October 5, 2017

proof whisky, Murray's Farm, Vol. 173

In preparation of Thanksgiving we are visiting a farm in the GTA, and have mixed up a sweet and salty cocktail to kick off your fall festivities.

apple caramel cocktail 1 ½ oz apple infused proof whisky* • ½ tsp lemon juice • 3 oz apple cider • 1 oz caramel syrup** • salted caramel rimmer*** • apple slices for garnish
Rub lemon slice around rim of glass. Rub wet rim in a plateful of caramel rimmer until well coated. Set aside. Pour first four ingredients into an ice-filled shaker. Shake and pour into a rimmed glass. Garnish with an apple slice.

*apple-infused proof whisky mason jar • dried apples • cinnamon sticks • 500 mL proof whisky (2 cups) •

**homemade caramel syrup 1 cup sugar • 3/4 cup water, divided • 1 teaspoon corn syrup • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract • Pinch of salt
In a small, sturdy pot, combine the sugar, 1/4 cup of the water, and the corn syrup. Stir over low heat until dissolved. Once the sugar has dissolved completely, turn the heat up to medium high, cover the pot, and let boil for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the cover and stir vigorously as the caramel continues to cook. Stir over heat until mixture is a light amber color. Remove the caramel from heat. Carefully pour in the remaining 1/2 cup of water. Be very careful when stirring the water into the caramel as it can splatter. Stir in the vanilla and a small pinch of salt. The syrup will keep in the fridge for a few months.

***salted caramel rimmer Pour sugar into a nonstick frying pan, place over medium-high heat. Shake pan often until most of the sugar liquefies, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium; tilt pan to mix hot caramel with sugar until all is melted and the color is deep amber, 3 to 5 minutes. Immediately pour hot caramel into foil-lined pan. Tilt pan to spread caramel in thin layer. Sprinkle 1/2 tps flour de del over hot caramel. Set aside until hard and completely cool, about 30 minutes. When cool, lift foil from pan; peel foil from caramel. Break caramel into chunks. To make powder, whirl chunks in a blender or food processor fitted with metal blade (container must be completely dry). If you use a blender, you may need to make powder in several batches. Use, or store airtight at room temperature for up to 1 month.

Yesterday, we had the opportunity to visit Murray’s Farm in the rolling countryside of Cambridge, Ontario. The rain did not stop us from visiting with some prized piglets. Murray is the only farmer in Canada with registered herds of Gloucestershire Old Spot, Herefords, and British Saddlebacks. His pigs run freely around a hilly green pasture, foraging for goodies in the yard. He raises only about 400 head per year – with care, compassion, and respect for their natures, wants, and comfort. 

You might recognize him from one of the many farmer’s markets in the GTA. He is at Withrow Park, Cabbagetown, Brickworks and many others. His eggs and pork are also on the menus of some of Toronto’s best restaurants and butchers. For more information on where to purchase his great products, visit murraysfarm.ca

Speaking of Farmer’s Markets Although some of the city’s best Farmers’ Markets closed for the season this week, many great ones remain open until the end of the month. This Thanksgiving shop for autumn’s bounty at one of the many farmers markets across the city. Along with offering farm-fresh food, markets are a great way to support local agriculture, meet your neighbours and spend quality time outdoors at the park.

MONDAY Sorauren’s Farmers’ Market (50 Wabash Ave., 3 p.m. until 7 p.m.- Oct. 30th) TUESDAY Trinity Bellwoods Farmers’ Market (Trinity Bellwoods Park, 3 p.m. until 7 p.m. - Oct. 31st) • East York Farmers’ Market (East York Civic Centre, 8 a.m until 2 p.m. - Oct. 31st) WEDNESDAY Nathan Phillip’s Square Farmers’ Market (Nathan Phillips Square, 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. - Oct. 18th) • Greenwood Farmers’ Market (Greenwood Park, 3 p.m. until 7 p.m. – Oct. 25) • Bloor/Borden Farmers’ Market (Parking lot at Bloor and Lippincott, 3 p.m. until 7 p.m.) • UTSC Farmers’ Market (University of Toronto Scarborough, 2:30 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. end of October) • Yorkville Farmers’ Market (136 Yorkville Ave., 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. – Oct 7th) THURSDAY Dufferin Grove Farmers’ Market (Dufferin Grove Park, 3 p.m. until 7 p.m. – Dec. 28th) • Toronto Botanical Gardens Farmers’ Market (Toronto Botanical Gardens, 2 p.m. until 7 p.m. year round) • Metro Hall Farmers’ Market (Metro Hall, 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. – Oct. 13th) • East Lynn Farmers’ Market (East Lynn Park, 3 p.m. until 7 p.m.-Oct 19th) • North York Farmers’ Market (Mel Lastman Square, 8 a.m. until 2 p.m.-Oct. 26th) FRIDAY Sherway Farmers’ Market (1536 The Queensway, 8 a.m. until 2 p.m.-Oct 27th) SATURDAY Stop Farmers’ Market at Wychwood Barns (Artscape Wychwood Barns, 8 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. – Dec.) • Junction Farmers’ Market (2960 Dundas St. W., 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. – Nov. 4th)
Evergreen Brickworks Farmers’ Market (550 Bayview Ave., 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. – year round)
St. Lawrence Market Farmers’ Market (St. Lawrence Market., 5 a.m. until 3 p.m. –year round) • Weston Farmers’ Market (GO Parking Lot at 1865 Weston Rd., 7 a.m. until 2 p.m. end of Oct.) • Withrow Park Farmers’ Market (Withrow Park, 9 a.m. until 1 p.m.-Oct 14th)
SUNDAY The Leslieville Farmers’ Market (Jonathan Ashbridge Park, 9 a.m. until 2 p.m, -Oct. 29th) • Liberty Village Farmers’ Market (Green P Hanna Street, 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. – Nov. 26th)

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your families!

September 19, 2017

proof whisky & vodka, likin' them apples, Vol. 172

Last Sunday we spent a balmy afternoon at our local orchard. Because of the sucky cool and wet summer that we had, a lot of varieties were still not available for picking. We were however able to get our hands on some delicious Macs and Cortlands. One of our favourite ingredients for both whisky and vodka drinks are apples after all. Here are a few tasty recipes.

orchard mule 1 1/2 oz apple-infused proof vodka* • 2 oz apple cider • 3 oz ginger beer • 1/4 oz lemon juice • cinnamon sticks and apples for garnish

*For vodka infusion: 3 sliced apples • 2 cinnamon sticks • 500 ml proof vodka 
Fill a 1L Mason jar with apple slices and cinnamon sticks. Add 500ml proof vodka. Seal and shake. Refrigerate for at least 48 hours (no more than 3 weeks). Pour the mixture through a fine strainer to remove the solids.

For cocktail In a copper cup filled with ice, add the infused proof vodkaapple cider,  lemon juice and ginger beer. Stir and garnish with apple slices and/or a cinnamon stick.

Infuse proof whisky the same way as above for delicious apple pie shots. A great drink to kick off your Thanksgiving celebrations.

Eve's sangria 1/2 sliced orange • 1 chopped pear • 2 chopped apples • 3 sticks cinnamon • freshly grated nutmeg • 1 cup proof whisky • 1 bottle white wine • 3 cups apple cider • 1 341 ML bottle of ginger beer

Mix all ingredients, except for ginger beer into a large pitcher or dispenser. Just before serving add lots of ice and top with ginger beer. NOTE: you may want to remove cinnamon sticks if flavour becomes too strong.

the apple crisp single 1 oz proof whisky • 1/2 oz Goldschlager • 5 oz apple cider 

To a highball glass filled with ice, add proof whisky, Goldschlager and apple cider. Garnish drink with cinnamon stick. This cocktail can be served warm as well, just omit the ice and warm in a heat-resistant mug. (note: you can replace Goldschalger with *cinnamon simple syrup)

the apple crisp pitcher 8 oz proof whisky • 4 oz Goldschlager • 40 oz apple cider 

To a pitcher, add proof whisky, Goldschlager and apple cider. Serve in highballs glasses filled with ice or a heat-resistant mug. Garnish with a cinnamon stick. (note: you can replace Goldschalger with *cinnamon simple syrup)

*cinnamon simple syrup: Combine equal parts sugar and boiling water. Stir until sugar is completely dissolved. Pour into a clean bottle and add a cinnamon stick. Let cool. Can be store in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

pomme-tini 2 oz proof vodka • 2 oz fresh apple cider • 1/4 oz fresh lemon juice • 1/2 oz cinnamon simple syrup • apple slice for garnish

Add ingredients to an ice-filled shaker. Shake hard and pour into a cinnamon-sugar rimmed martini glass • garnish with apple slice

*cinnamon simple syrup: Combine equal parts sugar and boiling water. Stir until sugar is completely dissolved. Pour into a clean bottle and add a cinnamon stick. Let cool. Can be store in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

the applewood 1 1/2 oz saddleback maple bacon whisky • 4 oz fresh apple cider • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice

Pour ingredients into an ice-filled rocks glass. Garnish with apple.

If you're down for some apple picking of your own, here's a list of farms in the GTA:
www.applewoodfarmwinery.com   www.organicsfarm.ca   www.pinefarmsorchard.com www.albionorchards.com   www.brooksfarms.com   www.chudleighs.com

Have fun apple-picking!

August 17, 2017

proof whisky & vodka, The Big Feastival, Vol.171

We have teamed-up with Piger Henricus & Saddleback Whisky to serve you some delicious drinks and snow cones at The Big Feastival! Hope to see you there!

After six, exciting years in the UK, The Big Feastival is coming to Canada August 18-20th. Delivering an extravaganza of delicious food sound-tracked by perfect summer sounds, this weekend of top entertainment will host star appearances from the food, music and children’s entertainment world plus camping (and glamping!). Facilities in the idyllic Burl’s Creek allows for festival-goers to get back to nature, chill out and top off their big day out with a night under canvas.Plans for this summer’s first-ever The Big Feastival Canada are in full swing, and we are bursting to tell you all that we have in store. Here’s a little taste of what to expect:
TUNES...The Big Feastival wouldn’t be complete without an amazing music line-up. (for more info canada.thebigfeastival.com)

this little piggy single 1 oz Saddleback Whisky • ½ oz lemon juice • 1/2 oz lime juice • ½ oz simple syrup
Pour all ingredients into an ice-filled shaker. Shake hard and pour into a glass & garnish.

this little piggy pitcher 5 oz Saddleback Whisky • 6 oz lemon juice • 6 oz lime juice • 6 oz simple syrup
Pour all ingredients into an ice-filled pitcher. Stir & garnish.

it’s about thyme single 1 oz Piger Henricus Gin • 3 oz thyme-infused lemonade • 1 oz Fentimans tonic • sprig of thyme for garnish
Pour all ingredients into an ice-filled shaker. Shake hard and pour into a glass & garnish.

it’s about thyme pitcher 5 oz Piger Henricus Gin • 20 oz thyme-infused lemonade • 5 oz Fentimans tonic • 3 sprigs of thyme for garnish
Pour all ingredients into an ice-filled pitcher. Stir & garnish.

mint it! single 1 oz proof whisky • 4 oz mint-infused lemonade • 3 crushed blueberries • mint leaves for garnish
Pour all ingredients into an ice-filled shaker. Shake hard and pour into a glass & garnish.

mint it! pitcher 6 oz proof whisky • 24 oz mint-infused lemonade • ½ cup crushed blueberries • mint leaves for garnish
Pour all ingredients into an ice-filled pitcher. Stir & garnish.

the blue mule single 1 oz proof vodka • 2 oz Ocean Spray Blueberry juice • ¼ oz lime juice • 3 oz ginger beer • blueberries for garnish
Pour all ingredients into an ice-filled shaker. Shake hard and pour into a glass & garnish.

the blue mule pitcher 5 oz proof vodka • 10 oz Ocean Spray Blueberry juice • 1 ¼ oz lime juice • 15 oz ginger beer • blueberries for garnish
Pour all ingredients into an ice-filled pitcher. Stir & garnish.

ice ice baby snow cones:

nippy Niagara 4 niagara peaches, peeled, pitted & sliced • 1 1/2 cups sugar • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice • 1/2 cup water • 1/2 cup proof whisky • crushed ice

Add peaches, water and sugar to a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes on low. Puree peach mixture in a blender and strain into clean bowl. Add lemon juice and proof whisky. Refrigerate until cool. Pour 1 oz over shaved ice, and garnish with peach slice. (makes 6-8 cones) (depending on the size of your peaches, you may need to add more water)

frosted bramble 1 cup blackberries • 1 1/2 oz lemon juice • 1/2 cup sugar • 1/4 cup water • 3 oz Piger Henricus gin • blackberries for garnish

Add the sugar and the water to small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves and remove from heat to let cool. Once the syrup has cooled, add the blackberries. Mash the berries to a pulp, then strain through a fine mesh strainer. Add the lemon juice and the gin, and set in the refrigerator to chill. Once chilled, drizzle over a cone packed full of crushed ice. Garnish with a few blackberries and serve with a straw.

Have fun! We hope to see you this weekend!

June 25, 2017

proof whisky & vodka, Canada 150, Vol.170

Happy Birthday Canada! Canada has more lakes than any other country—which is why it has one of the best cottage-country lifestyles in the world. Many Torontonians vacate their homes every weekend to head up to their lake-side retreat. Unfortunately for them, they are leaving behind an amazing summer experience. Toronto thrives in the summer with its perfect combination of urban culture and green spaces. Here are a few of our favourite Toronto parks and Canadian inspired drinks.

the trinity mint (single) 1½ oz proof whisky • 6 torn mint leaves • 5 oz lemonade* • garnish of 1 tbsp blueberries and mint
In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, add 1 ½ oz proof whisky, 6 torn mint leaves and 5 oz lemonade*. Shake well and strain into a Collins glass filled with ice. Garnish with 1 tbsp fresh blueberries and a mint sprig. Can substitute proof whisky for proof vodka.

the trinity mint (group size) 1 - 500ml bottle of proof whisky • 1/2 cup torn up mint leaves* • 60 oz of lemonade (1 can frozen lemonade - when making use 1 can less water than instructed) Fill the pitcher with ice (as it melts it will make up for the 1 can of water) Add all ingredients and stir. * Use frozen lemonade. Can substitute proof whisky for proof vodka.

To the west - Trinity Bellwoods Park: Located in the west end of Toronto, bordered by Queen Street West on the south and Dundas Street on the north, Trinity Bellwoods' hip West end park is one of the coolest and most cultured of Toronto's public spaces, playing host to many art shows and cultural events.

Only in Canada can you be driving along a busy Expressway, and spot an oversized canoe sitting on the edge of a hill. This is Douglas Coupland’s Canoe Landing park. You can access the park just off the Gardiner Expressway, by turning on to Dan Leckie Way.

Coupland sour 1 1/2 oz proof whisky • 1/2 oz pure maple syrup
 • 1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
Pour proof whisky, pure maple syrup, fresh lemon into a cocktail glass filled with ice. Stir and enjoy. Can substitute proof whisky for proof vodka.

queens quay (single) 1 1/2 oz proof whisky • 1 oz lemon juice • 1 tbsp cranberries (frozen & thawed) • 1/2 oz maple syrup • 2 oz Ocean Spray® Cranberry Cocktail METHOD In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, add 1½ oz proof whisky, 1 oz of lemon juice, 1 tbsp cranberries (frozen & thawed) ½ oz. maple syrup and 2 oz Ocean Spray® Cranberry Cocktail. Shake sharply and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a lemon and cranberry skewer. We used cherries, because we like them. Can substitute whisky for proof vodka.

queens quay (group size) 1 cup proof whisky • 5 oz lemon juice • ½ cup frozen cranberries (thawed) • 1/3 cup maple syrup • 1.89 litres of Ocean Spray® Cranberry Cocktail (full bottle) METHOD In a punch bowl or pitcher add ½ cup muddled or smashed cranberries, 1 cup proof whisky, 5 oz. of lemon juice, 1/3 cup maple syrup and 1.89 litres of Ocean Spray® Cranberry Cocktail. Mix well and add lots of ice. Garnish with frozen cranberries. Can substitute whisky for proof vodka.

To the South – Toronto is home to one of the longest urban lakefronts in the world. From the Rouge River in the east to Etobicoke Creek in the west, the 46-kilometre shoreline encompasses attractions ranging from city parks, beaches and marinas to concert venues, art galleries and a new BMX park. One of our favourite locations is the peaceful Music Garden, just west of lower spadina avenue at Queens Quay.

It's not exactly a park, but, if you are in the Spadina area, you might want to snap a few selfies at Graffiti Alley. This alleyway, just South of Queen Street West has quickly become one of Toronto's most popular instagram backdrops. 

thyme for riverdale (single) 1 oz proof vodka • 1 sprig thyme • 1 ½ oz Ceres pear juice • ½ oz simple syrup • ½ oz lemon juice • splash soda
Add first 5 ingredients to an ice-filled shaker. Shake hard and strain into a chilled martini glass. Top with soda and garnish with a sprig of thyme. 

thyme for riverdale (group size) 6 oz proof vodka • 6 sprig thyme • 9 oz Ceres pear juice • 3 oz simple syrup • 3 oz lemon juice • splash soda (6 oz)
Add first 5 ingredients to an ice-filled thermos. Shake hard and serve in cups. Top with soda and garnish with a sprig of thyme. If soda is inconvenient, drink will still be great without it.

To the east - All east-enders know about Riverdale Park and its amazing view of the Toronto skyline. The top of the hill located on the east side of the park, next to Broadview Avenue, has an unobstructed view of the downtown core and surrounding skyline. It is easily accessible via TTC or car. In the south end of the park, are located permanent cement ping-pong tables where you can enjoy a round or two. If you are more in the mood for a caffeinated beverage, the rooster coffee house is located just across the street on Broadview.

Happy 150th Canada!! We love every part of you!

May 13, 2017

proof whisky, Mama mia! Vol. 169

Instagram Drink of the Day
thunder beach ice tea (single) 1 oz proof vodka • ½ oz proof whisky • 1/2 oz cherry brandy • 1 oz lemon sour (mix equal parts fresh lemon juice and simple syrup) • 2 oz coke
Fill a highball glass with ice. Add all ingredients in above order. Garnish with a cherry and lemon skewer.

thunder beach ice tea (32 oz) 4 oz proof vodka • 4 oz proof whisky • 2 oz cherry brandy • ¾ cup lemon sour (mix equal parts fresh lemon juice and simple syrup) • 1 ½  cup coke
Mix all ingredients in pitcher. Pour in ice-filled glasses. Garnish each with a cherry and lemon skewer.

Treat mom to one of these delicious cocktails.

rosey cheeks We mixed Fentimans Victorian and Rose lemonades with our proof vodka and a splash of tonic for a delicious cocktail. Fentimans is a British-craft soft-drink company known for creating unique flavours and using botanical brewing methods. 

Botanical brewing is a time-honoured technique of making superior quality beverages using a combination of infusion, skilful blending and fermentation of natural ingredients. Thomas Fentimans time honoured approach hasn't changed much in over 100 years, with the knowledge and expertise being passed on from generation to generation of the Fentimans family. The result is an authentic drink that tastes simply delicious. Check out their flavours at www.fentimans.com

the sloane Place one Sloane Chai teabag in a bottle of proof whisky. Let it steep overnight. Enjoy topped with soda and a little simple syrup. We used Sloane Chai Tea, but there are many other flavours to enjoy on their website.
Sloane Tea The tea in your cup is a result of a delicious journey. At Sloane Tea Company we traverse the world in search of only the finest teas that would delight even the most discerning of palates. The Sloane story is about beauty. Beauty as told through the senses of taste, smell and sight. Beauty as experienced through the remarkable taste of our teas, as well as the beauty of the colour in your cup and the enticing fragrance of our perfumed teas. Sloane’s signature line of teas and tisanes (herbal teas) combine the finest loose leaf teas, exotic ingredients and artisanal techniques. www.sloanetea.com

the blueberry pancake 1 ½ oz proof vodka • 1 ½ oz blueberry juice • 1 tsp vanilla extract (or fresh vanilla bean) • blueberries for garnish

Pour all ingredients into shaker filled with ice. Shake and pour into martini glass. Top with fresh or frozen blueberries.

Happy Mother's Day!

March 17, 2017

proof whisky, green day, Vol. 168

Instagram Drink of the Day
the frida  1 1/2 oz proof vodka • 1/2 oz Cointreau • 1 1/2 oz lime juice • 1 1/2 oz lemon juice • 1/2 simple syrup • sea salt for rim
Shake all ingredients together with ice. Pour into a salt-rimmed glass.

Instagram Drink of the Day
black bramble  2 oz proof whisky or proof vodka • 2oz Chambord Royale • 2 tsp simple syrup • 1oz 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. 

Happy St. Patty’s Day 2017! Here are a few carefully crafted emerald cocktails to share with your lucky buds. And may your glass be ever full. For more information about our brands, visit www.proofbrands.com

winter fresh 2 oz proof whisky • ¼ oz crème de menthe • 2 oz cream
Add proof whisky, crème de menthe and cream to an ice-filled shaker. Shake and pour into a chilled glass. Garnish with a sprig of mint

the guru 1 1/2 oz proof whisky • 1 oz Zen Green Tea Liqueur* • 4 sprigs fresh mint • LOTS of crushed ice
Muddle 3 mint sprigs and Green Tea Liqueur 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.

* Zen Green Tea Liqueur has limited availability so make sure to check the lcbo website for in stock locations (www.lcbo.com)

dragonwell ½ oz fresh lime juice • 4 large mint leaves • 1 1/2 teaspoons simple syrup • 4 oz brewed green tea, chilled • 1 oz proof vodka

Muddle the lime juice, mint and sugar together in a glass until the leaves bruise lightly and the flavors are released. Fill glass with ice and pour in proof vodka and green tea. Stir and garnish with mint.

the emerald city 2 teaspoons matcha • 3/4 cup water • 1/2 cup lightly packed fresh mint leaves, plus a few sprigs for garnish • 
2 tablespoons sugar • 1-2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice • 1/2 cup proof whisky • ice
Place the matcha in a bowl, and gradually work in a tablespoon of the water drop by drop, stirring constantly, until the matcha is a smooth paste. Gradually stir in the rest of the water. Place the mint leaves and sugar in a jar or measuring pitcher, and muddle (using muddler or the back of a wooden spoon) until the sugar is dissolved and the leaves are bruised. Stir in 1 tbsp of lemon juice, and all of the proof whisky & matcha mixture. Strain the mixture into an ice-filled shaker through a fine mesh sieve, pressing on the mint to extract all the flavour. Shake and pour into two ice-filled tumblers and garnish with mint leaves. 

the pickleback Get into the spirit of St. P’s with another popular green drink. A pickleback is when you chase a shot of whisky with a shot of pickle brine. The pickle brine works to neutralize both the taste of the whisky and the burn of the alcohol. It's also sometimes called a Piskey.

For a proof whisky St Patty's Day throwback, visit Beautiful Day, Volume 25.