Archive for May, 2010


Nora Maynard asks a great question and since nothing is more appealing to me than being stuck in a tropical paradise with an unlimited supply of booze, I’ll answer it.

1. Pink Gin-and-Tonic

One of my favorite cocktails made so much better with the inclusion of Fever-Tree Tonic Water.

2. Dark-and-Stormy

Because I’ve been drinking ginger beer since I was little.

3. Mai Tai

It’s so hard to find a good one and we’re lucky to have three or four bars in Toronto who do it justice. The quinessential island drink.

4. Black Velvet

A bit of an oddball choice but I really enjoy ‘em.

5. Manhattan

Always a Manhattan, never a Martini. I can’t help which camp I fall in… What are your desert island cocktails? |The Kitchn|

James Chatto’s swan song for Toronto Life finds him celebrating the architects of the current renaissance our city’s cocktail culture is currently reaping the benefits of. Having finally gotten around to visiting Barchef, I think I need to make my way to both the Black Hoof and Ame. |Toronto Life|

Malcolm Gladwell wonders why we’re surprised when we treat drinkers like sex-and-violence-crazed ruffians and then they behave that way. His idea of using culture to constrain our expectations surrounding the consumption of alcohol has merit. |Toronto Life|

Speaking of ruffians, the City of Toronto has approved temporary changes to the serving hours for bars during the World Cup. You’ll be able to get your booze one, whole hour earlier! |blogTO|

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A recent foray into the LCBO at the Manulife Centre (after a screening of Iron Man 2) led to me discovering a a new hefeweizen called Georg Schneider’s Wiesen Edel-Weisse (157651, 500 mL, $3.25).

These types of beers are German, feature at least a 50:50 ratio of wheat to barley malt, strong notes of banana and cloves and a dry and tart mouthfeel (unlike the Dutch witbiers, think Hoegaarden, which are typically made with unmalted wheat and have more of a citrus and herbal taste).

It sat in my fridge for a couple of days because you don’t just casually drink this beer before a night out on the town. This is a beer best savored when you have nothing else to do.

Monday came along and after dinner, I decided to have at ‘er. After leaving it out to take some of the chill off, I cracked it open and poured it into my vase-like Erdinger glass.

I was immediately impressed by the cloudy, golden color and the thick, substantial head. Even after the first swallow, there was a good amount of lacing. There was also a fair bit of carbonation which is always nice to see if you’ve ever been served a pint with maybe half-a-dozen lonely bubbles crawling to the surface.

The dominant aroma was one of banana and cloves which continued on in the flavor with wheat malt, some citrus and bitterness from the hops that lasts a surprisingly long time.

I’m surprised by how long it took me to finish this but this is a substantial beer that is not meant for downing quickly. Thankfully, in the time it took to drain my glass, it stayed refreshing. A nice, dry finish lingers and although I can’t remember what the original Schneider Weisse tastes like, the fact that this one’s organic makes it a winner as far as I’m concerned.

This is not the type of beer you might want drink more than one of but it would certainly suit for a quiet evening. Definitely a worthy alternative to Edelweiss Snowfresh White Weissbier (73718, 330 mL, $1.95)  (which is making a welcome return to LCBO shelves this summer.)

Current chill and gale force winds notwithstanding, summer is approaching with a vengeance. We’ve already had a taste of it and if you’re like me, you want more. A repeat of ought-nine’s rainy skies will not do; I want a hot, dry summer that leaves one incapable of doing more than lounging on the porch, sweating and drinking gin and tonics.

When trying to beat the heat, poor gin and sugary tonic water will be the death of you. Up your game and bask in glowing praise from your friends and grudging admiration from your enemies (if your the sort of fellow who drinks with ‘em)!

First, choose a gin. In this case, I was quite unable to resist Zuidam Jonge Graan Genever (660928, 500 mL, $24.95). Triple-distilled from equal parts rye, corn and malted barley before being distilled again with a variety of botanicals, it’s clear from the first sip that this is no London dry gin. The malt tones are much more evident and then you get the juniper and liquorice. It’s big and spicy but very clean and smooth indeed.

I’d read somewhere that genever is traditionally taken chilled but my friend and I didn’t have time for that. After the requisite sipped quarter shot, I decided to whip us up a couple of gin and tonics.

For my mixer, I’d gotten a pack of Fever-Tree Tonic Water (you can find it at The Big Carrot and maybe some other high-end grocery stores). Much like the Zuidam, this is very clean and soft with a high level of carbonation and none of the sweetness you get in many of its mass-market cousins. My limes were nothing special and if there was anywhere I was cheating myself, it was with the ice which was made from filtered tap-water. (One important thing to remember with limes (or any citrus) is to roll them under the palm of your hand before cutting and squeezing them. It helps release the juices.)

I was expecting a refined drink and suffice it to say, was not disappointed. This genever and tonic is all smooth curves and lightness on the tongue. It will please those who don’t like gin and delight those who do.

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