Archive for July, 2010

Ask the Inebriate – Thursday, July 29th

Sofie from Toronto: “Anyone recommend a karaoke place for thursdays that 16 year olds can go to? I know some karaoke bars are only for 19+ etc.”

I asked the new host (so new I can’t remember his name) of karaoke Wednesdays and Thursdays at Hoops Sports Bar & Grill, if knew of any venues like that and he confirmed what I already suspected; many bars are 19+ and even if they would let you in, they probably wouldn’t let you stay past 11pm or so.

Most liquor licenses prohibit minors and even if an owner would be willing to look past that (and they do exist) it would definitely be a huge liability if anything went wrong. Even if you look old enough to get in, they’ll probably card you if you try to buy a drink and you’ll probably get busted when you get on stage.

Your best bet is to grab one of those karaoke rooms in Koreatown. Some of them won’t even care if you want to drink (but if you do, try to be responsible). I know they’re not as much random fun as a bar but with the right friends, it’ll be good times.

You’ve only got three years to go anyways; you’ll be singing with the rest of us in no time!

Hennessy is finally waking up to the fact that not just old dudes are into their product and have released Black, a cognac designed specifically for mixing. Still, aAt $74.95, it’s not really priced like a mixer and I don’t think this will stop me from wincing every time someone orders a Hennessy-and-coke at the bar. |The Globe And Mail|

A bootlegger in PEI has been fined $10,000 for selling beer and liquor from his home. It’s not too clear whether he was making his own or just reselling stuff he bought (not sure how the profit margin would be on that). It’s also funny how uptight we are compared to the States over this sort of thing. We’re still stuck in the last century while they have The American Distilling Institute. |CBC|

I’ve talked about Beefeater 24 before (one of my favorite gins) but if you haven’t tried Frankie Solarik’s 24th Symphony at Barchef, you’re missing out. I had three last time I visited. |Toronto Star|

NYC’s proposed soda tax has floundered due to a duplicitous industry ad campaign that calls it a “tax-grab”. (And our eco fee was just scrapped in a similar fashion. I hope to see these kind of things work in my lifetime.) |The New York Times|

Instead of having to travel all over town to visit your favorite bartenders, a new bar in NYC is cutting the crawl to a destination of one (and they’re bringing their signature drinks too). |The New York Times|

A good restaurant menu is a thing of beauty. Not surprisingly, people analyze this sort of thing. |Travel+Leisure|

While a real maraschino cherry is miles ahead of the toxic-red atrocities we see in most bars, there’s nothing preventing you from experimenting with different types of spirits and cherries. Bourbon is amazing! |The Kitchn|

Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction (boutique/gallery space based out of Philly) makes some of the most interesting and delicious-sounding spirits I’ve ever heard of. Hot on the heels of their Root (an herbal precursor to root beer if you will) is Snap, the liquid equivalent of a ginger snap cookie.

Anyone used to molasses-based rums will find sugarcane rums interesting. Tequila and whisky-lovers will be converted! |SF Gate|

Mezcal is definitely in the running for one of my favorite spirits and with these four cocktail recipes, you’ll find yourself on a whole ‘nother plain of flavour. |A Mountain of Crushed Ice|

I will very rarely pay more than $20 for wine (unless it’s an Amarone or Barolo, maybe a Champagne) so I’m always down for news of good value to be had. #10 is particularly nice. ||

First, there was bacon-flavoured vodka. Now… salmon. I’m just upset that I’ve yet the opportunity to try either. |Today Show|

Some people are tired of intensely-hopped beers and want a simple pale ale or lager. I can understand this. Sometimes, I have a pint of Tankhouse Ale and wouldn’t take another if you bought it for me. Tonight, I had my first Dos Equis and quite enjoyed it. Nothing wrong with that. |The New York Times|

If you don’t drink much (or buy your beer in magnums), the Beer Saver is a handy little silicone cap that will keep it fresh for you until you get back to it.

Knowing when to leave the bar can be a difficult to determine. Yes, there is a flow chart for it. |Sloshspot|

(Painting “Cognac at the Pier Room” by Aldo Luongo.)

An Ontario MPP by the name of David Caplan (remember him, of eHealth infamy?) has introduced a bill that would put a stop to the automatic gratuities added to the bills of large tables. He thinks the policies surrounding the practice are unclear and that the decision to tip should exclusively be the right of the guest.

The bill’s raison d’être is an incident involving an Edmonton Oilers party and a hefty $17,000 restaurant bill that resulted. The hockey players were purportedly outraged at the 18% gratuity added to the bill, even though there were 50 of them and the bar tab alone was over $8,000.

Predictably, the brouhaha over this bill has started a heated debate on the Toronto Life website with people demonizing servers as lazy, ungrateful slackers making too much money off of an easy job and others defending the auto-grat as a necessary option for wait-staff to help them make end’s meet.

The former are wrong. Caplan’s wrong too. View full article »

Ask the Inebriate

Up to this point, I’ve usually answered any questions I receive directly but I figured maybe some of you out there might be wondering the very same things so I’m going to start posting my answers.

Nik from Toronto: “Did the LCBO, in an attempt to be responsible or something, discontinue all malt liquors (essentially, shit alcohol with a content above 6% or so)? Just curious. Realized that I haven’t had a 40 in a while, nor have I see one.”

I decided to call them up to see what they had to say. The confused lady I ended up reaching had no idea what malt liquor was and it quickly became apparent that she was merely searching for it on their own website.

Since I can do that myself, I let her go and did a quick check which got us the answer we wanted.

You can still get Pabst Olde English 800 (311357, 1180 mL, $5.80) and Red Bull (679860, 710 mL, $3.25) around Toronto. Colt 45 (679845, 710 mL, $3.25) however, is only available in the boonies but you can get the larger size (676189, 1183 mL, $5.35) at Queen’s Quay, Yonge & Dundas and a couple of other locations as well as in multiple locations in Scarborough and North York.

The lady I talked to at the LCBO couldn’t say why the number of stores carrying malt liquor had shifted but I would imagine supply and demand has a larger impact on its availability. Also, the LCBO has been trying to gussy up their image in the past couple of years and it hards to see it fitting in well with their new direction (at least until Colt 45 brings back Billy Dee Williams for nostalgic ad campaign).

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