Archive for April, 2010


The provincial government’s new tax on cellared wines has proven divisive, with the big boys like Peller Ltd. and Vincor Canada crying foul and claiming that it will drive consumers further into the seductive charms of cheap reds from South America.

Whatever… It’s a good idea. Promoting wines grown and cellared in Ontario and protecting our greenbelt by making vineyards economically-viable productions sounds a whole lot better to me than adding to the coffers of the Canadian arm of a multinational corporation that buys wine in bulk overseas to blend with its local product.

The big boys do have a point though. Without a concerted effort to educate consumers on why they should be taking a second look at VQA, they may very well heed the call of the bottom line and buy foreign wine.

Also, this change needs to extend to the LCBO. Give VQA even more shelf space and extend the selection to include vineyards who were excluded before because of their smaller production runs. Only so many people will pay attention to ad campaigns; making a change at the end of the line could have a far greater impact.

(If you want a real laugh, read some of the comments left by readers of the article, howling with outrage over another tax… These people are truly and utterly without a clue.) |The Globe And Mail|

While I’m not a big fan of the trend towards noisy restaurants with minimal padding, the science behind why this makes people drink more certainly rings true. Apparently, people eat and drink faster when sonically assaulted because they want to get the hell out of there which results in bigger profits for the owner.

Maybe I’m just old-fashioned but doesn’t this seem like a bad idea? How does this create a pleasurable dining experience? I fucking hate the music at Jack Astor’s; if you’re right under a speaker it’s nearly impossible to converse with the person next to you. I’ll take an old-school bistro with small two-tops any day. |The Daily Beast|

It gives me quite a bit of pleasure to share a cocktail that not only comes from my family’s country but employs a whole lot of their bitters: The Queen’s Park Swizzle. |Rum Dood|

Another classic drink that doesn’t get the attention it deserves is the Blood and Sand. Like Paystyle says, bump up the Scotch and OJ to achieve nirvana. |Happy Hour|

If you love gin as much as I do, you’re gonna love this collection of gin cocktail recipes, freshly-conceived at a recent Thursday Drink Night. |The Mixosoleum|

I’ve broken my fair share of glassware while washing it so sponges that are shaped to clean ‘em perfectly seems like a good idea to me. |The Spoon Sisters|

Ready to move beyond buying your beer in bottles/cans but not into the idea of brewing your own (it’s not that hard but whatever)? Build a kegerator! |Kegerators.com|

Down in New Orleans, this museum turns into a bar at night. They even tie in the cocktails with the exhibits! This is much better (and a hell of a lot more egalitarian) than the AGO’s members-only wine-tastings.|NOLA.com|

Those of us who don’t have access to flying “Upper Class” on Virgin Atlantic have to make do with what we have around us when it comes to drinking on flights. |Jaunted|

And last but not least, impress your friends and pay off hefty bar tabs with this neat trick of opening a beer bottle with a bill. |Wonder How To|

This Friday, I turn 29 and I’m using it as an opportunity to check out some bars I’ve not been to yet and visit some old favorites.

First stop is Barchef. I might even spring for that Vanilla Hickory Smoked Manhattan ($45!). Before we spend all of our party-money, we’re going to head west and hit up Ossington for some more drinks. Probably Watusi, Reposado and The Painted Lady.

If the last one on that list doesn’t do us in, we’ll probably head back down Ossington and check out the Double Deuce, Unit and maybe the Savoy (‘cos it’s new, opened by the people from 751, and I hear they got dancin’).

Say hi if you see me (and that means we have to do shots)!

Next time you’re going out on the town with your mickey, put together a proper cocktail. Sure, you could just fill it with vodka but you don’t want to be the guy getting plastered all on his lonesome. Share and bask in the appreciation!

One of my favorite mixes (for an 8oz flask mind you, go for 16oz and be the life of the party!) starts with 6oz of bourbon. Add 1oz of Frangelico, 1oz of Cointreau and a 3 heavy dashes of Angostura bitters and you’re good to go. |NOLA|

Bored with bourbon? Substitute your spirits and be delighted with the infinite variables now open to you! |SF Gate|

A good example of this would be the “Rum Manhattan“. |Eat.Drink.Think|

For those of you who like a little protein with your cocktail, try one of these ten fat-washed cocktails. I’m totally down with the Irish Bacon Sour but maple syrup makes everything better. |Time|

Fruit will always be popular and when combined with gin, you really can’t go wrong with a cocktail like The Bramble. Remember, anything vodka can do, gin can do better. |Science of Drink|

Don’t believe me? Try the Orange Blossom (a far superior Screwdriver). |SLOSHED!|

Moonshine’s not just for country-folk anymore; the nerds have taken over! |The Atlantic||McClatchy|

I love mezcal even more than tequila. It’s smoky deliciousness and I’m digging how it’s starting to get its due. It’ll be the next big thing after rum, mark my words. |The New York Times|

If you were a student (or poor or both) in the first part of the twenty-first century, you probably bought a case of Lakeport at least once or twice. Labatt is closing the Lakeport Brewery in Hamilton and moving its production south-west to London to save money.

They’re not releasing any figures but I’m betting consumers faced with better, equally-cheap options have moved on. |The Globe And Mail|

While Ontarians are losing their jobs, Danish workers are striking because Carlsberg has decided to limit the consumption of beer to lunchtime. Drivers in particular are upset, pointing to a “very old right” to get buzzed on up to three beers per day. |Sky News|

Researchers at Harvard University are saying that a person’s social network may influence their drinking, with folks being “50 percent more likely to drink heavily if a person they are directly connected to drinks heavily and 36 percent more likely to drink heavily if a friend of a friend drinks heavily”.

This is pretty worrying, especially when you factor in that people are 28 percent more likely to jump off a cliff in the presence of their peers. |Sifiy News|

Socially-responsible branding only seems to happen in Canada (and maybe Scandinavia). Over in the EU, two Germans  have received permission to sell their beer which goes by the name of “Fucking Hell”, the former being the name of a small town in Austria and the latter the German term for a pale lager.

The loophole seems to be the absence of a reference to a particular person, group, act or instruction which rules out the half-dozen brands my friends and I came up with one drunken night (everything from “Tranny Surprise” to “Uncle Joe’s Pogrom Ale”) |New Zealand Herald|

While we might have the Toronto Temperance Society, cities down south have been playing this game for awhile: Washington DC has the Columbia Room which, while not having a membership, charges $65 per person for a boozy prix fixe. |The Washington Post|

For those who want the appearance of a speakeasy without the exclusivity, the little town of Bethlehem (Pennsylvania) has The Bookstore, an homage to all things turn-of-the-century. |Lehigh Valley Live|

Or there’s always the top ten most unusual bars in the world. Cover all of your bases. |Travel Vivi|

Beer Goggler: The perfect app for anyone experiencing one night stand regret. |App Shopper|

Or you could just have standards (but you probably wouldn’t have as many good stories). Another useful accessory for saving your seat and/or drink is the Seat Saver, a clever amalgamation of coaster and marker. |Beer Mats Rule!|

(Photo taken from Anne Taintor’s website. Go buy a flask from her.)

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