except it isn't wine. Ah well! I like it pretty well. And not just because I'm drunk. It's quite tasty, not too harsh, and overall I'd call it a very acceptable every day drinking scotch. Which is to say, I'd be happy to drink it every day, and it is priced such that such a thing is an achievable goal.

Color: Blonde, with hints of dirty.
Nose: I can't smell nothing! I'm drunk! Durnk even!
Flava: Sweet and reasonably smooth for a 12 year. Smooth that is. Never mind. Fuck you! It's tasty!

Edit: Says the internet: "The malt tones are accompanied by notes of orange zest, cherry and oak. It also strikes me as slightly sweeter than other single malts." It also calls the whisky "delightful", which is both hard to spell when drunk and means "yummy".

Note to self: highland = sweet?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

[Wine Log] Bodegas Montebuena Rioja

Wine: Bodegas Montebuena Rioja
Price: $12
Vintage: 2004

Region: Spain

My artistic eye serves me well on this wine! I still haven't really mastered the skill of picking out more than one or so flavor from smelling or tasting wines, but I nailed the color of this one on the head, looking at it and saying "wow, this is a really rich, almost crystalline ruby color!" JD looks at the bottle's description, and sure enough, the exact words the used were "rich ruby color." Damn I'm good.

As for the nose, I was getting something peppery and something flowery, maybe roses? When tasted the flavors detected were spicy and sweet, though very sharp. Looking at a couple of professional reviews, the "pepper" I smelled is more widely described as "herbs" and the "roses" were "red fruits." I suppose that's fairly close. Oh, actually, I just found this review:

"Dark red. Spicy red berries and cherry on the nose, with hints of cracked pepper and dried rose. Crisp and dry on the palate, with spicy redcurrant and cherry flavors, light tannins and a fresh, energetic finish. An excellent value, and surprisingly elegant for this price point."
- International Wine Cellar (July/Aug 2007), 88 pts
So maybe we were more dead on in our descriptions than I expected! How pleasing!

The other common thread in all of the reviews I'm reading is that this Rioja is excellent for the price, which I can definitely get behind. I very much want to purchase this wine again, it was excellent!

Monday, March 17, 2008

[Wine Log] Bogle - Pinot Noir

Wine: Bogle (Russian River Valley) - Pinot Noir
Price: $12
Vintage: 2006

Alcohol Content: 14.2%

I picked up a Bogle Petite Sirah on the recommendation form a very friendly and adorable shop keeper a few months ago (the night of Psiu's last initiation, actually). I liked it rather a lot, so when I saw the Bogle Pinot Noir at Total Wine I decided to grab a bottle.

It was a good call, as it turns out. The Pinot Noir is very, very drinkable... in fact, almost chugable - which isn't necessarily a word that wine-snobs should use, but it's still true. I fear I didn't do a very complete analysis of the wine's color, nose, and flavor, but I did have a couple of observations. Through blue glass the Pinot Noir is a very rich burgundy, which leads me to believe it would have a nice magenta color through a real wine glass (yes, we've been drinking so much wine lately that we didn't have any clean wine glasses, so we drank out of high-ball glasses. Again with the Bad Wine Snobbery). As for flavor, it was very very wet and fruity, with no sting or bite at all. However, it still managed to have a very "winey" flavor - which is to say that it didn't drink like Arbor Mist or a cheap Beaujolais.

My one complaint is that JD and I both woke up with headaches the morning after drinking only 2/3 of the bottle. I'd blame this on high levels of tannins, but wikipedia informs me that Pinot Noirs, Beaujolais and Tempranillos usually have much lower levels of tannins than some other varieties, so maybe this one can be blamed on the Lambic that was consumed later in the night.

I'll definitely be wanting to buy the Bogle Pinot Noir again, for a nice, easily drinkable, sweet wine.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

[Mixed Log] Marlow's Winter Spice Martini

Not to be outdone, I also sampled one of Marlow's seasonal martinis. Sadly, mine was not nearly so tasty as Lisa's. Here is their description of it:
Aromas of cinnamon and nutmeg mix with the flavors of chai tea to create a martini that captures all the spice of the season
Like hers, I believe they threw some Goldschlagger into this one, but sadly it did not increase the net tasty of the drink. Although there were some tasty notes in there (primarily the Chai, which I imagine they used the ever-delicious Voyant for) they were almost drowned out by a strong and largely unpleasant alchohol flavor and far too much cinnamon (cinnamon booze mind you, I'm sure real cinnamon would have been quite good).

The plus? The drink was pretty strong. The minus? I expect my girlie mixed drinks to go down smooth, not give me whiskey shudders. I'd pass on this one. If you want tasty, there are better choices and if you want strong you can drink straight liquor cheaper than a $9 martini. :)

[Mixed Log] Marlow's Apple Cider Martini

In addition to having fantastic food, Marlow's Tavern also has some fantastic mixed drinks. Last night, I tried the Apple Cider Martini, which is described thusly on their website:
All the goodness of a warm rum cider in a hot coffee mug but its actually cold and in a martini glass. Did we mention the cinnamon sugar rim?
Really when it comes down to it, the rim makes the drink. I haven't quite figured out what was in the drink... I'm guessing apple cider or apple cider concentrate (based upon the color), some spiced rum, and judging from the golden flakes left at the bottom, Goldschlagger. Yeah - I know, right? I never would have guessed the last if not for the tale-tell evidence of my increasing bodily worth.

Regardless, it was delicious. You should get over there and try it before they change up their menu for spring.

[Mixed Log] Spanish Coffee?

Look at me creating a new log group for mixed drinks. I'm such a rebel!

One of my favorite restaurants in Seattle is Bleu, up on Broadway. I'd link you to their site, but it appears to have expired and gotten renewed by a little ad-bot. Oops. Anyway, there are many things about Bleu that I could gush over endlessly, but in light of the topic of this blog, I'll just post some information about the Best Coffee Drink Ever.

1) Procure a large glass mug
2) Dip the rim in 151
3) Dip the rim in cinnamon and sugar
4) Caramelize. With Fire.
5) Fill this Delicious Glass with coffee, strongly brewed
6) Add Kahlua
7) Add Grand Marnier
8) Add Brandy
9) Dollop whipped cream on top

Viola! You have the most amazing alcoholic coffee drink ever brewed. I wish I could remember the name of this monster... I want to say it was some variety of Spanish coffee, but I can't quite remember. Maybe Kai can check for me next time he goes. I'll need to experiment some on the portions, but I suspect about an ounce of each of the liqueurs will do the trick - with perhaps a bit more kahlua and a bit less brandy.


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

[Scotch Log] The Balvanie 12 Year Old

Scotch: The Balvanie 12 Year
Region: Speyside
Malt: Single Malt
Price: ~$40
Proof: 86

I picked up this bottle primarily because it had a high rating from Wine Spectator posted on the price tag at Total Wine. I am easy like that. I found it quite delicious, and the bottle disappeared much quicker than I think is strictly proper. It was fairly sweet and smooth, and drinking it was a pleasurable and easy experience. This variety is matured in two casks, the first being an oak whiskey (bourbon) cask, the second being a sherry cask. Apparently, this is part of the reason it is so smooth. From my experience with other whiskeys, I tend to agree that sherry casks are all for the good.

Color: As you can see from the picture, the color is a light amber.
Nose: I am not gonna lie to you, I honestly do not remember. The Balvenie website tells me that it is sweet with honey and vanilla flavors.
Taste: Fairly sweet and nutty.... pretty mellow. The finish was not the longest I have had, but it stuck around long enough to give me a nice warm feeling.

Overall Impressions: A very tasty Scotch for the money, this is one I will definitely purchase again, and it is mellow enough that it will be my recommendation to my friends who are interested in trying out Scotch.

[Wine Log]Terra Andina - Cabernet Sauvignon

Wine: Terra Andina (Reserva) - Cabernet Sauvignon
Price: $7
Region: Chile
Alcohol Content: 13.8%

Last night we hit up Total Wine and did our best to refill our wine rack by stocking up on 14 or 15 bottles. Sadly, they didn't have any of our usual favorite - the Terra Andina Carmen
ère - but they did have a Terra Andina Cab that we'd never seen before. Naturally, we grabbed a couple of bottles.

It definitely didn't disappoint. It was immensely drinkable and quite tasty. My first impression was that it had a bit of a bite to it, which JD didn't at all agree with... until about half an hour later. Hah. I noticed that it had a sweet aftertaste, and I was tasting a lot of plum and currant.

For this wine, I'll cheat and copy over what the Terra Andina site tells us:
Color: Deep ruby red
Aroma: Shows ripe red fruit mingled with a fine core of blackcurrant and blackberry, graphite, hint of eucalyptus, dry plums and black pepper.
Palate: Great balance with good structure and firm fine- grained tannins. Solid with a good depth on the finish.

Well. At least I called the plum. Also, I have no idea what "depth of finish" means - I'll have to look that one up.

Overall impressions: great price, quite delicious. Not as tasty as the Carmenere, but definitely worth buying.

Post the First - In which I introduce the delightfully alcoholic theme of this blog.

Whereby JD and I have proven ourselves only so-so at keeping up a physical book describing our wine- and liquor-related exploits, we've resolved to play to my sense of blog-compartmentality and keep a slightly more electronic history.

So, in keeping with my other three blogs, welcome to Three Sweet Ounces, our online drinking log.

I should make sure in this first post to include a disclaimer: neither of us claims to be a connoisseur of any sort, so do bear with us while we inevitably mangle many, many terms while we get a handle on them. I promise that eventually we'll live up to the true expectation of good Snobs.

Disclaimer the second: We'll certainly endeavor to keep drunken posting to a minimum, but not promises.