December 22, 2011

proof whisky, city sidewalks, Vol. 65

We’ve already been warned about a possible green Christmas this year. Although snow can add a magical backdrop to any holiday production, surrounding yourself with the right people is all it really takes. Here’s a cocktail recipe to, hopefully, share with your favourite friends and family. Happy Holidays! Like us on Facebook and Twitter to get last minute updates on tastings, parties & events.

The ginger glow (group serving) 1 cup proof whisky • 2 tbsp fresh ginger • 2 tbsp honey
1 oz lemon juice • 4 cups fresh apple juice • pinch of allspice
Add all ingredients, except for whisky to a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat, strain and add proof whisky. Serve in heatproof cups and garnish with lemon slice.

The ginger glow (single) 1 oz proof whisky • 1 tsp fresh ginger • 1 tsp honey • 1/4 oz lemon juice • 4 oz fresh apple juice • pinch of allspice
Add all ingredients, except for whisky to a heatproof cup. Microwave for 1-2 minutes, and add proof whisky. Garnish with lemon slice. TIP: We used pepper berries to garnish these drinks. They are super seasonal in appearance and obviously very edible.

When it comes to garnishing a drink for your holiday party, there are several methods of doing so. You can thread them on a stick, float them, attach them to the rim of your glass, include them in your ice, use a powdered rimmer or just set them free in your drink. You can be quite creative with garnishes, but the key, is to always extract a flavour from your cocktail or a complimentary taste which when eaten, will enhance the drink itself. Here are a few easy garnishes for your Christmas Eve gathering.

Hot cocktails: cinnamon sticks, star anise, cloves, vanilla bean, lemon or orange peel, cranberry skewers, small tuile cookies, gingerbread cookies, vanilla wafers, pocky, apple slices, candy canes, chocolates, mint leaves, top with meringue, roasted marshmallows, whipped cream or chocolate slivers, sprinkle a powdered stencil on top, sliced figs
Cold cocktails: cucumber slices, mint, raspberries, pomegranate seeds, starfruit, edible flowers, fresh herbs (thyme, rosemary, sage, chives), pineapple spears, fruits slices, cherries, rock candy sticks, gooseberries, red or white currants, lemon curls, wheels & wedges, cherries, hibiscus or other edible flowers
Savoury cocktails: pearl onions, pickles, bacon strip, shrimp, peppers, rim with finely chopped herbs, hot peppers, pepperettes, prosciutto-wrapped breasticks, cherry tomatoes, green beans, radishes
Rimmers: crushed candycane or candy, coloured sugars, pumpkin pie spices, cinnamon and sugar, ginger and sugar, salts, crushed gingersnaps, chocolate shavings, cocoa powder

Spend a little time with your local florist. Edible flowers are the hot new garnish in the cocktail world, and your florist will probably be happy to give you a 101 on which ones are the best for consumption. This is how we found these awesome pepper berries.


We had many people asking about the frozen cups featured on BT last week and because we bought them several years ago, they may be a little tricky to locate. We can however offer you a solution by making your own frozen ice cups. Purchase any two sizes of beer/drink plastic cups, place the smaller once inside the large one, fill them both with water, and place them in the freezer overnight. Voilà – ice cups! Add inclusions if you would like. We did a whole segment on ice sculptures on the January 6th, Ice Age blog – check it out for more ice ideas.


If you prefer spending Christmas Eve outdoors, there are many simple and ‘snow-free’ activities going on in the city. Toronto has several public skating rinks, some of which are open on December 24th.  See the TP schedule: (

One of our favourite rinks is located at the Brickworks. If you haven't already been, try getting out there this winter. Afterwards you can have a bite at Café Belong. ( 

What about simply taking a walk. Many of Toronto’s neighbourhoods are decorated beautifully for the holidays, and in the busyness of life, you never get a chance to actually see them. 

Check out the Bay’s classic windows, stroll along Yonge Street to the illuminated Dundas Square or take a jaunt through Nathan Phillips Square to watch the skaters.


Weekend Forecast:
Saturday: Sunny with a few flurries (please please) and a high of 1 degree
Christmas Day: Sunny with a few flurries (please please) and a high of 2 degrees

Enjoy your holiday!
And may all your Christmases be white.

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