Review: Crown Royal Vanilla Canadian Whisky

crown-royal-vanilla_bag-box

Crown Royal continues to experiment with flavored whiskies, its latest expression being a natural whisky fit: Vanilla. The product is described as “a blend of hand-selected Crown Royal whiskies infused with the rich flavor of Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla.”

If you like vanilla and you like Canadian whisky, well, you’ll love Crown Royal Vanilla, which is a “best of both worlds” experience. Mind you, it’s nothing you’ll be writing postcards about, but rather a vanilla-heavy experience that borders on marshmallow-sweet (and -flavored) at times. The heavy sugariness of the experience isn’t a deal-breaker, and given the intention of this whisky to be used as a mixer, not a sipper, it’ll fit right in with cola or another simple combo. (See below for more cocktail ideas.) Light mixed berry notes add a touch of complexity on the back end, along with some simple milk chocolate character and just the lightest hint of woody barrel char — but by and large this is a showcase for sweet vanilla syrup from start to finish. That’s not a bad thing, I suppose. All told, this is nothing that will blow your mind, but there’s nothing not to like here, either.

70 proof.

B / $26 / crownroyal.com

Below please find some recipes that Crown Royal suggests, in partnership with Hella Company and Cocktail Courier (which will deliver all the ingredients you need to make both of these in one kit). They’re both quite pungent, so feel free to work with the proportions liberally.

Crown Vanilla and Hella Cola
1.5 oz. Crown Royal Vanilla
1 oz. Hella Cola cocktail syrup
3.5 oz. club soda
whole vanilla bean*

Mix in a highball glass filled with ice. Use vanilla bean as a stirrer and leave bean in glass as if a straw. Garnish with an unsqueezed lime wedge if desired.

* yes, they mean a pod, not a whole bean

Vanilla Old Fashioned
1.5 oz. Crown Royal Vanilla
0.5 oz Woods Boiled Cider
3 dashes Hella Orange Bitters

In a double rocks glass add all ingredients, then add ice to above the level of liquid. Stir for 10 seconds. Garnish with thick orange peel if desired.

Recipes: Thanksgiving Cocktails 2016

Once again, the Thanksgiving holiday is upon us. However, this year seems a bit more unusual for those of us accustomed to having our team serve as the butt end of football jokes: the Detroit Lions are sitting atop the NFC North in first place. Here are a few recipes we’ll be putting to good use while explaining to our 92 year old grandmother why everyone is so angry at Alexander Hamilton these days.

Also, be on the lookout for our annual Holiday Gift Guide arriving in short order. (Tomorrow, actually!) Check back to get the lowdown on our giftable selections on a wide range of libations!

appleshoneyApples & Honey
1 ¼ parts Drambuie
2 parts kosher pressed apple cider
¾ part lime juice
1 sm pinch kosher salt
1 dash Angostura bitters
1 part kosher sparkling white wine (for dryer cocktail, 2 parts sparkling wine)
Garnish with thinly sliced apples and mint

Combine liquid ingredients and salt minus wine into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake and strain over ice. Top with Sparkling wine and garnish with thin apple slices and mint.

Spiced Autumn Mimosa
¾ oz Ciroc Mango
¾ oz champagne
¾ oz fresh orange juice
1 cinnamon stick

Garnish with grated cinnamon, orange wedge and pomegranate seeds.

star-of-autumnStar of Autumn
1 ½ parts Facundo Neo rum
1 part Laird’s Applejack
¼ part maple syrup
¼ part lemon juice
apple wheel (green or Granny Smith) for garnish

Shake all ingredients with plenty of ice. Strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with a thin apple wedge or curled apple peel.

punchHippocras Punch
4 parts white wine
2 parts Hendrick’s Gin
1 part chamomile tea
½ pineapple chopped
1 ¼ cups sugar
3 cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
4 orange peels
1 teaspoon ground white pepper

Combine all of the ingredients in a small pot and simmer gently for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour into a teapot and serve hot in teacups. Garnish with pineapple, cinnamon stick and orange peel.

chicagoLast Harvest
Created by Ben Schiller, The Sixth (Chicago)

2 oz. Campari
2 oz. apple brandy
1/2 oz. Cinzano 1757 Vermouth
1 oz. Wild Turkey bourbon
1/2 oz. walnut liqueur
4 dashes of aromatic bitters

Build all ingredients in a mixing glass and stir with ice for 15 seconds, then funnel into cocktail bottle. Drop in a small apple slice for garnish. Serves two.

Recipe: Never Die

the-winning-cocktail-never-die

The Tahona Society Cocktail Competition recently completed its sixth annual installment in Guadalajara, Mexico, with challengers tasked with crafting a unique libation using Olmeca Altos Tequila.

We got a peek at the winning cocktail, Never Die, crafted by Kelsey Ramage of London’s Dandelyan. (Fortunately Olmeca Altos whipped up some mole orgeat for us in advance, but full instructions on the creation of the drink follow.) Warning: It’s extremely spicy!

Never Die
50 ml Altos Plata
15 ml pink pine nut/mole orgeat
1 dash Angostura Bitters
4 dashes piquin chili tincture

For mole orgeat:
100g pink pine nuts
6 allspice berries
2g cinnamon
6g cacao nibs

Stir all ingredients until chilled. Rim coupette with “soil” made from toasted leftover pine nuts, mulato chili and salt.

Mole orgeat method: Toast all ingredients in a pan until the pine nuts are toasted lightly. Add 500ml of water and flash blend. Transfer mixture back into a pan and keep over low heat until flavours in cinnamon and cacao come through. Strain through cheesecloth. Add sugar at 1:1 ratio. Retain spent nut/spice mixture for rim.

Rim method: Dry out nut/spice mixture left over from mole orgeat by toasting in a pan over low heat with some mulato chili. Once dry add salt to taste and blend into a finer texture.

Recipes: Halloween Cocktails, 2016

Halloween is upon us, and with it a weekend’s worth of costumed and themed parties. As always, we’d like to present for your consideration a pretty substantial list of cocktail recipes and ideas that will enhance any get-together you may be planning.

bloodhandThe Blood in Hand (Blood and Sand)
1 part Tullamore D.E.W. Irish Whiskey
1 part cherry liqueur
1 part sweet vermouth
1 part orange juice, freshly squeezed

Add all the ingredients to a shaker and fill with ice. Shake, and strain into a rocks glass.

Bat Magic

1.5 parts Bacardi Black
0.5 part fresh lime juice
0.5 part simple syrup
top with dark beer
2 dashes orange bitters

Combine Bacardi Black, lime juice, simple syrup and bitters in a shaker filled with ice, shake, strain into an ice filled pint glass, then fill with dark beer. Garnish with an orange slice.

pumpkin-spice-and-everything-nicePumpkin Spice and Everything Nice
1 oz Baileys Pumpkin Spice
1 oz Captain Morgan Spiced Rum
1 1/2 scoop vanilla ice cream
cola to top
sprig of mint for garnish

Combine Baileys Pumpkin Spice, Captain Morgan and vanilla ice cream in a highball glass. Top with cola and stir. Garnish with mint sprig.

witchesbrewWitches’ Brew
2 oz. dark rum
1 oz. fresh lime juice
3/4 oz. ginger liqueur
Sweet Cuveìe Cava

Please use caution and carefully light one end of a cinnamon stick and let it smoke. Place smoldering stick in glass with a plate covering the bottom to prevent overheating. In a cocktail shaker, combine ice and ingredients. Pour over glass with cinnamon stick and top off with Sweet Cuveìe Cava.

Bewitching Berry
2 parts Sauza Signature Blue Silver Tequila
1/2 part peach juice
1/2 part blackberry puree
1/2 part lemon juice
1 part simple syrup
peach slice and blackberry for garnish

Add ingredients to an ice-filled shaker. Shake and strain over ice into a coupe glass. Garnish by skewering a fresh blackberry and a slice of peach with a knot stick.

milagroMilagro Ofrenda
2 parts Milagro Reposado
1 part fresh mandarin juice
1/2 part fresh lemon juice
1/4 part orange blossom honey syrup
1/2 part egg white

Put all ingredients into a Boston shaker, add ice and shake until cold. Double strain into a chilled cocktail glass/coupe. Garnish with edible marigold.

Fall Cocktail: Jardesca Fall Harvest Spritz

pear-and-basil

It’s getting downright cool in parts, so it’s time to break out some seasonally-appropriate ingredients.

Check out this offering from Jardesca aperitiva. (Note, you can also use white wine in this recipe if you want a more restrained experience.)

Jardesca Fall Harvest Spritz
3 oz. Jardesca eau de vie
3 slices ripe pair
bruised basil leaf

Add ingredients to a stemless wine glass, over ice. Stir once and top with a splash of soda water or sparkling wine.

Recipes: Labor Day Cocktails 2016

So for this, the 250th recipe post to Drinkhacker, we celebrate the unofficial arrival of summer’s end. However, with the continuous reports of record heat around the globe, it appears that summer isn’t going quietly this year. So until the arrival of everything pumpkin spiced and cooler temperatures, hang out with one of these this holiday weekend.

Midori Melon Oasis
Created Los Angeles mixologist Yael Vengroff
1 part Midori melon liqueur
1 1/4 parts light rum
1/2 part peach liqueur
3/4 part lime juice
3/4 part pineapple juice
6 mint leaves

Combine Midori liqueur, light rum, peach liqueur, lime juice, pineapple juice and mint leaves in a blender with ice. Blend on high and pour into a Hurricane glass. Garnish with mint, sliced peaches and a pineapple wedge.

Caitie McCabe PhotographyBaker’s Citrus Sazerac
1 1/2 parts Baker’s bourbon
1/2 part grapefruit liqueur
1 tsp of simple syrup
1 dash of Angostura bitters
1 dash of Whiskey Barrel bitters

Spritz a chilled Sazerac glass with honey whiskey liqueur. Add all ingredients to a mixing glass with ice and stir well. Pour into the spritzed Sazerac glass and garnish with a grapefruit twist.

(Note: Bourbon snobs hear me out. I know to use a higher quality bourbon like Baker’s in a mixed drink borders on sacrilegious, but it’s actually pretty great in this instance. Give it a shot.)

image008Drambuie Mixed Berry Sangria
3 parts Drambuie
1 part triple sec
1 cup Chardonnay
1 part orange juice
1 part lime juice
1 part honey
2 cups frozen berries
10 dashes cherry bitters

Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Garnish with skewered berries with basil sprig.

unnamedFrozen Boulevardier
3/4 oz. Aperol
3/4 oz. Carpano Antica sweet vermouth
3/4 oz. Bulleit bourbon
1 Quenelle of tangerine sorbet
Zest of lemon
Hand-Crushed Ice

Crush ice in a bag, pour into a rocks glass. In a mixing glass, combine Aperol, Carpano Antica and bourbon. Add fresh ice. Stir for 30-45 seconds, strain over crushed ice. Garnish with a scoop of tangerine sorbet and lemon zest.

(Note: Regarding Hand-Crushed Ice, you can totally use crushed ice if you have that setting on your fridge. And if you can’t be bothered with making a Quenelle, just use a regular scoop of sorbet. No need to get precious about this if you don’t want to. It’s just as good.)

Recipes: National Rum Day, 2016

Tomorrow (August 16) marks the annual passing of National Rum Day, a holiday with an impressive longevity in comparison to other spirit-inspired festive occasions. Here are a few cocktails we pre-tested over this past weekend and which received our stamp of approval. Bear in mind: All of these cocktails are best served without listening to Jimmy Buffett.

East India NegroniEast India Negroni
2 parts Banks 5 Island rum
1 part Campari
1 part Lustau East India sherry
orange peel (for garnish)

Add all the ingredients but the garnish to a mixing glass, then add ice. Stir and strain into a rocks glass with one large ice cube. Garnish with the orange peel.

Mount Gay Rum’s Barbadian Rum Punch
1 part sour (lime juice)
2 parts sweet (simple syrup)
3 parts strong (Mount Gay Black Barrel rum)
4 parts weak (water or unsweetened iced tea) (Note: we used iced tea)

Combine all elements and stir. Let sit in fridge for 20-30 minutes. Serve.

image007Rum Babalu
2 parts Kirk and Sweeney 12 Year Old Rum
¾ part fresh lime juice
½ part maple syrup
1 part ginger beer
1 dash of Angostura bitters

Add all ingredients in a shaker except ginger beer, add ice and shake well until chilled. Strain over fresh ice, top with ginger beer and garnish with an orange peel.

Pineapple-Mojito_Close-up-BestPineapple Mojito
(Recipe and photo by Cocina 214)
6 leaves of mint (no stems)
1 oz pineapple chunks
1.5 oz pineapple juice
1 oz simple syrup
.75 oz Malibu Pineapple Rum
.75 oz Bacardi Rum Coconut
1 oz soda water
0.5 oz diluted lime juice

Muddle mint, pineapple, diluted lime and simple syrup. Add ice. Then add Bacardi and pineapple rum. Shake well. Pour contents into a 16oz glass. Garnish with pineapple leaf.

Neo White Negroni
2 parts Facundo Neo rum
1 part Cocchi White Americano
dash of Maraschino liqueur
Lemon twist

Combine ingredients with ice. Garnish with a twist of lemon.

Hint of SpiceCruzan Hint of Spice
(Recipe by Christian Guillén)
2 parts Cruzan Aged Light Rum
1 part D&D Shrubs & Syrups Co. Spiced Pecan Orgeat
1/2 part Allspice Liqueur
3/4 part fresh lime juice
5 dashes Angostura Bitters

In a cocktail shaker, combine rum, spiced pecan orgeat, allspice liqueur, and fresh lime juice. Shake and strain into a Collins Glass over crushed ice. Top with bitters and garnish with a mint sprig and lime wheel.

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