Saturday, August 05, 2017

The Skinny on Hard Apple Ciders

I consider myself an equal opportunity consumer of fine beverages but my enjoyment of beers and wine has waned of late. I feel bloated when I drink ales and red wine doesn't appeal to me much during summer months.

With the opening of Westside Beer, Wine and Spirits in the neighborhood I purchased a growler intent on occasionally having some local craft beers but was intrigued when I saw they had Bulwark's traditional cider on tap. A sample quickly reassured me that real ciders were not slickly packaged coolers but the real historically accurate beverage of choice for ages.

It's full of sugars I reasoned and will make me fatter. Truth be told it depends upon the apples used in the fermentation and the distilling method. Traditional ciders tend to be dry and relatively low in naturally occurring sugars imparting a tart refreshing hard cider. Be wary of those that say they are an apple flavored beverage as they are often macro produced from concentrates and other added ingredients. Stick to the ones that list apples alone on the label. You might pay a tad bit more but its worth every penny.

Possessing an alcohol content equivalent to the average beer but often half that of wines cider is a perfect summer thirst quencher, is gluten free, possesses a variety of anti oxidants and has no additives. Using local apples its good for NS farmers and the local economy. I suppose it will make me fatter if consumed in excess like all alcoholic beverages will do but I'm jumping, actually leaping, on the hard cider bandwagon.

Variety is the spice, or drink, of life.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Rum-Rhum Negrita Bardinet Anejo

My friend Jon recently returned from a European vacation with three bottles of Spanish rum in hand. I was anxious to give the spirit a try so pretty much invited myself over despite their probable jet lag. I was somewhat less enthused when I found out the one litre bottles were had, on sale, for the equivalent of $15(ish) CDN. I figured it was going to be harsh in mouth feel and finish best masked in lots of cola and ice.

In a saloon style bottle the labeling was rather surprising to my North American sensibilities. Having done some googling I was happy to discover that the definition of negrita was an affectionate term of endearment for young women of color. From my understanding of the Spanish and French context it is a complimentary term with no racist intent which may explain why the distillery has not changed the labeling/ naming in 150 years of production.

In the glass the rum presents as a dark amber or a light dark rum. Not much of a nose other than caramel which probably was added to enhance the color and flavor. Not unusual for cheaper rums.

A tentative first sip resulted in some expected heat, a ok mouth feel but a surprising finish. I had expected harshness and a long burn which did not happen, often the case with young barely aged rums. Over ice it was even more tolerable if somewhat lacking in depth as a stand alone drink. It is not really a sipper by no means but does quite well as a mixer, which is how it is marketed by the distillery. With cola it makes a pretty good rum and coke especially for the price point. If you are across the pond and looking for something affordable to toss in the luggage and unavailable here in Canada give it a look.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Rum - Sea Fever Spiced

Finally got around to picking up a bottle of this local rum marketed by the Authentic Seacoast Distilling Company Ltd based in Guysborough Nova Scotia.

Packaged in a classic corked bottle it has minimal but attractive labeling with the stopper matching the steel blue color of the label. The clear glass bottle accentuates the straw color of the spirit. With a price point of $35 CDN it is competitive with other mid range rums at the NSLC and West Side Beer Wine and Spirits.

" After oak maturing select Caribbean and Canadian rums....we blend them with fig, aromatic cinnamon, vanilla and a hint of citrus..."

The nose of the rum is of sweetness with strong notes of butterscotch and candy. Believe it or not I sense an essence of bubblegum, the same as that moment you unwrap the gum from the packaging. Upon tasting it has a pleasant mouth feel with a long finish and a nice burn to remind one it is rum despite the candied overtones.

Mixed with some carbonated Perrier water and a splash of ginger ale it makes a refreshing summer deck beverage. I personally prefer it as a sipper, the slow melt of the cubes mellowing out the finish and bringing forth a touch of orange citrus.

This is a nice spiced rum but definitely of a sweeter variety. If you prefer smokier, oaky rums you might find this wanting and rather cloying. That said it is a spiced rum so one should expect a cornucopia of flavors and notes.