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Whisky Rocks with Forty Creek

Forty Creek Copper Pot Reserve

Last Thursday I made my way to Barrie for the Whisky Rocks concert featuring The Trews. This annual event is a cornerstone of the LCBO’s seasonal whisky promotion. (more…)

Tequila Myths with Tromba’s Eric Brass

Many of you can’t help feeling a little queasy, I know, as you remember an early experience with Goldschlager, Doctor McGillicuddy’s peach schnapps, or tequila. I don’t have have any booze that are liquor non grata–for someone who writes almost as often about drink as food, that comes in handy–but my memory of tequila from my undergraduate days was that producers loudly announced that there had been a drought, supplies would be cut, and prices would rise. Coincidentally, this was also when the marketing strategy for Mexico’s spirit of choice changed from frat party to rap-star aspirational. (more…)

Rhubarb Syrup

Straining the syrup from the rhubarb solids.

Another project I’m working on was the original impetus for making this rhubarb syrup. Over the past couple weeks I’ve been experimenting with trying to make homemade campari and anyone who is familiar with that greatest of bitter aperitifs knows that it needs to be red. You can order cochineal (ground beetles that were used to dye various foodstuffs including Campari before the vegans threw a fit) online but that would have tilted the price comparison even more in favour of just buying a bottle from the LCBO. (more…)

St. Paddy’s Cocktail – The Emerald

All the liquid ingredients needed to make the Emerald cocktail recipe

I don’t post many cocktail recipes here. The last couple of years I’ve been drinking (and therefore writing about) mainly beer and wine. But, we served these at a dinner party we hosted a couple weekends back, they were a big hit, and I think are excellent alternative to the very worst holiday drink of all: green beer.

Roughly speaking, the Emerald should be a sort of Irish take on the Manhattan. As in Irish whiskey stands in for rye. Trying to concoct an Emerald that looks like it’s name by mixing in blue Curacao, green creme de menthe, or even worse–much worse–melon liqueur is an abomination. (more…)

The Bitter Beginning

What are cocktail or aromatic bitters? They used to be medicine but now as the site Post Prohibition aptly put it are best thought of as “cock­tail sea­son­ing, like salt for a soup.”

Why make bitters? Simply put: I like adding them to cocktails (Manhattans or Martinis, mostly), drinking them straight up or with soda water and ice, and they are difficult to find.

Our nonsensical liquor laws allow grocery stores to sell them (even though they are 40% alcohol) but not liquor stores. If they stock them at all grocery stores usually only have standard-issue Angostura bitters. There are some good online sources for a broader selection of bitters but the shipping costs can be prohibitive.

With orange bitters in mind I turned to Google. Searching for recipes can a fool’s errand because of how effectively Rachel Ray, Sandra Lee and their ilk are at stuffing the top of the results pages with recipes that are easy rather than delicious. Thankfully, bitters are niche enough that they haven’t yet attracted the multi-headed beast’s attention. (more…)