May 19, 2011

proof whisky, what’s fresh, Vol. 34

Victoria Day weekend stands for many things in addition to the obvious, the Queen’s Birthday. It is the first long weekend to kick off the summer, the first camping weekend for some and the opening of several farmers’ markets throughout the cities. Yay – finally some freshly grown goods from your own backyard. Today, we are taking advantage of the seasonal produce available and have mixed up a fresh and tangy cocktail, the rhubard cup. Enjoy it over some fireworks this long weekend. To learn more about our brand visit
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The rhubarb cup  1 1/2 oz proof whisky - 1 oz fresh lemon juice – 3 oz rhubarb simple syrup*
Shake 1 1/2 oz proof whisky, 1 oz lemon juice and 3 oz rhubarb simple syrup* in an ice-filled shaker. Pour it into an ice-filled glass and garnish with a strip of rhubarb or rosemary. (for a lighter version, top with soda water)

*Rhubarb simple syrup: add 1 ½ cups chopped rhubarb, 1 cup sugar and 1 ½ cups water to a sauce pan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Strain into a bottle and chill. It can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Although some simple syrups require steeping on the stove (like the rhubarb version above), most simple syrup recipes follow the same formula – dissolve equal parts sugar and hot water, drop in a flavour additive, let cool et voilà. This spring and summer we will be experimenting with many new herbs and syrup combinations. Here are a few simple syrup ideas to get you started. (most of these ingredients are NOT in season)

Basil Simple Syrup - 1/2 cup granulated sugar,
1/2 cup water,
1 cup fresh basil leaves - Add sugar and water to a saucepan, stir and heat until it boils; sugar will. Add basil leaves, stir to submerge all leaves, and turn heat off. Allow leaves to steep until liquid cools, 30-45 minutes & strain.

Chipotle-Orange Syrup - 2 cups water, 1 Chipotle pepper, 2 Strips fresh orange peel, 3/4 cup sugar
Bring the water to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce to a simmer and add the chipotle pepper and orange peel. Cover and let simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Strain with a fine-mesh sieve and add the sugar. Return to a boil and stir until the sugar dissolves.
Remove from the heat and let cool. Pour the syrup into a container and keep in the refrigerator.

Vanilla-Ginger Simple Syrup – 1 cup sugar, 1 cup water, 1/4 cup fresh ginger, chopped, 2 vanilla beans, split and scraped
Combine all ingredients into a saucepan and bring to a boil for one minute.
Remove from the heat and let steep for 20 minutes. Strain and cool.

Rose-infused Simple Syrup - 2 cups, 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup rose water
Bring water to a boil. Dissolve sugar into the boiling water, stirring constantly. Once sugar is dissolved remove from heat. Cool & bottle.

Vanilla Simple Syrup - 1/2 cup granulated sugar,
1/2 cup water,
1 vanilla bean. Follow basil recipe. Can leave bean in for more intense flavour.

Lemon-Mint Simple Syrup - 1/2 cup granulated sugar,
1/2 cup water,
4 sprigs mint and 1 tbsp lemon peel. Follow basil recipe.

Apple-Cinnamon Simple Syrup - 1/2 cup granulated sugar,
1/2 cup water,
1 cinnamon stick & 2 cups sour apples. Follow rhubarb recipe recipe, only steeping for 30 minutes. Strain & return cinnamon to syrup.


Farmers' markets are not just for your fruits and vegetables. Expect to find meats and fish, herbs, honey, mushrooms, garlic, eggs, cheese, bread and other baked treats, preserves, jams and even plants and flowers.  Although Toronto has many farmers markets, they are all open on different days and times.

For a list of Toronto Farmers Markets visit:

If you don’t want to leave the comfort of your home, a few farmers will make housecalls:


One of our favourite ‘year-round’ markets is still the Evergreen Brickworks. Currently, the market is set-up inside the building, but after May 28th, it will be an outdoor market once again. Check their website for market times and other classes & events:

See their handy chart for seasonal produce in May. (apples, field rhubarb, asparagus, fiddleheads, baby greens, greenhouse carrots, greenhouse lettuce and tomatos and certain sprouts.

We’ve talked about them before, but a couple of other great resources are: &

If you live in Alberta, don’t forget to purchase your tickets to the Late Night Art Party - Saturday, June 4, 9 pm-2 am. Not only is it the official opening of the Warhol: Manufactured Exhibit at the AGA, it is proof’s first appearance in the west. proof will be serving three delicious cocktails all made with its proof vodka, proof rum and whisky. (


It’s that time of year again. The Drinks Show is coming to 99 Sudbury, in Toronto. proof will be there serving a couple of its delicious cocktails. Get your tickets online today. (

Long Weekend Forecast:
Friday: Isolated showers and a high of 20 degrees
Saturday: Mainly sunny and a high of 22 degrees
Sunday: Scattered Showers and a high of 21 degrees
Monday: Chance of thundershowers and a high of 24 degrees

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