July 28, 2011

proof rum, citrullus lanatus, Vol. 44

On Friday, you can either pack your gear and join the thousands of over-heated cars crawling their way to fun-filled times outside the city or stick around and party at Caribana. (www.caribana.com  www.torontocaribbeancarnival.com) Whether you are doing the salsa in the spicy streets of Toronto or roughing it in the great outdoors, you will need the proper bevies to quench your thirst. Today’s ‘Thursty’ watermelon ideas are sure to inspire and to refresh you.  To learn more about our brand visit www.proofbrands.com. ‘Like’ us 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.

watermelon mojito lots of mint • 4 oz proof white rum  • 4 oz fresh lime juice (3-4 limes) • 4 oz watermelon juice* • 2 oz simple syrup** 
• eight 1-inch cubes watermelon, frozen

Place a mint sprig in each of your 4 glasses and muddle by crushing the mint against the side of the glass with a wooden spoon. Stir together rum, lime juice, watermelon juice and simple syrup in a large pitcher, then add watermelon cubes and remaining mint sprigs. Pour rum mixture into glasses. Serve immediately.

*Watermelon juice: To prepare watermelon juice, process peeled watermelon in a blender & strain.  
** Simple Syrup: Combine equal parts sugar and boiling water. Stir until sugar is completely dissolved. Pour into a jar or bottle with a lid, let cool and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.

Spiking a watermelon 101 This makes a great camping treat or a fun refreshment at a backyard gathering. Some sneaky people inject alcohol into their melon by using needles, but we prefer the straightforward method. Here’s how it works:

Taking a sharp knife, cut out a round plug (about the size of a proof bottle cap) from the top center. Dig out some of the flesh or mash it down with the handle of a wooden spoon, to help with the absorption of alcohol. Place the neck of the proof bottle inside the hole and let the watermelon slowly absorb the rum from the upturned bottle. 

When ready to serve, cut the top off the watermelon and scoop out the flesh with a melon-baller or spoon. You should eat the watermelon the same day. The same technique can apply to cantaloupes or melon dews, by using a smaller amount of alcohol.

TIP: For even better results you can remove some of the water from the watermelon by placing the melon on a rimmed tray or platter, then scoring diagonal gashes several inches apart all around the melon (cutting through the rind into the flesh) Place the watermelon in your refrigerator for at least an hour so that the moisture seeps through the side gashes and rises in the hole on top. Pour off this liquid before adding the alcohol)

IMPORTANT: If you are a resident of Ontario and unable to get your hands on a bottle of proof rum (in-store end of August), you can still try this trick with proof whisky! A proof whisky-filled watermelon is the Canadian answer to a Kentucky Watermelon. It rocks!

Chunky Watermelon Salsa  This is delicious served with any skewered chicken, seafood or fish 
1 lime • 2 cups 1/2-inch pieces seeded watermelon • 1 cup 1/2-inch pieces seeded peeled cucumber • 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions • 2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro • 2 teaspoons minced seeded jalapeƱo chili • 1 teaspoon sugar
Chop cucumber, green onions, cilantro and jalapeno. Add it to chopped watermelon. Drizzle with juice from 1 lime and 1 tsp sugar.

Watermelon skewers 6 oz feta cheese, in ¼” cubes • 8 oz watermelon cut into ½” cubes • ½ cup fresh mint leaves • good olive oil • good quality balsamic vinegar
Thread a feta cube, mint leaf, watermelon cube on a skewer and repeat. Place skewers on plate and drizzle with good quality olive oil and balsamic vinegar

Chilled Watermelon Soup (www.self.com by Joe Bonaparte) 6 pounds yellow or red seedless watermelon, diced (9 cups) • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint • 1 tablespoon sugar • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice • 1 cup Crush white wine or 3/4 cup water mixed with 1/4 cup sugar • 1 teaspoon chopped ginger • 8 teaspoons crumbled feta • 1/4 cup sparkling wine (or sparkling water) Combine 1 cup of the watermelon with mint and sugar in a bowl. Set aside. Blend remaining 8 cups watermelon, lemon juice, wine, and ginger in a blender until smooth. Let sit 1/2 hour. Strain soup; divide among 8 bowls. Top each with 1/8 cup reserved watermelon and 1 teaspoon feta. Using small sharp knife, cut peel and white pith from lime. Cut lime into 1/4-inch pieces. Place in medium bowl. Add all remaining ingredients to same bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Toss to blend. Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes. (Can be prepared 2 hours ahead. Keep refrigerated.) Serve chilled. (makes about 3 cups)

Cherry Street was on fire Sunday night. Not only did the Summerdaze party, sponsored by proof (www.ibizaunited.com) on the Cherry Street patio attract a huge crowd, the asian night market was in full swing just across the street.

The T&T Waterfront Night Market treated guests to an exciting outdoor culinary experience featuring a selection of Asian themed "street food" from over 150 vendors for an all out night market experience.  Added attractions included performers from different cultures for full evenings of entertainment on the public mainstage as well as a Glow and Shine car show reflecting the hip urban lifestyle of downtown Toronto! July 21-24 from 5pm to midnight) www.waterfrontnightmarket.com

If you happen to be in the Midland, Ontario area this weekend, stop in to see us at Scullys Crab Shack on Saturday afternoon. We will be serving watermelon mojitos and mint divines on the patio! (177 King Street, Midland, ON)

Weekend Forecast:
Saturday: Mainly sunny and a high of 30 degrees
Sunday: Mainly sunny and a high of 31 degrees
Monday: Isolated showers and a high of 30 degrees

Have a great long weekend!

July 21, 2011

proof rum, Cherry Beach, Vol. 43

A great reprieve from Toronto’s scorching heat is a trip to one of its historical beaches. Mix up a pitcher of Cherry Beach Long Island and head down to the cocktail's namesake beach. (or any beach for that matter) Cool-down with a dip in the lake and a tall icy glass of Long Island.  
To learn more about our brand visit www.proofbrands.com. ‘Like’ us 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.

Cherry Beach Long Island (Single Cocktail)
1 oz proof vodka • ½ oz proof rum • 1/2 oz cherry brandy • 1 oz lemon sour (mix equal parts fresh lemon juice and simple syrup) • 2 oz coke
Fill a highball glass with ice. Add all ingredients in above order. Garnish with a cherry and lemon skewer.

Cherry Beach Long Island (Pitcher 32 oz)
4 oz proof vodka • 4 oz proof rum • 2 oz cherry brandy • ¾ cup lemon sour (mix equal parts fresh lemon juice and simple syrup) • 1 ½  cup coke
Mix all ingredients in pitcher. Pour in ice-filled glasses. Garnish each with a cherry and lemon skewer.


Cherry Street Restaurant (275 Cherry Street - Southeast corner of Cherry and Commissioners St)(www.cherryst.ca) Surrounded by Turtle Island Recycling, Polson Pier, a T & T Supermarket and other public works industries, Cherry Street Restaurant is a little gem in the midst of the Toronto Port Lands.

The owner of Turtle Island Recycling has done an amazing job of restoring this old Toronto Dominion Bank Building back to its original bones for the sake of a fab Turtle Island Employee lunch spot. 

Breakfast & lunch are currently the main attractions, but with the recent opening of an awesome patio and dinner menu, Cherry Street will soon become an afternoon hangout for cyclists and soccer teams, as well as a pre-show dinner destination for ticket holders of the latest Cirque du soleil installation, Totem (www.cirquedusoleil.com) (its tent will soon pop-up in the area). 

Pop in for a pitcher of Cherry Beach Long Island. Cherry Street will be serving these, along with two other tasty proof signature pitchers.


What else to do in the area: Cherry Beach was originally named Clarke Beach Park after Harry Clarke, a Toronto alderman who was responsible for creating the park in the early 1930s. Despite its location at the tip of Toronto's formerly heavily industrial Port Lands area, for many years it was one of the few Toronto beaches clean enough for swimming and windsurfing. It has change rooms for bathers and barbecue areas for picnickers. It also has an off-leash area for dog walkers. The Martin Goodman waterfront trail passes through the park. (www.waterfronttrail.org)

The wooded area just adjacent to the beach has been turned into soccer fields, children's play structure and a metered parking area. (http://cherrybeachsoccer.com/)


See one of the best unobstructed views of Toronto from Polson Pier. (and take your own great shot of the city) Here you can also swim in the Oasis Swimming pool, play mini putt, drive a few golf balls, play indoor soccer or beach volleyball, drive a go-kart, climb the rockwall, see a movie or maybe a concert, and have a drink on a great patio, of course – phew! (www.polsonpier.com)


Pick up some fresh Asian fare at T & T’s sushi and dim sum food court. Enjoy your meal at one of its indoor or outdoor tables. (www.tnt-supermarket.com)

Weekend Forecast:
Saturday: Mainly sunny with cloudy periods and a high of 31 degrees
Sunday: Mainly sunny and a high of 27 degrees

July 14, 2011

proof rum, cool lassi on a hot day, Vol. 42

We begged for hot weather throughout the entire winter and spring – finally it’s here, so let’s enjoy it. If you do not have access to a northern lakeside escape, we suggest you drink in the steamy weather and sweat it out at one of the exciting cultural events taking place in Toronto this weekend. Today, we are bringing a little South Asian flare to our first Thursty Thursday rum recipe with this smooth and creamy spiked lassi. To learn more about our brand visit www.proofbrands.com. ‘Like’ us 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’s award-winning white rum is currently available in Alberta and at a few fine dining and drinking establishments in the Toronto area. It will be available at the LCBO in August.

proof’s white rum lassi 2 ripe mangoes (peeled & chopped) • 2 cups plain yogurt • 1/2 cup Ceres mango juice 
4 oz proof white rum • crushed ice • 2 to 4 tbsp simple syrup (depending on sweetness of mangoes and your taste)

Directions Combine mango, yogurt, nectar, rum and a few cups of crushed ice in a blender. Blend until smooth. Sweeten with simple syrup, if needed. Divide among 4 glasses, garnish with mango slice, mint sprig and serve.

Hop on the 506 streetcar and head over to Gerrard East for some delicious Asian culture. The Festival of South Asia creates a window into the East to celebrate and experience the culture and cuisine of South Asia. From Bhangra to Basmati to Bollywood music, this event has all the ingredients to make festival visitors feel like they've traveled the world. 

Festival of South Asia takes place July 16-17 in Toronto along Gerrard Street East between Greenwood and Coxwell Avenue from 12:00-11:00 p.m. (www.festivalofsouthasia.com) (www.gerrardindiabazaar.com)

For some of the best samosas in town, head over to the B. J. Supermarket at 1449 Gerrard St. E. (at Coxwell)

It started more than 25 years ago, when B. S. Jajj opened this small supermarket with a view to supplying everyday Canadian groceries alongside Indian staples. Two expansions later, the bright store sticks to the same proudly bicultural principle. These days, Pringles share shelf space with deep-fried curried lentil snacks. There are ready-to-eat curries and biryanis in the freezer, classic curry powder blends, plus rows and rows of pickles and chutneys. The spicy fresh samosas alone could lure you to Little India. (from toronto life)

Not only is B.J.'s in the heart of where the action will be, it proves to serve up some awesome and reasonably priced samosas and treats. Samosas are 3 for a dollar!

Don't forget to pick up a little chutney. They have a great selection here as well.

After getting your fill of spicy treats and Bollywood music, head east to the Beach for the 23rd Annual Beaches International Jazz Festival. 
It runs from July 15th to the 24th. (www.beachesjazz.com

Weekend Forecast:
Saturday: Sunny and a high of 30 degrees.
Sunday: Sunny with a risk of thunderstorm – high of 31 degrees