November 18, 2010

proof whisky, Pocky, Pretz and peas, Vol. 7

Welcome to another week of ‘the proof is in’. On Saturday night we are having friends over for a quick drink before going out for sushi. Because we like to stick to one set of flavours for the evening, we have decided to draw inspiration from Chinatown. This week’s Asian-inspired Thursty Thursday cocktail is The Gingersnap. You will want to flag this ‘snappy’ little spirit for upcoming cocktail parties and holiday gatherings. To learn more about our brand, visit Become a friend on Facebook and Twitter to get last minute updates on all of our tastings, parties and events.

The Gingersnap 
(created by
1 ½ oz proof whisky
½ oz fresh lemon juice
1 tsp chopped ginger
4-5 oz cloudy apple juice* (unfiltered apple juice)
1 coin of candied ginger
LOTS of ice
In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, add 1 ½ oz. proof whisky, ½ oz. of lemon juice, 1 tsp chopped ginger, and 4-5 oz. cloudy apple juice.  Shake and strain into a glass filled with ice. Garnish with a piece of candied ginger.

Pitcher or Punch-bowl size:
12 oz proof whisky
3 oz fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp chopped ginger
32 oz or 1L of cloudy apple juice* (unfiltered apple juice)
LOTS of ice
Combine all ingredients in a container with lid filled with ice, shake vigorously and strain into punch bowl or pitcher, add 1-2 cups of ice and stir well.

*Cloudy vs clear apple juice Cloudy apple juice is said to be healthier than clear, because it is not processed as much. It contains more pulp, fibre and is found to have higher concentrations of antioxidants. The manufacturing process used to make clear apple juice considerably decreases the levels of polyphenols in the end product. (polyphenols, are the antioxidants which are also found in red wine, berries and dark chocolate) We found a PC version at Loblaws.

Toronto has two Chinatowns – the main Chinatown in the west end (dundas st. w & spadina) and the smaller East Chinatown (broadview & gerrard). There are about six Chinatowns in the entire GTA (with Markham and Mississauga). If you have time, do walk through either of the downtown areas, because here is where you will find the real treasures.

If you are pressed for time, or trying to avoid some undesirable weather (yes, as Canadians, we get it), you can visit one of the larger indoor Chinese markets. T & T Supermarket, now owned by Loblaws and with several locations, ( has an amazing assortment of prepared foods, a huge seafood area with live fish tanks, fresh produce and even an indoor food court and bakery. You may also want to head north to either First Markham Place in Unionville ( or the Pacific Mall ( on Steeles for an interesting shopping and dining experience.

Asian-inspired Bar Snacks:
Most NA lounges and lobby bars supply a bowl of mixed-something, whether it be nuts, rice crackers or olives, when a patron orders a drink. The more upscale you go, the better the snacks – at least this is what you would expect. We believe that the quality of their mix says a lot about an establishment. Even when we have zero time to prep snacks, we always put some thought into which salty tidbit would best be washed down with our drinks. We will do a full volume on pairing bar snacks & cocktails at a later date, but for today we are talking about an assortment of ready-made asian-inspired snacks that were found in and around some of Toronto’s Chinese markets. These particular snacks ‘spoke to us’, but there are many cool and colourful edibles out there to choose from. Sample them all and have some fun with it.

Wasabi peas are popular in Japan. They are made from fried green peas coated with a mixture of wasabi powder, soy sauce and sometimes sugar.

Wass-Ub? Ee Snack Mix from the Bulk Barn (okay, its not chinatown, but it makes a great conversation piece) ( combines wasabi peas, with wasabi coated peanuts, sesame nuts and many other colourful surprises. Sesame sticks are a bit more earthy and come in a variety of seasonings.

A healthy alternative to the fried snack is edamame and sea salt. We like to use flavoured salts. (don’t forget to put out a bowl for the empty pods)

Prawn chips come in beautiful colours and pack a lot of flavour.

Pocky and Pretz are delicious Japanese snacks that come in a multitude of flavours, from salad flavour to pumpkin flavour. Pocky’s are dipped in sweet icing and Pretz are normally savoury. We chose the tomato Pretz, and boy, are they addictive.

A Quick Reminder!!
This weekend join Kevin Brauch (Thirsty Traveler), David Adjey and many others to ‘Savour the culinary styling of Toronto’s finest restaurants’ and ‘Sample the world’s finest wines, beers and spirits’ at the Gourmet Food & Wine Expo. We will be there. Find us at the Diamond Estates booth from Thursday to Sunday.

Weekend Forecast:
Saturday: Variable cloudiness and a high of 7 degrees.
Sunday: Cloudy with showers and a high of 8 degrees.

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