May 15, 2015

proof whisky, a toast to Victoria , Vol. 156

It's May TWO-FOUR! To honour this special occasion, we have put together a few picnic venues that may help you maximize the fun on this festive long weekend. Don’t forget to leave some room in your basket for this refreshing cocktail. If you can't choose between beer and spirits, we have made it easier for you. To learn more about our brand visit

the queen victoria ½ cup spiced proof whisky* • 1 cup fresh raspberries • 2 cups cranberry juice • ¼ cup lime juice • 1 cup pear juice • 2 bottles craft beer • berries for garnish
To a pitcher, add ½ cup spiced proof whisky*, 1 cup fresh raspberries, 2 cups cranberry juice, ¼ cup lime juice and 1 cup pear juice. Stir to mix, and store in refrigerator, covered if desired. Just prior to serving, add 24 oz (2 bottles) of your favourite lager-style craft beer. Stir gently to chill and pour into glasses with ice. Garnish with more raspberries. (this cocktail was created by the

*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. 

We had lunch at Canoe Landing Park. Toronto’s urban eight-acre park is located in the heart of the city and designed by Canadian author Douglas Coupland. It makes a perfect backdrop for a Victoria Day picnic. 

The park incorporates integrated artwork in the form of a landform (the bluff) and stand alone art pieces by Douglas Coupland: a canoe large enough for people to stand in and see over the Gardiner to Lake Ontario, a colourful display of large fishing bobbers, a sculptural beaver dam, programmed tree lighting, a pair of "iceberg benches" situated near the canoe, the "heart-shaped stone" bronze artwork, an all-season astroturf sports field and a one-mile run called the Terry Fox Miracle Mile.

After being cooped up for far too many months, we just don’t want to spend anytime indoors. This is why we are planning every meal, every drink and every social event outside this long weekend. Grab your food, grab a drink and throw your picnic blanket down at one of these great Toronto outdoor spaces: Ashbridge’s Bay Park  • Bluffer’s Park • Centre Island • Rouge Park • Evergreen Brickworks • High Park • Downsview Park • Riverdale Park • Corktown Commons • Withrow Park • Trinity Bellwoods • Park Toronto Music Garden • Kortright Centre • Sugar Beach (opens this weekend!)

If you do happen to walk through Trinity Bellwoods on Saturday, you can stop in at the  Bellwoods Flea (

Don't forget to watch the final episode of Mad Men this Sunday night - sob..sob..
If you are thinking of putting together a little soiree for the event, here are some ideas from a past post proof whisky, Episode 8

Have a safe and Happy Victoria Day!

May 9, 2015

proof whisky, momma bear, Vol. 155

Happy Mother’s Day! For more information on proof brands visit

mama tea 48 oz boiling water • 6+ cups ice • 6 Sloane Tea Citron Chamomile tea bags • ½ cup sugar • 1 cup loosely-packed mint leaves (plus a few more for garnish) • 1 bottle proof whisky • juice of 1 lime • juice of 1 lemon (1 lime & 1 lemon for garnish)

Boil water and add to Sloane Tea bags. Steep for 5 minutes. Pour into a large pitcher, along with the sugar and the ice. As the ice melts, juice one lemon and one lime and then slice the other two for garnish. Loosely muddle the mint leaves in a glass or bowl. Into the pitcher of now-sweetened tea, stir in the proof whisky, lemon & lime juices and mint. When ready to serve, fill pitcher with ice and citrus slices. Serve over ice with extra mint, citrus slices or sprigs of rosemary. (Adjust sweetness to taste)

We recently met with the owners of Sloane Tea in Toronto and we are already working on a series of cocktails made with the teas. Its pretty packaging and great flavours make it a perfect gift for mom.
At Sloane, we are an alliance of Fine Tea Merchants of premium specialty teas sourced directly from point-of-origin. We are the exclusive distributors in North America for the guild of gardens we represent, the most prized estate of which has been producing tea since 1899. The stunning packaging, the taste of our teas, the beauty of its colour in your cup, and the enticing fragrance combine old-world charm and gentility into an affordable luxury beloved by gourmet food consumers and specialty gift collectors. We are certified tea sommeliers, professional chefs, culinary educators, restauranteurs, and lovers of tea – a community of friends stewarding tea as gastronomy … we are Sloane! Visit their website to get an idea of  their great range in flavours, their recipes and beautiful photos with Bicyclette (

If you are looking for something different to do with mom, start out taking her for brunch at the Gladstone Hotel and then visit the Gladstone FleaA curated monthly marketplace, without the itch. The Gladstone Flea ain’t your conventional flea market. It’s a curated monthly marketplace that will be appearing at the Gladstone once a month on a Sunday (May 10th, June 7th, July 12th and August 16th). If you’re the hunt for unique gems, fashion finds, vintage scores and other market must-haves, but hate the idea of spending the weekend knee-deep in thrift store piles? The Gladstone Hotel teams up with notable fashion and lifestyle aficionados to jury an organized, handpicked, marketplace. Packed with purpose, artist goods, reclaimed vintage, craft, design, jewelry, clothing, and more.
The Gladstone Flea curates the market to help save you from the thrift store itch. This month we’ve teamed up with Casie Stewart and April Wozny. (

You may also drop into the AGO for the last weekend of Basquiat and for the Emily Carr Exhibit.

Another great place to impress your mom is the newish French Bistro and Boulanger, Cluny Bistro at the Distillery. Its beautiful space would make the perfect spot for a drawn out brunch on a Sunday morning. (

Happy Mother’s Day!

May 1, 2015

proof whisky, may day, Vol. 154

Whether you're betting on horses, strolling the city’s neighbourhoods or just sitting out on the back stoop this fine weekend, we’re calling it, “the perfect Julep weekend”! All you need is a bottle of proof whisky, a strong muddler and your imagination. There's a julep out there for everyone! For more information on proof brands visit

proof’s classic julep 2 oz proof whisky • 1 oz water • 1 tsp or 1 cube white sugar • 4 sprigs fresh mint • LOTS of crushed ice
Muddle 3 mint sprigs, sugar, and water in the bottom of a Julep cup and fill with crushed ice. Pour in 2 oz proof whisky and stir. Garnish with remaining mint sprig. Drink with straw.

TIP: If you're planning on having more than just one julep (of course you are), make your own simple syrup ahead of time by adding equal parts sugar and boiling water to a container. Stir until dissolved, then refrigerate. (can be made up to 2 weeks ahead of time) Add 1 ½ oz to drink instead of water and sugar cube.

XXL-mint julep 2 oz mint-infused proof whisky* • 1 tsp sugar • 1 tsp water • 4 sprigs fresh mint • LOTS of crushed ice
Muddle 3 mint sprigs, sugar, and water in the bottom of a Julep cup and fill with crushed ice. Pour in 2 oz mint-infused proof whisky and stir. Garnish with remaining mint sprig. Drink with straw.
*mint-infused proof whisky Wash a large handful of mint leaves and place into a glass jar. Top with proof whisky and secure with a lid.  Allow the bourbon to steep in the sunshine from two days to three weeks.

basil julep 8 large basil leaves, plus 4 sprigs for garnish • 2 oz simple syrup • 6 oz proof whisky • blueberries for garnish
In a cocktail shaker, muddle together the basil leaves and simple syrup. Pour in the proof whisky, and stir briskly one or two times. Fill four glasses with crushed ice; pour equal portions of the drink over the ice, straining out the basil. Garnish with basil sprigs. (makes 4 cocktails) Chin Chin!

pineapple julep 8 - 10 mint leaves • ¼ cup chopped pineapple • 2 tbsps ginger syrup* • 2 oz proof whisky • 3 tbsps pineapple juice • Mint springs and pineapple wedges, for garnish
Place mint, pineapple, and ginger syrup into the bottom of a cocktail glass or julep cup. Using a muddler or wooden spoon, mash the ingredients to release the flavors. 
Pack finely crushed ice over the fruit mixture, filling the glass all the way to the top. Pour the whiskey over the ice, followed by the pineapple juice and stir gently to combine. Top with more crushed ice to fill the glass. Garnish with a sprig of mint.

ginger syrup 4 cups water • 2 cups sugar • 1 cup peeled, sliced ginger
Bring water, sugar, ginger, and peppercorns to a boil in a large sauce pot over high heat. Turn down to medium and cook, until liquid is reduced to 2 cups, about 1 hour. Transfer the mixture (do not strain) to a heatproof container to cool completely. Syrup will keep in the refrigerator for two months, or half the recipe if desired

blackberry julep 1/4 cup blackberries, plus 1 blackberry for garnish • 2 tablespoons mint leaves, plus 1 mint sprig for garnish • 1 tablespoon sugar • 1 1/2 oz proof whisky • small ice cubes
Fill a rocks glass halfway with ice cubes. In a shaker, combine the 1/4 cup of blackberries, mint leaves, sugar, proof whisky and 1/3 cup of ice cubes and shake well. Strain the drink into the glass through a coarse sieve, pressing on the solids. Garnish with the blackberry and mint sprig. (Note: you can replace the blackberries with blueberries or strawberries)

Happy May Day & Cinco de mayo!