December 31, 2013

proof whisky, Balthazar New Year, Vol. 142

For NY day this year, we are recreating a breakfast served at our favourite restaurant in NYC. For more information on proof brands visit

the balthazar 1 1/2 oz proof whisky • 5 oz tomato juice • 1/4 oz fresh lemon juice • 5-6 dashes of Worcester sauce • 2-3 dashes Tabasco • fleur de sel • fresh pepper

Add proof whisky, tomato juice, lemon, Worcester and Tabasco to a glass filled with ice. Stir well and season with fleur de sel and freshly ground pepper (you can also rim the glass with fleur de sel)

Balthazar serves traditional bistro fare from breakfast through late-night supper. Opened by Keith McNally in the spring of 1997, Balthazar offers a French menu prepared by chef de cuisine Shane McBride. Diners can also choose from an extensive wine list, a raw seafood bar, and breads and pastries from Balthazar bakery.  Balthazar is renowned for its exceptional design. The building was converted from a leather wholesaler's warehouse to an airy space that can accommodate over 200 people in the dining room and at the zinc bar. (

 To recreate a Balthazar Breakfast, we picked up the Balthazar cookbook and made various dishes from the book. We made fresh brioche, salmon gravlax, quiche, ham, tuna nicoise, served fresh cheeses and fruit, mimosa and our own bloody mary mix.

Our table setting was purchased from various places. 

Glasses came from Chapters, plates from Anthropology, and we created our own floral arrangements with gold spray paint and local flowers & nuts.

 Happy New Year! See you in 2014!

For more of our holiday cocktail recipes, visit Rita DeMontis in the Sun chain of newspapers:

Tonight: Variable cloudiness and a whopping high of -9 degrees

December 19, 2013

proof whisky, Morris Kitchen, Vol. 141

Last weekend we had the pleasure of doing another tasting at one of our favourite specialty food shops, Ciboulette et Cie. Our friend André asked us to come up with some drinks using some of his newest products — Morris Kitchen Syrups. For more information on proof brands visit

the morris pear 1 1/2 oz proof whisky • 1/2 oz Morris Kitchen Ginger Syrup • 1/4 oz fresh lemon juice • 4 oz Ceres pear juice
Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker filled with ice, shake and strain into glass filled with ice.  This drink could also be served warm

the Brooklyn apple 1 1/2 oz proof whisky • 4 oz Morris Kitchen Spiced Apple Syrup • 2 cups water • 2 oz lemon juice • 1 tbs star anise & cloves • 3-4 cinnamon sticks
Add all ingredients to a saucepan and bring to a simmer for 5 min. Serve in heat proof glass or mug.

Ciboulette et Cie (Chive and Company) is rooted in the community. They create partnerships between producers, farmers, and chefs so that you can enjoy the best their region has to offer. Just like the old General Store was at the heart of the neighbourhood, so too is Ciboulette et Cie. Unlike a supermarket, or a single-aisle store, they can tell you where your food came from – and chances are it's just up the road. By shopping locally and preparing their ingredients and meals right there in their store, they are ensuring that the environment and local economy will benefit just as much as you and your family. (

André Sanche continues to impress us with the amazing things that he has done with his shop. Not only is he a super nice guy, but he is a passionate purveyor of quality foods. This November he closed the shop for a few days to add new shelving and reorganize. Apparently he is constantly changing things up. Obviously this has been a smart strategy, since his shop is buzzing with local regulars and he has a good out-of-town following from Cottagers in the area. André carries an amazing selection of sauces (his own and other quality brands), cookbooks, spices, cheeses, and his line of take-away fresh and frozen foods. He even offers several cooking classes. If you are in the Midland area, this is definitely a stop that you will not want to miss.

We used Morris Kitchen syrups in both of our recipes. Morris Kitchen is a Brooklyn-based company that began in 2009 with a simple idea to create and share food. They make a variety of classic and seasonal syrups to be used in cocktails and cooking. The versatility of their syrups inspires adventure in the bar and kitchen. Combine one part syrup to five parts sparkling water for a homemade soda. Make cocktails by mixing with liquor, and fresh citrus. Pour over ice cream and fruit and yogurt, use as a marinade for meat or fish, and create salad dressings. (

Ciboulette also carries a good assortment of gift items.

Another gift idea for your whiskey loving friends. Pick up Jim Murray’s Latest 10th Anniversary Whisky Bible and read proof whisky’s standing solid rating. (

Happy Holidays Everyone! Thank-you for following our stories and recipes.
Michael Riley

December 9, 2013

proof whisky, Men Essentials, Vol. 140

Our shopping continues with a trip to the MenEssentials shop on the Danforth. ‘Like’ us on FB until December 24th for your chance to win a bottle of Portland General Store Whisky Aftershave. For more details visit our Facebook page. 
For more information on proof brands visit

the essential 2 oz proof whisky • ¼ oz cinnamon simple syrup • 1 or 2 ice drops
Add proof whisky and cinnamon simple syrup to a shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously and pour over 1 or 2 ice-drops

Last week, we served drinks at MenEssentials where they were launching their own brand new line of Men Essentials Grooming products. From prestigious colognes and skin care products, MenEssentials caters to every man’s grooming needs.

"Many products are made from natural ingredients that offer a healthy alternative to commercially available shaving and skin care products." 

One of our favourite products is the Portland General Store Whiskey Shave Soap & Aftershave (we are giving away a bottle of the aftershave, like us on Facebook for your chance to win)

"We've created a space where men are able to comfortably shop for products that are designed just for them," says Harman. "MenEssentials is the place where men can not only shop, but also learn about their skin care and grooming."

Here are some of their Canadian Exclusives: Gentlemen’s Tonic from the UK, and local Toronto lines — Elvado, Crown and Rebels Refinery. ( 412 Danforth Avenue, Toronto – Chester Subway)


If you have not yet picked up your bottle of proof whisky at the LCBO don’t worry, there are still some bonus ‘x’ or ‘o’ ceramic ice drops available, free with your purchase.

iceDrops are ceramic drink chillers that come in many cool shapes. 
Visit to find out everything about ice drops.

Don’t’ forget, to visit the Toronto Christmas Market at the Distillery ( It runs until December 15th.