December 19, 2014

proof whisky, feliz navidad, Vol. 150

It’s the final countdown for Christmas Shopping. If you haven’t placed your online orders and you live in the Toronto area, you can visit these great vintage stores. Or here’s an even better idea — make your loved ones a batch of this delicious chili-chocolate liqueur. For more information on proof brands visit

Soma dark chocolate liqueur 1⅔ cups proof whisky • 1 cup heavy cream • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk • 4 tbsps melted Soma chili chocolate • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract • 2 tbsp cold coffee 

Place all of the ingredients in a blender and mix on high speed for 20 seconds. Transfer the mixture to an airtight container and refrigerate. If you are giving it as a gift, bottle it in clean mason jars or fancy bottles. Will store in refrigerator for up to 2 months. Makes about 4 cups. (TIP: if you cannot find chili chocolate add a couple of drop of chili sauce or chili bitters to your mix) (

F AS IN FRANK has two flagship retail locations located in Vancouver, British Columbia and Toronto, Ontario. The vast vintage clothing selection  at F AS IN FRANK is specifically tailored to keep one step ahead of current street trends. We like to push the boundaries of typical acceptable fashion, bringing fun and excitement to your shopping experience. We challenge our customers to show their unique personalities, bridging the gap between costume/ ‘dress-up’ and everyday fashion. 

You will find hundreds of vintage items, ranging anywhere from the early 1900’s to the 1990’s: from popular favourites such as high quality rock tees, flannel shirts, dresses, leather jackets, military jackets, boots/shoes, handbags, jewellery, and champion basketball jerseys, to high-end/top shelf collectible clothing and design inspiration pieces, movie rentals, and everything in between. We also stock the largest selection of vintage sports gear in Canada, including snapbacks, Starter jackets, t-shirts and deadstock gear. (

King of Kensington Welcome to Flashback Vintage! We hand-pick the best in men’s and women’s vintage fashions to share with you at three locations in the heart of Toronto’s vintage hotspot, Kensington market. Flashback Vintage is a trio of stores: Flashback, Flashback 2 and King of Kensington. Each store offers  it's own unique shopping experience showcasing high-quality vintage clothing and decor. Our clothing ranges from the 1800’s – 1970’s (plus a little of that 80’s flair!) (

Courage my Love has been open since the seventies, and has won a loyal following among Torontonians looking for cheap vintage, exotic beads, exquisite jewelry from faraway lands, and off-beat trinkets. (14 Kensington Avenue)

Mama Loves You Vintage brings you unique and quality pieces from the 1900s to the 1990s. Run by mother-daughter duo, Mahro and Melo, the store is a carefully curated eclectic mix. Every item at Mama Loves You has been chosen with love and we hope it shows. (

Vintage Mix 1 Awesomely merchandised shop in Ossington area. Shoes, furniture, signs, apparel, accessories, knickknacks. Reasonable pricing. (186 Ossington Avenue, Toronto, ON M6J 2Z7 (416) 534-7767)


Thrill of the Find is a women's clothing store specializing in new to vintage designer fashions. Lifelong collector Mireille Watson finally opened the doors to Thrill of the Find in 2003. Located in Toronto's Leslieville district the store has already attracted a loyal following who have discovered some of the best in European designer clothing Toronto has to offer. With well priced, immaculately presented and low key helpful and knowledgeable service, it is no wonder this boutique is no longer one of the city’s best kept secrets. (


Bungalow Need a vintage rock t? A cocktail dress? A danish dining set? Dansk cookware for your next party? With over 3000 sq. ft. of modern design furniture, retro housewares, exciting new and vintage fashions, and exquisite collector pieces from the 40's - 60's, we have what you need! We are located in Kensington market, a culturally diverse food & clothing mecca in the heart of the city, which features some of the best vintage shops in Toronto. (

 Philz 20th Century Design (792 Queen Street East, 416.461.9913) A collection of vintage furniture and accessories from various styles and era makes visiting Philz a worthy stop for any design purist.

 Zig Zag (985 Queen Street East, 416.778.6495 Located in the antique row of the Leslieville strip, Zig Zag supplies Toronto with vintage designs of the 1950s through to the 1970s. Recently featured in Wallpaper, Echoes, and the Toronto Star, their emphasis is furniture, lighting, glass, electronics and accessories for the home.


Ethel (1091 Queen Street East, 416.778.6608) (

Guff (1142 Queen St East, 416.913.8025 Guff is a used furniture store loaded with great stuff! In the mix you'll find interesting vintage finds, mid-century modern classics, re-purposed industrial pieces, and much more!


More: 69 Vintage ( • Black Market ( • Maggie’s Farm ( • Penny Arcade Vintage ( • St. Lawrence Antiques market (

Saturday: Mainly sunny and a high of -1 degree

Sunday: Mix of clouds and sun and a high of 1 degree

Have a safe and Happy Holiday!!

December 11, 2014

proof whisky, virtual vintage, Vol. 149

With only two weeks left in the Christmas present scavenger hunt things are getting a little more critical. The window for most online shopping is quickly closing and shops have sold out of their premium goods. If you have not yet placed your online orders, park yourself at your computer with our virtual flea lineup and a cup of this piping cocktail. Perfect on a snowy day. For more information on proof brands visit

gingerbread jolt 1 oz proof whisky • 5 oz freshly brewed coffee (we used Balzac’s** Blend) • 1/2 oz gingerbread syrup* • steamed milk
Add proof whisky and gingerbread syrup to a heatproof mug.  Pour in coffee and top with steamed milk.  Garnish with a sprinkle of ground cinnamon.  You can rim your cup with cinnamon sugar for an extra special cup.

*gingerbread syrup Add 1 cup sugar and 2 2” sticks of cinnamon, a 1” pice of fresh ginger peeled and sliced into thin pieces, 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract to a saucepan and 1 cup of water.  Bring to a boil  and stir until the sugar is dissolved.  Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Allow to cool and strain (remove cinnamon and ginger) into your recycled proof bottle.  This will keep in the refrigerator for 2 weeks.  Use in your morning coffee or make a double batch and give one as a gift. (or you can purchase pre-made syrups at

** Balzac's values are infused with everything our customers experience in our caf├ęs. Artisanal, Sustainable, Local and Natural are the four cornerstones of our business practices. Each product is thoughtfully and diligently sourced. While we endeavour to keep an eye on efficiency and affordability, we will not take shortcuts with our quality or preparation techniques. We strive to offer 'Slow Food' prepared quickly, not 'Fast Food'. Balzac's has been offering Fair Trade Organic coffee, sugar and cocoa since 1997 and all milk used in our beverage service is organic and locally sourced. 

Balzac's sells great vintage-like posters on their website. Check them out at

 Here is our list for great online vintage finds:
Vintage resources:

 Visit the Annex Holiday Flea this Saturday and Sunday (13th & 14th) from 11am to 6pm. (

Weekend Forecast:
Saturday: Mix of clouds and sun and a high of 4 degrees

Sunday: Mix of clouds and sun and a high of 5 degrees

December 3, 2014

proof whisky, shop on, Vol. 148

Take a short break from your holiday shopping with this delicious cocktail. For more information on proof brands visit

the holiday sour 1 1/2 oz homemade spiced proof whisky • 1/2 oz fresh lemon juice • 1/2 oz clove syrup* • 1/2 oz egg whites (optional) • Fee Brothers Aztec Chocolate bitters
 In a cocktail  shaker filled with ice add all ingredients and shake sharply.  Strain into a rocks glass filled with ice and top with 3 drops of chocolate bitters.  Garnish with a clove studded lemon slice. (recipe by the Martini Club)

homemade proof spiced whisky To 1 full bottle of proof whisky add a cinnamon stick, 4 whole allspice, 4 cloves and a piece star anise.  Let steep for 3 days (if you can wait) and then strain out spices. You can add a splash to a cup of tea for great toddy or to a cup of eggnog.

clove syrup Add 1 cup sugar and 4 dried cloves to a heatproof container (empty proof bottle or a mason jar) add 1 cup boiling water and stir until the sugar is dissolved.  Allow to cool, cover and refrigerate.  Remove cloves after 2 to 3 days.

tip you can use your leftover clove syrup in tea or coffee or you can make extra and add a cinnamon stick, whole allspice and star anise for a great holiday gift.

 Last weekend, we visited the Leslieville Flea and found some more great gifts.

 We tasted delicious food from The Animal Liberation Kitchen 

and discovered Whiskey & Spice mustards (

Next week we will be featuring lots of local vintage shops and making a Balzac's Coffee drink.

Weekend Forecast:
Saturday: Partly sunny and a high of 4 degrees

Sunday: Sunny and a high of  1 degree

November 27, 2014

proof whisky, Have a holly jolly hipst-mas, Vol. 147

We spent the weekend in Brooklyn shopping for the holidays, and although the markets and stores were stocked with a surplus of amazing items, we are nowhere near the finish line. Thankfully we have several more resources to cover and a month of delivery time still left for our online orders. For more information on proof brands visit

prospect park sour 2 oz proof whisky • ½ oz fresh lemon • ½ oz fresh orange • ¼ oz maple syrup • ¼ oz Amaro Lucano
Pour all ingredients into a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a sour glass. Garnich with an orange twist.

the royal tannenbaum 2 oz proof whisky • 3/4 oz grapefruit juice • 1/2 oz Cynar • 1/4 fresh lemon juice • 3 dash pine tincture*
Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice, shake and strain into a rocks or sour glass. (*pine tincture can be purchased at the Big Carrot dispensary in Toronto)

Because gift buying can be quite exhausting, frequent breaks are always in order. We managed many refreshment stops throughout our expedition, but the winning stop was at the Clover Club in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn. Here, the bartender was even kind enough to share his recipes with us. We paired these cocktails with a ‘bacon tasting’ – a selection of three styles of thick cut bacon. (Maple bacon, black pepper bacon and duck bacon.)
Clover Club opened in 2009 and is now rated as one of the top 25 cocktail bars in America. This casual Brooklyn-style joint has a speakeasy feel without being overdone. The more serious the cocktail the more fun the night out: this is the guiding principle of the Clover Club, a Smith Street bar that serves what are now known as pre-Prohibition drinks, a professorial assortment of fizzes, smashes, swizzles and sours. New York Times (210 Smith Street (718) 855-7939

Saturday was a full day of shopping. Our first stop was the Brooklyn Flea. November through March, Brooklyn Flea moves indoors for the Winter Flea + Holiday Market with 100 vintage/antique vendors plus 25 vendors selling food every Saturday + Sunday, 10am-6pm. 

The 30,000+sf space is in Crown Heights at 1000 Dean St. (btw. Classon + Franklin) and next to Berg'n beer hall.

Next, we cabbed it over to the Williamsburg Smorgasborg for a light lunch. It was quite chilly on the East River, but the place was packed. Droves of visitors were lined up at one smoky booth. As true Canadians that we are, we jumped into this long lineup. We were pleasantly surprised that we had picked a good line. Ramen burgers are fresh hand-made beef burgers served on ‘bun’ made of molded and fried ramen noodles. It was the best thing ever. Another highlight was a fish taco made of tilapia ceviche. It was super fresh and spicy. (

We then stopped by the Artists & Fleas Williamsburg Holiday Market on North 7th street and spent the rest of the day shopping the streets of Williamsburg. Our shopping ended at the Clover Club. (

This weekend, we’re off to the Leslieville Flea. (Sunday November 30th from 10am to 5pm at the SH Armstong Community Centre and the opening of the Toronto Christmas market at the Distillery (

Weekend Forecast:
Saturday: Scattered flurries and a high of 4 degrees

Sunday: Cloudy with showers and a high of 10 degrees