Tuesday, January 24, 2012










There are two types of cocktail parties: The mid-week kind with your Top 6 Favourite People, and those with a more-varied group of near-strangers. The former requires less organization, elicits less stress, and happens more often. The latter deserves a bit of attention, a more extensive plan.

For your friends, it's critical you keep the bar cart stocked with their particulars. For T.J. it's a constant supply of tonic to go with his gin, and at least one bottle of beer for the part of the night when a "cleansing" is required. Mark needs spiced rum, Hannah needs champagne, and while most of our friends drink gin like me (on the rocks with a few thinly-sliced cucumbers), it's critical to have a couple bottles of red wine and some icy-cold white, too. You know, in case straight-to-hard-liquor isn't the mood.

But if you're hosting people for the first time, or a larger group of irregulars, a signature cocktail might be the way to go. While this approach doesn't replace the need for a fully-stocked bar, it's nice to spend some time concocting something special, and tailor-fit to the event you're hosting.

Nobody sets a cocktail menu like our friend John. Last year's Oscar Party deserved its own statuette, featuring drinks inspired by the nominated films. His "Blackout Swantini" involved a healthy thwack of gin and a splash of Blackberry Brandy. I can't wait to see what he'll come up with this year. Tree of Life might inspire something called "Inexplicable Dinosaur Piss". Fingers crossed.

So the next time you host, think of a drink, would you? It doesn't have to be clever or funny. In fact, it could be downright old fashioned.





Photography: Me
Recipe, Food and Prop Styling: Ashley Denton
Props Provided by: Rustica Tabletop



I'm a big, big fan of Canada's first premium gin by Victoria Spirits. By my estimation, it's the only legitimate competition for Hendricks. And, guess what: Aside from their spot-on small-batch gin, they also make oak barrel-aged gin. WHAT? You heard me. They allow the gin to rest in new barrels until it's amber-coloured and caramel-flavoured.

Now my gin can act like my bourbon.


The Victoria Old Fashioned

2 teaspoons rosemary simple syrup*
3 dashes Victoria Orange Bitters
Splash of water or club soda
2 ounces Victoria Oaken Gin

Stir together the sweetener and the bitters. Add a splash of water or club soda, ice, and your gin. Garnish as you please (orange peel or slices, rosemary for that "What the F is in my drink?!" reaction) and serve. Yum.


*Just as with regular simple syrup, bring equal parts of white sugar and water to a boil. But here, throw a few sprigs of rosemary into the mix and allow to infuse the syrup with flavour.





KEEP READING ON THE SUBJECT OF HOSTING:


Be My Guest (August 1, 2008)
The Bachelorette (August 14, 2010)
Songs for Winter Cocktailing (December 11, 2011)



9 comments:

  1. That looks very good! Thanks for sharing.

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  2. This post makes me very VERY happy...and anxious for a mid-week cocktail with you.
    p.s. the cleansing beer is key!

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  3. I've been meaning to try this Oaken Gin - d'you know any spots in Toronto where I could get a glass?

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  4. i love gin -- thanks for the grand ideas!! wondering if you have had the occasion to sample Bruecklelen gin*? I'm a big fan of Hendricks and curious to know if it's worth trying.

    *(http://brkdistilling.com/) introduced to it via "Made By Hand" documentary -- no affiliation on my part to either...but worth checking out vid series.

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  5. yeah...that's not what i had at the hotel in Utah. sadly.

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  6. Also, I'm referring David to this post in hopes that he finds the "manly" cocktail of his dreams.

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  7. did you get the oaken gin in toronto? I can't seem to find it in any lcbo's.

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