Nov 272014

Hey! This week is American Thanksgiving! And just like the rest of the world (who celebrate Thanksgiving at the normal time) our friends south of the border will be indulging the joy of festive food … and then paying for for that joy with an infestation of relatives. Yes, relatives … like friends you didn’t choose and can’t get rid of. If only there was a way to enjoy the flavours of the fall feast and hang on to your sanity.

If only …

The Pumpkin Pie-Faced Shooter

Well, whaddya know. It’s the “Pumpkin Pie-Faced” shooter, with flavours redolent of the classic fall dessert and enough booze on board to either keep your relatives quiet or put you into a state where you just don’t care. It’s a simple three-ingredient concoction, and if you don’t have the ingredients on hand they are dead simple to get at Ye Olde Local Liquor Store. I’ve called for rather specific items in the mix but if you can’t find them I have also given you options to fill in the gaps.

Like most cocktails (the Perfect Margarita comes to mind here) the actual putting together of the thing is easy – all of the details are in getting quality booze. I’ve provided what I hope are thorough notes regarding the ingredients, but if you have any questions or need clarification you know where to ask.

Ready to go? Good. The relatives are on their way, and you need to get yourself braced for battle. Keep reading!

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Jul 082013

A perfect Margatita. Shaken, not blended.Yeah, yeah, I know. When you are eating barbeque, you should be drinking beer. It’s one of those Great Truths Of Life. And it’s definitely hard to argue with the pairing of a good cold beer (none of this Coors Light business) and smoky saucy juicy meat … as perfect pairings go, it’s right up there with Starsky and Hutch. It’s also true, however, that variety is the spice of life and you should definitely have a couple of go-to cocktails in your repertoire. You want something that is quick and easy to make, pairs well with barbeque, and works as a premium refresher in the summer heat.

Regular readers, of course, will already have the “Faux-ito” on standby. Today we will add to that by busting out the tequila (but not the blender) and lay down a perfect Margarita. There are no tricks here – just remember that the quality of your ingredients is key. In a properly balanced Margarita all four of the flavours are front and centre, and there is no place for second-rate hooch to hide. Start with good booze and everything else flows from there. Grab your shaker and keep reading!

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Jul 082011

When it comes to a mojito, there is no middle ground: They are either great or they are worse than terrible. The instructions sound simple, but building a mojito is an art. Done right it is a thing of absolute summer awesomeness. But a mojito done even a tiny bit wrong is just wretched – you are almost further ahead sitting there parched and miserable with no drink at all.

This is a real problem because it means that, for a lot of people, there is just no point in trying to get a mojito. If you go out, you’re pooched – the vast majority of bartenders in these parts have no clue as to what they are doing and try and pass off a squirt of lime juice, a shot of rum, and a lonely leaf of mint as some sort of representative of this fabled drink. And if you stay home, well, the sad degradation of our society that has men dressing like hoboes in public has also led to a deplorable situation where the average person no longer owns even the simplest bar tools, let alone a proper muddler and the skill to actually use it.

Don’t get me started.

So instead of a poor approximation of a mojito, let’s make something else. Something with the summer-sweat vibe of the legendary original, something equally refreshing and fun, but with a method that you can pull off quickly and easily at home. Meaning you can skip right to the enjoyment of drinking the damn thing. And three or four follow-ups.

I present to you the True North Barbeque “Faux-jito”. It’s summery and fizzy and crazy refreshing. Ingredients and instructions (as always) after the jump. Enjoy.

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Jun 202011

No, not Jamaica the place. Jamaica the drink. It’s a tangy fresh flavoured water made from steeping the bud coverings (that’s the “calyces” for all you botany students out there) of the flowers of the jamaica plant. Jamaica is tart and complex and delicious and it makes an incredible alternative to iced tea on a hot summer day or alongside a big plate of rich smoky barbeque meat. It’s reminiscent of cranberry juice, but with overtones of grapes and plums and a big hit of flowery summer goodness. It’s also packed with vitamin C, antioxidants, and flavonoids so you can feel pretty smug about drinking it, too.
You can get dried jamaica “flowers” (most people seem to think they are flowers, and trying to tell them the difference between a flower and a calyces is going to get you nothing but blank looks, so just let it slide) at most latin and Caribbean markets, either pre-packaged or in bulk. Hint: Buy bulk if you can, it’s cheaper and you tend to get a better product.
Ready to try something different? Three ingredients and a few minutes of your time is all it takes. Let’s go.

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