Important cocktails of the past decade + eighteen other links

11
Jan/10
0

Robert Simonson of the New York Times looks back at a decade of innovation (and reinvention) when it comes to cocktails. St. Germain is indeed one of the most interesting liqueurs to hit the market lately and I really dig the idea of “bartender’s choice” as an option on a drink menu.

Dana Rourke of  the Live Organic Food Bar (located at Spadina and Dupont) shares her recipe for The London, a drink that you can feel good about imbibing, with The Toronto Star. To no one’s surprise, moderation is still the key.

Matthew Biancaniello’s an inspiration for anyone who’s gotten sick of the grind and taken up bartending because they’re an enthusiast (I can’t be the only one). His concoctions sound pretty interesting too…

For those of you who want to take a harder edge to your drinking, CAMH has released an online test that may help you get a handle on your drinking. Apparently, I drink more than 96% of males, aged 25-34, in Canada. I also spent over 1,700 hours under the influence of alcohol in 2009. Moving on!

Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine and the Indiana University have found a molecule that may repair the enzyme mutation that causes people of Asian descent to get flushed faces when they drink. It does other stuff too (like cause cancer and neurodegenerative diseases) so this seems pretty important.

Jason Wilson of The Washington Post looks at rare cognacs. If it’s all about the bottle, how is this different from collecting any other kind of antique? I’m not sure what the deal is with spirits this expensive but an “indescribable” taste sure sounds interesting.

If you’re tired of creamy chocolate liqueurs, this Austrian spirit looks like just the thing to reverse that trend.

In need of some wintery cocktails? Cocktail Virgin Slut offers up some Boston Grog, Drink Snob has Writer’s Block while White On Rice Couple is all about the Sidecar Fizz.

Over at SLOSHED! they have a list of the ten most popular posts on their site for 2009. There are some really good recipes to be found so have a look.

For those of us who drink beer, here’s a handy flow-chart for determining which brand to go for (and yes, no one should ever be caught drinking lime-flavored beer). Once you figure that out, you can play Beer Battleship.

According to The Guardian, bigger whisky makers are feeling the pinch and have been shutting down plants in Scotland. With all the great new whiskies around, I can’t say I really care. If anything, this is a warning against getting too big and being bought out by a company like Diageo.

Beer companies aren’t really paying attention. Heineken now owns the Tecate, Dos Equis and Sol brands which it must hope will give it a leg up on Grupo Modelo (Parent company of Corona. Interesting sidenote: Anheuser-Busch owns half of GM.).

This follows an incredibly-sad statement in The Globe And Mail by Richard Musson, the vice-president of marketing for Labatt, who said that “in the end, what pays the bills is Budweiser.” Truer words were never spoken. Fuck innovation, let’s acquire someone else’s credibility.

Gothic Epicures VinCuisine has put together a handy list of all the best-value red and white wines for under $20 in the 2010 LCBO Vintages release.

While this cellar is presented as an “awesome” idea for storing beer, it would work so much better for wine. Still, it looks good.

2009 Holiday Gift Guide + four other links

4
Dec/09
0
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Over at Sloshed! they want to make sure that you get the perfect gift this Christmas and I can’t help but agree with their choices. Please… get me some o’ that.

Must be a slow news day over at The National Post ‘cos they’ve got “a short etymology of inebriation” for y’all. Enjoy and employ whenever you feel like appearing excessively clever.

Brewdog from Scotland’s got the strongest beer in the world!

As far as Chowhound’s concerned, you’ve been making your punch all wrong.

And, despite my lack of a camera, I’ve got two very fine recipes to share with you!

First off is a drink I tossed off to a girl I was flirtin’ with online. I’ve never tried it but she said she liked it and so I thought you folks might too. Honestly, it’s never passed my lips but it sounds damned good to me and I’ll buy you a drink myself if it’s shit.

KAT O’ NINE

1 oz rye
1 oz passion fruit juice
splash of Jager
splash of orange juice
Soda water

Fill a highball glass with ice and pour in the first four ingredients. Top up with soda and stir.

Next up is something I made while over at my boy’s house. We were high and he had some interesting bits in his fridge for me to play with.

UNFRIENDLY STRANGER

1 oz sweet vermouth
1 oz Campari (I used this strange soda I’d never seen before but regular Campari would work just as well)
splash of brandy
lemon soda

Fill a highball glass with ice and pour in the first three ingredients. Top up with lemon soda and stir.

Enjoy! The second drink in particular takes some getting used to but it’ll reward you in the end.

How to plan your party + six other links

21
Nov/09
0

Man, I’m feeling rough. Too many parties and not enough time at home. For reasons that don’t make much sense now, I’ve been out every night for the past week-and-half and my stomach (at least I think it’s my stomach, my liver could very well be joining in too) has finally told me to fuck off and give it a rest. Next week, I’m going to try drinking once. We’ll see how that goes.

Although I’m not in the best condition to be writing about booze right now, I’ve got a bunch of links for you and they won’t post themselves! Here we go…

For those of you who have trouble with party math ( x number of guests requires x number of bottles), Sebastien Centner of the Globe and Mail offers a spinning wheel that you can print out and assemble, thereby ensuring you’ll never run out of anything.

Beppi Crosariol, also of the Globe, reviews Nicholas Pashley’s new book covering the history of beer in Canada. Looks like a good read.

Speaking as someone who loves a liberal portion of Angostura bitters in some of his drinks, it’s nice to see Oh Gosh!’s Jay Hepburn offer up some recipes that use an ounce of the stuff.

Leaving aside all the other nasty things over-consumption of alcohol can do to you, a Spanish study claims that even heavy drinkers are less likely to suffer from heart disease than teetotalers. I have to ask, why even bother publicizing this kind of information? Anyone who takes it to heart probably should’t be reading it in the first place.

Still, if you’re going to overindulge, you should be prepared for the next day. Drinkhacker.com reviews a new beverage that claims to stop your hangover in its tracks. I haven’t tried it but personally, I’d stick with Gatorade.

The Underhill Lounge offers up slighty-different take on the Savoy Cocktail Book’s Rose Cocktail and if that’s not enough for you SLOSHED! offers a list of ten autumnal cocktails culled from cocktail bloggers all over.

Lastly, the best seasonal liqueur you could possibly make would be from cranberries and Inn Cuisine has a terrific recipe! Using the liquored cranberries is a damn good bonus too.

(Image taken from Married To The Sea.)

How to open a bottle of wine with your shoe + six other links + four more links

8
Nov/09
0

For those of you stuck on a street with no corkscrew and a crowd of friends eagerly awaiting to imbibe.

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Do you know the difference between whiskey and whisky? The Kitchn fills us in.

The Pegu Blog reveals just how close we came to losing Angostura Bitters in the latest economic crisis.

In case you can’t find enough uses for apples this fall, SLOSHED! gives us the Bum’s Rush. I think I like apple juice with tequila even more than with Zubrowka

In more serious news, we’re now being told that mixing cocaine and alcohol is bad for you ‘cos it forms a whole new chemical in your liver. There’s a definite British vibe, seeing as this is the Guardian and all, but I can’t say Canada’s on the level with our neighbors across the pond, seeing as our coke’s really quite shitty at the moment (hearsay, I swear!).

In Spain, there’s a bit of a debate going on regarding teenagers and their right to throw public parties called “botellons”. Neighbors talk of noise and vandalism, teens say they’re being scape-goated. Regardless, it sure beats that period of my youth where I hung out in this public park in Whitby, furtively smoking joints and wishing I had some kind of booze.

And proving yet again that Canada’s one of the most efficient squelchers of fun ever, the City of Richmond, the B.C. liquor board and even Ottawa are burying the Dutch in red tape when all they want to do is bring their beloved Holland House tradition to the 2010 Olympics.

God forbid we should let people have a good time. I’m sure these policy-Nazis are afraid that if Canadians realize how much fun the rest of the world is having, they’ll stop putting up with some of the most draconian alcohol laws around.

One day, I’d like to walk around town with a beer in my hand. One day, I’d like to be able to bring my favorite bottle of wine with me to a restaurant for a reasonable corking fee without having the owner jump through bureaucratic hoops. One day, I’d like to be able to decide for myself which liquor store to patronize (and that will be the one that offers stuff I can’t find anywhere else). Hell, I want to be able to buy it at the corner store and then walk back up to my apartment and share it with my friends! One day, I’d like to be able to drink past 2 in the morning because I had work till last call and maybe I’m not quite done yet.

One day…

It seems like it’s been a busy day for booze and I have some more links. Instead of putting up another post, I’m going to add ‘em to this one.

If you’re a construction worker, you probably drink a lot. Top three professions are: construction, agriculture and general labour which is not much of a surprise. The report by the group appropriately titled Ensuring Solutions to Alcoholic Problems also found that male-dominated industries had more incidences with excessive-drinking and job absenteeism.

As far as I’m concerned, the only really interesting bit of information was that service and sales (my area if you will) ranked a solid fourth and fifth, respectively. (I knew we were all drunks but I didn’t know we ranked that high.)

The H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival, based out of Oregon, had not 1 but 12 themed cocktails for their latest event. When not drowning your sorrows in The Yog-Sothoth, you could order everything from a Twisted Tentacle to the Pamakazi of Ibn-Ghazi. While some of them look fairly derivative, I still dig the idea.

Fancy a taste of the world’s strongest beer? Utopia, produced by Samuel Adams, reigns in at a hefty 27% ABV and is a veritable stew of yeasts, malts and hops with a bit of Triple Bock. It’ll cost ya $150 but at that strength and price range, it’s more like a spirit than anything.

Honesty in wine signage + eight other links

29
Oct/09
0

After international wine critic Jancis Robinson accused the wine industry in B.C. of being misleading when it comes to clearly differentiating between wines produced in that province and wines blended there, their version of the LCBO and several wineries have pledged to improve their labeling practices.

I’m happy to report that this is already a standard in Ontario. While at the LCBO today, I noticed that the blends were on the left and the VQAs on the right which, while it may seem a small step, is important when it comes to helping consumers make an informed choice.

In other semi-serious news, scientists at the University of Colorado have determined that there’s a genetic difference between people who are alcohol-dependent and those of us with a tendency to consume high amounts of alcohol. Just show your friends this article whenever they call you an alcoholic!

Over at SLOSHED! they’re doing their best to keep us warm this winter with two excellent recipes; the Green Tea Toddy and Pumpkin Cider. My sore throat is thanking them already…

Mixology Monday featured vermouth and I’m happy to say they found some uses for that bottle that many people reach for last. The Old Town Alchemy Co. offers up the White Ladder while Tiare of A Mountain Of Crushed Ice presents the Signora Rossa. Both are delicious!

Normally, I wouldn’t bother with this kind of thing but I can’t help but notice that The Washington Post is busy trashing a reality show that features s0-called bartenders competing against each other in “a showdown of skills, smarts and spirits”. Yes, it’s as stupid as it sounds and contributes to the bartending-until-I-get-something-better mindset.

I don’t read the Toronto Star for reasons I won’t go into here (involves one of their columnists trashing a guy’s reputation in what was an on-going court case) but this is a damn tasty recipe. Tamarinds add a whole new dimension to the margarita.

Lastly, if you’re really into making clear, pretty ice, Alcademics.com has figured it out for you. Me, I just want my drinks cold but I admire the ingenuity on principle.

(Photo taken from dogwelder’s Flickr photostream.)

929 gallons of moonshine confiscated in North Carolina + six other links

10
Oct/09
0

Swimming-drunk-282x300A man in North Carolina recently had all of his moonshine confiscated which the director of ALE (Alcohol Law Enforcement hah!) is calling the “biggest seizure” of his career. How big is big? 929 gallons equals 118,912 ounces which would keep quite a few bars running for awhile.

Restaurants in Vancouver can now extend last call from midnight to 1 a.m. during the weekdays and from 1 a.m. to 2 a.m. on the weekends. I don’t really see this as a big deal because their bars can already stay open till 3 a.m. but I suppose if an owner wants to extend his service by an owner, it’s up to him. I wish Toronto had a 3 a.m. last call

A fellow by the name of Paul Dickson has written a dictionary of 3,000 synonyms for “drunk”. Eponymously-titled, it’s charmingly illustrated by Brian Rea and deserves a place in every self-respecting drunkard’s library. Kingsley Amis would have a copy!

Jamie Boudreau of spiritsandcocktails.com makes Cherry Old-Fashioneds to accompany an Old-Fashioned in an inspired bit of molecular mixology. It sure beats those liqueur-filled chocolates you get during the holidays.

Sloshed! shares the recipe for the Corpse Reviver #2 just in time for Halloween. I’m no fan of hair of the dog but this could work for me.

I love orgeat so it’s only fitting that Rick of Kaiser Penguin, who pointed me in the direction of the first recipe I used, should come back with what he claims is an even better version. Enjoy and remember, the darker the sugar you use, the better it will turn out!

Equally indispensable when it comes to making quality cocktails is ginger syrup. Tiare of A Mountain Of Crushed Ice wants to know how you make your ginger syrup. While I mostly muddle or shake mine, I’d be interested in trying pressed ginger juice.

(Illustration by Brian Rea.)

What’s wrong with Cosmos? + seven other links

27
Sep/09
0

boozeSamantha Harrigan of Cocktail Culture takes issue with the massive hate-on bandwagon for vodka that everyone seems to be jumping on these days and shares what should be the defacto Cosmo recipe. Read, learn and stop with the excessive use of cranberry juice!

If the elitist in you is still not convinced, head on over to The Land of Forgotten Cocktails where John Myers compares vodka to ” the wall-eyed slag still standing at the end of a kegger who’ll partner up with anybody. Have fun. Wear a condom.”

I take issue with his choice of Smirnoff as an affordable choice for the cost-conscious home bartender. Stoli is only a couple of dollars more and so much better. One doesn’t need to be extravagant but there’s no excuse for stupidity.

BEST BLOODY MARY EVER.

If your cognac knowledge is only passable (like me, shhhhh!), head yonder to Alcademics.com for an overview by Camper English.

Drink of The Week serves up the most interesting recipe I’ve come across all week-long: the Ultimate Bell-Pepper Cocktail.

What do you do when you fall off the wagon after checking yourself into an asylum for alcoholism? If you’re William Seabrook, you create a cocktail of course! Enjoy this eponymous ode to boozing, I know I will.

The Underhill Lounge offers a Prairie Oyster Cocktail which I’m sure would give many a drinker pause (but only if egg yolks make them nervous). Me, I want to chase mine with Bakon vodka

Tiare of A Mountain Of Crushed Ice lays down all of the necessary steps to make your cocktail photography as nice as those pretty pictures you see in Food & Drink.

(I can’t remember where I found this photo. If you recognize it, let me know.)

Canadians enslaved by the LCBO? + eight more links

9
Sep/09
1

hokus pokusI missed this when it was first posted but over at the CBC, Neil Macdonald bemoans the lack of private competition for everyone’s favorite provincial monopoly, the LCBO. He makes a lot of sense but it’s really interesting to see how uptight and short-sighted some Canadians are when it comes to talking about privatization.

Ever make a drunken promise you didn’t keep once sober? Wired looks at the science behind this foolishness.

At Taste T.O., Greg Clow gives high marks to Flying Monkey’s Hoptical Illusion. While I’m no hophead, I’m still excited by the direction the (formerly named Robert Simpson) brewery is taking.

The Bar Towel lets us in on a few beer-tastings taking place at Beerbistro and the Black Creek Brewery this fall.

I must admit I admire the kind of dedication it would take to write a blog about one cocktail. Jennifer Rowsom has that level of commitment in spades and she takes purdy photos of caesers. Would I like a caeser? Yes please!

10engines reiterates the importance of correctly utilizing a twist with your cocktail. Read and consider yourselves illuminated.

While New Zealand may be one of the few countries in the world where you can legally own and operate your own distillery, that hasn’t stopped many folks in the South (US of A that is) from making their own moonshine. Salon provides an overview and profiles an interesting man by the name of Col. Vaughn Wilson who makes copper stills and sells them.

The Ottawa Citizen has an interesting four-part series on the trials and tribulations of bars dealing with liquor law regulations.

(Photo taken from Exquisitely Bored in Nacogdoche’s Flickr Photostream.)

Bacon mania hits Canada + ten more links

26
Aug/09
1

beer liquor eatSarah Boesveld of The Globe and Mail reports on a “bacon trend” that seems to involve the tasty pork product being added to everything from cupcakes to ice cream and serving it with chocolate sauce. I just want my Bakon vodka dammit! I can’t imagine a better Caeser…

Corby Distilleries (owner of Wiser’s, Lambs, Polar Ice, etc. and controlled by Canadian Club’s Hiram Walker & Sons. Ltd which is itself a subsidiary of Pernod Ricard of France… confused yet?) reported a 24 per cent increase in its net earnings which it attributes to its license to distribute Absolut in Canada and the LCBO’s recent strike.

Why am I repeating this? I merely find it interesting and slightly worrying how tangled these companies get with their labyrinth of distribution deals spanning the globe. Basically, everybody owns a little bit of everybody.

I’m very happy to see Cocktail Culture post a recipe of the Bloodhound Cocktail because it means I’ll be able to use the rest of my strawberry syrup.

Camper English of Alcademics tries to make ice clearer by refreezing it multiple times. Besides the visual joke, the numerous responses from other folks make it worth browsing.

He also shows us how to get more mileage out of our simple syrup.

Could you tell a Collins from a Fizz if you saw them in a bar? The Kitchn gives an overview on the two cocktails, their similiarities and their differences.

Over at the The Washington Post, Jason Wilson rebrands the Red-Headed Slut (one of those slutty cocktails from the 90’s) for the new century and ends up paying tribute to a beloved and recently-departed film director.

Vodka & Co. posts three very delicious-sounding cocktails using Bombay Sapphire gin. Feel free to substitute your own favorite spirit but try at least one of ‘em.

Oh Group shares their recipe for shrub. (Make some, you won’t regret it!)

The cocktailnerd reviews the latest round of ginger beers in his pantry. I wish we could get some of these up here in Canada…

Coming so soon on the heels of 3 Brewers opening up a brewpub in Toronto, we have a local brewmaster getting in on the action. Canadian Beer News reports that Michael Duggan (of Mill St. and Cool fame) will be opening up Duggan’s Brewery at the former location of Denison’s Brewing on 75 Victoria St.

So I kind of owe you guys an apology. I’m dreadfully late on some promised reviews and other articles. Besides the party I’ve been busy enjoying summer. Not being at home means not much time between sleeping off the fun and going to work. I promise to do some more writing soon but since this season started so late, I want to enjoy what I can of it.

The party did go well. No slushies but all the guests were ably served by the bar I’d set up. I had to man it because the bartender I’d asked to come in was delayed by a lengthy catering shift elsewhere. Even so, I had a good time (one for me, one for you!) and while it wasn’t exactly revolutionary, it was a reminder of how even the most basic bartending can be tons of fun when you have your friends around you.

(Photo taken from The Stakhanovite Twins’ Flickr Photostream.)

Joining forces with Mommy X!!!

14
Aug/09
0

mommy xThe Jolly Inebriate and Mommy X… sounds like the ultimate superhero team-up right? Aside from not-so-soberly fighting the forces of evil, the plan is to write up a little cocktail recipe every now and then for her and like-minded moms who need a happier hour or two (or three, who’s counting?)

It should be tons of fun and it gives me yet another outlet for all of those crazy concoctions I come up with.

I’ve got a couple schemes of my own steamin’ and bubblin’… the next couple of months will be interesting! Expect to see a guest-blogger or two to shift the focus from my own creations to some old classics while I take a look at the inner machinations of everyone’s favorite monopoly, the LCBO.

All of this will lead up to the first-year anniversary of this here blog (and a party, what else?); it’s been a wild ride so far and it’ll only get crazier from this point onward!

(Image taken from Mommy X.)