June 30, 2011

proof whisky, Happy Canada Day, Vol. 40

June 23, 2011

proof whisky, S*U*M*M*E*R! Vol. 39

Today we are celebrating the first official weekend of summer (and the beginning of berry season) with some refreshing strawberry recipes. This strawberry-whisky granita will make your BBQ get-together sizzle. 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 strawberry granita 1 cup water • ½ cup sugar • 2 cups ripe strawberries • 2 tbsp lemon juice • ½ - 1 oz proof whisky (depending on how boozy you like your granita)
Measure the sugar and water into a small saucepan, and bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat and let the syrup cool to room temperature. 

Wash and hull strawberries and blend in food processor or blender to puree until smooth. Stir in lemon juice and simple syrup. Pour mixture into an 8-inch baking pan, cover with plastic wrap and put in freezer. Every 30 minutes scrape mixture from sides of pan into center with a fork for about 3-4 hours (or frozen). (you will see it gradually turning into slush) You may have to let it stand at room temperature for 10 min before serving or to get the consistency you need. Scrape down length of dish with a fork, forming icy flakes. Scoop into glasses or bowls. Recipe makes about 3 cups and will keep well for at least a week. Top with proof whisky (you can use as much as you like, depending on how boozy you like it) Garnish with whole strawberry or mint sprig. Serve immediately.

TIP: If you don’t have time to stir your mixture every 30 minutes and you own an ice-cream maker – use it! It will produce a smoother, less traditional chunky granita, but it will free up your day.

Another fun way to use this recipe is to add 4 oz of proof whisky to your strawberry mixture and pour it into popsicle molds. 
These rockets are definitely NOT for kids!

Yesterday we visited Whittamores ‘Pick-Your-Own’ Berry Farm in Markham. Normally the strawberries are ready in early June, but this year the pick-your-own opened on the first day of summer (june 21st). (www.whittamoresfarm.com)

The farm has been in the Whittamore family since 1804. From the early 1920's to the 1950's, Frank J. Whittamore sold vegetables door to door in the North Toronto (Yonge & St. Clair) area. In 1952, Frank's son Gilbert bought a 50-acre farm on Steeles Avenue in southeast Markham. Here he grew vegetables to be wholesaled at the Toronto Food Terminal as well as local retail markets. Later they established a small pick-your-own strawberry and raspberry operation in the late 50's and early 60's. Over the next 50 years the farm expanded in its variety of crops and today their sons run one of the largest pick-your-own and farm market operations in Ontario.

If you don’t feel like getting dirty, you can purchase pre-picked berries in the market. 
They also carry a variety of baked goods and strawberry jams.

The staff is very friendly and knowledgeable. Melanie helped us find what we needed. Thanks Melanie!

If you cannot make it out to Whittamores, check your closest farmer’s market for berries (http://tfmn.ca/)

Another great way to enjoy your berries: pavlova with whisky berries
Meringue 4 egg whites, room temperature  • ¾ cup sugar  • 1 tsp cornstarch • 1 tsp lemon juice  • whipped cream 1 cup whipping cream • 3 tbsp sugar  • ½ tsp vanilla extract (or proof whisky) • whisky berries 2 cups (500 mL) fresh strawberries (hulled and quartered ) • 2 tbsp (25 mL) honey • 1 tsp whisky • 1/8 tsp orange zest

1. For meringue, preheat oven to 275ºF. 2. Trace four 3-inch circles onto 2 sheets of parchment paper, turn paper over and line baking sheets. In a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or with electric beaters, whip egg whites until frothy. While whipping, gradually add sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Fold in cornstarch and lemon juice. Spread onto traced circles. Bake for 25 to 40 minutes, until meringue lifts easily from parchment paper (may take longer if it is a humid day). Let cool. 3. For cream, whip cream to medium peaks and fold in sour cream, sugar and whisky. Chill until ready to serve. 4. Toss strawberries with honey & whisky just before serving. To assemble, place a pavlova meringue on dessert plate, dollop cream over and top with strawberries. Serve immediately. (Makes 8 pavlovas)

Things were steaming up on the patio at the MMVA pre-party at Tryst nightclub last Sunday. proof was serving a whisky pomegranate sour.
And a big congratulations to Down with Webster on their win for Video of the year. Check out winner 'Whoa is Me' for proof's cameo (they should have been drinking it instead of smashing it, but you know those artist types) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=71S9ou2gcqE

Weekend Forecast:
Saturday: Variable cloudiness and a high of 22 degrees
Sunday: Sunny and a high of 25 degrees

June 16, 2011

proof whisky, dad’s day, Vol. 38

If you have not yet purchased your bottle of proof whisky for dad, there is time. Buy it now and you may still receive one of our handsome money clips or handy pour spouts. (offer runs out after the weekend). Pops will love it. Take a little stroll down memory lane with today’s easy drink, the rye & root – which mixes vintage Dad’s Root Beer and proof whisky. After trying this delicious Rootbeer cocktail, you’ll wanna say goodbye to Ginger forever. 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.

rye & root 1 ½ oz proof whisky • 5 oz root beer
Add 1 1/2 oz proof whisky to an ice-filled frosted mug. Add root beer. Enjoy with Dad.

Dad’s is one of America’s most popular soft drinks. The beverage was developed in Chicago in February of 1937, and its unique and delicious flavor has earned it a loyal following. Dad's celebrated its 70th Anniversary in 2007. (www.dadsrootbeer.ca)

They currently have a contest running which allows you to enter a draw to win tickets to Indy. The winner will receive VIP passes to the 2011 Toronto Honda Indy Race The prize includes, access passes for all 3 days, pit passes, meet the team and much, much more. (http://www.facebook.com/people/Home-Grown/100001724470981)

Dad’s is sold at most Loblaws stores. If you cannot get your hands on a bottle of Dad’s, or if you simply want to try something different, here is a great selection of natural and not-so-natural brands. Boylan’s (www.boylanbottling.com), Virgil’s (www.reedsinc.com), A & W (www.aw.ca), Jones (www.jonessoda.com), The Pop Shop, Hires, IBC (www.ibcrootbeer.com), MUG, Barq’s & Stewart’s (www.drinkstewarts.com).


For a real old-fashioned treat, add a scoop of vanilla or whisky ice cream and turn your Rye & Root into a float.


If you have an ice-cream maker, try out this decadent whisky ice-cream recipe:

whisky ice cream 2 cups heavy whipping cream • 2 cups half & half • ½ cup nonfat dry milk powder • 6 large egg yolks • ½ cup sugar • ¼ cup dark brown sugar • ¼ tsp salt • 5 tbsps proof whisky • 1 tbsp vanilla extract (or 1/2 vanilla bean)
Bring first 3 ingredients to simmer over medium-high heat, stirring until milk powder dissolves. Remove from heat. Combine egg yolks, brown sugar and salt in bowl. Whisk until thick. Gradually whisk hot cream mixture into yolk mixture & return all to saucepan. Stir over medium-low heat until it thickens enough to leave path on back of spoon when finger is drawn across (temperature should be 175 to 178 farenheit), almost 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Mix in proof whisky and vanilla. Refrigerate mixture uncovered until cold, stirring occasionally (3 hours) Custard can be made one day ahead. Pour into ice-cream maker and follow its directions.

proof whisky makes a great gift for Father’s Day – especially if you can get your hands on a bottle affixed with one of our swanky money clips or pour spouts. (www.lcbo.com)

Here are some other great gifts ideas: books (www.assouline.com), shot glasses, wooden ipad cover www.gnr8.biz, The Man Cave Book www.mancavesite.org, books, whiskey stones (chapters had one of the better selections of FD gifts) www.chapters.indigo.ca, amazon.com, fan, chair www.dwr.com, brief case (http://alchemygoods.com), govino glasses (www.govinowine.com)

And one of our favourites, the Reef Adjustable BYOB with built in church key 'pop' opener (www.reef.com)

*If you are in the Sarnia, Ontario area this weekend, make sure to pop in to see us at the Exmouth store either Friday evening (from 4-8pm) or Saturday afternoon (from 1-5pm) for a special Father’s Day Celebration.

If not, here are some other proof tastings happening around Ontario this weekend:
St. Catharines – June 17th from 4–8 pm – 343 Glendale Avenue
*Sarnia – Meet Proprietor Michael Riley – June 17th from 4–8 pm – Exmouth
Toronto – June 18th from 4–8 pm – 343 Glendale Avenue
Etobicoke – June 18th from 11:30–3:30 pm – 2762 Lakeshore Blvd West
Etobicoke – June 18th from 4–8 pm – 2762 Lakeshore Blvd West
Mississauga – June 18th from 4–8 pm – 200 Lakeshore Road East
Toronto – June 18th from 11:30–3:30 pm – 545 Yonge Street
Newmarket – June 18th from 4–8 pm – 17365 Leslie Street
Toronto – June 18th from 4–8 pm – 1009 Coxwell Avenue
Toronto – June 18th from 1–5 pm – 2290 Dundas Street West
Etobicoke – June 18th from 1–5 pm – 1750 The Queensway
*Sarnia – Meet Michael Riley – June 18th from 1–5 pm – Exmouth


Weekend Forecast:
Saturday: Mainly sunny and a high of 26 degrees.
Sunday: Variable cloudiness and a high of 23 degrees.

Have a Happy Father’s Day!!

June 9, 2011

proof vodka, 15 minutes of fame, Vol. 37

If you haven’t quite decided where to spend your weekend – think Luminato in Toronto (www.luminato.com) Luminato is an annual multi-disciplinary celebration of theatre, dance, music, literature, food, visual arts, fashion, film that runs from June 10th-19th. Festival-goers are invited to participate, explore, and celebrate their own creative spirit through free widely accessible events, and "accidental encounters with art”. We had our own encounter with art last weekend at the AGA. Here, we launched our full proof brand family. Today, we are featuring the proof vodka drink served at the event – Factory Girl. 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.

factory girl 1 ½ oz proof vodka • 3 oz cranberry pomegranate juice • soda water • raspberries for garnish
In a shaker filled with ice add 1 1/2 oz proof vodka, 3 oz cranberry pome­granate juice. Shake & pour into a chilled glass. 
Top with soda water & garnish with raspberries.


The year old AGA is an 85,000 square foot innovative gallery. It is a premier presentation venue for international and Canadian art, education and scholarship. The gallery in itself is a work of art that complements and completes the cultural precinct surrounding Churchill Square.
The most distinctive feature, the sweeping stainless steel wave, is known as “Borealis”. It is meant to reflect the city’s unique geography – the river valley cutting through box-filled urban spaces. While it appears as one piece as you walk into the building, it is actually separate to ensure that cold outside temperatures stay outside.

Randall Stout, FAIA, the architect, is the President and Principal-in-Charge of Los Angeles-based Randall Stout Architects, Inc. A visionary whose evocative design aesthetic consistently challenges architectural conventions, Stout creates environments that capture the unique composition of their natural surroundings, while transforming light, shadow, form, and materials into dynamic architecture.
A passionate advocate for environmental responsibility, Stout is a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) accredited architect.

Warhol: Manufactured Exhibit at the AGA, was proof’s first appearance in the west. 

proof was serving three delicious cocktails all made with its proof vodka, proof rum and whisky. (www.youraga.ca)

The arts community came out in full gear. What a great party!

The AGA is also using the Warhol exhibit for charity. Bring a can of soup (or other non-perishable food item) on your next visit to the AGA to celebrate the exhibition ANDY WARHOL: Manufactured and help support Edmonton’s Food Bank. Shop AGA is selling giant cans of soup for $5. The net proceeds from these sales will also be donated to the Edmonton Food Bank

If you are in the Edmonton area, make sure to sample The Andy Dog. Visit Fat Franks on Sir Winston Churchill Square, Old Strathcona and at select summer festivals around Edmonton and try the limited-edition ”Andy Dog” hot dog! 


We had a great time at the Drinks Show on Sudbury. The show is a great place to people watch. 

We served the William Tell (www.williamcider.com)

No need to BYOB this Saturday at BYOB (11th). (972 Queen St. W http://byobto.com) 
We will be there from 1-5pm sampling whisky and cocktails.


Ancaster - June 10th from 4–8 pm – 737 Golf Links Road
Toronto - June 10th from 4–8 pm – 147 Laird Avenue
Toronto - June 10th from 4–8 pm – 415 King Street
London - June 11th from 1–5 pm – 71 York Street
Oakville - June 11th from 4–8 pm – 270 North Service Road West
Scarborough - June 11th from 1–5 pm – 1900 Eglinton Avenue East
Richmond Hill - June 11th from 4–8 pm – 10375 Yonge Street North
Guelph - June 11th from 4–8 pm – 378 Speedvale Avenue East
Pickering - June 11th from 4–8 pm – 705 Kingston Road, Unit 17
Toronto - June 11th from 11:30–3:30 pm – 2300 Yonge Street
Windsor - June 11th from 4–8 pm – 7201 Tecumseh Road E
Mississauga - June 11th from 11:30–3:30 pm – 9–5035 Hurontario Street
Toronto - June 11th from 4–8 pm – 55 Bloor Street West

Weekend Forecast:
Saturday: Isolated showers and a high of 20 degrees
Sunday: Isolated showers and a high of 23 degrees