A Little Break

Well, wine month was the month that was, and rum month is the month that will be. In this time between that was and the month that will be, I thought I would take a little break to wax poetic about a drink atopical, and atypical. While I wax and wane with a post, I’m afraid somewhat inane, I thought I would bring you a drink made with gin, and many other ingredients seeming quite sinful. Lemon, lime, cream, egg, orange flower water, vanilla, soda water, you have to know that of which I speak…the Ramos gin fizz. Now, everyone I heard from, read from, and fromed from praised this Crescent City libation as a drink that fueled passions and was spectacular enough to be something beyond what drinks are. I found it fell flat. It had none of that rat-a-tat-tat that makes a good drink. It could be that I mixed it poorly, but I shook it until my arms got tired, and kept on shaking a good seven or eight minutes. This drink was rich, but the richness of the drink clashed with the sourness of the citrus juices. Perhaps it needed more sugar. Ah well. Anyway, without further ado and just a bit of bugaboo I give you:

The Ramos Gin Fiz

  • 2 oz. – Gin (Gordon’s)
  • .5 oz. – Lemon Juice
  • .5 oz. – Lime Juice
  • 1 oz. – Cream (Heavy whipping)
  • 1 – White of small egg
  • 1Tsp – Powdered sugar
  • 1 dash – Vanilla Extract (Kirkland Select)
  • 2 dash – Orange Flower Water
  • 2-3 oz. – Seltzer Water

Mix sugar and juice together in a pint glass, and mix until syrup is formed. Add in gin, cream, egg white, vanilla, and one dash of orange flower water. Shake dry to combine, and then add ice and shake vigorously for a long time until well combined and frothy. Double strain into a long glass and top off with seltzer. If you can put the orange flower water in any kind of atomizer, atomize on top for additional aroma.

See you for rum,

The Scribe

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A Wonderful Spicing

Well, the Dramproject is now complete. It is absolutely gorgeous. It is everything I wanted and more. The sherry is spicy and peppery and kicks like a mule. It worked great in the twilight squall cocktail, and, more importantly, it is going wonderfully in soups and as part of my steak marinade (3 oz. Worchestershire sauce, 3 oz. soy sauce, .5 oz. sherry peppers for each steak, marinade for .5-3 hours). Basically, it is everything I could ask for and more. Whip yourself up a batch today!

Pictures to follow.

Take care now,
The Scribe

Together, At Last

Well guys, it’s been a long journey, but we’re here. This marks the last post of Wine Month August. I’ll be finishing up the August Dramproject tonight, and posting an update. While it’s a few days overdue, I’m posting here a comparison of the Undurraga cab sauv and the McWilliams sirrah. I think this works out to a question of pairing. As for me, I generally don’t drink wine on its own. I tend to drink beer, amber spirits, or cocktails when I am drinking without food, and, with the exception of sacramentally, I tend to drink wine only with food.

So, that begs the question, which is better with what? I think the shiraz stood up to the beef we ate it with, but I feel that the cabernet would have been a better pairing. On the other hand, I think that the Australian wine would have been better with lighter foods than the Chilean, and that the reverse would also have been the true. So, there you have it. Both were quite good quotidian wines. Neither was spectacular, but I enjoyed them both.

I’ve enjoyed drinking wine with you this month,

The Scribe

An Ocean Between Us

As I compare southern hemisphere reds these two days, I needed, of course, to hit Chile. Chile has been a staple for those of us who enjoy fine wine on a limited budget. Today I bring you a cabernet sauvignon from the Malbec Valley. Let’s take a look:

A Glass of Undurraga

A Glass of Undurraga

Undurraga Wineries: Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 (Chile)

Tasting Conditions: I enjoyed this glass of wine with dinner one night to kick off the week. I had it in a red wine glass of approximately ten ounces volume, though, obviously, I only filled it to the bulge. The wine had been opened a day or two previously and recorked, so a little oxidation had occurred.

Eye: The wine was a dark royal purple in the glass with very slender legs. The bottle was a classic wine bottle, and the label was very square. The label was quite neutral being neither particularly elegant or artistic, nor suggestive of an inferior bottling.

Nose: The nose was surprisingly rough for wine, especially as oxidation usually smoothes out the wine a bit. However, I did get berries, and a bit of apple in the nose, in addition to the usual musty grape.

Mouth: While Cab Sauvs tend to be sweet, this one was especially surprising to me. It was quite sweet, though not to the point of being unpleasant. Otherwise, I got berries, citrus, and wineyness in the first sip and as I was finishing the glass after the meal, I also got mint and spice elements suggestive of oak.

Conclusion: This was certainly an acceptable wine. I have no idea how it priced out, but if it was around my usual wine budget, I would be more than happy to pick up a bottle.

I’m Bound For South Australia

Way back at the beginning of the summer, we had our first nice meal as a house to say goodbye to one of our housemates who was heading home for the summer. It is ironic that I post this review tonight on the eve of her return, but I saved it for a wine month, which was a concept that I was coming to even then. Anyway, this week, we are doing red wines from the southern hemisphere: an Aussie shiraz and a cabernet sauvignon from Chile. Tonight is the shiraz:

McWilliams Wines: 2005 Shiraz (New South Wales, Australia)

McWilliams 2005 Shiraz

McWilliams 2005 Shiraz

Tasting Conditions: We enjoyed this shiraz with a farewell dinner for one of my housemates. It was accompanied by pasta, brisket, and broccoli. I enjoyed it in a standard six ounce wine glass.

Eye: A fairly dark crimson wine in a rather attractive package, though standard. One minor note, I was a bit hard pressed to find the proof of the wine.

Nose: A sweet, grape nose was evident with some berry (raspberry?) as just the slightest hint of citrus.

Mouth: This was especially smooth with barely a hint of bite. It did not come on particularly strong. The berries continued into the mouth though the citrus notes were not evident. It was also perhaps a bit nutty. I would also say this wine was almost chewy in texture. While it was nicely balanced, I would also suggest that it was, perhaps a bit sweet.

Conclusion: This is quite a pleasant vintage. When we got it, it was on special for less than $8. At that price, I would buy many bottles of this wine. It would perhaps be more fitting as a wine with red pasta than a strongly flavoured meat. This would be a great wine for white wine lover to introduce them to the red stuff, which, in fact, was also part of why we got it.

G’day,
The Scribe

Double Up

Well, I have just the tail of that wonderful bottle of Castillero del Diablo, and I’ve been watching the video of the English Invasion over at the Cocktail Spirit. So, wine, tea, and what else? A quick glance over at the CocktailDB suggested the Double Derby, a pleasant summer wine cooler…with a kick.

This wine cooler is cooling, and refreshing. It’s creamy and cool, and lush on the upside. The tea flavour is really quite lost, and the flavours are a bit muddled. I would have preferred them a bit crisper. As I feared, the cream curdled just a tad, but the curdles tended to stick to the ice, so it was okay there. I would have preferred a bit more citrus, perhaps upping the lime a bit. I tried to up the orange, and that didn’t help. I am split over the cream. On the one hand, without it, you loose the lushness which really makes this drink enjoyable, on the other hand, curdled cream is never a good thing. I guess I would shake the cream with the drink, and while you loose the wonderful effect, you also gain the creaminess. Another option might be to layer the bourbon or wine and then the cream on top, ala a pouse cafe. I would be worried about the sugar contents over the lower layer, however, in getting layered properly. If you were to try and layer, I guess I would layer the bourbon separately, not the wine, as you need the colour contrast.

Double Derby

  • 2 oz. – Whiskey (Old Overholt Rye)
  • 2 oz. – Claret (Castillero del Diablo 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon)
  • 2 oz. – Black teal, brewed very dark
  • 1 oz. – Orange Juice
  • .75 oz. – Lime Juice
  • 1 oz. – Blackcurrant Syrup
  • .5 oz. – Cream

Shake it all together very hard, and serve over ice in a large short tumbler of at least 12 oz.

I hope you enjoy,
The Scribe

Like Apples And Oranges

So, the problem with this comparison is that is like comparing apples and oranges. While both sherry and port are classed as fortified wines, along with madeira, marsala, and a half dozen other styles, they are very different types of wine, the same way that apples and oranges are both fruits, but taste quite different. Further, the sherry I tasted was a low end cooking sherry, while the port was a high end vintage port. While both were on the sweeter side for wine, the port was, as port often is, very sweet, almost to the point of being sickly. The sherry was a lot less sweet, but also a lot less complex. Which is better? Damn if I know. It’s all a question of what you are up for. A fine celebratory desert wine? Go with the Bogle port. A simple quotidian apertif? The Taylor sherry will fit the bill just fine. In addition, tonight I enjoyed Grahm’s Six Grape Ruby Port and the 1999 Reciotto della Valpolicella from M. Castelli. The port was reasonably ordinary with nice berry and subtle nutty notes. The Valpolicella was interesting. While my father remarked that he had never had Manischewitz served cold before, I found the wine surprising. While it was indeed quite sweet the wine had an unexpected roundness to it, but the shocker was the finish. The finish felt like eating a fresh raspberry. If I could only drink one wine for all time, I guess it would have to be the sherry or the Valpolicella, just because the ports were both too sweet, but, to be honest, I would really want to limit my enjoyment of any of the wines to a less common-place thing.

This probably hasn’t been the most useful comparison, but I will say that between the two, the Grahm’s port was just as good as the Bogle, and likely much cheaper, so I would go with that. I will compare the sherries as soon as I crack the Barbadillo.

Keep your spirits (and wines) strong,

The Scribe