Bacon mania hits Canada + ten more links


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.)

The Awkward Adolescent Party


awkward-adolescent-party-poTomorrow, my roommates and I (collectively known as 585 GRRD) are having another party. Mike’s girlfriend came up with the theme explicated in the title and things proceeded quickly from there. You can check out the invite here but suffice it to say, dressing up is encouraged and the playlist will cause nostalgic orgasms in all who hear it.

Booze-wise, it’s going to be simultaneously more complicated and yet simpler than previous affairs. I’ve hired a bartender for the evening. Farah works with me at Nocturne and she’ll be serving beer, vodka and slushies… alcoholic slushies of course.

Mike’s brother (he runs Ed’s Real Scoop in Leslieville, go get some ice cream) has graciously offered us the use of his slushie machine. Take some juice, ice, add 60oz of vodka and you’ve got just the thing to cool down 80+ sweaty bodies jammed into a tiny apartment.

With the slushies, I plan on getting a bit creative. I’m getting some aloe and pineapple juice and I imagine I’ll add the rest of my strawberry syrups at some point during the night.

Of course, I plan on letting people bring whatever booze they might want but when it runs out they can pony up to the bar. We’ll be selling tickets for a measly $5 or 4 for $20.

It should be tons of fun and I’m planning on leading a raid on the public pool in the wee hours of the morning should things get too muggy.

Joining forces with Mommy X!!!


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.)

3 Brewers a welcome addition to Toronto’s beer scene


3 brewersOn my way home, I was biking up Yonge St. to get to Gerrard when I passed a new pub just south of the Hard Rock Cafe near the Yonge-Dundas Square.

The front was open to the street, it was pleasantly-packed with guests and at first sight, came across as a different take on the mass-market pubs we’re so used to in Toronto.

After going over the menu and finding out they brewed their beer on-site, I couldn’t resist it’s obviously carefully-designed siren call; I simply had to go in and have a beer. Score one for Gerry Kakaroubus (one of the owners as I was soon to find out)!

What really sold me on giving the place a try was the tasting flight of their beers for a measly $6.75! I can’t think of a better way of getting people who might be stuck in their usual beer-buying patterns to try something new.

After taking a seat at the bar (I only ever go where the action is, tables are for parties) I was pleased to discover that all of the beers were above-average; they didn’t knock my socks off but I wasn’t disappointed either and having 5 new beers to try (you can add a couple dollars and get a bit of their special brew) was totally worthwhile.

The first one I sampled was their bi-monthly brew, a red ale called Indian Ocean. It wasn’t so much like an IPA but it was definitely crisp with clove and vanilla undertones and a slightly-bitter finish. I enjoyed it quite a bit and I ended up going back for some more after my tasting was done.

Next up was the blonde which reminded me of a pilsner with a bit of a grassy taste. It wasn’t very crisp but it was well-balanced; I would’ve liked a little more bite though. The wheat was quite delicate and next to the Rickard’s and Keith’s offerings, more than holds its own. Think of it like a Hoegaarden but more spicy and you’ll be on the right track. I wouldn’t go out of my way to order it but it was lighter than a Paulaner, for example, which might be right up some people’s alley. It’s definitely refreshing and I imagine it’d do pretty well as a component in one of their beer cocktails. (Yes, they mix beer with liqueurs which can be a whole lot of fun. I have fond memories of Hoegaardens with a liberal dose of Chambord at Jack Astor’s on Front St. They mix their wheat beer with either banana liqueur or peach schnapps but I’d imagine they’d substitute whatever if you asked nicely.)

The amber ale had quite a bit more bitterness from the hops, more so than the special brew, with some caramel undertones and a wee bit of grassiness. The dark ale was rather predictable with some chocolately-maltiness but I would’ve liked a bit more oomph. I was expecting more of a stout and I got something akin to Cool Brew’s Doublefist Stout except not as good.

(One beer I didn’t get around to trying was La Belle Province, a bottled brew brought in from Quebec City that apparently has a “hint of maple syrup”. It seemed to be a largish portion so I imagine it’d be best shared with a couple of friends.)

To accompany my beer I ordered some mussel’s on the bartender’s recommendation but they didn’t impress me. We’ve got some great mussels in this city (Smokeless Joes, Starfish, BeerBistro, etc.) and there’s no way these can even compare. The broth was supposedly made with beer and tomatoes but it was bland and not even the occasional piece of celery and onion could salvage it. You know you’re in trouble when sopping up the broth with the de riguer bread is a chore.

Where’s the spice? Where’s the fucking flavour??

There was also way too much of it… I actually had trouble finding all of my mussels. Complaints aside, the portion was very generous and the side of fries was crisp and tasty. The house-made mayo dip was particularly nice with a tartaresque quality that left me recalling some pleasant memories at Deep Blue Fish & Chips.

Normally, I do pretty well with picking the best dish to have on any menu but I was led astray by an obviously-inexperienced staff-member. Next time I’ll go with one of their flamms which seem to be very close to a thin-crust pizza. The menu is quite large with a lot of items in place to ensure there’s something for everyone. It’s not my bag but I can see why they’d do it.

Despite not being able to recommend something decent for me, the staff were relatively friendly and not overbearing. I’d definitely go back with friends if I was in the area and with Yonge St. being a relatively bereft of decent dining options, you could do far worse than spend some time with the 3 Brewers.

(Image blatantly stolen from Urbanspoon.)