Who Says Vodka isn’t Interesting ?

In my 5-day Workshops, I repeatedly mention that Vodka lends itself to some brief exposure to wood. I cite the example of the walnut rested Vodka I recently had from Poland.

Recently whilst on the Queen Mary 2, I made another fortuitous discovery – Chase’s Vodka from Herefordshire, England that has been exposed to an ex-Islay Scotch cask. Not sure how long the Vodka rested in the cask, but the notes of the Islay Scotch sing through in beautiful harmony. Well done !

Craft distillers in Canada – take note. The market is being flooded with craft distilled Vodka. Craft distillers are resorting to utter nonsense in many cases by claiming their product is distilled 16 times etc….all in an effort to lure in the naive consumer. A perfect case in point, in my opinion, is that of Big Rig distilling in Alberta.

I say skip the nonsense. Get busy crafting some uniqueness into craft Vodka. How about exposing some Vodka to apple wood or cherry wood ? What about Pecan wood? Get ex-Scotch barrels from a few different regions of Scotland. Have a go at that. Think outside the box. Give the consumer something to really savor…..

Take a page from the team at Chase Distillery.

And also on the Queen Mary 2 – Sipsmith Gin

Yes! finally at last I found some Sipsmith Gin. I have been hearing about this Gin for years now and living in Canada I have not been able to get it.

I think I had a Sipsmith martini (very dry, of course) in my hand before the Queen Mary 2 had cleared the Verazzano Narrows bridge coming out of New York.

According to Dave Broom’s book, “Gin-The Manual”, the goods in Sipsmith are: Juniper, Coriander, Angelica, Liquorice Root, Orris, Almond, Cassia, Cinnamon, Seville orange peel, Lemon Peel. Definitely the makings of a traditional London Dry Gin, but Sipsmith quickly grabs your taste buds and you soon start to wonder if you will ever again be able to drink the traditional London Dry Gins like Tanqueray and Bombay Gins. There was just something about the mouth feel and the taste of Sipsmith that captivated my palate. I am now a solid fan of Sipsmith. Get some if you can find it.

and the verdict on Monkey 47 Gin is….


And I was in for an additional surprise after I left the liquor store in Red Hook. When I boarded the Queen Mary 2 the next day to sail to England, I was astounded to found a very good selection of Gins on board, including Monkey 47. Needless to say, I adopted a steady diet of Monkey 47 martinis for the duration of the trans-Atlantic crossing.

And for the record, here is a listing of the botanicals in Monkey 47 according to Dave Broom’s book “Gin-The Manual”.

Juniper, Angelica, Coriander, Orris, Liquorice Root, Nutmeg, Cubeb, Clove, Cardamom, Cassia bark, Cinnamon, Grains of Paradise, Almond, Ginger, Sage, Lavender, Acacia Flower, Hibiscus, Bee Balm, Honey Suckle, Jasmine, Chamomile, Bramble leaves, Ligonberries, Spruce shoots, Pepper (6 types), Acacia Root, Calamus Root, Lemon Verbena, Lemon Balm, LemonGrass, Pomelo, Bitter Orange Peel, Kafffir Lime Leaf, Blackberry, Cranberry, Dog Rose, Elderflower, Hawthorne, Rosehips, Sloe Berry, Purple Shamrock.

Count ’em. Yep – there are 47.

Somehow, magically, they all tie together and the end result is pure goodness. If you can find Monkey 47 where you live, get it. Savor every drop….