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12 Drummers Drumming

17 Jan

Ah! You thought I had forgotten about you, didn’t you? Alas, I have not. I did get sidelined by a wonderful case of pneumonia, but things are looking up this week. Besides, Ukrainian New Years was this past weekend, so we aren’t that far out of the holiday shuffle.

I find this time of year, the post-holiday blues time, to be really difficult. I live to host and entertain and amuse, so once that’s peaked, my attitude kind of goes downhill and things become rather bleak.

Apparently, I’m not alone in the seasonal depression. Today is known as the most depressing day of the year. What a better day then to release our final holiday bevvie – appropriately named for today and easypeasy to whip up. It’ll have you dreaming of the beach in no time.

Blue Monday

2 oz. vodka (use whatever your tastebuds favour, I’m liking Skyy for the price and flavour, $25, LCBO #410415)

1/4 oz. triple sec (I’m a fan of McGuinness brand, $18.95, LCBO#631176)

1/4 oz. blue curacao (You gotta go with Bols – it’s great stuff, $16.45, LCBO #306076)

Shake all the ingredients over ice in a cocktail shaker. Strain into a martini glass and serve with a cherry. Umbrella optional, but highly encouraged.

10 Lords a Leaping

26 Dec

If tequila makes the ladies dance, then beer makes the lords leap. And for this festive season, I’ve gotta recommend something a bit more tasty than whatever light beer you find in the corner of your uncle’s basement.

One of my favourites is Young’s Double Chocolate Stout (LCBO#103267, $3.50).

It’s like a tall, broody man that just sauntered on into the bar. With dark chocolate from start to finish – colour, aromas and taste, and throw in some wood – you’ve got a great bottle to cheers with. It’s also mighty good with my favourite Cottage Pie recipe by Anthony Sedlak.

Another recommended pick is Big Rock Breweries McNally’s Winter Spice Ale.

Only a few select Beer Stores carry it, but if you happen to live nearby one of such lucky locales – it’s worth the trip ($12.95/6 pack). This is a traditional amber ale blended with both pale and caramel malts that equals a round flavour profile. And it’s got bang for its buck at 6% alcohol and is jammed packed full of wintery spices – cinnamon, nutmeg and clove. Just open wide, okay?

There ya go, boys.

9 Ladies Dancing

24 Dec

What makes ladies dance? Tequila.

The sixth drink of Christmas comes to us from the good folks at Riazul Tequila (who the LCBO unfortunately does not carry, so we’ve subbed in other tequila). I present to you, the Razzelberry Dressing Margarita.

1 oz. of Leyenda Del Milagro silver tequila ($43.95, LCBO#83444, in replacement of Riazul Premium silver tequila, but most brands will do)

1/2 oz. of cranberry juice

1/2 oz. of blackberry juice (check by the other refrigerated juices in the grocery section)

1 oz. of Cointreau ($19.95, LCBO #10322)

1 oz. of lime juice

3 cranberries

3 blackberries

Muddle 2 cranberries and 2 blackberries in a cocktail shaker. Add some ice, the Riazul, the Cointreau and all the juices. Shake until your hand freezes and strain into a margarita glass (or an old-fashioned Champagne glass). Garnish with the last cranberry and blackberry stuck onto a toothpick or swizzle stick. Commence jazz hands and singing of ‘All the Single Ladies’.

Seven Swans a Swimmin’…

20 Dec

When I think about swans, I think about beauty, grace and, well, squawking. So, this drink is for the night girlfriends all gather, gossip and gift (and of course, braid each others hair and have a pillow fights).

I love sangria for girls night because its fruity, without necessarily being rot-your-teeth-out sweet and it makes more drinks than just serving a bottle of wine. This recipe is merely suggestive – you can swap in different fruits (this one uses red and green fruits, oh so festive), fruit juices and liquors as you please.

Holiday Sangria

2 green apples, cut into thin slices

1 c. of frozen raspberries

1/2 c. of pomegrantate liquor (My mom and I are semi-obsessed with Pama Pomegranate Liquor, $39.95, LCBO #414)

1 c. raspberry, pomegranate or strawberry juice (whatever you find first)

1 bottle of rosé (I will not make any specific winery mad at me by suggesting one you should pour a crap load of other stuff into, because that’s like saying someone’s lasagna recipe needs more cheese, and frankly I’m not out to hurt feelings – but pick one of your favourites, that’s inexpensive and preferably drier in style)

Drop the fruit, the liquor and juice of your choosing into a pitcher, glug the rosé in. Stir. Refrigerate. Pour into the glasses you and your girlfriends will be toasting with (don’t forget the fruit!). Commence hair braiding.

Three French Hens..

13 Dec

I’m pretty sure the ‘French’ drink many people would recommend this festive season would be Champagne. However, it’s pretty much always out of my price range and let’s be honest, if your buzzed brother’s old university friend’s new girlfriend is chugging it back from the bottle while swaying in your living room to Judy Garland – you’ll wish you didn’t spring for the pricey stuff.

A much more affordable option for our third drink of Christmas is Hungaria Grand Cuvee Brut ($12.00, LCBO#619288).

Many may not even know that Hungary has got a wine-making history that dates back to Roman times. They’re probably most famous for their dessert wine Tokaji (which is also quite yummy, thanks for asking) but this sparkling is a pretty little steal too.

For under 12 bucks, there’s not much other competition. You could buy some French Cross (please don’t) or Canada’s historic sparkling, Brights Champagne (which gets to use the capital-C reserved for wines from the actual region in France, through a strategic loophole) or any other handful of not-so-finely crafted, sugary sweet bubbles. The only other real serious contender at that price point is Freixenet Carta Nevada Brut from Spain ($11.95, LCBO#74757).

That’d do just fine here, but it doesn’t have the surprise element of popping this bottle from a country probably most known for its ottomans.

The Hungaria Cuvee Brut is mighty good on its own, off-dry and crisp with citrus and apple flavours and enough weight to hold up to your choosing of snackies off the buffet table. It’s got a great personality and sparkles just like the tinsel caught in aforementioned drunk-girlfriend’s hair after a mistaken tumble into the tree.

Cut her off and grab some of this bubbly – and hey, if you want to make it French, add a bit of LeJay Creme de Cassis de Dijon ($10.95, LCBO#496406) to your flute.

This yummy liquer is one of my favs (especially as an addition to vodka sodas) with a beautiful deep purple/blueberry colour and blackcurrant flavours. This drizzle will take your already stunning sparkling to a fancy pants Kir Pétillant. Just don’t let the drunk girlfriend have any.




12 Days of Drinks…

8 Dec

For you, my holiday lovers, I offer up 12 deliciously bevvies to get you through all secret santa disappointments, all crazy aunts asking you when you’re having kids, all mall madness and all holiday parties where you’re wearing a snowflake on your sweater.

Today’s drink comes from our friends at 3 Olives, the fun flavoured vodka people from the UK. I introduce to you, the White Mochatini.

1 oz. Three-O triple espresso vodka (it’s be discontinued through the LCBO, but is still on shelves for the time being, $25.95, LCBO#118620)

1 oz. premium white chocolate liqueur (like Godiva’s White Chocolate Cream, $31.95, LCBO #573311)

1 oz. half & half


Shake all of the above with ice until your hand freezes and strain into a martini glass (rimmed with cocoa if you ask me). Garnish with chocolate-covered espresso beans. Say yum.