April 28, 2011

proof whisky, royal party, Vol. 31

Unless you are living in a cave with zero access to media or current affairs (then you wouldn’t be reading this), you are probably well up to speed on details of the upcoming Royal nuptials. Tomorrow is finally the big day and we are celebrating Wills & Kate’s tying of the knot, with a pitcher of pimms. To learn more about our brand visit www.proofbrands.com. Become a friend on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/Proof-Brands/181641835185326 and Twitter http://twitter.com/proofbrands to get last minute updates on tastings, parties & events.

proof pimm’s cup
1 oz proof whisky1 oz Pimm's No.1, Top with 4-6 oz 7-Up or Sprite
Add proof whisky & Pimms No.1 to a glass filled with ice.  Top with 7-UP & stir.  Garnish with cucumber, lime, orange slice and a mint leaf.

proof pimm's pitcher
4 oz proof whisky, 4 oz Pimm's No.1, Top with 16-24 oz Sprite or 7-up
Add proof whisky & Pimms No.1 to a pitcher filled with ice.  Top with 7-UP & stir. Garnish with cucumber, orange, lemon or lime slices and mint

Pimm's No. 1 is gin-based and can be served both on ice or in cocktails. It has a dark tea colour with a reddish tint, and tastes subtly of spice and citrus fruit. It is often taken with "English-style" (clear and carbonated) lemonade, as well as various chopped fresh ingredients, particularly apples, cucumber, oranges, lemons, strawberry, and mint. Pimm's is also mixed with champagne (or a sparkling white wine), called a "Pimm's Royal Cup". It is 25% alcohol by volume.

If you would like to go all out for the wedding, here are a few spots that sell great British gear.
Your friends will feel like they have stepped into Buckingham Palace.

Teatro Verde in Toronto carries a fun range of British party favours (www.teatroverde.com)
They sell everything from British canapé flags, British Cake stands, Veuve Clicquot Yellow Ribbon punch cups, British Paper Cups, British Party Bunting, British Teapot Vase, to Solar Powered Queens

Empire by Bullet (www.bulletathome.com  239 Danforth Avenue, Toronto, ON)
Empire was established in 1996 and carries a great selection of foods and gifts from the UK. 

They carry a good variety of cool union jack ipad & laptop cases, teapots and mugs, trays, imported candy, Walkers crisps and if your drink is G&T, Lemon bitters. (better than any NA tonic)

As of end of June, Empire will be enjoying its new digs and new name, South Coast, at 724 1/4 Queens Street East (just east of Broadview) The store will carry a different stock of more linens and whites. In the meantime, stop in today for their ‘Moving Sale’ at the Danforth location and save 20% on all merchandise. 

Your favourite neighbourhood pub will be opening the doors at 6:00 a.m. so that you can celebrate the Royal nuptials with a large gathering.”

Elephant & Castle will be serving a traditional English Breakfast, starting at 6 am, for the occasion.

If you are not an early riser, you can still catch the ceremony at Elephant & Castle, as they will be replaying it all day long. 
Stop in for a proof Urban Cocktail or have some proof whisky on the rocks. (www.elephantcastle.com)

Weekend Forecast
Saturday: Mainly sunny and a high of 15 degrees
Sunday: Isolated showers and a high of 16 degrees

April 21, 2011

proof whisky, sunny-side up, Vol. 30

With Earth Day (www.earthday.ca)(www.earthday.org), Easter AND Passover happening all at once, this weekend’s topic is themed around spring renewal, new-life and SHOPPING. And because nothing says new-life like an egg, we have been flipping around a couple of earth-friendly brunch recipes and gift ideas just for you. ‘Green’ eggs and yams anyone? Today’s light peach cocktail is a great complement to these sunny celebrations. To learn more about our brand visit www.proofbrands.com. Become a friend on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/Proof-Brands/181641835185326 and Twitter http://twitter.com/proofbrands to get last minute updates on tastings, parties & events. 

fizzy peach
1/2 oz proof whisky
2 oz Ceres peach juice
Pour 1/2 oz of proof whisky and 2 oz peach juice into a champagne flute. Top with prosecco.

Buying the best eggs West End - Augusta Eggs (251 Augusta Ave)
Farm fresh eggs come in white or brown, and are sized from peewee to extra large.

East End - Fresh from the Farm (www.freshfromthefarm.ca 350 Donlands Ave.) Fresh From the Farm partners with Ontario’s Amish and Mennonite farmers to provide you with quality, organic or hormone-free and drug-free food.

Here are two egg-based recipes (one sweet  & one savoury) ‘borrowed’ from one of our favourite east-coast culinary experts, Ina Garten. 
(better known as the Barefoot Contessa)

French toast bread pudding (recipe from Barefoot Contessa How Easy Is That)
1 challah loaf, sliced ¾ inch thick
8 extra-large eggs
5 cups half-and-half or milk
3 tbsp honey
1 tbsp grated orange zest
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
¼ tsp kosher salt
Confectioners’ sugar and maple syrup for serving
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Arrange the bread in two layers in a 9 x 13 x 2-inch baking dish, cutting the bread off to fit the dish. Set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, half-and-half, honey, orange zest, vanilla and salt. Pour the mixture over the bread and press the bread down. Allow to soak for 10 minutes. Place the baking dish in a larger roasting pan and add enough very hot water to the roasting pan to come to an inch up the side of the baking dish. Cover the roasting pan tightly with aluminum foil, tenting it so the foil doesn’t touch the pudding. Make two slashes in the foil to allow steam to escape. Bake for 45 minutes, remove the aluminum foil, and bake for another 40-45 minutes, until the pudding puffs up and the custard is set. Remove form the oven and cool slightly. With a small sieve, dust slightly with confectioners’ sugar and serve in hot squares with maple syrup on the side.  TIP: Add I tsp whisky to your maple syrup for added flavour


Blue Cheese Soufflé (recipe form Barefoot in Paris)
3 tbsp unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing the dish
¼ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for sprinkling
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 cup scaled milk
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
pinch of cayenne pepper
pinch of nutmeg
4 extra-large egg yolks, at room temperature
3 ounces good Roquefort cheese
5 extra-large egg whites, at room temperature
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Butter the inside of an 8-cup soufflé dish (7 1/2 inches in diameter x 3 1/4 inches deep) and sprinkle evenly with parmesan cheese. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. With a wooden spoon, stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Off the heat, whisk in the hot milk, 1/2 teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon black pepper, the cayenne, and nutmeg. Cook over low heat, whisking constantly, for 1 minute, until smooth and thick. Off the heat, while still hot, whisk in the egg yolks, one at a time. Stir in the Roquefort and the ¼ cup of Parmesan and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Put the egg whites, cream of tartar, and a pinch of salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on low speed for 1 minute, on medium speed for 1 minute, then finally on high speed until they form firm, glossy peaks. Whisk one quarter of the egg whites into the cheese sauce to lighten and then fold in the rest. Pour into the soufflé dish, then smooth the top. Draw a large circle on top with the spatula to help the soufflé rise evenly, and place in middle of the oven. Turn the temperature down to 375 degrees. Bake for 30-35 minutes (don’t peek) until puffed and brown. Serve immediately.

Some eco-bunny gift ideas
www.epistachio.com: The story of Pistachio began with a simple idea – being generous, environmentally sensitive and engaged with life is good for us and good for the planet. Pistachio is about creating, using, and reusing things intelligently, about wasting less, and about putting good things into and
onto our bodies. We embrace the idea that being environmentally caring doesn’t mean denying, abandoning or refusing the things we love, but rather designing, developing and using products in more informed, eco-friendly ways. 

http://www.ecojot.com: This is definitely a gift that keeps on giving. Pick up a beautiful design and become part of the GIVE program.
www.lushandlavish.com: How about giving the gift of relaxation
www.thebodyshop.ca: A favourite since the 70s, the Body Shop was the original cosmetic green-shop

www.etsy.com: There is nothing like giving handmade – even if it IS coming from someone else’s hands. There is something for everyone at etsy – kids' recycled crayons, fancy treats for spike and fuzzy eggs for mom.

www.goodegg.ca (267 Augusta Ave – Kensington Market) This adorable kitchenware store sells everything from cookbooks to quirky little cooking gadgets

www.bobbetteandbelle.com (1121 Queen Street East – Leslieville) Visit this fine patisserie for its macarons and homemade flavoured marshmallows. Your friends will love you for it.

www.lpksculinarygroove.com: LPK Culinary Groove also offers a great selection of organic chocolates and gluten-free treats. LPK’s strives to make each of its desserts with certified organic, fair trade, local and seasonal ingredients whenever possible, along with being as sustainable a business as possible. We also feature a delicious selection of ever-growing vegan and gluten-free desserts, along with a line of raw desserts, gluten-free breads and a variety of savoury delights from local and like-minded food producers. They sell their goods at the Evergreen Brick Works Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings. (http://ebw.evergreen.ca)

Sample proof whisky this weekend at one of the following LCBO stores:
Toronto – Meet proprietor Michael Riley - April 21st from 4–8 pm – 415 King St. W. 
Etobicoke – April 23rd from 11:30–3 pm – 2762 Lakeshore Blvd West
Collingwood – April 23rd from 4–8 pm – 1 First Street
Windsor – April 23rd from 4–8 pm – 1320 Walker Road
Burlington - April 23rd from 11:30–3:30 pm – 3365 Fairview Street
Woodbridge – April 23rd from 4–8 pm – 8260 Hwy. #27
Scarborough - April 23rd from 1–5 pm – 21 William Kitchen Road

Weekend Forecast:
Saturday: Scattered showers and a high of 16 degrees
Sunday: Isolated showers and a high of 10 degrees

April 14, 2011

proof whisky, reel world, Vol. 29

You may recognize the face on the left from her 15-year stint on the number one daytime drama, The Young and the Restless, but we know her as founder of the ReelWorld Film Festival. We got the chance to meet Tonya Lee Williams at the Closing Night Gala on Sunday, when we served our favourite pear drink, the urban, before the screening of ‘I Will Follow’ directed by Ava Duvernay and starring Salli Richardson-Whitfield and Blair Underwood. Today, we are revisiting our signature cocktail, the urban. To learn more about our brand visit www.proofbrands.com. Become a friend on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/Proof-Brands/181641835185326 and Twitter http://twitter.com/proofbrands to get last minute updates on all of our tastings, parties and events.

the urban
1 ½ oz proof whisky
4 oz Ceres pear juice
1 tsp fresh lemon juice

Pour 1 1/2 oz of proof whisky
4 oz pear juice and 1 tsp lemon juice 
in a shaker filled with ice. 
Shake and pour into a glass filled with ice.

Actress and entrepreneur Tonya Lee Williams, best known for her 15-year starring role on The Young and The Restless, founded ReelWorld in 2001 in direct response to a lack of positive diverse stories on screen and sustainable opportunities for emerging talent of colour trying to break into the Canadian entertainment industry. 

Every year in April, cineastes, filmmakers, and industry flock to ReelWorld for five days of the best features, documentaries, animations, shorts, and music videos from Canadian and international filmmakers - in the heart of downtown Toronto. The celebration of diverse cinema kicks off with the Opening Night Screening and Gala attended by film stars, government officials, leading corporate executives and international media. 

In the past, attendees have mixed and mingled with the likes of Eriq La Salle, Robert Townsend, South Asian super-star Shabana Azmi, Vivica A. Fox, Little X, and many more at some of Toronto’s most happening and exclusive hot spots. Previous opening night films include Bearwalker (2001) from Canada’s renowned Aboriginal filmmaker Shirley Cheechoo, Kamataki (2006), a Canadian-Japanese production from Quebec’s Claude Gagnon, A Winter Tale (2008) by award-winning Toronto-based filmmaker Frances-Anne Solomon, Gospill Hill (2009), a film directed and produced by Giancarlo Esposito, and Off World (2010) from acclaimed writer, director and co-producer Mateo Guez.


With patio season just around the corner, you may want to invest in a few sets of govino glasses. Although they are meant for serving wine, we love them for cocktails. The urban looks awesome served in the govino glass. They now come in ‘go anywhere’ flute style – AWESOME! 
(for list of retailers - www.govinowine.com)

“Necessity is indeed the mother of invention. govino was originally created as a trade tool to help professional salespeople showcase their wines whenever and wherever proper stemware isn't accessible – which as we learned firsthand, is often! Once we began testing the market, we realized there was an even bigger need for govino in the consumer sector, particularly at settings where breakable glass is an issue. After all, how many times have we all had to endure drinking good wine from bad glasses?

April is an exciting month for us, because our proof whisky, proof rum and proof vodka will soon be available in Alberta, Canada
Stay tuned for a launch party update, set for early June.”

London – April 15th from 4–8 pm – 71 York Street
Toronto – April 15th from 4–8 pm – 2 Cooper Street
Barrie – April 16th from 4–8 pm – 461 Big Bay Point Road
Brampton – April 16th from 4–8 pm – 170 Sandalwood Parkway E.
St. Catharines – April 16th from 4–8 pm – 343 Glendale Avenue
Aurora – April 16th from 4–8 pm – 14824 Yonge Street
Toronto – April 16th from 11:30–3:30 pm – 545 Yonge Street
Burlington – April 16th from 11:30–3:30 pm – 1235 Fairview Street
Brampton – April 16th from 11:30–3:30 pm – 9970 Airport Road
Milton – April 16th from 1–5 pm – 830 Main Street
TorontoMeet Proprietor Michael Riley - April 21st from 4–8 pm – 415 King Street West

Weekend Forecast:
Saturday: Rain and a high of 9 degrees
Sunday: Cloudy with showers and a high of 8 degrees

April 7, 2011

proof whisky, a true Canadian passion, Vol. 28

The NHL playoffs are almost here. And even though the Leafs will not be playing, a lot of die-hard hockey fans will still be watching. Today, we have mixed a little shooter for you to enjoy with your friends. Raise your glass to the Leafs! Better luck next year. To learn more about our brand visit www.proofbrands.com. Become a friend on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/Proof-Brands/181641835185326 and Twitter http://twitter.com/proofbrands to get last minute updates on all of our tastings, parties and events.

The fireproof shooter
1 oz proof whisky
½ oz Fireball Cinnamon Whisky
Pour 1/2 oz of Fireball Cinnamon Whisky into a shot glass. Top it with 1 ½ oz proof whisky. (For a tamer version – serve on ice)

TIP 1: Layered shots work even better when the ingredients and glasses are chilled.
TIP 2: Use a pipette instead of a spoon – it’s much easier.
TIP 3: You can also light the top at the very last minute and serve a flaming shooter.


Where do you watch hockey if you choose to watch it someplace other than your own man cave? Well, at the ACC, of course. Unfortunately it is not always easy scoring tickets to a real game. Your best bet is to start at the N-E corner of King & Peter and work your way south.

At King & Peter, you can watch the game from the curbside at The Score’s state-of-the-art street front HD studio, designed to give ringside seats to hardcore sports fans. (http://www.thescore.com)

But what’s a game without a cold one (and a shelter)? If you continue south on Peter, you will stumble upon the Wayne Gretzky Restaurant at 99 Blue Jays Way. WG’s has a great menu and an awesome rooftop patio for those warmer spring games. With three types of Poutine on the menu, life can't get much better than this. (Canadian, American and Tex-Mex Poutine)

Could there be a better place to enjoy the game? (www.gretzky.com)

XM Satellite radio's Scott Laughlin broadcasts his Power Play show live from here daily from 3pm-6pm. (www.xmradio.ca)

If you prefer feeling like you are in the heart of things (next door to the ACC), stop into Maple Leaf Square. Maple Leaf Square shares its footprint with the Air Canada Centre. 

The square is home to the newest location of the stylish Hotel Le Germain (http://germainmapleleafsquare.com/en/home), upscale restaurant Eleven (http://e11even.ca/), The Real Sports Bar and Real Sports Apparel. http://www.mapleleafsquare.com/

The Real Sports Bar at Maple Leaf Square is, according to ESPN the best sports bar in North America. 
Call it what you will - the place is huge. (www.realsports.ca)

This weekend, pop into one of the following LCBO stores for a special proof whisky and Fireball Cinnamon Whisky tasting: (check events page - www.proofbrands.com)
Friday, April 8th - Ancaster (4pm to 8pm) 737 Golf Links Road
Saturday, April 9th - Hamilton (1pm to 5pm) 1149 Barton Street East
Saturday, April 9th - Oakville (4pm to 8pm) 270 North Service Road West
Saturday, April 9th - Brampton (4pm to 8pm) 737 170 Sandalwood Parkway E.
Saturday, April 9th - Newmarket (11:30am to 3:30pm) 17555 Yonge Street
Saturday, April 9th - Richmond Hill (4pm to 8pm) 10375 Yonge Street North

Weekend Forecast:
Saturday: Sunny with cloudy periods and a high of 15 degrees.
Sunday: Cloudy with showers and a high of 20 degrees.