New Thing #356: Japanese Single Malt



I’ve been waiting to try this for quite some time, but I’ve never wanted to take such a finanacial chance on an unproven scotch. Then I found out that you could get this Japanese single malt in 180ml bottles. Sold.

The very idea of a Japanese single malt whisky (not Scotch, they’d string you up in Scotland if you said such a thing) is crazy. And what’s even crazier is that I really, really like it.

I usually tend to like my scotches on the Speyside of things; smooth, fruity and not too peaty. But this 10 year old Yoichi distilled by Nikka Whisky takes what I normally like from that region and adds just enough smokey peat to really really make it shine. It’s still crisp but has a distinctive weight to it as well. It’s the perfect balance for my palate.

I’m extremely impressed with this fine concotion. Now I know exactly what I’ll be bringing to the next installment of Scotch Night.


New Thing #355: Sparkling Sake



I’ve never particularly liked sake of any kind. I’ve also never had a particularly good quality one either, so that might have something to do with it. And I don’t think that quality moniker has really changed after drinking the Zipang Sparkling Sake that I picked up the other day. But damn it if I don’t like the stuff regardless.

The first thing that surprised me is how sweet it is. It isn’t sickly sweet, it more hovers around a riesling in my opinion. The carbonation might be what really sets this apart from the other sakes though. It really bring a light crispness to it that I wasn’t expecting. 

It comes in 250ml non-resealable bottles, suggesting they should be enjoyed like a bottle of beer. But I couldn’t see having more than one of these at a time without getting some serious rot gut.

That being said, it might make a fine thing to experiment with in cocktail making. To the internets!


New Thing #343: Coopers Brewery Sparkling Ale



I don’t really know what to say about Coopers Brewery Sparkling Ale. It’s Australian, so there’s that. And it’s sparkling, I guess, but isn’t every beer? I mean I can only take that the sparkling is due to the carbonation.

The only difference from most of the ales I’ve had is that there’s a fair amount of sediment present in the brew; which isn’t usually a selling point for me. It reminds me of my father-in-law’s homemade variety that way.

But that’s not to say it’s bad. It’s perfectly fine. I just wouldn’t go out of my way to drink it again.


New Thing #338: Guinness Chocolate Float


Beer and dairy aren’t two things that I tend to think mix well. But I couldn’t resist trying a Guinness Chocolate Float after I saw a recipe for one this weekend.

It’s dark, creamy, and delicious. Everything I like about Guinness, but with the added bonus of chocolate ice cream.

I mean, really, how could this possibly be a bad thing?

New Thing #335: Drink a Tea-based Cocktail



As a nice change of pace tonight, Shauna whipped up my new thing of the day: an Orange Blossom Oolong Tea cocktail.

After attending a tea mixology seminar last week she’s been eager to try out her new found knowledge. Plus, they sent her home with said orange blossom oolong syrup and some recipes.

The syrup itself is a normal simple syrup with tea used instead of water. Why I never thought of flavoured simple syrups before now is beyond me. And this little lemon-gin-oolong ditty knocked our socks off.

Now I think some experimenting is in order.

New Thing #322: Hot Buttered Rum



I don’t know about you, but when I look at a stick of butter just about the last thing I think is that I should drop it into some rum and make a cocktail with it. But boy is that going to change after having a Hot Buttered Rum tonight.

It probably helps that I started with the wonderful Kraken spiced rum that I got for Christmas which, on its own, is pretty fantastic. But then when you add the spices and brown sugar to the mix it gets even better. Oh, and there’s that whole matter of a couple of tablespoons of butter that melt into a creamy froth when you add the hot water. 

It’s like hot chocolate for adults, which Audrey was rather upset about when she found out she couldn’t have any. Plus, I totally don’t have any clear mugs in my collection, a mistake I tend to rectify poste haste.

New Thing #318: Cr??me Br??l??e Stout



Every so often I come across something in the LCBO that I had no idea existed. Crème Brûlée Imperial Milk Stout by the Southern Tier Brewing Company is just one of those things.

According to Amelie, breaking the crust of a Crème Brûlée is one of life’s greatest pleasures…and I tend to agree. Breaking open one of these stouts might just be up there as well.

This isn’t so much a beer as it is a dessert. It’s easily just as tasty as any confection and equally as filling. And yes, it does taste as advertised. You still get a distinct stoutness to though, and it isn’t so sickly sweet that you feel as though you’ve drank a pint of carmalezied sugar. It certainly might have a very thick scent of caramel, but it’s nicely balanced when it comes down to the drinking bit.

But, really, one of these and you’re good. Split it with a friend and you’re golden.

New Thing #316: Drink A Rickey



I was going through the list of classic cocktails tonight, trying to figure out if there was really anything that I haven’t tried at this point. Only one seemed to float to the top, and that was a Rickey

Sure, they’re usually made with gin, but, as I found out when I went to my cupboard, we’re fresh out. Thanks to Wikipedia though I learned that original Rickey was conceived as a bourbon based drink. Lucky for me I don’t care for the stuff too much so that bottle of Jim Beam we bought a few years ago is still half full. I can’t say for long though.

I think I’ve finally found a drink that takes the hardness out of the bourbon that I find overpowers for my palette. And yes, I’ve tried good bourbons as well. I usually break out the Beam when I need to cook with it.

The lime also sweetens it up a notch. Overall this concoction changes the bourbon into something refreshing rather than something to get through. This is going to make a great hot-summer-day-on-the-back-deck-waiting-to-flip-the-ribs-on-the-grill kinda drink.

New Thing #308: Mango Liqueur


Normally I’m not much into mangos. Peeling and slicing a mango is one of my most dreaded duties in the kitchen. They’re slimy, they never come off the stone properly and they always seem to overpower whatever dish it is that I add them to. That being said, on their own, with nothing to overwhelm the flavour of, they really shine.

So I’ve been eagerly awaiting opening of the bottle of Orchid Mango Liqueur that Shauna got for Christmas this year.

After my daughter was finally tucked into bed tonight, we cracked it open and poured ourselves a couple of drinks over ice. The flavour is quite intense, really bursting with that taste of ripe mangos. The website purports the use of only the freshest fruit, and although there’s no real way of telling, it sure tastes that way.

As an added bonus, there’s a rather tasty looking recipe for a Champagne based cocktail that we’ll be happy to try out once the bottle of Cava in the fridge is popped at midnight.

Happy new year everyone!

New Thing #299: The Kraken Black Spiced Rum



I like rum, but historically I’ve stuck to the light stuff. Recently though, I’ve branched out into the darker stuff and you don’t get much darker than the bottle of The Kraken that my partner Tim gave to me at work today.

You also don’t get much better. 

This stuff is overwhelmingly good. Spicy, full of flavour and just shy of overpowering. And the label and unique bottle shape are just top notch design work. 

I can’t believe I’ve never tried this before. Release The Kraken indeed.


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