Rojo Piñon Rum

rojo pinon rum

Part of what I do here at Simple Cocktails is give some extra (deserved) attention to my local distilleries. As of this month, 5 distillers have raised up in New Mexico, and I love to make sure they get all the exposure they can through this blog.

Left Turn Distilling, who already makes an excellent vodka and old tom gin, have just released Rojo Piñon Rum, which we tried recently on the podcast as well.

By my accounts, this is the first rum to be available from our current roster of distilleries. Adding the piñon has an interesting effect of both flavoring and “wood-ing” the rum to age it quicker. While this is by no means an aged rum, it has spent a few weeks in a barrel, and the macerated pinon shells are very brittle and woody too.

I initially tasted Rojo at a cigar/rum pairing event here in Albuquerque, and it was a good fit with a stogie. Later on, I tried it on it’s own, and it’s a little young yet to be a sipping rum, but it’s close. The flavor is good and the piñon element is really tasty, a bit oily and toasty too, but it feels like a little more time to mellow in a barrel would be great to get this to a “sipping” level. For cocktails, on the other hand, this is a good mixing rum, and makes tiki drinks pretty uniquely tasty. At $25 a bottle, it’s a worth first run at a unique southwestern rum.

 

Podcast 44- Rojo Piñon Rum and Señorita

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Rum & cigars. Greg is a cheerleader. The state tree of NM. We taste Left Turn Distilling’s Piñon Rum. The Boston Tea Party. Fresh citrus = craft cocktails? We make a Señorita cocktail. Greg mentions Big Gin. “You get to the liquor quicker.” Colorado dissing. Yeah, we have a Pinterest page.

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Hola Harvey

hola harvey wallbanger

I’ve covered Galliano before, the famous electric-yellow herbal liqueur from Italy. It’s the critical ingredient that turns a simple Screwdriver into the Harvey Wallbanger cocktail. We’ve tasted it a few months back on the podcast, too (listen here).

For Cinco de Mayo this year, I found a tropical recipe that riffs on the Harvey Wallbanger that’s both easy and tasty:

Hola Harvey

  • in a shaker, combine:
  • 1 1/2 oz blanco tequila
  • 1/2 oz Galliano
  • 1 oz pineapple juice
  • 1/2 oz lime juice
  • shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass
  • garnish with a lime wedge

 Special thanks to our sponsor Galliano L’Autentico.

Trader Joe’s Kentucky Bourbon

trader joes kentucky bourbon

To my friends and family, I’m a bit of a Trader Joe’s fanatic. We started shopping there regularly a few years ago when I swore off of high fructose corn syrup (and lost 50 lbs in the process).

Trader’s (as we like to call it) has an interesting liquor section if you’ve ever shopped it. Their “2 Buck Chuck” (or 3 Buck Chuck, or 4 Buck Chuck, depending on the part of the country you live in) is the #1 selling wine in the U.S. If you look carefully at their hard liquors,you’ll also note that they have some budget-priced options that you can’t find anywhere else. Check out the $8 Rear Admiral Joseph’s London Dry Gin, their 100% agave tequila for $20, or their own Blended Scotch Whisky, $12 a liter.

I’ve been eyeing the Trader Joe’s Kentucky Bourbon Straight Whiskey ($14.99) for a while, and finally broke down and bought a bottle. This bourbon is distilled at the elusive “Bourbon Square Distilling Company,” which, if Googled, just points you more reviews of this same bourbon. Some web sleuths uncovered that this bourbon is actually distilled at Barton’s 1792 distillery, one of Buffalo Trace’s brands, which is a huge plus in my book.

This is a sweet-and-spicy bourbon, candy and caramel with a sizzle-and-cinnamon finish, It doesn’t have too much heat, even though it clocks in at 45% ABV. Price-wise it doesn’t taste cheap, which usually translates to a alcohol burn and a lack of complexity. No, this is a nicely balanced and perfectly acceptable cocktail and sipping bourbon, especially at $15 a bottle.

We also tasted Trader Joe’s Kentucky Bourbon on the Simple Cocktails Podcast. Listen here.

 

Podcast 43- Trader Joe’s Bourbon and Mojito

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Babysitter’s Club. Our home away from home. The third space. We know Chris by name. The banana stand. Trader Joe’s in general. “Louisvile.” We drink Trader Joe’s Bourbon. Greg Instagrammed it. Highballs. We make a Mojito. “Jagged pieces of the mint.”

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Podcast 42- Iceberg Flavored Vodkas and Cuba Libre

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Drifters and grifters. Too old for Coachella, but not for flavored vodka. “You start off with gravy and chicken.” Crisp, smooth, or sharp. We taste Iceberg flavored vodkas. “I think of gyros.” Greg’s makes Zucchini Water. Straight man’s cologne? Girl Scouts could sue you. We make a Cube Libre cocktail. A short, bald man.

Download Episode 42.

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Podcast 41- James E. Pepper Rye and Martinez

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Budweiser’s starting a fight: “they poked fun at American youth.” Drinking beers when going out. “I’m a respectable wife Greg.” Greg mentions Pow Wow Botanical Rye. We taste James E. Pepper Rye. We make a Martinez Cocktail (here’s a White version). Not a Lisa-centric episode. “Scotch is on the bottom.”

Download Episode 41.

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Podcast 40- Passion XO Sun and Whiskey to Go

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“Women’s” and “men’s” cocktails. We mention Brenne and Kinky. Albuquerque apocalyptic fog. We taste Passion XO Sun. Mad Men drinking. We make a Whiskey To Go: “like a Whiskey Sour with a little bit of gin.” Greg mentions the Bartender’s Bible. Glitter or marshmallows? “It made my nose flair.” Not our greatest failure. “I don’t like the pressure I’m putting on you.”

Download Episode 40.

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Podcast 39- Charles Tanqueray Birthday Celebration!

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We celebrate Charles Tanqueray’s 205th birthday (March 27) with a special podcast! Motley Crue drinking Jack Daniel’s? The Tanqueray recipes. Not smart enough to be a preacher. 6 of 14. SCIENCE. Smart enough to make a great gin. We drink Tanqueray Malacca. Greg mentions Tanqueray Old Tom too. We make a perfect martini. Greg is not a subtle gentleman.

Download Episode 39.

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If you enjoyed the show, please write a brief review on iTunes. That would help us get the word out and raise the visibility of the show. Thank you!

James E. Pepper 1776 Rye

jame e pepper 1776 rye

I believe I’ve made it clear here on the blog that I love rye whiskey. The brash cousin to other American whiskies, rye is famous for it’s spicier bite, and many agree that the classic whiskey cocktails are best with rye.

Today we talk about James E. Pepper 1776 Rye from Georgetown Trading Co. If you recall, I’ve also tried Georgetown Trading’s Pow Wow Botanical Rye here at the blog, a unique whiskey-meets-gin flavor profile.

James E. Pepper is spicy even for a rye – it’s very spicy – with cloves leading the flavor and a faint whisper of honey in the finish. 90% of the mash bill is rye, and this is a 100 proof whiskey – it’s like a punch in the throat when sipped neat.

I liked this rye with lots of ice to tame the fiery flavor, and when I started testing this with cocktails (namely, a Manhattan and Old Fashioned), I discovered Pepper to be a pretty great cocktail ingredient – it made for one of the best Old Fashioneds I’ve ever had.

I’ll be straight with you – a whiskey that breaks above 45% alcohol is tough for me to savor without some ice or club soda to tame it down. James E. Pepper needs that, certainly, but as you mix it with other cocktail ingredients, it balances itself out well. For about $30, if you love the burn of a rye spice, you should certainly put Pepper on your short list.

We tried James E. Pepper on the Simple Cocktails Podcast, too. Click here to listen.

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