March 31, 2011

proof whisky, nature’s gold, Vol. 27

What could be more synonymous with Canada than Maple Syrup? With its multiple health benefits, complex flavour and local accessibility, it has definitely become nature’s sugar of choice for many. We definitely love it – which is why we have created a cocktail with this rich sweetener. Enjoy The Maple Sour – a maple twist on the whisky sour. To learn more about our brand visit
Become a friend on Facebook and Twitter to get last minute updates on all of our tastings, parties and events.

the maple sour
1 1/2 oz proof whisky
1/2 oz pure maple syrup

1/2 oz fresh lemon juice

Pour 1 1/2 oz proof whisky, 
1/2 oz pure maple syrup, 
1/2 oz fresh lemon juice in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. 
Shake and strain into a cocktail glass filled with ice.

We used the Glencairn Official Canadian Whisky Glass for The Maple Sour

proof’s own creator, Michael Riley helped in developing this glass with the Glencairn team. The glass represents a very special, crystal addition to the Glencairn Glass family; a whisky tumbler designed expressly for lovers of Canadian Whiskies. The base is graced with a beautifully etched Maple Leaf. It's mouth and bowl make the whisky easily enjoyed neat, with ice and as we have used it, to serve a cocktail. 
It can be purchased at

Maple Syrup begins as sap in a maple tree. The sap is harvested in the spring when temperatures rise into the 40s during the day and cool off into the 20s at night. 

It takes a very special place for the conditions to be just right – and that place is Canada.

We visited the Sugarbush Maple Syrup Festival at the Kortright Centre to see just how it is made. (9550 Pine Valley Drive

If you do not have the time to visit a Sugarbush, you can pick up the same quality product at many convenient markets. 
St Lawrence Market carries a good selection.(

If you are looking for another reason to celebrate everything-that-is-Canadian, don’t forget to visit the One of a Kind Spring Show.
The show opened yesterday and runs until Sunday. It features the work of Canadian artisans from across the country. Every unique product, from wood sculptures to cookies line the aisles. Its the largest show of its kind.

Here are just a few samples of the great talent showcased at OOAK:,, and

Sample proof whisky this week at the following LCBO stores: (
Waterloo - April 1st from 4-8 pm – 115 King Street South
Guelph - April 1st from 4-8 pm – 378 Speedvale Avenue East
Mississauga – April 2nd from 4-8 pm – 6975 Meadowvale Town Centre
Bramalea – April 2nd from 11:30-3:30 pm – 80 Peel Centre Drive

Weekend Forecast:
Saturday: Variable cloudiness and a high of 8 degrees.
Sunday: Variable cloudiness and a high of 8 degrees.

March 24, 2011

proof whisky, lights out, Vol. 26

In honor of both David Suzuki’s ( 75th Birthday and this weekend’s Earth Hour event, ( we are offering some lights out dinner party tips and a refreshing cocktail to match. We hope that you too will stock up on candles and participate in Saturday’s awesome global movement. To learn more about our brand visit Become a friend on Facebook and Twitter to get last minute updates on all of our tastings, parties and events.

the blackout-berry
2 oz proof whisky
2 oz Chambord Royale
(or Eduardo Ferreira Licor de Amora Blackberry Liquor)
2 tsp simple syrup
1 oz lemon juice
garnish with blackberries

Pour 2 oz proof whisky, 2 oz Chambord Royale, 2 tsp simple syrup, and 1 oz lemon juice into an ice-filled shaker. Shake well and strain into a tumbler glass filled with cubed ice. Garnish with blackberries. 
(If you would like to keep things local, omit the blackberries for garnish – they are obviously not in season yet. hmmm... Or you can garnish with an icycle)
* Who needs an energy-sucking freezer with this spring weather? Put some water-filled ice-cube trays outside – they’ll freeze. Or you can purchase ice and store it in a cooler or bucket outside.

Earth Hour is almost here. A great way to enjoy this event is to be with friends, so why not throw an Earth Hour dinner party! 
Create a meal that reflects the occasion, by using recipes that you can enjoy by candlelight and where no cooking is required. 
Here is our suggested 3-course vegan raw menu (warning: blender power is necessary):

Tahini Dressing
½ cup raw tahini (specialty food shops, some grocery stores, bulk barn)
6 tbsp filtered water
4 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tbsp nama shoyu (Specialty food shops, t&t, bulk barn and some grocery stores)
1 tbsp green onion, diced
1 tsp raw apple cider (may have to use normal cider vinegar)
¼ garlic or ginger, minced
pinch cayenne
Place all ingredients in a small bowl and stir until well incorporated. Drizzle over mixed greens and shredded vegetables. 
Garnish with black sesame seeds.

Live Lasagna
¾ cup fresh basil, tightly packed
3 ½ cups macadamia nuts
1 ¾ tsp. salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
4 tsp, plus ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. fresh oregano, minced
¼ cup plus, 2 tbsps olive oil
6 tbsp filtered water
1 tbsp fresh rosemary
1 large zucchini, thinly sliced lengthwise
1 bunch chard or rainbow chard, stems removed
4 large tomatoes, sliced
Place ½ c. basil, 3 cups macadamia nuts, ½ tsp salt, ½ tsp pepper, and 4 teaspoons vinegar in a food processor. Process for 20 second on low speed, adding 1 ½ c. water as necessary through the top. You might not need all the water. You want a lightly textured, ricotta-like consistency with a semisweet and basil taste. Over-blending causes a pâté consistency. Add tomatoes to blender and blend (should have 2 cups worth once blended), add remaining nuts, basil, oregano, vinegar, ¼ olive oil, 1 tsp salt, ½ tsp pepper, 6 tbsp water, rosemary and blend on high speed for 30 seconds, or until smooth. Toss zucchini and squash strips in remaining 2 tbsp olive oil and ¼ tsp salt. Allow to marinate for 1 hour. Lightly oil bottom of 13 x 9” pan. Place a layer of chard on bottom. Add a layer of zucchini, then tomato, then basil mixture, then tomato mixture. Repeat and top with final layer of zucchini. Serve immediately or wrap in refrigerator for 1 hour before serving.

Pecan Pie
3 ½ cups pecans
3 ½ cups pitted dates
½ cup raisins, soaked
2 cups water
¼ cup date/raisin soak water
1 tsp vanilla extract
¾ tsp salt
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
¼ cup agave nectar
Place 3 cups pecans and 1 ½ cups dates in a food processor. Blend on high speed for 30 to 40 seconds or until mixture sticks together and runs up the sides without falling into the center. You may need to add more dates. Press crust into a pie pan, making a layer around the bottom and sides at least ½” thick. Place 1 cup dates and raisins in a small bowl with water. Allow to soak for 20 minutes. Place remaining 1 cup dates, soaked dates, raisins, ¼ cup soak water, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and agave nectar in a blender and blend on high speed until a thick, relatively smooth mixture forms. Pour mixture into the piecrust, and layer the top with remaining ½ cup pecans. Wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. You want pie chilled to keep its form while slicing. (all recipes by Mark Reinfeld, Bo Rinaldi and Jennifer Murray)

If this menu is too ‘earthy’ for you – try serving fondues, local cheeses, charcuterie plates made of local meats, breads or thermos’ filled with soups and stews – anything that does not require power during the lights out. If you really do want to serve a vegan meal, without the hassle, pick up some yummy vegan take-out at The Big Carrot (348 Danforth Avenue, The Carrot specializes in organically-grown, GMO-free and Environmentally-safe products.

In order to achieve the perfect mood lighting be sure to stock the following items: beeswax candles, hand-crank flashlights, lanterns and if you are lucky you will have access to a wood-burning fireplace or wood-stove.

For a great selection of beeswax candles, visit Grassroots. They carry Pheylonian Beeswax Candles in many different sizes. (

Grassroots has two locations: (east) 372 Danforth Ave. or (west) 408 Bloor Street W. ( They offer “environmentally-friendly products that allow people to make positive choices for themselves, their communities and the earth.”

Grassroots also carries these beautiful serving trays made by Urban Tree Salvage. UTS uses wood from trees, cut down by the city, in the GTA. (

What’s a party without music? Rather than firing up your ipod, crank-up your crank-up radio, strum your guitar or gather around the piano for a show-tune sing-along. After dinner, bundle up and walk the streets. You will get a whole new perspective on things. You may even see a star or two – or better still, catch the neighbours NOT participating in Earth Hour – tsk! tsk!

Take advantage of the dusky mood by telling ghost stories or dust off the Ouija board for a good old-fashioned séance. 
Just remember – your blackout party does not have to end at 9:31 pm – keep the power off for the rest of the night. Lights Out!

Weekend Forecast:
Saturday: Sunny with cloudy periods and a high of 0 degrees
Sunday: Sunny with cloudy periods and a high of 0 degrees

March 17, 2011

proof whisky, Beautiful Day, Vol. 25

Happy St. Patty’s Day! If you are planning to dress like a leprechaun and drink like an Irishman, you’re in luck. For today, we are taking you on a magical journey to a couple of fine local establishments. We will also be offering you some tasty drink recipes to share with your lads. This week’s Emerald Isle cocktail is The Luck of the Irish. To learn more about our brand visit Become a friend on Facebook and Twitter to get last minute updates on all of our tastings, parties and events.

the luck of the irish
2 oz. proof whisky
1 oz. sour apple liqueur
2 oz. Ocean Spray® White Cranberry juice
In a cocktail shaker add 2 oz. proof whisky, 1 oz. sour apple liqueur, 2 oz Ocean Spray white cranberry juice.  Shake vigorously for 30 seconds and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with fresh green apple slice.

Close your eyes, crank up the U2 on your ipod and imagine the perfect St. Patty’s Day. (For this you would need to take the day off work, of course) The day would start off with a traditional Irish Coffee at The Rooster Coffee House. (479 Broadview Avenue For today only, The Rooster is serving Irish Coffees spiked with proof whisky from 1pm on. Michael Riley, proprietor of proof brands will also be mixing green cocktails for any lucky person passing by between 4pm-7pm.

The Irish Rooster
1 ½ oz. proof whisky
1 tsp brown sugar
5 to 6 oz Rooster House Blend coffee
Heavy cream, frothed milk or whipped cream
Pour proof whisky into warmed mug. Add brown sugar and stir until dissolved. Pour in the hot coffee and slowly add cream to float on top; do not stir.

Once you were fully caffeinated, you would head south to Irish local The Ceili Cottage for the Let there be CRAIC celebration (1301 Queen Street East

Here, you would enjoy a succulent plateful of fresh Irish Oysters while being entertained by the Gil-Can Dancers, Mere Mortals Marquee Stage and more. (12pm-close)

Lastly, you would hop in a cab (or public transportation) and head West to Fogerty’s, for a little Cajun flavour, (3481 Lake Shore Blvd. W. Etobicoke where The Humber-Celtic Band (featuring fiddles, flutes & Irish Pipes) will be playing alternately with a trio of Award-winning traditional Musicians (Debbie Quigley with Julie and Patrick Orceau) from 5pm on. The party will really heat up when the Irish Dancers arrive around 9pm

Fogerty’s menu will feature Ham & Cabbage, Shepherd's Pie and Guinness Irish Stew. The Bar will serve Guinness Stout, Harp Lager, Single Malt Irish Whiskeys and showcase proof whisky’s Luck of The Irish Cocktail (all day too) Fogerty’s opens @ Noon, has a Beer Tent and a 2nd bar area. They expect to be near capacity by 5pm. (12pm-close) Fogerty’s owner, Robert Costelloe owns several Irish-themed restaurants including James's Gate, Whelan's Gate, The James Joyce (Annex), Kitty O'Shea's (3) and The Blarney Stone(s). Check his website for a list of locations. Other than finding a pot of gold on your doorstep, what could be more enjoyable than this day?

If you are in the Danforth area, Allen’s & Dora Keogh always throw a great bash (

Want to dress for the event?  – stop in at Amazing Party Store ( for some great Irish gear.

Did you miss the St. Patty’s Day Parade on Sunday? Here’s a wee bit of a re-cap:

Weekend Forecast: 
Saturday: Mainly sunny and a high of 6 degrees.
Sunday: Cloudy periods and a high of 6 degrees.

Beannachtam na Feile Padraig!