Aval Pota

aval pota 2Mcmenamin’s operates two distilleries in the Portland area, one at Edgefield and another at Imbrie Hall.  Their products aren’t generally sold outside of their own operations but with dozens of small strip mall bars all over town it isn’t exactly hard to find their stuff if you want it.

Recently I went shopping for presents and found a number of new products on their shelf.  Among them was this tasty little number.  Aval is middle welsh for apple, Pota is old Irish for a pot still.  From the name you would expect an apple brandy but Aval Pota is basically apple pie.  Unlike a number of the other ones on the market this one isn’t a moonshine base it uses a single malt whiskey.

Blended with apple juice and spices down to a reasonable proof this is a pretty sweet liqueur.  It runs well hot or cold, the apple flavor in most things is normally too mild to notice but this holds up well.  Apple smell on top is a nice aroma followed by the cinnamon.  The flavors carry over into the first and second notes where you get the sweet and crisp kind of apple flavor you might get from a dried apple ring.  The whiskey has a nice bite on the end, being from single malt it doesn’t have the more spicy or rounded notes of a bourbon or rye.

A little spendy for something this low a proof, most flavored whiskey products aim a little lower since they know the whiskey flavor will be covered over and thus any imperfections will be less noticeable. Pick up a bottle when things get colder and drop a little into your tea or cider.  This doesn’t disappoint.

33% ABV and $29.95 for a 750ml bottle.

The Dragons Tail: Cocktail Review

On quite possibly the hottest day of the year so far, with the thermometer topping 80 well before midday I and the rest of the family packed up for Fair in the Grove.

For those unfamiliar this is a yearly ren-fair sponsored by the SCA.  A nice batch of merchants and demos all wrapped around the Mcmenamins grand lodge out in forest grove.

Taking the opportunity since I wasn’t going to be driving I elected to sample a few things I missed on my trip out to Imbrie Hall on st Patrick’s day.  For starters I got a lemonade and Penny’s Gin.  The edgefield distillery has made a pretty comfortable non-threatening product.  A little lemonade and I could barely taste it.  I want to like this better so I’m going to reserve a full review for later when I can play with it a bit in tonics, cocktails and shots.

At lunch came a better surprise.  The Dragons Tail cocktail.  Nominally a rum drink, the amount of ginger in this cocktail was staggering at first sip.  Not sure what I was expecting from something with a ginger liqueur and a ginger syrup but this was a surprise.

dragonstail

Most ginger products I’ve run into lately shoot for more of the raw root burn common to ginger in Asian dishes.  This was a bit more akin to a ginger ale bite without the burn, pleasant and tart without really challenging your palate.

dragontailrecipe

Not as refreshing as the lemonade but it cut to the core of itself nicely and went well with burger, salad and hummus.

I think it has inspired me to play around with the Jamaican Ginger Extract that I discovered online.  It’s one of those old medicinals that they used to prescribe for things like dyspepsia and hysteria.  I think the medicine went (Dram of Ginger extract, lemon peel and a health measure of gin.)  One could of course throw out the lemon peel and ginger and still be well on your way but I digress.