February 23, 2012

proof whisky, it’s Oscar time, Vol. 74

Hollywood, 1927: As silent movie star George Valentin wonders if the arrival of talking pictures will cause him to fade into oblivion, he sparks with Peppy Miller, a young dancer set for a big break.

Nominated for 9 Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay, we’re betting on a clean sweep for this Oscar contender on Sunday night. This week’s 20s Thursty Thursday recipe is inspired by The Artist. Visit our website www.proofbrands.com,  Facebook and Twitter to get last minute updates on tastings, parties & events.

proof Boulevardier
 1 ½ oz proof whisky  • 1 oz Campari • 1 oz sweet vermouth

Place all ingredients in a shaker of ice and stir. Pour into a chilled cocktail glass and serve with a cherry. We went crazy for the simple elegance of these Alessi wine glasses. They are perfect for cocktails! We picked them up at Chapters. (www.alessi.com)


The 20s marked another important event in history – the Temperance Movement or Prohibition. During Prohibition, some of the country’s finest mixologists found themselves fleeing the hotels and cafes of New York and landing behind bars in Europe, and specifically Paris. This was the case of Harry MacElhone who had been tending bar at The Plaza in New York. MacElhone found himself tending bar at Tod Sloan’s New York Bar in Paris. In 1923 he acquired the bar and added his name – “Harry’s New York Bar.” Perhaps the world’s most famous bar, it is also the birthplace of such classic cocktails as the Bloody Mary, French 75, Side Car, Monkey Gland, and The Boulevardier.

Our proof Boulevardier is adapted from Harry’s original. While the classic Negroni is mixed equal parts gin, vermouth, and Campari, The Boulevardier is changed slightly to 11/2 oz bourbon (in our case proof whisky) to 1 oz Campari and 1 oz vermouth. The bitterness of the Campari pairs well with the sweetness of our proof whisky.


If you are also placing bets on The Artist, you may want to flavour your Oscar Night Event with a little bit of 20s nostalgia. Some of the more popular snacks found in the 1920s included shrimp cocktail, Caesar salad, devilled eggs, anchovy canapés, pineapple upside-down cake, Italian pastas (many of the speakeasy clubs were run by Italian mobsters), Chinese foods, and bowls of nuts and olives. Here are a few classic and not-so-classic devilled-egg recipes to get your party started. You'll be the cat's meow!

Deviled Eggs with smoked salmon 1 8- to 9-ounce russet potato, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces • 6 large eggs • 1 tablespoon olive oil (preferably extra-virgin) • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice • 2 teaspoons whole-grain Dijon mustard • 4 tablespoons minced smoked salmon (about 1 ounce) • 3 tablespoons finely chopped green onions
Cook potato in pot of boiling salted water until very tender, about 10 minutes. Drain. Cool potato. Meanwhile, place eggs in medium saucepan; cover with water. Bring to boil. Cover; remove from heat and let stand 15 minutes. Drain. Rinse eggs with cold water until cool. Peel off shells. Halve eggs lengthwise. Reserve 3 egg yolks for another use. Combine remaining 3 yolks, potato, oil, lemon juice and mustard in medium bowl. Mash with fork until well blended. Stir in 2 tablespoons salmon and 1 1/2 tablespoons green onions. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide potato-and-yolk mixture among hard-boiled egg white halves, mounding slightly. Garnish eggs with 2 tablespoons salmon and 1 1/2 tablespoons green onions.

Classic Devilled Eggs 12 hard-cooked eggs, peeled • 1/3 cup (75 mL) regular or light mayonnaise or salad dressing • 2 teaspoons (10 mL) Dijon mustard, or to taste • Pinch salt and pepper • Paprika (optional)
Cut eggs in half lengthwise or widthwise. Remove yolks and place in a bowl. Set whites aside. Mash yolks with a fork. Add mayonnaise, mustard, salt and pepper. Refill whites with yolk mixture. Sprinkle with paprika, if desired. Cover to store in the refrigerator.

TIP: Replace mustard with grainy mustard or add 2 tablespoons (30 mL) chopped fresh herbs (e.g. parsley, chives, basil) or chili powder, Tex Mex seasoning or hot sauce, to taste. We Grainy Whiskey Mustard in one and added the heat of sriracha sauce in the other for a little bite. (www.getcracking.ca)


What better way to watch the Oscars, then to be hugging a giant bowl of gourmet popcorn. Okay, hugging two giant bowls of gourmet popcorn would be better.

Parmesan Pepper Popcorn 2 tablespoons melted butter • 8 cups hot popcorn • 2 tbsp canola oil • 1/3 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/2 teaspoon black pepper • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Pour 2 tbsps oil in pot. Pour in 8 cups popcorn and pop. Drizzle melted butter over hot popcorn in a large bowl and toss to coat, then toss with cheese, pepper, and salt.

Caramel Corn and Fleur de Sel Popcorn vegetable-oil spray • 1 cup popcorn kernels • 1 tablespoon canola oil • 2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
2 3/4 cups sugar • 1/2 tablespoon baking soda • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces • 2 cups smoked almonds, coarsely chopped • 1 1/2 tablespoons fleur de sel

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil and grease generously with nonstick vegetable-oil spray. Generously spray a large bowl and all but the handle part of a large spoon or rubber spatula. In a large deep pot with a lid, combine the popcorn kernels, oil, and salt and stir to coat the kernels in oil. Place the pot over moderately high heat, cover with a lid, and cook, shaking the pot frequently to redistribute the kernels, until all the kernels have popped, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer the popped popcorn to the large prepared bowl, discarding any unpopped kernels. The popcorn can be popped in advance and stored, in an airtight container at room temperature, up to 3 days. In a large deep pot over moderately high heat, combine the corn syrup, sugar, and 1/4 cup water and stir to combine. Cook, undisturbed, until the mixture develops a light amber color, about 10 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat, add the baking soda and butter, and stir continuously to melt the butter and combine the ingredients, about 20 seconds. (The mixture will be very hot and will foam up at this point—continuous stirring will help the foaming subside.) Working quickly, pour the caramel over the popcorn and add the almonds, then use the prepared spoon or rubber spatula to stir everything together, trying to evenly coat the popcorn and nuts in caramel. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet, spreading out the caramel corn as much as possible. Sprinkle with fleur de sel and let cool and harden for about 20 minutes. Break the caramel corn into smaller, bite-size pieces and serve. Caramel corn can be prepared in advance and stored, in an airtight container at room temperature, up to 3 days.

The next proof tasting with Michael Riley will be on March 1st, from 4 - 8pm at Liberty Village!


Saturday: Scattered flurries and a high of 0 degrees
Sunday: Partly cloudy and a high of 1 degree.

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